Early on, the film is careful to establish all of the ways that Simon is not He’s not very good at musical theater.He participates in gender policing, deriding a straight classmate who chooses to wear a dress to the Halloween party as looking like a “drag queen who rolled around in refrigerator magnets.” He fantasizes about what being gay in college will be like, imagining choreography and dance, only to retreat: “Well, maybe not But the most frustrating story line comes via the character Ethan.A message that gay young people receive throughout our adolescence is that you need to be the “right type of gay” — masculine, not flamboyant, a man’s man — to be respected, to be affirmed by your family or to be romantically desirable. I was embarrassed by you because I was working on myself. But it’s equally important to acknowledge that the “Love, Simon” team reiterated the trope of the queenly, femme supporting character with no real plot.
He is the gender-nonconforming queer kid who blazed the trail and bears the brunt of the bullying and harassment because of it.
And he is relegated to narrative obscurity for most of the movie.
He is a sideshow, a subtle foil to show how palatable and masculine Simon is.
He is openly bullied in front of Simon; he retorts in powerful, queenly fashion to his tormentors as Simon remains silent, watching and cringing.
As a genderqueer kid who has always been too femme for my own good, I found Ethan to be the only character in the film I could relate to.