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We all grow up with expectations of who we will grow up to be, what we will do, and who we will love. For a lot of six to seven-year-olds, the topic of who you might want to marry when you grow up is not very popular. I was still fascinated with sharks, magic, and whatever rumor I heard at recess at that time. I never really had much of a thought process of who I might marry, let alone who I might even like (or "like-like" if it's serious). One of the first movies I remember watching as a kid was the 1996 classic Matilda. This film would become and remain one of my favorites for a multitude of reasons, but lets just get to the point. This movie sparked a thought in my head: did I want to be like the beautiful, caring woman on the screen, or was I in love with her?
The moment Miss Honey lowered her glasses to the bridge of her nose in awe at Matilda's mathematical genius, I was struck. I had never liked anyone (or had the idea of liking someone) before. I was seven years old and I was in awe at this feeling. But, like any young kid, I pushed it away and probably went outside to play as soon as the movie was over. Now, this movie sparked an emotion in me that I had never felt before and this would be something I would ignore for another five or six years. But as I look back now I realize that I felt this way about a lot of other female characters in movies that fit the same role: independent, heroic, strong, beautiful, smart.
When friends ask me how I knew I was gay, I will pull up the GIF of the infamous glasses scene and they'll laugh. Now that I think about it, it is kind of funny to have the exact moment imprinted in my brain. My friends watched this movie as kids, enjoyed it, and moved on. But for me, this film stuck in the back of my mind and I was not able to shake it until I was a teenager and had to acknowledge the feelings for what they were.
I know I am not the only person in this world who has had help with their sexuality because of movies, televisions shows and even YouTube. That is why I think it is so important to have characters in the popular media who can represent people of different sexualities, races, ethnicities, and religions, so that young people will have someone to identify with and help them sort out who they are. That is also why I am sharing my story. I want to know what character or person in film helped you to realize you may be a part of the LGBTQ+ community too.