Why Disney Needs More Queer Characters—But Not Like Lefou

Why Disney Needs More Queer Characters—But Not Like Lefou



I want to start by saying I am just as excited as everyone else about the new "Beauty and the Beast" reboot. I loved the original movie, the music, the design and the brainy heroine. I think Emma Watson (who I love and may or may not have a giant crush on) is perfect as Belle, the production design looks gorgeous, and the new updates are a breath of fresh air. (You actually know what happens to the mom! Belles an inventor! Interracial relationships and more diverse casting!) One thing, though, that is being touted as the “most progressive” and “biggest update” is the “first gay moment in a Disney film," because Lefou has the hots for Gaston.

I am calling the director's bluff on this one. This is neither “the first” nor “progressive." In fact, gay characters appear all through the Disney canon. Here is the thing though: Just like Lefou, they are always villains.

At this point, I am sure some of you fair readers are saying, 'wait a minute, I would have remembered that!' Before you sound off in the comment section, consider two of Disney’s most deliciously evil villains.

Ursula is based on Drag Queen, Divine, and Ratcliff has a campy dance number about glitter (I mean *gold.* God, I hate that movie). They're overweight, they're mean, and the audience is supposed to know that they are queer -- that’s the danger part -- but we are supposed to laugh at them, too.

So campy and flamboyant are inherently bad? Of course not! Camp is a major part of queer history and identity and should be celebrated. The problem is that when the only representation you see of campy and flamboyant are of villains, queer identity and characteristics are deemed bad, as well. Queer should not be equated with danger or villainy, and if you think I am reading too much into this, consider the very real queer history in the united states. very real queer history in the United States.

I am not saying you can’t have diverse queer representation. Ideally there would be queer characters as villains and heroes. But, when you have queer characters as only villains, you villainize queer people. Villains don’t get happy endings so then queer people do not either. These are incredibly damaging portrayals.

So Lefou, literally named “the fool," is the henchman to the villain, and in all likelihood will not get a happy ending. So yeah, this is not new or progressive.

The director has already backed off of his statement, calling it “over-blown,” but that’s not really the point. Representation matters, especially to kids. Having diverse childrens' entertainment doesn’t just mean that queer kids get to have characters to identify with, but heterosexual kids can empathize with their peers who are different.

It would have meant the world to me if I saw a queer princess, or two knights falling in love. Let’s make the world better and kinder by having the media we consume reflect the experiences of our diverse society. To do that, we have to call out when we are given media that is “progressive,” but really is just more of the same. We don’t need anymore gay Disney villains. We need queer heroes.

So if anyone wants to tweet out #GiveElsaAGirlfriend, the time is now.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Founders Of Color Q&A: Yarlap's MaryEllen Reider On Destigmatizing Women's Health

The father-daughter duo co-founded the brand and has since generated a passionate, dedicated community of women.

MaryEllen Reider

I was lucky enough to meet MaryEllen Reider over a decade ago as a fellow freshman in college. Since then, I had the luxury of being able to witness her evolution from the faithful companion I went to my first job fair with to the woman who is now a pioneer in destigmatizing the portrayal of women's reproductive health.

Keep Reading... Show less

My favorite Editor was feeling under the weather yesterday. All I wanted was to make her a vegan iced matcha latte. With distance forbidding it, I instead decided to write up this quick, easy recipe. I made it to be vegan and organic for optimal health benefits.

Matcha green tea is made from grounded green tea leaf and it comes with the most antioxidant boost ever.

Keep Reading... Show less

This coffee brand is USDA organic. Newman's Own Keurig coffee flavors are all organic. They have French Roast, Decaf, and a Special Blend. I'm in a committed relationship with the French Roast flavor. The smell alone from dispensing 1 cup of coffee sets a whole cafe jazz vibe.

I'm already relaxed when I smell the coffee all ready for dressing. The way I make my coffee is simple and sweet, literally. I add a spoon of organic brown sugar and a splash of organic almond vanilla milk. This cup of coffee has changed my life forever. I have never been so productive in my life and I truly believe it's because the coffee is organic.

Keep Reading... Show less

These organic, cruelty-free skincare products are great for hot, sweaty summers. I use them every day, so you will find my honest opinion about them all. I highly recommend using organic products because they are least likely to be harmful to your body.

This may seem like an extra step when it comes to your beauty routine, but it's really easy. These 5 products could be the start of your next beauty venture.

Keep Reading... Show less

These 5 Black Handbag Designers Should Be On Every Accessory Lover's Radar

With the push to support more Black-owned businesses, we've put together a list of Black owned handbag designers.

Ever since the current upheaval of societal silence happening in the country caused by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, there has been a bigger push for people to support Black-owned businesses.

Granted, there are a lot fo Black-owned businesses to support, it just takes time to find them. With that being said, fashion is a sector, just like any sector really, in a culture that still has people of color calling out for more diversity.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because Therapy Dogs Aren't Just Cute, They're Working

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

There are many different ways people overcome obstacles in their lives. Thankfully, the stigma surrounding therapy is slowly (but surely) slipping away and we're opening up about our problems and needs. For some, a good workout is just as relaxing. Others are learning how meditation can be a helpful tool in their mental health journey.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments