Love, Simon

MOVIE REVIEW: Why YOU (& Your KIDS) Should See “Love, Simon”

I took my 13-year-old daughter to a screening of Love, Simon last night. We both laughed and cried our way through this tale of a high-school senior (an adorable Nick Robinson) who is struggling to come out to his friends and family. It’s a sweet, if not entirely realistic story about the desire for love and acceptance, but when the lights came up, I could tell it meant much more to my daughter.
“Oh WOW,” she gushed. “I just want to watch it all over again, right now!”
Emma related to Love, Simon the same way I did to my favorite John Hughes’ movies, like Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. She also appreciated it’s messages of empathy and courage, which go beyond the question of coming out to one’s family. Kids drop truth-bombs on their parents regularly, so they know that even little disclosures, like bad grades or big mistakes, take their own type of courage. Love, Simon shows kids that families can weather disclosures, big and small, and still love and support each other.
I encourage parents to see Love, Simon with their older kids (it’s rated PG-13 for profanity, some sexual references, and images of kids drinking alcohol) to help open the door to those types of conversations. I also suspect that this film will inspire kids to “come out” about all sorts of things, from sexual preference and gender identity, to depression issues or even eating disorders. Love, Simon has the potential to motivate kids in a positive way and, if they are inspired to bravery, we as parents and care-givers should rise to the occasion, as well. Continue reading →

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BLOG: The Gay Catholic & His Haunted House

“Mom, can a Catholic be gay?”

My 9-year-old asks weird questions all the time, but this one was a career best for her.

Lucy said that a friend from her Catholic school claimed Catholic people simply couldn’t BE gay. She wanted to know if that was true. I told her I wasn’t sure, but I thought that might not be the case.

“Why,” she asked. “Do YOU know any gay Catholics?”

As a matter of fact, I DO.

I met Frank when I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was one of my favorite friends because he was sweet and buoyant and he threw the most fabulous parties at his ranch-style home. The first thing you noticed about Frank’s house were the crucifixes, which were EVERYWHERE. He also had pictures of Jesus, framed poems about Faith, AND a shrine to the Virgin Mary in his backyard. See, Frank was a devout Catholic but he was also gay. I asked him what he thought of this conundrum and Frank said, “I love God so much, I can’t imagine He wouldn’t love me back. In my heart, I know He does.”

Knowing Frank’s kindness and generosity the way I do, I’d have to agree with him.

Frank asked me to look after his home and dog once while he went on vacation. He left the keys with me and our mutual friend Stephanie, who agreed to stay at the house with me. Steph and I went out for beers our first night of housesitting, and were joined by Frank’s sister, Mercedes. I was playing pool with Mercedes’ boyfriend when he said, “Man, I can’t BELIEVE you’re staying in Frank’s house tonight!” Mercedes shushed him furiously and I had an awful sinking feeling. You know, the one you have when you realize everyone BUT YOU knows something and they’re trying to keep it from you? That feeling.

Apparently even Stephanie knew because she rolled her eyes and said, “Great. Thanks Mike.”

There was much begging and pleading on my part, and another round of beers before I got the truth. MAN, was it a doozy. Continue reading →


Enough Fighting, Let’s Have A “Transgender Hug Day”

I keep getting in Facebook fights with my friends in North Carolina.

I’m from N.C. and have kept in touch with people there, but many of them are worried about transgender people using their bathrooms. They’re not alone because it seems like the whole country is debating this issue. I have an interesting perspective because my friend Leslie is transgender. She was my boss until a few years ago, when she went through the transition process and became a woman (Leslie will tell you that she was a woman from birth, though). She has told me heartbreaking stories of struggle, loss and eventual acceptance, and Leslie is the main reason I keep getting into these Facebook fights.

The people I’m debating with have deeply rooted concerns though, and many are worried that laws allowing the transgendered into their restrooms will allow sexual predators in, as well. They are worried about the safety of their kids, so telling them they’re being close-minded doesn’t help anything.

Let’s address this concern, because it’s a biggie. Will a law that opens restrooms to transgender people put kids at risk? Continue reading →