Recently, the director, Bill Condon, of the new "Beauty and the Beast" movie has stated that he made LeFou's character gay in his version and that there will be a 'gay moment' in the movie. Of course, with this news there was praise as well as harsh backlash.
There were people, like me, who were overjoyed that Disney was finally stepping into the times and adding some representation to their films. I was so excited to think that little gay boys who might go and watch this movie would finally be able to see themselves on screen in a kid's movie made by possibly the biggest franchise in the world. I couldn't wait to see all of the happiness that this little piece of representation would bring to those kids.
But then I started seeing the backlash.
There were upset parents who were refusing to let their kids watch the movie, which is predictable. Parents are going to stick to their ways no matter how it might affect their kids. I expected this. But there was more than that. There are theaters refusing to show the movie now simply because there is a gay character in it. Even the Russian government is considering banning the movie altogether.
I was thinking about what I would like to say to the people who are so concerned about a gay character and how that might affect their children and I've come up with something that I believe has slipped their minds.
The movie is literally about a woman falling in love with a buffalo. If that isn't bestiality then I don't know what is. You can argue that it doesn't count because he's actually human and all of that, but I won't agree with you. You know why? Because Belle doesn't know that he isn't a buffalo. She falls in love with him as a buffalo and that, in my opinion, counts as bestiality no matter what species he really is.
Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love the movie. It's been one of my favorite Disney movies since I first watched it. I fell in love with Belle and I saw myself in her and her love of reading and being a little different and introverted. I was happy that I had found someone in a movie that I could connect with and see myself in.
And that's all I want for these little gay kids. They might not know it yet, or maybe they do, but one day LeFou will be a very important character for them because they might eventually see themselves in him.
Plus, the praise of the movie has far outweighed the backlash. Some actors in the movie have come out in support of the gay character including Emma Watson and Josh Gad (the actor who plays LeFou).
There was even an actor from the original movie who said he wasn't surprised at all. Bradley Pierce, the actor who played Chip in the original movie, told TMZ, "I think LeFou, the character who is officially gay now, always was."
Everyone involved in the new production also says that the subplot is incredibly subtle. There is no elaborate coming out story and it won't overshadow the original plot of the movie, but the fact that it's there and it is recognizable to other people is something to be happy about and to celebrate, in my opinion.
And I remind myself that there are always going to be people who will fight things like this and fight against people like me. But I think the good of this representation and the praise that it is gaining is much more important than the backlash and the people who are refusing to let go of their prejudices.
I can only hope that one day there will be no backlash for something like this and that it will become something normal so that my existence will no longer be a political debate.