A Closeted Athlete Falls In Love For The First Time In The Queer Short “In The Dark”

"I guess I really just want to get to know you. But I'm scared."

Every Wednesday, we’ll be sharing short films that illuminate queer life. Welcome to #HumpdayShorts.

As the popular star of the track team, college student Austin has it all—except the freedom to be himself.

Ryan Beene’s short In The Dark follows Austin as he falls for Eric, a classmate he admires for being so comfortable in his sexuality. But as the crush develops into something deeper, Austin must decide between having his first boyfriend or keeping his secret safe from his parents and teammates.
 

 

Beene, who plays Eric, was fed up with the lack of realistic LGBT depictions on screen and decided to take matters into his own hands.

“Not everyone understands just how important representation in the media is for underrepresented groups, whether it be people of color, LGBT+, women or Muslims,” he wrote in OutSports. “Seeing positive and happy portrayals of people like me would’ve made coming out and dealing with who I was so much easier.”

YouTube/Ryan Beene

He wrote and produced the film in his final semester at Texas Lutheran University, with a budget of less than $300. It wasn’t easy, but he had total creative control for the first time.

“I wanted to tell the truth about what it’s actually like for many people to come out, with the added layer of playing a sport and trying to be in a relationship,” he explained. “My most important goal was to show how happy two people can be together, regardless of gender or sexuality. Maybe if people finally saw LGBT people on screen being as they are, which is normal, they’d be less afraid of it.”

Adam Salandra is a writer, performer and host in Los Angeles. When he's not covering the latest in pop culture, you can find him playing with his French Bulldog puppy or hovering over the table of food at any social gathering.
@adamsalandra