The New Teenage Dream
2018! What a time to be alive.
In just the span of a few months, multiple major queer films have come out and received both critical and fan praise (most recently Call Me By Your Name and Love, Simon, but we cannot forget about 2016's Moonlight paving the way). It feels like perhaps the tides are finally turning and the idea of a gay leading man and/or gay protagonist is not a far off dream anymore but a possible reality.
Even looking at music, young artists like Troye Sivan, Hayley Kiyoko, Kehlani, and Kim Petras are all openly queer figures who aren't being pigeonholed as "isolating" to the heterosexual/cis masses, but instead are embraced as the fantasies of young boys and girls alike, regardless of sexual and gender identity.
While most of us LGBT folk grew up having to insert our stories, identities, and fantasies into (mostly) heterosexual female characters and singers, this new queer generation will be the first to have LGBT actors and singers out and proud during their career peaks, not just during their career declines or in their memoirs as was usually the case. With movies like Love, Simon and music from people like Troye Sivan, young gay boys and men now have the chance to (finally) experience stories written for them, and maybe even get a happy ending or two.
There is a still a long way to go, and a lot of this excitement still spurs important questions about the lack of major representation for QPOC (Queer People of Color) and how we can move forward as a community while integrating our cherished subcultures into the mainstream. We luckily don't need to have all the answers right now, but in a period of extremely toxic politics, we will take 2017 and 2018's queer breakthroughs as a chance to celebrate and be proud of how far we have come.
In honor of this moment, we met up with one of our favorite Instagram boys from Brooklyn, Ron Sese, for a photoshoot that took the visual cues of an all-American teenage dream and re-imagined it for today's queer dream.