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Building Tolerance and Acceptance of LGBTIQ People Through Animation
Executive Director, OutRight Action International
Disney’s animated films are a staple of growing up for kids around the world. They are a source of entertainment, but also a source of life lessons – the storylines inform children and shape their understanding of the world.
Consequently, the responsibility placed on the makers of Disney films is all the greater. And it is a responsibility that Disney has increasingly embraced. Gone are the days of Snow White waiting for the Prince to rescue her – recent films have featured empowered female characters, and tackled topics around race and mental health.
Including more LGBTIQ characters would simply represent reality
Disney has also improved representation of the diversity which exists in real life. Increasingly characters come from all walks of life, they are no longer represented in unrealistic body shapes, they are of different races and nationalities.
Yet lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) characters and storylines have, thus far, remained absent. This should change.
Due to the stigmatization LGBTIQ face, many keep their identity concealed, so knowing what proportion of society LGBTIQ people constitute is impossible. It is also irrelevant. LGBTIQ people have always existed, exist today, and will continue to exist across the world. Currently, this existence is entirely overlooked in an important form of popular culture. Including more LGBTIQ characters would simply represent reality.
Beyond representation of existing diversity, one cannot deny the educational power of animated films. “Moana” encourages girls to embrace strength and believe in themselves, “Zootopia” tackles topics of race relations, while “Frozen” embraces individuality and difference. Similarly, featuring LGBTIQ characters and storylines would encourage acceptance and tolerance, and inspire LGBTIQ youth to follow their dreams.
One cannot deny the educational power of animated films
Visibility is incredibly important. Representing LGBTIQ people in popular culture normalizes queer identities, and provides a frame of reference. Bullying of LGBTIQ youth is a problem across the world precisely because the only frame of reference is a heteronormative cis-gender one, leaving a vacuum in knowledge and understanding which can lead to violent rejection and exclusion. Being introduced to LGBTIQ characters from an early age will result in children not being surprised or scared when they meet LGBTIQ people in real life; and may even counter prejudice promoted by others.
Further to fostering awareness and tolerance among the wider society, representation of LGBTIQ characters can be a crucial lifeline for children who are LGBTIQ. Not fitting the dominant norms can be hard at any time in one’s life, but it is especially hard for young people. It is no wonder that rates of LGBTIQ youth suicides are disproportionately high. Having LGBTIQ characters to relate to in animated films would LGBTIQ kids that being LGBTIQ is ok, reassure them that they are not alone, and empower them to embrace these elements of their identity.
However, the above is only true if done responsibly. LGBTIQ characters should not be the subjects of ridicule, or the dominant villain. Gender identity and sexual orientation should not be conflated, nor should harmful myths be perpetuated. Moreover, being LGBTIQ is only one element of a person’s identity – this should also be reflected in animated films.
If Disney steps up responsible representation of LGBTIQ people in its animated films, as it has done with empowering female characters and tackling important questions or race, cultural diversity and mental health, I have no doubt that acceptance of LGBTIQ people will grow immeasurably!
Modern identity politics should have no part in entertaining children
L. Brent Bozell III
Founder and President, Media Research Center
There should not be more homosexual characters in animated Disney movies and there should not be fewer. There should be none.
Nor should there be anti-homosexual characters. Nor Catholics or anti-Catholics, nor Jewish people or anti-Semites, nor climate change proponents or climate change deniers. Any character’s identity and back story that doesn’t propel a simple children’s tale reflects the preoccupation of adults.
This debate is not about presenting characters that are homosexual. This is about presenting characters as homosexuals. This is about promoting the gay lifestyle. But why do either?
In 2017 just 3-4% of the population was LGBT
Modern identity politics should have no part in entertaining children, certainly not at the expense of truth. Hollywood tells us constantly that it only reflects reality. Here’s the reality for you: in 2017 just 3-4% of the population was LGBT. Yet GLAAD wants 20% TV characters to be gay. What quota have they set as acceptable for animated shows at Disney?
Why in the world must children be subjected to this? Why can’t they be allowed to be… children? In fact, why should adults be subjected to this? According to Pew Research, 55% of adults object to the gay lifestyle. Where is the concern for most parents who find this propagation objectionable for their children?
