**There will be spoilers for the 2017 Beauty and the Beast film in this article**
A few weeks ago, Disney announced that in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, LeFou, Gaston's bumbling sidekick, would be portrayed as gay. Though some homophobes may think otherwise, hell did not freeze over as a result of this character decision. However, there was some concern from the LGBT community and allies, as Disney's first openly gay character would be a villain. Not only a villain but a rather stupid, quasi-slave villain. And what's more, villains do not get happy endings. And seeing as LeFou is now the only LGBT character in any Disney film, he represents that community within the franchise. So it would seem that Disney would have a track record of not giving LGBT characters happy endings, and that is what the audience would walk away with. And that is obviously not how the LGBT community would like to break into Disney movies.
Before I go any further, it is important to note that I am not a part of the LGBT community. I am only an ally. I cannot speak for the entirety of the LGBT community. Or any LGBT person, really. But I find it important to use my platform to amplify the voices of minorities when I can because I believe that is what a good ally does.
I saw Beauty and the Beast about a week after it came out. And yes, it was made fairly obvious that LeFou was romantically attracted to Gaston. So yes, Disney's first openly gay character was a villain. But he is a villain with a redemption arc. Maybe it wasn't large, but Disney did give some thought to his character development. And LeFou does get a happy ending. He's in the final scene with the rest of the inhabitants of the castle, dancing with another man as everyone else dances with their partners as well. And while many concerns voiced by the LGBT community are very valid, this final scene should not go unnoticed.
That being said, I don't believe that Disney should be getting a huge pat on the back for rewriting LeFou as gay. It's 2017, and writing a gay character should not be revolutionary. Still, Disney did take a step forward, small though it may be. Progress is being made, and in the coming years, I hope to see a more diverse group of characters come out of future Disney films.