Recently “Love, Simon” came out on Blu-ray and DVD. The movie follows the coming of age story of high school student Simon Spier. Unlike most coming of age stories, this one also involves a Gay teen coming out. The struggles Simon goes through reminds me of my own.
Warning: Minor Spoilers
In the movie anonymous student (named Blue) at Simon’s high school posts to a blog about being gay. Simon, who is struggling with his sexuality and hasn’t come out to anyone, creates an anonymous email and sends it to Blue. This eventually leads to him coming out to his friends and family.
In 1996, back in the early days of the internet, I was so deep in the closet I might as well been in fucking Narnia. Then in the last half of year, after it was no longer considered long distance to call Wilmington from our one stop-light town of Currie (yes the dreaded dial-up) we signed up with the local ISP W.I.S.E.
We had one computer that was considered the family computer, but I was the primary user (plus it was in my bedroom because we had some loud ass cockatiels in a large cage in the living room). I discovered chat rooms on IRC (Internet Chat Relay similar to AOL chat rooms). This was back before MySpace, Facebook, and even Gay.com
On IRC you could choose a server and find “channels” on which to discuss pretty much any subject. Users could also talk privately with users on the channel. It’s here I found GayNC and started to talk openly with other gay people, most were in other cities in NC, one person was moving to Wilmington.
First Love and The Club
This is how I met Noah, who was moving to Wilmington for a new job. As we talked in private and eventually on the phone, I started to develop feelings for him (I had never had a serious relationship even with girls at this point.) Unfortunately, not all was what it seemed and learned the hard way, that love can lead to heartbreak. Despite telling me that he was interested in a relationship, he brings a “date” the first time we meet.
While I was upset at first, things changed as I had my first experience at a Gay club. At the time Mickey Ratz was the only Gay club in Wilmington. While it was nothing like Babylon from Queer As Folk, I felt like Justin when he entered Babylon. The lights, the beat of the music, guys dancing and making out, it was a totally new experience.
First Boyfriend and The Parents
Only a few short weeks after my disappointment with Noah I met Tony. He was Asian (born in China went to college in Iowa) and lived in Cary (about an hour and a half from Wilmington). We talked online (chat and email) and the phone, and planned on spending the weekend together at his home.
In “Love, Simon” Simon accidentally leaves his email open and another student sees his emails, a similar thing happened to me. As I said before I shared a computer with my parents. My Stepdad used it quite a bit and had accidentally read one of my emails to Tony.
I had heard the horror stories of others telling their parents and was prepared for the worst. When I had the talk with my parents I was crying. Fortunately, it went better than I had imagined. My parents were loving and accepting (as were Simon’s parents), and willing to meet my first boyfriend.
While the LGBT+ community has come a long way and for the most part things are much better, there are still many who will struggle with coming out (especially if they live in rural areas or very religious communities), and a movie like “Love, Simon” can be empowering for them.