Why ‘Love, Simon’ is so important, and why you need to see it (twice)

Everyone loves "Love, Simon," and all that it represents
Image: Twentieth Century Fox

The recently released Love, Simon is not only making LGBTQ+ history; it’s also elevating the rom-com genre in unprecedented ways.

It’s been met with a choir of critical praise so far. Mashable’s own MJ Franklin showered it with love in a review that called it “a gotdamn delightful romcom, and gay as hell.” In a perfect summation of the movie’s far-reaching impact, he wrote: 

“[Love, Simon is] a heart-wrenching, empathy-expanding look at what it means to be a gay teen AND it’s a universal story about the awkward, messy attempts of navigating high school, AND it’s a hilarious comedy in it’s own right.”

Voices all around the internet are in agreement: Love, Simon is not only a triumph of cinema, but a huge leap toward a long overdue and desperately needed cultural shift.

Why is it so important? For one, it’s probably the first rom-com with the power to save literal lives. 

Data indicates that LQBTQ+ teens are at a much higher risk of attempted suicide or suicidal thoughts. As a recent report from CNN noted, a 2015 study conducted in the United States found that 40 percent of high school students who identify as “gay, lesbian or bisexual or questioning” had “seriously” considered suicide at one point or another. (It’s important to note those numbers donot include transgender teens.)

Non-profit organizations like Dan Savage and husband Terry Miller’s It Gets Better Project have worked hard to provide everyone who identifies as LGBTQ, and youths in particular, with the support system needed to combat this too-common sentiment. But a mainstream Hollywood movie that addresses the joys of gay high school experiences as well as the difficulties has the potential to reach people on a much larger scale.

And that’s not to mention the important fact that this stellar, young cast isn’t just diverse in terms of sexual orientation, but also race:

In 2016, groundbreaking Best Picture winner Moonlight shined a bright light on the especially isolating experience of being gay, black, and male in America, from youth to adulthood. That stark portrait and its success sparked an important conversation that Love, Simon continues in its own uniquely impactful way.

It should go without saying, but Love, Simon is not just an important film for LGBTQ+ people. As Franklin put it, “calling it a gay teen rom-com seems to do Love, Simon a disservice because it’s so much more than that.” This movie reflects reality by showing a broad spectrum of love and coming-of-age issues, including those of straight people. 

Heterosexual people and their relationships still dominate mainstream culture, and LGBTQ+ folks have had no problem identifying with the universal experience of love depicted in all those rom-coms. Love, Simon steps out of that heteronormative mindset, but it’s still for everyone.

Representation in mainstream culture leads to normalization. As a gatekeeper of what our culture views as “normal,” Hollywood has the power to breed life-changing empathy toward LGBTQ+ folks in those who struggle to see outside their own heterosexual lives.

Most importantly, Love, Simon is already helping LGBTQ+ teens (and adults) become more comfortable with expressing their identities:

So in summary: everyone has a reason to go see Love, Simon — twice, if possible. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of the book too.

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/03/17/love-simon-important-impact-twitter-lgbtq-rom-com/

Chelsea Clinton understandably can’t take Trump’s crude ‘joke’

What a pair.
Image: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images

It would be that in an exposé of Vice President Mike Pence, it’s a reported comment from President Donald Trump about his veep’s views that’s putting the president right back in the hot seat.

A new New Yorker story, “The Danger of President Pence,” dug out incredible details about Pence’s history, his rise to the vice presidency, and his relationship to Trump. Toward the end of the lengthy piece, author Jane Mayer reported on what Trump thinks about his political partner. 

“Trump thinks Pence is great,” Bannon told me. But, according to a longtime associate, Trump also likes to “let Pence know who’s boss.” A staff member from Trump’s campaign recalls him mocking Pence’s religiosity. He said that, when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, Trump would ask them, “Did Mike make you pray?” Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality. During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. “You see?” Trump asked Pence. “You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.” When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”

The last part about gay rights was picked up as especially cruel, and not at all funny. Chelsea Clinton, who has called out Trump before (and before that), was quick to reprimand the president about having a little basic decency.

Others chimed in to share how upsetting it is to hear the president speak about the gay community in such a violent and flippant manner.

As this is one of countless inappropriate, cruel, and inhuman comments Trump has uttered, the fear is that the revelation isn’t likely to change anything — or even get noticed much beyond today’s tweets. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/16/pence-new-yorker-trump-gay-chelsea-clinton/