Love, Simon has taken the world by storm. Finally, a gay teen movie is making a splash in the mainstream media, and it’s about time. But before Love, Simon, there were plenty of movies paving the way.
Gay movies, especially gay teen movies, still have not been perfected. For years, gay youth had to sit through low-budget, overly sexual films where the protagonist ends up depressed or dead due to their sexuality. Rarely do queer films end happily.
Heterosexual teens have been treated to an endless stream of iconic coming-of-age movies over the years, from The Breakfast Club to American Pie to Mean Girls. Meanwhile, queer teens had to search the internet (or before that, video stores) to find obscure foreign films or grainy bootlegs of a bad gay comedy.
The major studio release of Love, Simon, a light-hearted, fun teen comedy with a gay protagonist (and a happy ending) is a serious step in the right direction. Hopefully, this will usher in a new era of normalizing LGBTQIA+ stories in teen movies. But until then, there is a whole bunch of movies to keep you occupied.
Some of these movies are heartfelt and fun, while others tackle serious issues like homophobia and gay conversion therapy. But each of these films is important in their own way because there are so many different stories to be told; nobody’s journey of acceptance is going to be exactly the same.