I’m a 17-year-old senior in high school and I’m just like all of you ― except I’m bisexual.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a line similar to one in the new film “Love, Simon,” the first gay teen romantic comedy released by a mainstream studio. Like Simon, the film’s main character played by Nick Robinson, I recently came out of the closet. In my case, I came out as bi, and I did it because I was so inspired by the film.
I first heard of “Love, Simon” in November 2017, when Robinson, who I’ve been a fan of since I was a child, tweeted about it. After doing a little research, I knew that I had to see it.
Then, when I learned that Nick’s brother came out to Nick while he was working on the film, and that another one of the film’s stars, Keiynan Lonsdale, found the courage to come out after shooting “Love, Simon,” I became inspired to come out myself.
I first realized I was bisexual during my junior year of high school after having a deep conversation with my best friend. I had found a novel called The Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin, a story about a gender fluid teenager, which in some ways helped me realize I am not straight. But I didn’t tell my parents until I saw “Love, Simon” last week.
I had made a plan to go see the film with my dad and decided that after the movie I would come out to him. I suspected that he and my mom already knew that I’m not straight, but it finally felt like the right time to bring it all out into the open. Although both my parents are super-accepting and loving, I was still scared to actually say the words “I’m bisexual” out loud. But thanks to “Love, Simon,” I found the icebreaker I needed to come out to them.
After the film was over, I was driving home with my dad and extremely nervous about telling him about my sexuality, but I decided to just go for it. “One of the reasons I wanted to see ‘Love, Simon’ was to help me with something,” I told him. Then I started crying as I finished what I had to say: “You may already know this but I’m bisexual.”
My dad immediately reached across the seat and pulled me into a hug. “I know. I had already guessed,” he said. He proceeded to tell me that my coming out wouldn’t change anything and that he loves me. I was so happy. The next challenge was informing my mom, which I did later that night, and like my dad, she said she had already known, but that she loves me and was proud of me for taking that big step. Since then, I have also told my aunt and my school counsellor, who both said they were proud and happy for me, too. Soon after I tweeted about my experience, and within 48 hours my tweet blew up.
I received so many positive responses from people thanking me for sharing my story, including two actors in the film, Clark Moore and Joey Pollari, who liked the tweet. Becky Albertalli, author of the book Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, which the film is based upon, also liked and replied to my tweet. The official “Love, Simon” Twitter liked and retweeted it, prompting a journalist to interview me about my story. Perhaps most gratifying of all, several people reached out to me and asked me for details about how I came out to my parents and how it went, later thanking me and saying they now felt inspired to come out to their own parents.
I want to thank Albertalli for writing the book, and thank the entire cast of the film, as well as its writers and director and the crew, for making this movie possible. Without it, I would not have had the courage or found the push I needed to come out now. I can finally breathe, just like Simon’s mom discusses in the film, and can finally fully be myself without concealing a giant secret. Seeing everyone’s positive reactions and all of the support is in some ways overwhelming, but it’s also extremely heartwarming, and I’m hoping that I’ve inspired people in some way by sharing my experience.
I never would have pictured myself where I am today without this movie or book, and I’m entirely grateful for the gift it’s given me.
I’ve realized that I’m not alone in my feelings for “Love, Simon” or the impact that it had on me. I recently read a tweet about a teen who saw the film with her mom, who apparently wasn’t very understanding of her daughter’s sexual identity, and it changed her mom’s opinion and helped her to be more accepting. My own experience and the experience of others like this teen prove that “Love, Simon” doesn’t just have the power to change lives. It is changing lives, and I hope people understand that when they go to see it. I never would have pictured myself where I am today without this movie or book, and I’m entirely grateful for the gift it’s given me. It’s also made me realize that we need more films like “Love, Simon” that portray the LGBTQ+ community in a positive way. This kind of representation matters, and it really can be absolutely transformational for people who are looking for examples of themselves or people like themselves in the media.
In the end, I am still the same girl who is obsessed with literature and record players, who loves dying my hair and wearing makeup. The only thing that has changed is that I no longer have to hide who I really am. I hope sharing my story has done some good for others and that more kids who are scared, like I was, can feel better about themselves and more comfortable with the idea of coming out to their families by seeing how fantastic “Love, Simon” has been for so many in the LGBTQ+ community. I want people to know that there is hope and a light at the end of the tunnel and that there are so many other people like you.