By Evan Parente
—WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ‘THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY’—
It's been a little more than a month since the adaptation of the 2009 novel ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ came out on Amazon Prime a little more than a month ago. Since then, the show has had the internet swooning over Belly’s two love interests and debating whether they are team Conrad or team Jeremiah. From watching the show, we learn that one of her love interests—Jeremiah—is in fact bisexual/sexually fluid.
After reading various news articles, I found out that in the novel in which the show is based on, Jeremiah is not bisexual or sexually fluid in the novels–unfortunately. Han said that this was a change that she made to his character to make this show more LGBT inclusive than the novels. A very significant change seeing that the novels are more heteronormative (which is not a bad thing).
Let me just say that when he kissed that guy at Nicole's party, I freaked!!! My respect and love for that gorgeous, beautiful, flirty golden retriever boy skyrocketed.
Though the jury remains out on whether I am team Conrad or team Jeremiah, I know for sure that I am in love with this gorgeous guy.
Since finishing the series, I’ve been watching endless amounts of social media edits and fanart of this gorgeous queer. I’ve also been rewatching scenes highlighting his beautiful bisexuality.
These edits, scenes and fanart have me astounded. Not just because of the joy I experienced when I found out he was also attracted to males, but also because of how well the queer aspect of him is portrayed.
Not only did Jenny Han change him to be queer, but she did so in an amazing way. Only yesterday did I realize how much of a Model Queer this model was and how significantly excellent Jeremiah’s portrayal as a queer character is. It surprised me how one of the best queer character portrayals–in my opinion–was of a character from a show revolving around a heterosexual love triangle.
It is crazy how some of the best LGBTQ+ character portrayals come from shows that aren’t LGBTQ+ oriented.
His balance and diversity in his experiences
Like many bisexual characters in TV and Film, Jeremiah is very open about his sexual history in which has a wide variety of both guys and girls.
Many bisexual characters in TV shows and movies demonstrate attraction to people of both the opposite and the same sex, but rarely are they seen engaging in relations with members of the same and opposite sex. Often, bisexual characters are only seen dating characters of one gender, though they consistently make it clear that they are attracted to both genders.
Many fans have said that he is the first bisexual character they ever seen who is consistently having romantic and sexual interactions with people of both genders. Very few bisexual characters in movies and TV shows are shown to be actively engaging in romantic or sexual relations with people of both genders.
For example, the shows other bisexual character–Cleveland Castillo–is only seen engaging in romantic and sexual relations with individuals of one gender. Though it is known that Castillo dated a man before, you never see him interacting with men and women the way that Fisher does.
It is very common and normal for bisexual and sexually fluid people to have romantic and sexual relations with people of more than one gender. Jeremiah is one of the few people many of the show's fans—me included–that we’ve seen doing such.
Unlike being gay or straight, there is nothing consistent about being bisexual or sexually fluid. One day you have feelings for and thoughts about a guy and then one day you have feelings for and thoughts about a girl. People–and even you–will say that it is just a phase and/or you are just confused.
HE DEFIES STEREOTYPES AND PREJUDICE
Though misunderstanding and prejudice is faced by all members of the LGBTQ community, bisexual people in particular face a lot of unfair prejudices and misunderstanding.
Often, many people assume them to be at a higher likelihood of infidelity, that they are incapable of forming actual committed relationships and can never develop real feelings for others.
Though fans may not realize this, Jeremiah is no exception. At a party, he flirts with a guy only to be told that he was just queerbaiting. His ability to be faithful to Belly was also doubted by Steven because of his promiscuity.
Though Jere does indeed like more than one gender, Jeremiah has shown that his attraction to more than one gender has not even once affected his ability to commit.
Jenny Han has confirmed that Jeremiah’s differing sexual orientation has not and will not change his feelings for Belly and the amount of care and love he has for her both as a love interest, and as a friend.
HIS CONFIDENCE ABOUT HIS SEXUALITY
Bisexual and sexually fluid men–myself included–struggle significantly more with our self-confidence and happiness with our sexual orientation than our solely heterosexual and homosexual counterparts.
We often struggle to be open about it on the fear that we will be flat out rejected and/or shamed for being bisexual. Although almost all my experiences as a open bisexual man have been positive, I have read of other men whose experiences have been anything but positive.
I’ve heard horror stories of people being told that they were going to hell, that bisexuality does not exist, and even people who claim they are “just confused.” It happens so much to the point that they actually start to believe it.
It is for these reasons that certain queer folk such as bisexuals and sexually fluids, tend to be less open about their sexual orientation, pasts and other similar topics relating to their sexual orientation. They tend to believe that it's not worth it being confident or open about their sexuality. That it is not worth it trying to be open about your sexuality, or to date people other than who you are told you should be dating.
The amount of confidence and transperency that Jeremiah has for a bisexual/sexually fluid person is very admirable. I wish that
Even though Jere does get scrutiny here and there for his sexual curiosity and activity, he never lets it affect his confidence nor does he let it make him feel ashamed of himself. Jere allows himself to explore his sexuality and curiosity without being worried about what others may think of him and without being ashamed of himself.
He doesn’t make a big deal about his sexual orientation, nor does he let anyone make it his defining trait. Something that I honestly admire.
Jeremiah’s confidence is confidence that certain members of the queer community want to see. People like me love seeing characters with confidence like Jeremiah who allow themselves to be and feel normal and proud of themselves and who they are.
MY OVERALL OPINION ABOUT THE CHANGE OF JEREMIAH BEING BISEXUAL
Though Jeremiah being bi or sexually fluid is a significant difference from the books, Jenny Han and Gavin Casalengo are proud to have this difference in the show. This change is definitely one that I enjoy, and one that helped the show.
Even though Jeremiahs sexual orientation may have been changed, the love and respect that I and surely all the other fans of TSITP have for Jeremiah has not changed.
After seeing how well Jeremiah’s LGBTQ background was portrayed, I have confidence that Jenny Han, Gavin Casalengo and the writers and producers of ‘The Summer I turned Pretty’ will continue to do an excellent job at portraying Jeremiah’s bisexuality and overall character arc as a whole.
I look forward to the release of Season 2 of The Summer I Turned Pretty and hope that Jeremiah’s sexuality will continue to be explored in the later seasons of the show.