The phrase “love is love” has been used to fight for LGBTQ+ acceptance, but Billy Eichner’s song at the end of Bros pushes back against this adage. Called “Love Is Not Love”, the song might seem counterintuitive on the surface, since Bros is a romantic comedy about LGBTQ+ relationships. However, “Love Is Not Love” brings important aspects of queer relationships previously unexplored in mainstream media to light, creating a more accurate representation of the LGBTQ+ community.
Billy Eichner’s character, Bobby Leiber, performs “Love Is Not Love” during the opening of the LGBTQ+ museum at the end of Bros. A play on the adage “love is love,” the song is about the uniqueness of his and Aaron’s relationship compared to others. Despite previously being estranged, the sentiments Bobby expressed through his song lead him and Aaron to reconcile at in the Bros ending, embracing their personal differences once and for all.
Saying “love is not love” in Bros’ ending song might seem like a pushback against a phrase that has been previously utilized in support of LGBTQ+ people, and in a way it is. As Bobby points out at the beginning of Bros, “love is love” is supposed to help straight people to accept members of the LGBTQ+ community. However, saying “love is love” has been used to imply that all relationships, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity, are the same, which unintentionally erases the nuances of LGBTQ+ relationships. “Love Is Not Love” brings this to light, showing that not all love is the same, and that’s okay.
Bobby Leiber’s Song Shows How Far We’ve Come
Bobby’s song “Love Is Not Love” might be pushing back against reductive phrases, but it also shows how far LGBTQ+ representation has come. In the 20th century, mainstream media featuring LGBTQ+ people had to normalize their existence, but now that the community has garnered wider acceptance, it is possible to highlight their uniqueness positively, which is Bros’ goal. Rather than just normalizing LGBTQ+ people, Bros’ “Love Is Not Love” goes a step further by celebrating the ways that LGBTQ+ people and relationships are different from straight relationships. This is an important step for mainstream audiences to receive a more accurate representation of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Love Is Not Love” highlights another step in the right direction for LGBTQ+ representation by showcasing LGBTQ+ people and relationships aimed at members of the community. Because previous mainstream representation has been aimed at normalizing the LGBTQ+ community, this has required their stories to be filtered in order to appeal to a cisgender, heterosexual audience. Bros aims to interrupt this pattern by telling stories and jokes that would only resonate with the LGBTQ+ community. This is exemplified by “Love Is Not Love”, which shares Bobby and Aaron’s experiences without sanitizing them to be broadly relatable.
Though Bros’ “Love Is Not Love” might not seem significant on the surface, its deeper meaning is an important step forward for LGBTQ+ representation in mainstream media. Rather than trying to be relatable for a mass audience, “Love Is Not Love” celebrates the uniqueness of LGBTQ+ relationships in a way that would only resonate with members of the community, which is an uncommon occurrence in media representation. The message of “Love Is Not Love” that LGBTQ+ relationships should be celebrated for their differences rather than compared to straight relationships both not only shows how far representation has come in mainstream media, but will also pave the way for more unfiltered LGBTQ+ stories to be boldly celebrated on screen.