Troye Sivan’s Blue Neighbourhood Shows Guys in a Real Relationship
October 9, 2015
America is totally used to seeing gay men portrayed in media as a checklist of stereotypes. In the same way that African-American women shouldn’t be defined by the “angry black woman” stereotype, gay men shouldn’t be defined by the caricature of the garishly-dressed gay dude with really loud sweaters and a hankering for obscure film-noir references. (Modern Family, I’m looking at you.) While shows like Will and Grace and The New Normal were groundbreaking in that they actually portrayed gay people (gasp—we exist!), these portrayals were too often parodies of gay people. The sad truth is that this is often all we see. And relationships between two guys are rare, especially in mainstream music. The only song that currently comes to mind is “Forrest Gump” by Frank Ocean.
And that’s why we need to talk about Troye Sivan, the YouTube star, turned-pop wunderkind who’s currently storming the charts. He recently released an EP entitled Wild (which I’ve been playing on a loop pretty much every day since it came out), and the accompanying music video trilogy, entitled Blue Neighbourhood, is a perfect visual representation of the love, lust, complexity, pain and heartbreak that embody falling in love. Except, plot twist: Troye is openly gay, so all that emotion is meant for another guy. (Take that, mainstream media.)
I watched Part 2 of the Blue Neighborhood series, entitled Fools, the day it was released—and it reduced me to a sobbing mess in the middle of the cafeteria for a nice number of reasons. For one, it’s a story a lot of members of the gay community can relate to: two teenagers fall in love, but homophobia and abuse keep them apart. Not only that, the full and painful scope of the relationship (and all the pain and heartbreak that, in this case, came after) is showcased. Blue Neighborhood is the first piece of media I can remember that fully embraces two guys kissing as something totally normal. There’s unabashed sex, passion, real love, heartbreak and all the complexities that come with being a gay teenager: crises of identity, homophobia, and even self-hatred. For once, a story of two guys in love is truthful. It’s raw, real and ridiculously complicated—just like love. And that’s pretty much the scope of what Troye was getting at: portrayals of love shouldn’t be bound by stereotypes. After all, we as humans are affected by love the same way, no matter who it is we’re actually in love with.
Sigh. I love him.
Also, if anyone can hook me up with tickets to his sold-out New York show, I’ll gladly be your friend forever.