Google “first gay Disney character” and you’ll find tons of results featuring different movies and characters.
There is confusion over when – and if – movie studios like Disney first included gay characters, as most of the roles are not explicitly LGBT. On the contrary, they allude to gay culture or give it a subtle nod to it.
LeFou in Beauty and the Beast, Bonnie’s two moms in Toy Story 4, the character of Joe Russo in Avengers: Endgame, Artie in the new Disney movie Cruella and – this has just been announced – Betty DeVille in Rugrats are all examples of LGBT characters in mainstream live-action movies and mainstream animation.
But often these characters are cameos in flashing storylines and you’ll miss it.
Critics say we need a festive performance that doesn’t hide in the shadows.
Writing for Forbes, art contributor Dani Di Placido says, âThese tiny fragments of LGBTQ representation are so brief, so totally unrelated to the plot of these films, that they can be easily edited for a socially conservative audience, like this one. was the case with The Rise Of Skywalker’s quick lesbian kiss.
âRepresentation-hungry pro-LGBTQ news outlets will either applaud Disney’s cautious small steps towards inclusion, or criticize the company’s cynicism.
“None of these weird background characters really stay in the collective memory long enough to make an impression, therefore, every time Disney pulls the same trick they are billed as the ‘first’.”
Whatever your take on the current level of LGBT representation, here are the gay characters in live-action and mainstream cartoons that we know …
Rugrats gets a CGI remake. It will follow the same beloved characters that featured in the original 1990s cartoons. One of those characters is Betty DeVille, the mom of two of the main characters, Phil and Lil DeVille.
Betty will be gay, revealed her voice actor Natalie Morales, who can be recognized as Lucy from Parks and Recreation, who is herself gay. âAnyone who watched the original show may have had the impression that Betty was a member of the Alphabet Mafia,â she told The AV Club.
The Mafia alphabet is a reference to the LGBT community.
“Betty is a single mom with her own business who has twins and still has time to hang out with her friends and her community, and I think it’s so great because of the examples of living her happy and healthy life. as a queer person is just such a beacon for young gay people who may not have such examples.
“And yes, Betty is a fictional cartoon, but even cartoons were a big influence for me when I was a kid and if I had watched Rugrats. and seen Betty casually talking about her ex-girlfriend, I think at least part of me would have felt like things might be okay in the future. ”
Bonnie’s two moms in Toy Story 4
It’s a really quick swap, but take a good look when Bonnie is picked up from school and you’ll notice her thoroughly modern family.
LeFou in Beauty and the Beast
Given the fanfare surrounding Gaston’s LGBTQ identity created by director Bill Condon when he confirmed it in an interview with Attitude magazine, it’s fair to say that the LGBTQ portrayal itself was subtle.
Condon spoke of an “exclusively gay moment” in the film, which resulted in the film’s banning in Malaysia and Kuwait, stricter assessment in Russia, and a boycott at an Alabama drive-in theater.
So what really happened? Keep your eyes wide open during the film’s final moment, as LeFou – villainous Gaston’s sidekick – dances with a man during the scenes of the ball. This is the very last scene of the film.
It only lasts a few brief moments of dancing – but it’s there.
There’s also the suggestion that LeFou has a crush on Gaston, as during the villain’s eponymous song LeFou is depicted looking longingly in his direction.
The character of Joe Russo in Avengers: Endgame
Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo walks away with Marvel Comic Universe’s first gay moment in the 2019 film.
Joe Russo plays an anonymous character attending a bereavement counseling meeting in the film, to talk about the loss of his male partner.
More representation within the MCU
And American actress Tessa Thompson has suggested in interviews that her Thor’s character, Valkyrie, is bisexual. “In the canon, [Valkyrie] is bisexual, âshe told Variety. “You see her with women and men, so it was my intention to play her.”
Valkyrie is bisexual in the Marvel comics, but there was no discussion of his sexuality in the Thor: Ragnarok movie.
And there’s a new MCU superhero movie called The Eternals, slated for release in November 2021, which will feature an LGBTQ character although details are yet to be confirmed.
When asked if there are any plans for a trans portrayal, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige said in a New York Film Academy question-and-answer session, âYeah, absolutely. Yes.”
Artie in the new Disney movie Cruella
British actor John McCrea plays one of Cruella’s entourage in the new Disney Cruella de Vil origin story, Cruella.
John, who played a schoolboy who dresses in drag in the West End musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, has explained that his character Artie is LGBTQ. “For me, yes, it’s official: he’s a queer,” the 29-year-old actor told Attitude.
âBut we don’t see him falling in love; there’s no social aspect to the character. It’s not hitting you on the head with a stick. But his lifestyle is fabulous, he loves his life and so on. was so much fun playing it. “
More LGBTQ representation
Pixar revealed their first LGBTQ character in a same-sex relationship in their 2020 film Onward, when a policewoman named Officer Specter discusses her partner.
“My girlfriend’s daughter [has] made me pull my hair out, “she says in the film, of two brothers trying to resuscitate their deceased father to spend one last day with him.
Pixar also released a short film in 2020 titled Out, about a young gay male couple. Greg and Manuel live together, but Greg is afraid to tell his parents – until one day they show up on the doorstep.
Two shows on pay-TV channel Disney XD also feature same-sex couples. TV Show Vs Star. The Dark Arts in 2017 featured a same-sex kiss, and the Gravity Falls, 2016 series also features two gay male characters.
“We’re crazy about power … and love,” they say in the series finale.