Hello Kings and Queens!
This past week I went to a screening of the movie Moonlight, which follows a young man as throughout various stages of his adolescent life and into his adulthood.
Seems innocent, right? Seems a little like a another version of the other adolescent-tracking movie a few years ago, Boyhood.
But there are a few things about this film that bring it a little more to the fringes. Beware of spoiler alerts for the movie below…
First off: the protagonist, Chiron, is a shy 8-year old black child, living in the bad part of a southern east-coast town (I always thought Miami, but it is never explicitly stated), who in his youth is shoved around by some of the bigger kids. At first, you wonder what they could have against him. Yes, he is a little awkward, but otherwise, perfectly normal. Then as characters around Chiron begin to interact, they reveal that the teasing and taunting of the other children is because Chiron is gay. But he doesn’t know this yet, or understand it.
You feel his plight for wanting to know what it is about himself that doesn’t seem to fit in with the other kids. You hurt for him when, after an insult is hurled at him, he turns to his parental figures in the movie and asks them with quiet desperation, “What’s a faggot?”
He wants to know his truth. He is hurting to know, and sadly you cannot help him from where you are.
A few years pass, and we catch glimpses of Chiron in high school. During this time he is still as awkward and withdrawn, if not more so, due to the constant teasing and even threats thrown at him by his more brutish classmates. After all of these years, Chiron still seems conflicted. He may or may not know the truth of his sexual orientation yet, but that doesn’t matter. Even if he did, he would not be able to come out and state it. He fears too greatly the backlash from his bullies if the rumors they threaten against him were confirmed.
Then, right as Chiron was on the brink of self-discovery and acceptance, a group assault by the aforementioned bullies send him spiraling into repression of his feelings for the next 10 YEARS.
I wont give away the end of the movie, but the story presented here is tragic, and in more ways than the single issue of gay-bashing on which I am focusing.
Each of the characters come through with complex depth; their subdued performances meshing perfectly with the subtle arc of the plot, creating a movie that is more real than it is film. There were more messages and issues that this film hits home on than I have space here to deliver.
But through all of this, the thought that stuck most in my brain was…
“If this kid had just grown up in a culture that was more accepting…
If culture at large was more accepting, this child would not have grown up with such a sense of self-loathing.”
This narrative is all too common, even in 2017 United States. Children are conditioned to hide or hate who they are and what they feel in their bodies…
In their hearts.
Because society around them fears them and who they love.
It is something I aim to stop through education.
It is the purpose of this channel.
To educate the world of the reality and NORMALITY of the Human Sexual Experience in all of its wondrous variety.
It is my hope, fellow Kings and Queens, that we can grow into a society that is overall more accepting and loving of ALL different kinds of people throughout the world.
When we can do that, to love each other, not just because of our differences, but BECAUSE of our differences, I believe suffering like the kind Chiron experienced in the movie Moonlight can come to an end.
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