Recently, Disney unveiled its first gay kiss on the children’s animated show Star vs. the Forces of Evil from Disney XD, and already many people have shown their support for the move through social media outlets.
The kiss happened during a scene in which several characters of the show are sitting on bleachers during a concert of their favorite band. There is a moment when everyone, including two of the main characters, are kissing, and you see a few other same-sex couples making out as well.
Although Disney has tried to create inclusion through a popular TV show, the company has come under fire for one of its most anticipated studio projects — the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. It has been confirmed that LeFou will be Disney’s first major gay character, which has caused organizations such as the conservative American Family Association to speak out against the film.
Walker Wildmon of the AFA has urged families across the country not to watch Disney channel (as a result of its first gay kiss), and to resort to other forms of entertainment besides the company’s services. Wildmon believes that Disney has been planning to enforce a so-called “pro-gay agenda,” according to the religiously-based news organization CBN News.
In similar fashion, a movie theater in Alabama said it will not screen the film because of the choice to make LeFou’s character openly gay, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Throughout all the opposition, Josh Gad, who plays LeFou, spoke out on the representation of his character.
“What I would say is that this film is one of inclusiveness,” Gad told People. “It’s one that has something to offer everyone.”
Conservative groups haven’t been the only ones to show opposition toward LeFou’s character. Members and allies of the LGBTQ community have voiced concern for the circumstances surrounding LeFou being Disney’s first gay character. An op-ed for Teen Vogue went in-depth about the other side of the controversy.
“They made the gay character a villain, relegated him to being a sidekick, gave this explicitly queer role to a straight actor, and then muddled the issue by making him sexually ‘confused’ — just to hedge their bets,” wrote reporter Ryan Houlihan.
There is also the issue of LeFou’s name literally meaning “the fool” in French, which brings up questions concerning why Disney couldn’t have chosen a more likable or stronger character to identify as queer.
Nevertheless, Beauty and the Beast is still making some sort of progress, in terms of diversity, with the introduction of an interracial couple: Madame de Garderobe, a wardrobe, and her husband Cadenza, a harpsichord.
Only time will tell if other representations within the Disney universe will be as diverse or as fair as the public wants them to be. Unfortunately, it will be hard to satisfy everyone’s perspective on the matter.