Please, please: Don’t accuse me of being homophobic. That dog just won’t hunt. Most every adult watching Paul Lynde on Hollywood Squares, or David Hyde Pierce on Frasier, or Charles Nelson Reilly on Laugh-In knew the actor was gay… and no one cared. All were there as comedians who happened to be gay.
Victimology. I tire of it. I am a Roman Catholic. There are 51 million of us. We demand that Disney actively and only positively promote Catholic characters! 65% of Americans are Christians. Disney must have 65% of its characters portrayed as Christian role models!
Disney would never allow that. Disney won’t allow a single Catholic character in its animated films. I wonder if you can find a single Christian. That, you see, is the projection of an agenda.
None of this has anything to do with entertaining kids
Walt Disney said, “In planning a new picture, we don’t think of grown-ups, and we don’t think of children, but just of that fine, clean, unspoiled spot down deep in every one of us that maybe the world has made us forget and that maybe our pictures can help recall.”
Why can’t Disney get back to that?
Disney’s original 2013 Frozen was criticized by some left-wing adults for being “too white.” Others saw the heroine Elsa as a lesbian. The new Frozen II includes themes of colonialism and reparations, and is so infused with radical politics that even a reviewer for the far-left Slate found it bewildering. But few decisions are as stupid as what Disney has chosen to do with the remake of its iconic Lady and the Tramp movie, surely one of the sweetest animated movies ever produced. The “Siamese Cat Song,” has been deleted because of its perceived racist overtones.
Did a single child anywhere on the face of Planet Earth ever listen to that song and find racist overtones? What about the song that followed, an Italian song about Italian food sung by two characters parodying Italians? Why is that still there? Out, out, OUT!
None of this has anything to do with entertaining kids and everything to do with indoctrinating them into leftwing ideology. Adding more LGBT characters to Disney movies just moves the company further from its purpose.
26 thoughts on “Should there be more LGBT characters in Disney animation films?”
There should not be gay, or trans, or queer characters in kids cartoons, whether it’s Disney or something else. We don’t need the few to out weigh the many when when it comes to our children. They do not need this crammed down their throats or having them brainwashed into thinking they “should” be that way! Leave the children alone and stick to traditional ways and let them grow up before they may “decide “ they want to be different.
I’m just angry right now. This is a ridiculously way to go, look at the end of godmothered. It’s just getting sick
No. Stop trying to push gender issues on children, you’re just going to confuse the next generation even more. Look at the history!
Their movies should be kept clean and sweet. There are too many questions and decisions and quandaries for our children today as it is. Let them be children while they can.
I find it appalling that Disney would stoop to such measures. Children do not need to be informed or indoctrinated on such matters; they need to be allowed to be children. What children are taught on these subjects should be left to their parents and no one else.
No. Children have enough thrown at them, too early.
Let’s just stay in the realm of reality here. If you have to inject sexuality into a Disney Cartoon or movie that is targeting children, you may want to seek counseling. Disney nor anyone should be thinking about sexual orientation when directing something targeted for chidren viewing. Can we not just let kids be kids ?
The stories were already sexual and focused on sexual orientation so to speak. The heroine always runs off to get married to whatever man appears in the story – Cinderella and the Prince, The ending of Princess and the Frog, Tangled and the heroine falling for the guy, Princess Jasmine ending up with Aladdin etc..- name one Disney film where the main female doesn’t have a side story of becoming romantically involved with the male lead. The only difference now is that instead of having the heroine fall for some “prince” or whatever charming “good guy” who enters her life, she will now have a choice of both men and women.
so every character in a children’s cartoon should be asexual?
This kind of indoctrination of children is just WRONG. Families should determine what and when they discuss sexuality with their children.
