There are many birthdays to celebrate in November, and we’d like to wish a happy one to both Simon Spier and Jude Foster Adams. These characters share not only a birthday but also many similarities in their stories. Both Simon and Jude know what it’s like to grow up questioning their sexual identity. Simon’s story was told in the film Love, Simon, and in the book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda while we got to know Jude on The Fosters. Both Simon and Jude went through some tumultuous teen years. In honor of their joint birthday, let’s take a look at their stories.
Simon Spier was born November 17, 1997, making him 23 years old. Jude is a tad younger. As he was born November 17, 2000, 2020 marks the year, he casts off that teenager title at 20. We get to know Simon as a smart, passionate teen who is terrified to come out as gay. Jude, on the other hand, is just a kid when we meet him. But he’s already had a tough life in the foster system. Jude is a bright, caring kid, but it takes him a while to realize his sexuality and admit his feelings.
Both Simon and Jude’s dilemma is the fear of the stigma that surrounds sexual orientation. Simon is convinced his friends and family won’t accept if he comes out or that they’ll treat him differently, so he stays firmly in the closet. Jude avoids making his relationship with Connor public and even refusing to use any labels that might define his sexuality. The result shows Simon bending over backward and lying to his loved ones to keep his secret while Jude offends Connor by backing away from acknowledging their relationship.
In the end, Jude and Simon’s fears hurt those they cared for as well as themselves. When Simon finally comes out to his parents, they accept him for who he is. Jude goes to his foster mother, Lena, for advice on his sexuality, and she replies that she’ll love him no matter what. Not everyone’s coming out story ends with love and acceptance. For instance, Conner’s father struggled to deal with his son’s sexuality when he came out to him. But lying about who you are only ends up with you not living the life you want – it’s never worth it.
For Simon and Jude, life got messy, and their fear took over. Both knew what it was like to get hurt, to feel different, to feel unsafe. They chose to protect themselves and didn’t realize they were instead doing even more damage. When Simon and Jude finally find the courage to let the world see their true selves, they also get the chance to live every day, happy, unaffected lives. It’s easier said than done to be vulnerable enough to reveal your authentic self. But along with it comes the wonderful freedom of living your genuine life. Jude and Simon have stories that exemplify that awkward, painful, healing journey to that point. Let’s ring out a happy birthday to both courageous characters!