Love, Simon opens in theaters this week, but In Ladue, Missouri, there’s an inspirational gay teen movie happening right now in real life — and so far, we’re giving it five out of five Molly Ringwalds.
After star football player Jake Bain came out at Ladue’s private John Burroughs prep school this past fall, the Westboro Baptist Church (a.k.a. America’s Next Top Hate Group) took it upon themselves to protest his existence. However, Bain’s school and community are now rallying behind him.
Bain, who plans to play for Indiana State University next fall, made headlines when he came out in a speech to his entire school in October 2017. At the time, Bain said he made the speech in an attempt to “reach out to people who aren’t comfortable coming out.”
But then the good people of Westboro Baptist Church dubbed Bain a “smirking, proud fag child” and cancelled all of their very important plans so that they could go protest outside his high school earlier this month.
Unfortunately for Westboro, Bain’s classmates were not here for the church’s pettiness and planned their own counterprotest across from Westboro’s. They also planned a “unity walk,” as well as a celebratory, “music-filled” assembly in support of the LGBTQ community. We’re assuming, of course, that this trounced the Westboro Protest, which probably only had one Blake Shelton song on repeat.
Meanwhile, members of the advocacy group Pride St. Louis threw their weight behind the protest as well, and even launched the hashtag #StandWithJake to rally support behind Bain.
So there you have it. Just ten years ago, gay high schoolers in red states had to fight tooth and nail just to not get beaten up at their lockers — but now entire high schools are willing to beat up homophobes on their behalf. Now, just add some colorful supporting characters and an Act 3 deus ex machina, and you have yourself a gay teen love story for the ages.
By the way, the irony that Bain will be playing football in Mike Pence’s home state is not lost on us.