Coming out is not easy for anyone, but neither is discovering who you really are. Mix that in with high school in the era of social media and you have Hulu’s new series Love, Victor.
Love, Victor is a spinoff of the 2018 film Love, Simon, a movie about a closeted gay high school senior, Simon Spier, who is forced to balance his friends, his family, and the blackmailer threatening to out him to the entire school, while simultaneously attempting to discover the identity of the anonymous classmate with whom he has fallen in love online.
As you can guess the show is about a high school sophomore named Victor Salazar, played by Michael Cimino, and he makes it very clear from the beginning that his story is nothing like Simon’s, even though the show takes place in the same exact setting and world of the original movie.
Love, Victor is a 10 episode series that follows Victor as he and his religious, middle-class Latino family start their new life in Atlanta after living in Texas. The show begins with Victor wondering who he is and if this is the opportunity to unveil his new identity. Spoiler Alert, the show would be over in one episode if he does.
Being a fan of the movie, I was excited to see this new show and was even more impressed that it was going to air on Disney+ before they deemed it not “family friendly”. Personally, I am glad that we weren’t given another perfect gay love story because Love, Victor reminded me of MY story in a few ways.
**POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD**
Like Victor, I grew up in Texas, Latino, and struggled with who I was in high school. I liked a few interests that were deemed “girly”, was in theater, and had a girlfriend most of my freshman year of high school who I genuinely cared for.
Having a girlfriend was a big deal with my family. With the guys in the family it was praised and seen as some sort right of passage. With the women, they saw it as the start of many more to come and that no one would be good enough for their “little boy”.
Watching… binging Love, Victor this past weekend reminded me of my not-so-long-ago past. I was in high school in the first decade of the 2000’s, where the only form of social media we had was MySpace. It made me laugh but it also made me cry because nearly everything Victor was going through, I had experienced in some way or another.
In the show, Victor is introduced to another gay character, Benji (played by actor George Sear), and immediately struggles with his romantic feelings for him. It was not until I started dating my girlfriend that I began to hang out with other gay guys that were her friends. There was one guy in particular that really made me question who I was. While I didn’t kiss him to see what would happen (looking at you Victor), I turned to the only thing I could, the “adult” internet. I felt a connection with him and when it came time to reveal how I really felt about him, well let’s just say that I didn’t get my happy ending with him like Victor. This is probably the part of the show that was “too perfect” for me. My high school had a handful of gay guys and let me tell you, they were not as hot as Benji!
In the last episode, we find Victor with his girlfriend, Mia, and his friends at the spring fling. He is determine to give her one last “perfect” night before he tells her that he is gay. Drama unfolds and in what seems like the perfect night, Victor sabotages his own coming out. Mia sees Victor kissing Benji and is devastated. While my story is not as dramatic, I broke up with my girlfriend in the summer after freshman year, over MySpace. What preceded the breakup was me telling her that I was having “gay dreams” when in reality I had already known the truth. It’s not easy coming out to someone, especially to the girl you are dating. This moment was captured perfectly. While the character of Mia is my least favorite, her reaction was acted well. It is what I imagine my then girlfriend probably would have been like if we were in the same situation.
Everyone’s coming out story is different and unique in their own way. They range from emotional to smiles on everyone’s face. With Victor, we see him come out to his best friend, Benji and Mia (sort of). The last episode leaves us on a cliffhanger, him telling his parents that he is gay. We will not see their reaction until season 2. But from signs given throughout the season, we can only guess what happened. For the sake of this fictional character, I hope he is able to have some happiness but it won’t come easy, just like me.
This is the first time I have publicly posted about my coming out stories. I wish I could say that it happened all at once but it didn’t, call it a trilogy if you must. The first, like Victor, was to my best friend. I remember sitting behind the computer and chatting with her on AOL IM. I did not come out as gay but rather, bisexual. She was supportive and asked if this was not because everyone said I was, because of my interests. This is where my similarities end with Victor, for now. The only thing we share in common is a grandparent who is very traditional.
The second part of my coming out happened with my biological father who I was living with since my parents separated. During that time I was about Victor’s age. He confronted me after seeing text messages and my profile picture on MySpace. I was pictured with a boy at the fall festival, it was obvious that we both were gay. My father then proceeded to tell me all the cliches (i.e. it’s just a phase) and some hurtful obscenities. Our relationship was never the same again.
Lastly, this is where my coming out story has one final bang. I went through all of high school being ME. My father was the only family member who knew I was gay. I was the happiest at school. It was my first semester of college that my story met its end. At the time I was living with my maternal grandmother and uncle. One morning, as I was heading to school, my Latin grandmother confronted me about being gay. I was honest and she could not stop crying. I started crying and was so confused as to how she could have figured out my secret. It turns out that my mother was the one who outed me by looking at my Facebook profile! A woman I no longer had any contact with, outed me. Things now are great with my grandmother but we don’t talk about it.
What I hope for the series of Love, Victor is that they give him at least one family member who loves and supports him unconditionally. For me, that person is my uncle. While I was forced to come out to him after the outing, he was 100% supportive.
I look forward to season 2 and see where Victor ends up.
All ten episodes of Love, Victor are currently streaming on Hulu.
Cover image: Hulu