Walt Disney is flipping over and over in his coffin…this is not acceptable for a children …. let them be innocent of the outside influences. Good home some family features. I’m not prejudice…but it’s against my religion…what the LBGT people do in they’re homes is they’re business…but I don’t want my grandchildren expose to this way of life that is biblically wrong in God’s eyes
Our children need to develop go thru puberty and grow up first. They go through so many hormonal changes at different ages. Let them grow up first. We know that our frontal lobe in our brain does not fully develop til early 20’s. So again let our children grow up first. They do not need indoctrination making them feel confused
So 91% of the people polled are against so why are you even making this a question. No LGBTQ. OR WHATEVER needs to be I Disney films.
So wrong to many believe it is wrong ,however, they are silent
The Hollywood community has been paramount in the glamorization of the gay and lesbian life style. I should not be their responsibility to introduce alternative lifestyles to our children.
Children are impressionable, they will have enough trials in their life time that we don’t need to be planting seeds. I won’t even approach the biblical reasoning. That being said, you don’t have to add LGBT characters to teach tolerance, you could actually do a movie about kindness, sharing, truth and love.
If you feel so strongly to teach acceptance, then start with LGBT… they want acceptance, but won’t respect anyone’s opinion that differs from theirs….
Teach ALL people, Love, Patiences, and Kindness.
Teach Mutual Respect!
I love all of the comments trying to excuse their casual homophobia. I might be a lot of things, but at least I don’t hate complete strangers for who they love.
Why is it the moment someone doesn’t share your view point do you call them homophobic and accuse people you don’t even know that they have hate for the LGBT, we don’t hate them. BUT we don’t need Disney trying to expose children to this lifestyle that is the job of the parents , no one else!
So then you are open to disney infusing God and his message into their productions? Didn’t think so….
If a producer/writer wants a LGBT character then that is up to them. Trying to force it to happen is such a fucking joke that it truly shows how far the left has gone. Every day I move further away from my liberal past.. We have got to stop forcing inclusion. That isn’t how we reach inclusion…. It is instead how we further divide. We are taking away what art actually means. Even something as simple as Disney cartoons… Art isn’t about inclusion. it is about perspective. No matter how hard you try you can’t force perspective. Every time you do, you push the target audience further and further away. So just stop it with this bullshit.
Yes, there should be an evil king that identifies as a queen and executes people who say otherwise. They would be a cruel and crazy tyrant who opposes free speech and sanity, instead forcing their beliefs on everyone through use of police and media.
Well, honestly, I think they should, of course, if they want to. I am glad, that Disney is going over those hard topics, as long as it is understandable and not overwhelming for children. Opening kids to a simple lesbian/gay couple will make them fine with a lesbian/gay couple in real life and, after they grow up, they can decide if it is good or bad for themselves.
These comments are extremely horrible.
As a lesbian, it took me YEARS to come to terms with my sexuality because the only relationships that I was seeing were straight. When you say that children should not be “exposed” to gay relationships because it might confuse them, do you not realise these children might be LGBTQ themselves?? Assuming everyone is straight is incredibly harmful. What’s confusing to these children is why they aren’t seeing themselves represented in their movies and TV shows. If you want to be consistent with your argument then you should be against ALL romance in children’s movies but I don’t see you ever complaining about that.
Just accept that you’re homophobic and move on. Stop trying to justify your bigotry by bringing children into it.
I believe that the LGBTQ should focus on having there own ADULT TV Program and leave Disney to the youth.
I don’t understand why a large group of LGBTQ ADULTS are arguing over a same fantasy Disney character??? I believe that most of these adults do not respect families with young children to even argue this issue that the LGBTQ adults are having with a cartoon. It saddens me to see how LGBTQ is trying to really disorient a traditional family today and why? What really saddens me as I have many friends and I family who are in same sex relationship (cousin who married a woman with a child) respects this and does agree with it being ridiculous. LOL some will call me homophobic but I’m far from it I don’t care what anyone does as long as it doesn’t effect my family.
I believe pushing our children in a direction that ARE not gay may possibly confuse those children. LGBTQ People are accepted there are movies, gay cruises my friends go on, there so many events, bars books for children who’s parents are in same sex marriages, other cartoons like loud house.
Why Disney it’s for children….
Please let’s keep Disney innocent in every way from sexual orientation and preference. Disney is supposed to entertain children not so much the adults.