A note on George Platt Lynes and Heartstoppers

Don’t mess with a queen: ‘George Platt Lynes was the true pariah amongst (Lincoln Kirstein’s) classmates’, who seem uniformly to have regarded him as a foppish freak, a sneering little bitch who fancies he is too pretty to look at and saunters in like Fifi D’Orsay. The turning point came when Lynes, endlessly bullied, teased and in utter desperation, ‘whipped out his knife and melodramatically stabbed another student,’ who fortunately survived.
My mind keeps drifting back to poor George Platt Lynes – a rare instance of poor being used in conjunction with his name – so bullied for being visibly femmy , and so powerless and enraged by it, he’s finally driven to stabbing the oppressor; a trauma and rage I’ve never seen in the glamorous, controlled and desirous images of male perfection he produced. Also, I was watching HEARTSTOPPER, the new gay teen romance on Netflix, and noting how things had changed and not changed; bullying and violence are still what the young teens in the drama face, even in a context where some of them are now out and at ease, and their potential to touch is animated by electricity, and their kiss by floaitng butterflies: continuities and breaks. I found it very sweet and touching though I did wonder if I’d have found it more twee had the protagonists been heterosexual.
José Arroyo

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