Heartstopper

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Kit Connor as Nick Nelson and Joe Locke as Charlie Spring in Heartstopper. (Photo: Netflix)
Kit Connor as Nick Nelson and Joe Locke as Charlie Spring in Heartstopper. (Photo: Netflix)

SHOW:

Heartstopper

WHERE TO WATCH:

Netflix

OUR RATING:

5/5 Stars

WHAT IT'S ABOUT:

Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. When gentle Charlie and rugby-loving Nick meet at secondary school, they quickly discover that their unlikely friendship is blossoming into an unexpected romance. Charlie, Nick and their circle of friends must navigate the ever-relatable journey of self discovery and acceptance, supporting each other as they learn to find their most authentic selves.

WHAT WE THOUGHT:

Heartstopper is the hug my younger self needed nearly 20 years ago - when I was still deep in the closet and scared for my life that anyone would find out that I was gay.

I guess I wasn't that good at hiding it, because I was relentlessly bullied in high school for being a "moffie". Like the time someone took a large blob of chewing gum out of their mouth and secretly stuck it to the back of my shirt. I only noticed when I got home. They’d been giggling behind my back about it all day.

Another guy took my brand-new reading glasses case and spit inside it. I had proudly bought it in a curio shop in the Kruger National Park on a family trip. But every time I would open it after that the velvet lining would bare the outline of dried spit marks. Someone, who I didn't even speak to, thought so little of me because of my sexuality that they had to spit in something that I took so much pride and joy in.

Very few guys were willing to be friends with me, because that put them in the direct line of fire. I once overheard two classmates talk about me, "He seems nice…but, it's just the gay thing".

I never fought back or stood up for myself. I didn't think I was allowed to. I believed I was getting what I deserved for not being straight. I prayed so many nights not to be gay anymore. I endured high school as best I could and hid my sexuality as deep as possible.

Growing up conservative and religious meant it was taboo to even consider the possibility that I was gay. It was only in my mid-twenties when I finally had the courage to come out. And it's only now, another 10 years later, that I'm openly and proudly gay and part of LGBTQ+ community.

As I watched Charlie and Nick in Heartstopper (based on the webcomic and graphic novel by Alice Oseman) find themselves and grow bravely in their own personal journeys, I felt a deep sense of pride and relief for them. I was happy that their stories could be told so openly on a streaming platform around the world. Seeing them be able to express what I never even could have dreamt of when I was in high school felt like the warmest, most caring hug I've ever had in my life.

If you've ever had a good hug, you'll know that it can often be so comforting that it triggers an emotional response. Before I knew it, I was crying. Me, a 37-year-old, crying over a teenage high school drama on Netflix. But I knew exactly who the tears were for. They were for younger Herman, who never had the chance to fully be himself. Younger Herman who never got to fall in love, hold hands, or kiss a boy in high school. Young Herman who instead of writing love letters, wrote suicide notes.

Heartstopper is the most pure, innocent, and fluffy of TV shows about teenagers in high school. I mean it's exactly 100% the opposite of Euphoria. (I do believe both have their place.) But in that innocence and gentle familiarity lies the secret to the success of this series. It's wholesome viewing for the whole family. It's the perfect show for those struggling to understand their own identity and sexuality and don't have anyone to talk to about it. I hope families can watch it together and teenagers can find safety in the beautiful storyline of acceptance.

I want a hundred more episodes and a hundred more similar shows. I want the LGBTQ+ community to be as vastly represented as anyone and everyone else. I want nobody to ever doubt themselves or feel like they don’t deserve to stand up for themselves.

I hope everyone watches and enjoys this tender and loving story of bravely and proudly being our true authentic selves.

May nobody ever feel like they don't belong. 

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:


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