We learn about Ethan’s backstory and hidden struggles with being gay, too, in Love, Simon — a backstory that’s never explored for Elliot in Alex Strangelove. While we learn early that Elliot’s father threw him out because he was gay, we never hear much more of that story. That’s upsetting, particularly since LGBT youth homelessness is a serious issue: The Williams Institute at UCLA Law has found LGBT youth are significantly more at risk of experiencing homelessness, and while it’s not mentioned in Alex Strangelove, LGBT youth are also at significantly higher risk for suicide.
These are real issues, and that Alex Strangelove (and Love, Simon) barely acknowledged such problems is disturbing. These films are normalizing LGBTQ stories and celebrating the successes of equality movements, but they’re choosing to obsure the realities of being LGBTQ in today’s society. For heterosexual, cisgender audiences who have never personally dealt with these situations, films like Alex Strangelove are probably their few glimpses into these life stories, and failing to include social issues erects a facade that LGBTQ suffering is a thing of the past.