Culture

Disney introduces first openly gay character in children’s animated film

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Disney Pixar will feature their first openly LGBTQ character in an animated movie in the upcoming film Onward.

The film, set to release March 6, is set in a suburban fantasy world and introduces a gay cyclops cop named Specter.

The character, voiced by actress Lena Waithe, reportedly appears in just one scene in the middle of the main characters’ quest, however, the character is said to be “vital” to the storyline.

According to Yahoo Entertainment, the scene shows “Officer Bronco” complaining about his girlfriend’s kids and the difficulty of being the new guy in their mother’s life. The lesbian character immediately sympathizes with him, saying: “My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out.”

“It just kind of happened,” producer Kori Rae told Yahoo. “The scene, when we wrote it, was kind of fitting and it opens up the world a little bit, and that’s what we wanted.”

The film’s director, Dan Scanlon, said, “It’s a modern fantasy world and we wanted to represent the modern world.”

While Onward will feature the first openly gay Disney character in a children’s animated film, Disney has hinted at LGBTQ characters before.

In Frozen, Anna and Kristoff find themselves in the “Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Sauna”, where they’re told to say hello to the male shopkeeper’s family. Another male, with four children wearing towels, are then seen waving from inside a sauna.

Since the release of Frozen in 2013, countless articles have been penned, pressuring Disney to make Elsa gay. Prior to the release of the second instalment, a social media campaign kicked off urging Disney to #GiveElsaAGirlfriend.

Idina Menzel, the actress who voiced the character Elsa, told Michigan LGBTQ magazine in 2016 while she can’t promise that Elsa will find a lesbian lover in the second film, deep down she’s “really happy that it’s causing people to talk about it and have these kinds of conversations.”

Zootopia was also said to have briefly included a same-sex couple with two antelope characters named Bucky and Pronk.

According to Pink News, “though their living situation is never explicitly confirmed on-screen, eagle-eyed viewers have spotted a tiny confirmation that the characters are married. The film’s credits list them as Bucky Oryx-Antlerson and Pronk Oryx-Antlerson.”

Many praised Disney back in 2016 for their inclusion of a lesbian couple in Finding Dory, but Ellen DeGeneres quashed that theory in an interview at the premiere of the film.

“Apparently if you have short hair you’re a lesbian. I did not know that was the rule. So, no. There’s no lesbian couple,” DeGeneres said.

While Onward features the first openly gay character in an animated feature film, Disney has included several openly gay characters on the Disney Channel.

These characters have appeared on shows such as Good Luck Charlie, Star vs The Forces of Evil, The Lodge, and Andi Mack.

Although Onward has not yet hit theatres, there are already calls for Disney to create an Officer Specter spinoff.


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