A young person exploring their sexuality isn't anything new on TV. Kids have been going through puberty and discovering love since the beginning of time. OK, well, the beginning of TV, anyway. But what made this particular kiss so pivotal is that it was the youngest same-sex kiss depicted on a TV series.
Gladly, we are living in a world where same-sex kissing is not a big deal on TV. Just take a look at all the gay characters hooking up in Shondaland on Thursday nights and you'll see how far TV has come.
But while gay adults have been getting hot and heavy in prime time, the teen population has been lagging behind. One has to ask why, since teenagers are probably doing more exploring than adults about their sexuality.
That's what makes The Fosters' story line about Jude (Hayden Byerly, 14) and Connor's (Gavin MacIntosh, 15) relationship so great. There are undoubtedly a lot of teens out there who felt the impact of the kiss. Kids who have been struggling with their own sexuality can now watch two characters that look and act like them on TV and that's a wonderful thing.
On-screen, Jude and Connor are dealing with something that a lot of teens struggling with their sexuality are also dealing with: homophobia. Jude has known how he felt about Connor for a while, but Connor has been giving him mixed signals. Connor's father is homophobic, which undoubtedly has made him unsure about coming out. It's a situation that a lot of kids are probably wading through right now — having a crush on your BFF and not being sure what to do about it.
In an interview with JustJaredJr, MacIntosh spoke about how important the kiss was to so many teens, especially those struggling under the worst circumstances.
"This story line is important in so many ways. It's been eye-opening about how many kids struggle with feeling 'OK' about questioning their sexuality. Teen suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people age 10 to 20, and LGBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. So yes, this plot is pivotal."
It's a relief to see another TV series willing to step up and portray a different aspect of sexuality. Sadly, we still have a long way to go, though, if the backlash against The Walking Dead's sweet gay kiss is anything to go by.
Here's hoping moments like the youngest same-sex kiss on The Fosters can help rid the world of that kind of hate.
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