Our Unbiased Opinion: Gay Disney Characters

23 Oct

I am talking about this because I’ve been thinking about it lately. Let’s make a tally of all the gay characters that have ever been on Disney. We’re not talking the ones you think may be gay, a la Flower from Bambi.

More Under the break…

The reason I’m wondering is that I recently started watching the Disney series Gravity Falls, which first aired in June of this year. You should all watch it because it is hilarious and perfect. In the episode “The Hand That Rocks the Mabel,” Dipper and Mabel meet Lil’ Gideon, a tiny, telepathic man who happens to be their grunkle’s arch nemesis. His first appearance is in a commercial, which ends with Lil’ Gideon professing his love for someone named Carl, really quickly a la subliminal messages (“Josie and the Pussycats is the best movie ever!”) Carl is not featured in the episode, nor is he mentioned again. Lest we think this a fluke, I will point out that he likes sparkly outfits and looking cute, and Disney makes a point of effeminizing him like crazy. When he tries to date Mabel, as they all do – let’s be honest, she tells him he’s like her sister. So we have a lot of really conflicted things here, which I don’t want to lay on pathology because we do not live during the 1950s. This is not The Talented Mr. Ripley (Patricia Highsmith, 1955), which I incidentally read this week and is all about being angry when people call you gay and also killing and becoming them. We have a complex character who is definitely queered – tiny, magical, feminine, good at sparkly clothes, confessed in love with a man and romantically pursuing Mabel. So the question: Is this Disney’s first openly gay character? I can’t think of another who’s been this closely outed.

The High School Musical films took great pains to effeminize Ryan (Lucas Grabeel), but they took a step back in HSM3. All it takes is the metalangue of visual romance. Sit next to someone of the opposite sex, share a couple looks and an awkward silence, maybe some leaning… Then you equate them in terms of their talents, send them to the same college and BAM! Ryan + Kelsey = Dancing Piano Babies.

Lucas Grabeel as Ryan in the High School Musical series

I am fairly obsessed with the 2011 movie Lemonade Mouth based on a YA novel by Mark Peter Hughes. Stella is the only character not paired. Based on stereotypes, because again we’re being honest – that is just how Disney roles, could this be Disney’s way of dealing with lesbian characters? Even Charlie gets a random non-band member. There are MANY things I could say about this movie (because it’s wonderful, and Disney is CHANGING!)

Hayley Kiyoko as Stella in Lemonade Mouth

Let’s think about this though. This article was published in 2011. http://www.wnd.com/2011/03/280661/ There is a lot of speculation surrounding Brave’s Merida, though I find myself skeptical. It’s kind of a really heternormative film. I’m just saying that tension has been building, especially in the last two years. Can we talk about this? I love Disney.

– Susan G.

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3 Responses to “Our Unbiased Opinion: Gay Disney Characters”

    • CintusSuprimus October 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

      Detrick, I think that is a great idea– I’ve now signed your petition! It’s utterly ridiculous that Disney hasn’t had a gay character, although it took them until the 2000s to have an animated black person, so Lord knows how long it’ll take…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. As I direct you to another blog… « The Elder Tree - October 26, 2012

    […] I sometimes post on this film blog Lara & the Reel Boy run by my friends Lara and David. They live in Austin and work with film and film people, and they’re pretty much two of the awesomest people you will meet. Since the reboot of their site, this is the first post by me on their site. It’s about Disney and their lack (?) of gay characters. I love Disney. Check it out. […]

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