Beyond discourse, the question of what makes a film queer has become subsumed by aesthetics and narratives that display a straight gaze. The most egregious example is one of the most recent: Love, Simon, a gay bildungsroman whose political and moral center is that its protagonist Simon is Not That Kind of Gay. Simon is a blandly handsome high-school teenager (Nick Robinson) who spends much of the film assuring the (hetero) audience that he’s just like them. “For the most part, my life is totally normal,” he says in the expository voice-over. He lives in a big two-story house; his parents are played by L.L.Bean catalogue models Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel; he gets a car with a big red ribbon on it for his birthday like a holiday car commercial. “I’m just like you except I have one huge-ass secret,” he says. “Nobody knows I’m gay.”
So what kind of gay is he not? Well, he’s certainly not like the only out gay student at his school named Ethan, a black femme student (Clark Moore) who delivers many of the movie’s only jokes. In a scene where a couple of jocks are bullying Ethan, Simon remarks, “I wish Ethan wouldn’t make it so easy for them.” When Ethan and Simon finally talk in the end, rather than have Ethan push back against just how good Simon has it, the film whiffs and has Ethan act as a sympathetic shoulder to lean on. Ethan remains a patsy, offering reassurance rather than resistance to the implicit assumption that Simon is “relatable” precisely because he’s white, masculine, and upper-middle class. The gravest injustice in Love, Simon is that a gay white boy couldn’t have grown up like a straight white boy.
It’s easy to castigate Love, Simon, but it’s the middlebrow iteration of a widespread sensibility that trades in sentimentality as a way to render LGBT people sympathetic
The entire article is worth a read.
http://www.vulture.com/2018/05/queer-ci ... to-it.html