Disney has been a household name in the entertainment industry for decades. With an impressive repertoire of family-friendly films, animated classics, and beloved characters, Disney has been a significant influence on the lives of generations. However, the company has faced scrutiny in recent years with its portrayal of diverse characters. One question that many people ask is, has Disney ever made a gay character?
The Evolution of Disney’s Characters
Disney’s storytelling has evolved throughout the years, and so have their characters. The representation of characters from different backgrounds has gradually improved with time. However, the company has received criticism for under-representing the LGBTQ+ community.
Before the 2010s, Disney had very few characters that were openly gay. The studio would sometimes include LGBTQ+ characters but often in very small, insignificant roles. For example, in the 1991 animated classic ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ the famous character LeFou was often characterized as effeminate and flamboyant. However, it wasn’t until the 2017 live-action remake of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that LeFou was confirmed to be gay.
Disney’s First Openly Gay Character
In the 2017 live-action remake of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ the character LeFou, played by Josh Gad, was revealed to be gay. While the character’s sexual orientation was not entirely confirmed in the animated classic, the live-action adaptation portrayed him explicitly as a gay man. LeFou’s change represented a significant step forward for Disney, as he became the studio’s first openly gay character in a highly popular production.
The Arrival of Ethan Clade
Disney’s first openly gay lead character was Ethan Clade, the protagonist of the movie ‘Strange World,’ released in 2022. Ethan Clade, voiced by comedian Jaboukie Young-White, was portrayed as a gay man. Despite initial skepticism by some fans, the character received positive reviews and recognition from the LGBTQ+ community as a step forward for the representation of diverse characters.
Controversy and Criticisms
As with most things in popular culture, Disney’s inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters has not gone entirely without criticisms. Some conservative groups have criticized the studio for the representation of gay characters, claiming Disney promotes an agenda that conflicts with their values.
Others have criticized Disney for making LGBTQ+ characters soft-spoken or insignificant in films. The representation often comes in small roles and is portrayed to define characters in a stereotypical way.
The inclusion of LGBT characters in Disney movies has come a long way from the initial portrayals as mere tropes. The studio now features openly gay characters in more prominent roles. The arrival of Ethan Clade as Disney’s first openly gay lead character marks a significant moment for diversity and representation. While there is still a long way to go, the evolution of Disney’s characters represents a crucial change in the portrayal of diverse characters in mainstream media.
Who is Disney’s first openly gay character?
Disney, one of the largest media franchises in the world, is known for its family-friendly films and shows. However, while the company has been known to portray diverse characters, it wasn’t until recently that they included an openly gay character. In 2021, Disney introduced its first openly gay character in the form of a teenage boy named Ethan in the film Strange World.
The movie Strange World was produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. It is a musical fantasy-adventure film that follows the journey of a group of teenagers who are transported to a magical world where they must save the land from an evil queen. However, while the film had high hopes with its large budget and Thanksgiving release, it bombed at the box office.
Despite the film’s lack of success, Strange World made history by introducing Disney’s first openly gay character. Ethan, the teenager that was portrayed as gay in the film, is seen acting shy around his crush, Diazo. While there has been much debate about the representation of LGBTQ+ characters in mainstream media, Ethan’s portrayal has been widely appreciated by many.
Before Strange World, Disney had teased the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters in their movies, but it had always been in subtle undertones or obscure references. For example, in the film Frozen, fans speculated that the character Oaken may have been gay, but this was never explicitly stated by the company.
While Disney has been known for its classic stories and wholesome entertainment, the introduction of an openly gay character in Strange World represents a huge milestone for the company. Even though the film did not receive much attention, Ethan’s portrayal is a significant step towards greater representation in mainstream media.
How many Disney movies are Lgbtq?
In recent years, the Walt Disney Studios have received both praise and criticism for their inclusion of L.G.B.T.Q. characters and themes in their films. While the company has long been criticized for their lack of diversity and representation, recent releases have taken steps towards greater inclusivity.
As of 2021, Walt Disney Studios released five movies in theaters that included at least one significant L.G.B.T.Q. character or theme. These films include “Onward,” “The New Mutants,” “The Happiest Season,” “Cruella,” and “Jungle Cruise.” In “Onward,” Lena Waithe voices a cyclops police officer who mentions her girlfriend. “The New Mutants” features a lesbian romance between characters Rahne and Dani. “The Happiest Season” centers around a lesbian couple visiting one of their conservative families for the holidays. “Cruella,” while not having any explicitly queer characters, has been read by many viewers as a queer narrative. Finally, “Jungle Cruise” includes a small role by actor Jack Whitehall as McGregor, a gay character.
However, it is important to note that these L.G.B.T.Q. characters and themes do not necessarily signal a complete shift in the company’s approach to representation. In many cases, the inclusion of L.G.B.T.Q. characters is still seen as a “blink and you’ll miss it” type of moment, with characters only mentioning their sexuality in passing or not being explicitly stated at all. Additionally, the inclusion of these characters has still faced backlash and controversy, with some audiences accusing Disney of “forced” diversity or pandering to a certain group.
Despite this, the inclusion of L.G.B.T.Q. characters and themes is still a significant step forward for the Walt Disney Studios and represents a recognition of the importance of representation and inclusivity in media. While there is still much work to be done, the fact that these characters are appearing in Disney films is a positive development and provides hope for greater diversity and representation in the future.
Is Luca a gay movie?
Luca is a 2021 American computer-animated coming-of-age fantasy film directed by Enrico Casarosa. The movie follows the story of two young sea monsters, Luca and Alberto, who live in a fictional Italian port town in the Riviera and dream of discovering life beyond the water. As they venture into the Genovese coastline, they meet a human girl named Giulia and become best friends.
However, the question arises whether Luca is a gay movie or not. Some people speculate that the film’s plot has a subtextual meaning that Luca and Alberto’s relationship represents that of a gay couple. Nevertheless, the movie’s makers have made it clear that it is not a queer story, all the relationships are “platonic,” and determinedly “pre-pubescent.”
Casarosa, the film’s director, openly discussed the characters’ sexuality in an interview with The New York Times, expressing that “I know people will ask me, ‘Is Alberto in love with Luca?’ We’re not talking about romantic love. We’re talking about the bond between two friends. In this case, they happen to be boys.”
It is understandable why some people might perceive that Luca has queer undertones in its storyline. The movie’s exploration of identity, coming-of-age, and discovering oneself are themes that are often portrayed in queer cinema. Luca’s desire to discover a different world and subsequent self-discovery parallels the experience of many queer individuals who must navigate their identities in a society that often doesn’t understand them.
It can be concluded that while Luca deals with themes of identity and coming-of-age, it doesn’t have a direct, overt depiction of any queer romance or attraction. Rather, it is a charming animated film that celebrates friendship, adventure, and finding oneself, offering a nostalgic and feel-good experience to viewers of all ages.