The movie begins with Jane narrating about her life from her birth, to her first birthday and even her first day of kindergarten. Throughout the events, Jane talks about how overprotective her parents have been of her. The film jumps to Jane at age 15, starting her first day of high school. Although Jane appears to be happy and a normal teenage girl to her friends and family, inside she’s feeling alone and different, particularly due to her lack of interest in boys which her friends take note of. Her feelings grow more confusing when a new girl named Taylor arrives in class (played by Alicia Lagano) who Jane sees (and says in a voice over) as “different, smarter, wiser”. She then continues to say in the voice over that “maybe because she wasn’t from here or maybe it was just her. I’m going to go with the last one, because she ended up changing my life.”
The two initially become innocent friends by Jane helping her get caught up in class due to delayed paperwork for her transfer. Eventually Jane’s feelings start to become gradually clearer and she realizes that she has a crush on Taylor. Because of Taylor’s abusive home life, she misses school for several days, causing Jane to worry about her and to visit her at her house. When Taylor’s mother starts yelling at her for being at the door, Taylor tells Jane to leave and that she’ll be fine. Worried about her friend and struggling with figuring herself out, Jane starts to become withdrawn from her parents, who are starting to grow concerned.
When Jane’s mother, Janice, finally tries to talk about what’s been going on, they’re interrupted by Jane’s father coming in while announcing that Taylor has come for a visit. After they’re left alone by Jane’s parents, Taylor confesses about her home life and how scared she is sometimes. Jane, wanting to comfort her, brushes Taylor’s hair away and begins stroking it. Taylor stares at her for a moment, before she and Jane share their first kiss. In a voice over, Jane wonders to herself if kissing Taylor made her gay and that, at the time, she convinced herself that “it was just a phase.” She then goes on to say that “it was the first time [she] ever felt connected to someone.” After that, the two become an official couple.
Janice does not like Taylor, believing she’s a bad influence on Jane, since she is no longer hanging out with her old friends and doesn’t spend as much time with the family like she previously has. A while later, Taylor invites Jane over to her house since her mother is going to be out of town. Despite being terrified of her still confused feelings, Jane and Taylor have sex for the first time. The next day at school, Jane tells Taylor that “it was a mistake” and that she’s not gay. Taylor says it’s not about being gay, it’s about being with the person you want to be with. Hurt, Taylor breaks up with Jane.
With Taylor gone, Jane is more withdrawn and heartbroken. When she finally gets over her confusion, she asks Taylor for a second chance, but Taylor turns her down. Distraught, Jane begins to cry and is then confronted by her English teacher/guidance counselor Ms. Walcott (Rowan). Ms. Walcott takes Jane into her office and, with some gentle encouraging, Jane confesses that she had sex with someone for the first time and about her situation with Taylor. However, she’s careful to not specifically say the person is another girl and instead uses such euphemisms as “they’re” and “this person.”
Ms. Walcott then suggests that Jane write Taylor a note to express how she feels and why she acted the way she did. Jane does and a few days later, Taylor shows up at her house, while Jane is babysitting her brother while her parents are out. Thinking her brother is asleep on the couch, Jane takes Taylor up to her room and, after reconciling, the two share a kiss. While they do so, they are unaware of Jane’s brother watching them through her partially open bedroom door.
Jane’s brother tells his close classmate in class about Jane and Taylor, who happens to be the younger brother of one of Jane’s former friends whom she stopped seeing in order to see Taylor more. As a result, one night after dinner, Janice gets an anonymous phone call from someone asking if she knows her daughter is a lesbian. Not knowing what to do, Jane’s parents confront her about it and ask if it’s true. Fearing that her parents will hate her, Jane lies and claims that she and Taylor were just practicing, which is what her father already assumed they were doing.
Confused and consumed with guilt for lying to her parents about her true relationship with Taylor, Jane seeks advice from her mother’s gay friend Jimmy (RuPaul) and comes out to him. Jimmy explains that it will get easier and that when the time is right, she’ll tell her parents the truth. Eventually the harassment and name calling gets too much for Jane at school and, during dinner, Jane says how she wants to see Taylor only for her younger brother to call Taylor a dyke. Snapping, Jane attacks him by pulling him across the dining room table and hitting him. When her parents yell at her and say that she should rise above gossip, Jane confesses that it’s not just gossip and comes out to her parents as a lesbian.
