15 LGBTQIA+ movies to watch if you liked Love, Simon

13 of 16

Get Real

Steven Carter is a 16-year-old boy; he’s middle-class, smart, and good looking, but he’s shy and unathletic. His family doesn’t get him, and he’s bullied at school. Besides his best friend Linda, he keeps his sexuality hidden from everyone.

Since this is a pre-Grindr era (the film was released in 1999), Steven cruises — gay slang meaning looking for sex — in public bathrooms, as many gay men of that time did. He runs into someone he least expected to see there: his school’s golden boy jock, John Dixon.

John, of course, denies he’s gay. But the two eventually become friends, and John confides in Steven about his sexuality. The two then decide to get together.

John is terrified of being outed and losing his spot as the school’s golden boy, so when rumors swirl about a gay student at school, John beats up Steven in front of his friends in order to distance himself.

Though he does apologize for beating him up in the end, John is still struggles with coming out. Unfortunately, that means the two can’t be together, so (spoiler alert!) Steven breaks up with him.

A lot of films on this list deal with the struggles of coming out, especially for the characters who are more typically popular and masculine. The fragile masculinity in our society, and even more so in the ’90s, makes it so hard for men to deal with the fact that there is anything remotely effeminate about them.

What’s interesting about Get Real is that in the end, the struggling, closeted gay teen — in this case, John — actually stays in the closet. And that’s okay, because everyone comes out in their own time, and that’s not always in your teen years.