Tag Archives: gay youth

If you were expecting Prince Charming, I’m sorry. He’s with his boyfriend. ― Shayla Black

Central to the story is the romance between two high school boys.

I discovered an enchanting Netflix series, a drama called Young Royals. I found it browsing titles with the keywords gay romance. The series is Swedish, the cast are Swedes, and the dialogue is in Swedish. The conversation is dubbed into English with subtitles inserted to translate text messages, emails, and the like. The premise of the series rests on the protagonist, Prince Wilhelm, the younger son of the Swedish Royal family and his desire to live an everyday life. His elder brother, Prince Erik, the Crown Prince, is heir to the throne and groomed for his role as King. Wilhelm is the spare. As much as he wants an everyday life, his mother, Queen Kristina of Sweden, reminds him that his life as a prince is a privilege, not a burden.

On that premise, Prince Wilhelm tries to fit in at the posh boarding school he is sent to; he wants to be like the other students. But, at the same time, he has to keep up appearances and avoid bringing shame on his family and the institution of the monarchy. The plot thickens when Wilhelm is smitten by a classmate, Simon, a student of Swedish and South American ethnicity and a commoner. Simon returns his feelings, and romance blossoms. Unfortunately, the untimely death of Crown Prince Erik in a car crash forces Wilhelm to step into the role of Crown Prince. That only tightens the restrictions on how he conducts his personal life. When a cousin clandestinely shoots a video of Wilhelm and Simon in bed together and uploads it to social media, the proverbial shit hits the fan.

Yes, the subplots deal with issues that are universal for humanity: namely, honour, shame, duty, class distinctions, love, friendship, betrayal, dysfunction, drug and alcohol addiction, and the lengths families will go to avoid scandal. For example, the royal family covers up the scandal of Crown Prince Wilhelm’s romance with Simon with a disingenuous denial that it is Wilhelm in the video. Another student is sacrificed to keep the Crown Prince out of an incident involving illicit drug use at the school. Avoiding shame and maintaining personal honour are powerful motivations, not just for royals.

There is much to like about Young Royals. The casting is superb. What struck me is that they chose actors and actresses who did not have the perfect Nordic features. That is not to say they are unattractive; instead, they look like the people watching the series. One usually expects the cast in teen drama series to have perfect complexions and chiselled figures. Instead, the characters look like people you see in everyday life. The characters are not larger than life, as is the reality of royal families in continental Europe; Crown Prince Wilhelm and the rest of his extended family dress and carry themselves as middle-class Swedes. The actors and actresses play their roles superbly.

Season two of Young Royals started in November. I eagerly anticipated watching new episodes. The idea of a Crown Prince who is gay and wants an everyday life, including his love affair with another boy, a commoner, confronting the realities of royal duties, including taking a wife and producing an heir to the throne, intrigues me. The second season maintained the quality established in the first six episodes of season one. Netflix will conclude the series with a third and final season in the new year. It is wise to end the series this way. There is only so far the writers can take the storyline before it gets stale. Also, the cast are rapidly outgrowing their roles. I hope the final season is as good as the first two and brings a resolution to the story.

Posted by Geoffrey

The Lord is my Shepherd and he knows I’m gay. — Troy Perry

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The issues of gay rights, religious liberty, and religion in Canada and the United States remain contentious. While the destigmatization of homosexuality is a welcome trend in Canada and the United States, it is by no means a fait accompli. Lawful discrimination on religious grounds against gay people remains an issue, notably in secondary and post-secondary education, as religious institutions operate and have sole proprietorship of their high schools, colleges and universities. The issue of lawful discrimination against gay people on religious grounds and opposition to it from the wider society is highlighted by recent events concerning Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia and Lutheran High North (a high school ) in Houston, Texas. Both schools have moral codes founded on their interpretation of Christianity that bar sexual activity outside marriage and between persons of the same sex. The schools stand firm in their opposition to homosexuality in the face of controversy and maintain they are within their rights to do so. In either case, presumably, a gay student is welcome to attend, provided they abide by the respective schools’ moral codes. It is legal in both Canada and the United States, but is it tolerable, and what is the appropriate response for those who take issue with these school policies? Continue reading

Keep passing the open windows. — John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire

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“Keep passing the open windows” is the phrase that comes from the John Irving novel The Hotel New Hampshire, published in 1981. It is a catchphrase among the Berry family, the characters whose story is told in the book. It is drawn from a story that the Berry parents tell their children about a street performer called “The King of Mice.” He committed suicide in jumping from a window. “Keep passing the open windows” is the family’s way of saying to each other to carry on when the going gets tough. I read the novel in 1983 and saw the feature film version released in 1984. This catchphrase and the sentiment behind it has remained with me over the years, and I have applied it in my own life in “passing the open windows.” However, I understand that while it is easy to tell someone troubled, having a hard time coping with life, joys, and sorrows, to “keep passing the open windows”, promising them things will get better, sadly, not all stories have a happy ending. Continue reading