By Diana Karamourtopoulos
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen “Love, Simon” then go see it, right now.
“Love, Simon” is a win for the LGBTQ+ community, providing them with much needed representation on the big screen. And while Nick Robinson is great in the lead role, it is important that queer roles are filled by people who identify with their characters. We can find this in “Love, Simon” too, through Keiynan Lonsdale.
Lonsdale, who played Blue in the movie, identifies as bisexual and he is able to provide a new layer to his character. It is important for young people to see themselves represented in the media, not only through on-screen characters, but also in celebrities that they can look up to. Lonsdale provides this through honest and open statements on his struggles with sexuality. He even publicly came out during the filming of the movie; in an interview with Out Magazine, Lonsdale says, “Honestly, I didn’t come out to inspire others. I couldn’t actually process anybody else’s thoughts, because that’s what was keeping me afraid. I did it for myself, but then, once I realized the effect it had on other people, it became this beautiful thing.” His honesty is something that we should admire and encourage in today’s queer youth, and that is why I believe that we should give Lonsdale the attention he deserves.
It’s not that the art Nick Robinson is creating through playing a character like Simon isn’t important, because it is. It’s just that when the straight actors and actresses are continuously cast in queer roles, and promoted in the media over queer actors and actresses, it reinforces heteronormativity. For this reason, people like Lonsdale should be recognized more in mainstream media. He spreads a much more authentic message of self-acceptance and, therefore, can be a much more inspiring role model.
Diana is a freshman International Relations major.
Graphic by Caroline Polich.