As the first “gay teen rom-con” made by a major studio, Love, Simon showed a coming out story like we’d never seen before in mainstream Hollywood.
One with sensitivity, humour and an honesty that recognised both the uniqueness and the universality of the coming out experience.
No moment captures this sentiment better than when Jennifer Garner’s character says to her son: “You get to exhale now…You get to be more you than you have been in a very long time.”
It’s a touching scene that prompts anyone who’s ever come out to revisit the deep mark it leaves upon yourself and the loved ones in your life. More broadly though, it speaks to something all people want in life: unconditional love from those whom they love.
Australian actor Keiynan Lonsdale can relate to that. Playing shy teen Bram in Love, Simon gave him the courage to become what he now calls “a wielder of the rainbow magic”.
In May 2017, the former Dance Academy and Legends of Tomorrow star came out as bisexual to his Instagram followers (now numbered at 809,000 – yes, he’s huge).
Now, he proudly identifies as queer, wears dresses on the red carpet and in his music videos, and is more comfortable in his skin than he’s ever been before.
Mamamia talked to Keiynan about his own coming out experience, and the brilliant advice he’d give any parents in the same position as Simon’s mum in Love, Simon (post continues after video):
“When I told my mum I poured my heart out to her, because it was the first time I’d got heartbroken. I was, like 20,” Keiynan tells Mamamia. “I came out to her on the phone. I was like ‘It was a guy’ and she just drove straight to where I was living and we just talked for hours and I told her everything.
“I think she had known for a few months or longer that something was up. It’s the same in the movie actually – ‘I can feel you holding your breath’ – that’s what Jennifer Garner’s character says, and I could tell at one point my mum knew something was going on because she said ‘You know I love you no matter what. Whatever you’re going through, I love you’. And that was before I came out, so she knew something was up. And right when I needed her, she was there.