Jan 30, 2014

Nothing Like Before: Homophobia Condemns a Gay Teen

They say "hello" pleasantly as you pass on the street.  They don't cringe when you hold hands on the bus.  They let you join their churches, as long as you don't take on a leadership role.  They will even sell you a cake for your wedding, sometimes.  But when sickness, unemployment, or tragedy strikes, the veneer fades away, and the screaming starts.

In the German tv movie Nichts mehr wie vorher (Nothing is Like Before, 2013), a young boy is molested and murdered, and 16-year old Daniel Grudermann (24-year old Jonas Nay, top left) becomes the prime suspect.

He claims innocence, but he has no alibi.  He can't tell anyone that he was at the lake that night waiting for the boy he has a crush on, Sven (Gerritt Klein, left).

Daniel's mother and lawyer support him, but his father is suspicious, especially when he discovers a link to a gay hookup site on Daniel's laptop.  Gay men are uniquely violent, prone to murder those who reject their advances, right?

When news of Daniel's gayness reaches his classmates and the townsfolk, they call for his lynching.

The media goes crazy with homophobic condemnations.  We were so stupid to pass all of those gay rights ordinances --  to permit them domestic partnerships -- to elect a gay Vice Chancellor!  This what gay people are really like!  

Then someone else confesses to the crime, and Daniel is released.  He goes home.

But he can't go home again.  He can't forget the suspicions and accusations, particularly from his father.  He now knows what's lurking just beneath the smiling "hello" of tolerance.

 This is a gripping, depressing story about the tenaciousness of homophobia.