Being a hero can come about in a number of different ways — sometimes it’s being a clear-cut role model and trying to shine in every thing you do. Meanwhile, at other points it is really just about figuring out ways to navigate life the best way you can. Sometimes you make mistakes along the way but so long as you find a way to resolve them with the best of intentions then you can find yourself being an unintentional hero and inspiration to others.
In today’s edition of our Unsung Heroes article series at CarterMatt, we’re putting the focus on someone who definitely does bring so much humanity in The Fosters‘ character of Jude Adams Foster, as played by Hayden Byerly. There are obviously historical implications regarding this character representing young LGTBQ youth in a way that hadn’t really been seen before on television, but for the sake of this article, we want to focus in on this character on a micro level — his relationships, his personality, and also why he serves as a tangible inspiration to many young fans out there.
It goes without saying that one of the top admirable qualities for Jude is his bravery. Even in an era where being open about your sexuality is a little easier than it may have been ten or twenty years ago, there are still immense challenges — bullying, prejudice, and even just the behavior from those close to you can change. For someone to be this self-proud at such a young age is something that defines this character and makes him instantly a hero to so many out there.
Beyond just that though, Jude is someone who is kind at heart and is really just trying to figure out how to make his life work for him. The message of his storyline with Declan at the end of season 5 was really quite simple: No matter your place in life, kindness and consideration for others should still win out at the end of the day. Don’t start to feel as though you are better than anyone else. Jude understood what it felt like to be invisible and treated cruelly and the moment he started to sense that his actions had that sort of impact on others, he decided that he didn’t want that life anymore.
Jude makes mistakes, but that’s understandable — he’s young. What matters is that he’s learned how to show remorse and he does try to find a way to push his best foot forward. The relationships that he has with many members of his family are the sort that many viewers at home would want — they have their ups and downs but Jude knows when the time is right to come together.
Byerly’s journey on The Fosters has been a remarkable one over the years, as he has taken on so many different iterations of this character including multiple relationships. Through it all, he’s portrayed Jude beautifully and also allowed the perfect combination of inspiration and relatability. Jude feels like a hero, but never to the extent that he feels out of reach.
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