Should We Be Side-Eyed That There Aren’t Any Openly Gay Leads?
One modern mainstream, gay romance film received much success and buzz during its theatre run in 2018. Nope, I’m not talking about Call Me By Your Name – that was the year prior, but rather 20th Century Fox’s Love, Simon. The movie garnered such great critical acclaim that Disney decided to order a Love, Simon television series to be streamed on its upcoming digital platform, Disney Plus. None of the actors from the original film will appear in the series, but Nick Robinson will provide the voice of the narrator. After looking at the cast list, there are some interesting actors whose performances I’m quite excited to see.
According to Variety, the television series cast of Love, Simon is incredibly diverse. In fact, it appears we’re going to be following a Hispanic family with a gay (or closeted?) son played by Michael Cimino (pictured below) who is struggling with his sexual orientation. His parents will be played by James Martinez and Ana Ortiz. Rounding out the cast will be Johnny Sequoyah, George Sear, Anthony Turpel, Bebe Wood, and Mason Gooding, the son of legendary Cuba Gooding Jr. These actors are mostly considered unknown and none of them appear to have much of a social media following, which is exciting for us to get to know a whole new crowd of talent.
But, some may be seeing red as Cimino, Gooding, and as far as is known, the others are heterosexual in their real lives and will most likely playing LGBTQ on screen. I can already predict the small minority of outrage coming from the internet and want to squash the show right now.
I see absolutely no problem with this as they are actors and should be able to act as anyone or anything they please! No, just because an actor is gay doesn’t mean they have enough talent to get hired to be in a freaking Disney television series. Perhaps that is the problem when openly gay actors do not get roles: They don’t have enough talent. I’d much rather see some quality acting on film/television by exceptionally talented people performing in gay roles rather than seeing the same and talented gay actors we’ve seen over and over in various LGBTQ films like Eating Out and the other bores.
Also, some of these new-to-us actors in the upcoming Love, Simon may very well identify as LGBTQ in real life. To make sure that gay actors are playing gay roles and vice versa, do we start demanding that every actor/person define their sexuality before a casting call? Come on, actors are still people too – not everything needs to be public. It’s upsetting to witness people claim homophobia for not hiring gay actors. I believe not everyone is homophobic, but maybe they couldn’t find someone openly gay to get the job done. This is a business, after all, and if we’re fighting for equality, then we shouldn’t be asking for special treatment.
Even before hiring gay or straight actors, what about the content of Disney’s Love, Simon offering? Unfortunately, the series seems like it’s going to be the same story rehashed time and time again. Wash, rinse, repeat is what Hollywood seems to think when it comes to high school type shows with LGBTQ characters “coming to terms with their sexuality”. I shouldn’t be upset with this though as I don’t believe I’m the audience for this series. Yes, I’m gay, but I’ve always known who I am. I don’t care to see the coming out stories as let’s say, someone in their tweens or teens may. This is a series based in high school, so I don’t think any adult should be complaining about the content. We had Boy Meets World and Full House shows, among others growing up. It stinks we didn’t get to have an openly gay character on one of those, but that was a different time and place in America. I don’t think I’ll be tuning in to see Love, Simon, but I hope the show succeeds just as much as its predecessor.
Will you be tuning into the Love, Simon television series?
Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.