An animated short film titled In A Heartbeat has been circulating online this week, usually attached to captions expressing refreshed delight. See, the short revolves around a young boy at prep school whose crush on a classmate manifests as an anthropomorphic heart that bursts out of his chest and exposes his feelings. What’s made this short into a festival favorite and word-of-mouth sensation is the crucial detail that this boy’s crush [pregnant pause] is on another boy! What would have otherwise been a saccharine little wisp of an idea most likely yielding comparisons to Lava is invested with greater purpose by gaily zigging where hetero films have repeatedly zagged.

Created by Beth David and Esteban Bravo (the latter of which is now up there with Royalty Hightower, Morris Chestnut, and Storm Reid on my running list of excellent names), the film posits a simple, potent metaphor. Our ginger-headed boy wants to hide his affections, the idiomatic ‘closet’ replaced here by a tree branch, but feelings cannot be ignored. Much in the same respect that a person can only stifle their emotions — gay, straight, or the many sexualities that would fall under ‘otherwise’ — for so long until they cannot be ignored, that undeniable quality is literalized by a zooming heart that gets right in its object of desire’s face.

It’s a tenderhearted video that simplifies the complicated politics of being queer in a public space so that children of any orientation can understand and process. That’s how the end of homophobia begins, after all: raising a new generation with the knowledge that it’s only love, and there’s nothing to be afraid of.

More From KISS FM