Each year, millions of people go purple to support the LGBTQ+ youth to go against bullying and this year, Spirit Day is happening on Thursday, October 20th. GLAAD is a non-profit organization that wants to protect and improve the world to be a place for LGBTQ acceptance. In honor of Spirit Day, we are going to talk about the top ten moments in young adult entertainment that highlights bullying that can happen against those who support or apart of the LGBTQ community. If you want to learn more about GLAAD and Spirit Day, check it out here: https://www.glaad.org/spiritday
1. One of us is Lying
There are many similarities between the book and the tv adaptation, including the names and character personalities. In the actual book, there are four students having their own point-of views and in Chapter 23, Cooper tells Addy that Simon uncovered the fact that he is gay and was going to post about it. The biggest difference is the book discussed Cooper being in the closet 100% and suffering major repercussions when the police outted him. In the Peacock version, Cooper’s brother as well as his girlfriend Keely already knew he was gay. The series has Simon saying “It went against my moral code to out people,” yet the book version, Simon didn’t care and outted him anyways.
Episode 7 of the tv show “Heartstopper” is titled “Bully” and is the overall game changer for Charlie and Nick. Charlie and Nick go to the cinema together, but when Charlie shows up, he gets nervous at the fact that Harry and Ben are there. Thankfully its dark in the theater and so the two who tease Charlie won’t be able to talk during the movie as well. Charlie and Nick sit a few seats down and end up holding hands during some of the scary parts of the movie they were watching. Once the movie was over, Nick and Charlie walk out teasing each other about being scared of the movie. Harry catches up to them and starts making fun of Charlie by asking him “what is it like being gay?” Charlie ends up upset and Nick defends Charlie by punching Harry. Nick standing up for Charlie because he didn’t like how Harry made him feel shows he really cares for Charlie.
3. Heartbreak High
Darren Rivers is a character who is non-binary and goes by they/them in the show “Heartbreak High.” Even though people make fun of them all the time throughout the series, they don’t let it get to them. While they do get made fun of for them being queer, Darren doesn’t stop dressing and acting how they want to. Instead of giving into the fear of being hard to love and what the bullies are saying, they take a stand and send snark right back to show they aren’t changing who they are.
“The Prom” is a musical that came out on Netflix following the story a group of down-on-their-luck Broadway stars shake up a small Indiana town to rally behind a teen who just wants to go to the Prom with her girlfriend as a date. She gets made fun of and during the song “Just Breathe” the lyrics share that the others at the school don’t want her to.
Lyrics from “Just Breathe”:
Nick speaking: Hey Emma! Who’s this girl you’re gonna bring to the prom, anyway? I didn’t know we had more than one lesbo in town.
Emma speaking: You don’t know her. She’s new here.
Kevin speaking: Like, an exchange student?
Emma speaking: Maybe
Nick speaking Well then why don’t you like, exchange her for a guy?
Kevin: Dude, nice!
Note to self
People suck in Indiana
Pray the Greyhound isn’t full.
5. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
This is a musical about a teenager named Jamie who wants to pursue his dream of becoming a drag queen. Many make fun of him and say its not a tradiional career, yet Jamie doesn’t let that stop him. With the support of his mother and friends, he knows he’ll be a sensation and rise above those who don’t believe it. Jamie overcomes the feeling of not fitting in and getting bullied, he embraces who he wants to be and shines.
6. The Sky Blues
Cyberbullying is real and this book shares the consequences cyberbullying can do. Sky has an anonymous hacker who leaks a deeply homophobic e-blast that is quick to go viral. Sky is fully prepared to drop out of school and skip town as he is so embarrassed. Instead of standing by his classmates give him a reason to fight back. Sky’s classmates help turn a promposal thrity-day countdown into a school-wide hunt to expose the cyberbully who blasted the homophobic e-blast.
It took a while for Ivan and Patrick to finally get into a romantic relationship. Their relationship goes through its ups and downs with the mix of Ivan’s struggle with his sexuality and Patrick’s over-bearing attitude. Ivan also struggled as his famous father instilled the idea that being bisexual is looked down on. In Ivan’s own way, he bullies Patrick by teasing him throughout the season before they finally committed.
8. Dear Evan Hansen
“Dear Evan Hansen” is a musical that discusses heavy topics such as the importance of mental health, specifically suicide and bullying and how bullying can lead to attempting suicide. One of the songs “Words Fail” discusses what bullying can do to a person and how suicide may seem like the right answer. Here are a few of the lyrics from the song that stand out on what someone who is getting bullied feels like:
“That’s not a worthy explanation, I know there is none. Nothing can make sense of all these things I’ve done.”
“No, I’d rather pretend I’m something better than these broken parts. Pretend I’m something other than this mess that I am. ‘Cause then I don’t have to look at it and no one gets to look at it. No, no one can really see.”
9. Garrett Clayton
In case you missed it, YEM got to interview Garrett Clayton(linked here: https://youngentertainmentmag.com/yem-exclusive-interview-with-garrett-clayton/) about his experience of getting started into acting and then moving on to talk aout Garrett’s popular TikTok account. He posted this video: https://youtu.be/1HF6URA8X5w about the response he got when posting his wedding video. Garrett thought he would receive negative ones, yet while he did get a bunch of negative responses, it ended up being a positive one in the long run.
10. Greg Holden-Boys in the Street
Finally, this Greg Holden song “Boys in the Street” was released back in 2015 and talks about gay acceptance. He wrote this song as it was inspired by the relationship Holden had with his Step-father, who constantly told Greg that he wasn’t going to achieve anything if he was gay. The whole song tells the story of how a boy never felt special as his father didn’t accept him being gay. The father believes the son is embarrassing him for kissing boys and doesn’t believe he’s really gay and feels his son is rebelling. The end of the song reveals the father is on his death bed and is finally coming to terms with the fact that his son is gay and accepts it.
If you need help, please make sure to reach out to any of these amazing organizations:
The Trevor Project: the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for LGBTQ young people.
Phone Number: 212-695-8650
GLAAD: a non-profit organization that wants to protect and improve the world to be a place for LGBTQ acceptance.
Take the pledge: https://www.glaad.org/spiritday