As much as most of us want to be good allies, it’s easy to get caught up in the label. Sometimes we add a rainbow flag or a raised fist emoji to our social media bios and call it a day. But labeling ourselves as an ally isn’t the same as being an ally.
There’s a lot of work involved, most of which comes down to showing up — politically, economically, and socially — for the communities we’re trying to support. If you’re still iffy on how to make the jump from calling yourself an ally to being one, the second season of Love, Victor provides an excellent handbook on how to show up for the people in your life.
Love, Victor takes place in the same universe as the Love, Simon film adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. In the first season of the show, Victor comes to terms with his sexuality with Simon’s help — amongst other shenanigans and drama. The start of the second season picks up at the cliffhanger, with Victor coming out to his family. Their responses set the tone for the season and made it clear that the writers aren’t steering clear of hard topics like religious acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community.
This makes the second season of Love, Victor very painful. I spent the majority of every episode sobbing and occasionally laughing through my tears. When I say the second season is traumatic, especially for those of us raised in religious households, I don’t use that word lightly. I honestly wasn’t sure if the second season would end happily.
Thankfully it did … kind of. Though the journey to get to the happy ending was hard to watch at times, the second season of Love, Victor was authentic in its depiction of the messiness of human relationships, familial, romantic, and platonic.
@ the love victor writers pic.twitter.com/robLBDGjJo
— haleigh (@iovecimino) June 19, 2021
After Victor comes out to his family, we see three very different responses from his sister, mom, and dad. Pilar, his sister, instantly hugs him and confirms she loves him. Armando, his dad, is visibly confused and asks questions. Isabel, his mom, flees the scene and puts off talking to Victor. Each of these reactions foreshadows the characters’ relationship with Victor for the rest of the season.
Pilar is one of the best examples of allyship on the show. Despite her rough exterior, she intrinsically knows how to be a good friend to those around her. Like any good ally, Pilar isn’t interested in solving others’ problems for them. She’s there to listen, empathize, and even open up her wallet if needed. These actions can sometimes be the hardest parts of allyship to grasp, specifically because we don’t always consider them to be active actions.
How Pilar shows up as a friend contrasts with Lake’s take on friendship — and remember being a good friend is often similar to being a good ally. Rather than ask Felix how she can support him during a manic episode, Lake takes on Felix’s problems as her own and steps in with a solution she thinks is best: enlisting her mom to help. But this isn’t what Felix wanted.
Throughout the season, we watch the communication between Felix and Lake break down because of this misstep. Many of us as allies have good intentions, and yet we make mistakes because the actions we take aren’t always the most helpful.
Pilar, on the other hand, knows sometimes the best thing you can do is just be there for others. She knows that fighting other people’s battles for them isn’t the way to go and does what she can to make herself available to her friends and family. Pilar is the blueprint, and we should all take notes.
However, allyship isn’t always a seamless transition, and that’s okay so long as we make an effort to learn and grow. Armando admits he doesn’t understand Victor’s sexuality, but he doesn’t let this stop him from learning how to support Victor. Armando’s arc throughout the second season shifts from, “I don’t understand but I’m trying, and I love you” to, “my understanding isn’t the point, and I will always be here for you because your sexuality doesn’t change our relationship.”
Every parent who has a queer kid needs to watch @LoveVictorHulu 👏 #loveislove
— Alyssa (@AlyssaOnTheEnd) June 20, 2021
Most importantly, Armando puts in the work. He starts with Google, and then eventually attends a support group for parents with children in the LGBTQIA+ community. His ally journey isn’t without a few bumps in the road, which I think is relatable.
Despite being outside of his comfort zone, Armando knows giving up isn’t an option. His storyline is another good one to take notes from, especially because Armando encourages those around him, namely Isabel, to embark on the same journey without pressuring, rushing, or villainizing them.
Isabel’s arc is the root of this season’s pain. As someone who grew up in and has since parted ways with the church for the very reasons depicted in Love, Victor, I have to admit I was hoping we could skirt the issue entirely in favor of showing how religion doesn’t exclude the LGBTQIA+ community. However, this isn’t always the case in most churches, so Love, Victor does take a more honest approach.
Isabel clearly loves Victor, but his sexuality contradicts the religious beliefs she was taught from such a young age. We see her battling with what she knows to be true and what the church has told her to be “true.”
Ignorance can be unlearned, and season two shows how confusing, emotional, and harrowing that process is for everyone involved. Isabel’s ultimate acceptance of Victor showcases how religion can (and should) accept and love the LGBTQIA+ community.
Notably, Isabel doesn’t renounce her religious beliefs at the end of the season. Instead, she tells off the bigoted priest for preaching hate. While Isabel does not set a good example for allyship this season, her storyline is important, especially for any LGBTQIA+ people and allies with religious affiliations. And here’s to hoping we get to see her show up as an ally in season three!
WOW. Very brave for Love Victor 2 to tackle religion in relationship to being gay. And I just love this scene. #LoveVictor
First frame: "the bible can be interpreted…" pic.twitter.com/Wt1BF2Kew6
— chet – ia era (@callMe_chet) June 13, 2021
While we’re on the topic of religion, I would have liked to see more of Rahim’s coming out experience this season. Rahim also lives in a religious household, but unlike Victor, his family accepted his sexuality instantly.
Seeing that scene play out on-screen would show that religion doesn’t always mean homophobia — which is something we had to wait until the end of the season to see made clear with Victor and Isabel’s storyline.
Beyond Victor’s family, almost all of the characters offer up case studies on how to be good friends (and allies) to the people they care about. Felix is always there for Victor. Andrew is always there for Mia — Andrew also had his own ally journey once he realized he had to be vocal about supporting Victor. Lake and Mia are always there for each other.
Rahim and Victor are there for each other. Benji and Victor were there for each other — until the second half of the season, but that’s a different topic entirely. No matter their sexuality or gender, the Love, Victor characters support each other because that’s what it means to be a good friend. This is what allyship is as well. In fact, allyship is kind of just another word for being a good friend to everyone.
Season two of Love, Victor was a reminder that we’re not always going to be the perfect ally, just like we’re not always going to be the perfect friend. Life is messy and so are our familial, romantic, and platonic relationships.
If one thing is for certain it’s that giving up is not an option, especially if we’re insistent on trying to be good friends and allies. And just like the title sequence says, we all need someone to tell us it will be alright — so why not be that person for the people in our life? Or, as I like to call it, being the Pilar.
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