Shocked, hurt and angry, both her parents initially react badly to it, assuming that they had done something wrong as parents and decide that they will do whatever it takes to make their daughter’s life “better” for her. They forbid Jane from seeing Taylor and send her to conversion therapy since they feel it’s the only way to “fix” the situation. Therapy proves useless and Jane and Taylor still continue to see each other, even going as far as sneaking out to a gay bar, which Jane gets grounded for when she comes home at 4 AM. Janice, meanwhile, goes to her two close friends to talk about the situation. Despite both her friends saying that Janice should accept Jane for who she is, as it is a mother’s duty to love her child, Janice refuses to as she believes Jane is ruining her life. Soon, the sneaking around and drama becomes too much for Taylor and she breaks up with Jane, breaking her heart.
Ms. Walcott, who happened to have been by, stops to comfort Jane when seeing her crying. She then explains to Jane that it will get better and that she understands what she’s going through. At first Jane doesn’t believe her, but Ms. Walcott comes out to her as a lesbian and tells her the story of her first time falling in love with a girl named Barbara when she was sixteen. She explains how she naively thought that she and Barbara would be together forever, but was eventually dumped by Barbara for a male football star at their school. As Ms. Walcott says she thought it was “the end of the world” for her at the time, but eventually emotionally healed and moved forward, Jane starts to feel better. However, during lunch at school, she’s confronted by her old friends who begin taunting her about being a lesbian. Jane ends up attacking one of them, causing her to get suspended.
After Janice picks up Jane from school following the suspension and they walk out of the high school, a group of boys make homophobic remarks about Jane in front of her mother, who is hurt by the comments. Jane sarcastically says she doesn’t know why her mother should care as she is “one of them”. At home, Janice tries to confront her daughter about her remark and claims that what Jane is doing isn’t normal, Jane angrily begins to rant that gay people are perfectly normal, unintentionally outing Ms. Walcott in the process.
Believing that Ms. Walcott is influencing her daughter to be a lesbian, Janice declares that such a person shouldn’t be a teacher. Distressed, Jane collapses into her father’s arms and begins to sob for how her mother is reacting and treating her. Janice angrily confronts Ms. Walcott at the school, demanding that she stay away from her daughter and threatening to go to the school board if she doesn’t.
Later on at home, Jane’s parents announce that they feel sending her away to boarding school will be the best way to handle the situation, explaining how they’re at a loss for what to do. Jane tells them that sending her away isn’t going to change who she is and storms off. Having nowhere else to go, she runs away to Ms. Walcott’s house, meeting her partner. Jane apologizes to her for outing her and tells her that she is considering suicide as she can’t stand having her parents hate her so much.
Knowing exactly how she feels and wanting to help Jane before it is too late, Ms. Walcott goes to Jane’s parents and tells them her own personal experience growing up as a lesbian with parents who refused to accept her and, when Janice claims to know Jane better than she does, tells them about Jane considering suicide. Stunned into realization that they need to learn to accept Jane before losing her forever, they go along with Ms. Walcott back to her home. Janice and Jane talk and the two reconcile, though their relationship is still strained. In an attempt to make her mother more comfortable with things, Jane takes her to a PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) meeting, where they hear a story from another mother whose situation mirrored their own. Janice continues to go to the meetings, despite still being uncomfortable with things and still being unable to admit that her daughter is a lesbian.
When it comes time for a pride rally, Janice announces at dinner that she’s not going to go because she’s still not ready, which obviously hurts Jane. Later that night, Janice apologizes and says she’s trying. But Jane says that accepting her in private isn’t enough as it still proves a part of her mother is still ashamed of her. Jane later attends the rally with her father, brother, Jimmy and another friend of her mother’s and are eventually joined by Ms. Walcott and her partner.
In the ending of the film, when it’s time for the PFLAG parents from Janice’s group to speak, Jane looks around at the crowd and sees her mother walking through the crowd towards her. Realizing her mother has finally learned to accept her, the two happily smile at each other as Janice joins Jane and their family and friends by their side.