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In the span of a few days, an adorable animated short film about a boy who has a crush on another boy has racked up nearly 15 million views (so far) on YouTube… while infuriating Christians who can’t handle same-sex attraction.


YouTube video

In a Heartbeat was made by Beth David and Esteban Bravo for their senior thesis at Ringling College of Art and Design, and they told the New York Times that they’re shocked and thrilled by the positive reception.

I’m not surprised at all. Part of what makes the film so powerful is that we’ve all seen variations of this story featuring a boy and girl, yet by making both characters the same gender (without calling any attention to it), it’s like nothing we’ve seen before. That’s the point, though, isn’t it? There shouldn’t be anything weird about this. Hell, if this was about a boy and girl, we wouldn’t even be talking about it.

But not everyone feels the same way.

Doug Mainwaring at LifeSiteNews claims this film will do a lot of damage to children.

In a Heartbeat is getting a whole lot of attention but will do a disservice to those it aims to help. It will further undermine strong, healthy — extraordinarily necessary — male adolescent relationships. Once boys and adolescents are herded toward gayness in order to deal with the very common experience of social anxiety, directed to question their sexual orientation, their sexuality risks becoming ‘re-wired.’ And once ‘re-wired’ in that way, it’s hard to undo. I should know. I was one of them.

If this film rewires your insides and herds you into gayness, it’s more powerful than I ever could’ve imagined.

The boy in the film is certainly awkward and anxious, but that’s not why he has a crush on the popular boy. Those two things are unrelated. Still, Mainwaring believes the main character’s interest has more to do with a desire for acceptance than any actual crush:

Let’s be clear: Shy boys at that age aren’t searching for romance with their same-sex peers. They want just one thing and they want it desperately: acceptance. At that age, acceptance is more valuable than gold.

The red-haired boy is not romantically attracted to the second boy, although that’s what the movie’s creators want you to think. He’s attracted to a boy who is his opposite, self-confident and trouble-free.

To all the gay boys out there: Raise your internet hand if you had a crush on someone when you were a child. Because Mainwaring doesn’t think you exist.

(It’s amazing how he’s able to read the secret thoughts of both the animated characters and the filmmakers! Jesus is magic, y’all.)

Of course, Mainwaring thinks being gay is some sort of disorder to overcome:

The movie promotes escaping social anxiety disorder by “coming out” and being “gay.” But this is an escape from the disorder, not a means of healing it in order to become whole and healthy as a person.

There’s nothing to heal if you’re gay. There’s nothing unwhole or unhealthy about you if you’re gay.

But there sure are a lot of Christian bigots out there who want to convince you otherwise… Give it time and I’m sure you’ll hear more of them complaining about how this film spells disaster for American society.

Don’t forget, though, that the overwhelming response seems to be how wonderful this animated short is and how we ought to expect even more films like it in the future.

(Thanks to Manny for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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