15 best LGBTQIA+ characters in movies

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Chiron (Moonlight)

Chiron isn’t just a teenage boy struggling with his sexuality. He has to deal with something that isn’t often talked about in the mainstream media: what is it to be a queer, black man. And that’s why Moonlight is such a poignant, critically-acclaimed movie.

Chiron is a bullied child with a drug addict mother, who has to face constant abuse and scrutiny over his sexuality and his reserved personality. Moonlight follows the character over the years as he copes with being bullied and dealing with his mother’s drug abuse.

As a child, he develops a close bond with a drug dealer named Juan. Juan becomes almost like a father figure to Chiron, teaching him to swim as well as giving him vital life advice. When Chiron goes to Juan asking him what a certain word means, the older man explains what it means, and makes sure the child knows that it’s okay to be gay, and that he shouldn’t let people push him around.

The portrayal of Chiron’s fragility and vulnerability is so important. So often, men, especially men of color, are expected to be strong and hide away their emotions in order to be seen as masculine. That mentality is so damaging to a young boy struggling with his sexuality, as is demonstrated by Chiron.

He already faces so many hardships over the years, as is shown in the film. His mentor Juan passes away, and his mother’s substance abuse worsens. Luckily, he still has Juan’s girlfriend, Teresa, to confide in, as well as his friend, Kevin. But his friendship with Kevin is tested when the two teens experiment with each other sexually, and then Kevin beats him as a form of “hazing.”

Chiron is complex, and his struggles represent the struggles of so many people in similar situations. That’s why he’s such an important LGBTQIA+ character to discuss for years to come.