Secret Enemy Number 1 – The Disney Corporation
I’m going for a big and dangerous target today, and I’m sure that many people would think that Disney is a friend of LGBTQA causes, but in fact they are one of the biggest criminals in preventing LGBTQA acceptance in our society today.
This doesn’t really need much introduction, because I know no matter where you look in Disney, there is not a single openly LGBTQA character in the entire Disney Library, from Steamboat Willie, through to Phineas and Ferb, every single character portrays straight as an arrow relationship behavior.
What does this say, that in the happy and wonderful World of Disney, LGBTQA youth have no role models, no one to identify with, and being left with an aftertaste that if the accepting world of Disney has no place for them, then surely there must be something wrong with them.
People will probably scream to high heaven about “won’t someone please think of the children” (who are straight, fundamentalist, and bigoted) when the first children’s show has an open LGBTQA character. Look at all the fuss that the possibility that Tinky Winky might have shown some possibility of being gay.
However it takes courage and idealism to stand up to the forces of hatred on this issue, which Disney seemingly lacks. I know that Dreamworks, and Nickelodeon are just as guilty, but Disney is the leader, the ones who are universally thought of as synonymous with children’s entertainment.
King and King?
For those of you who don’t know, King and King was a hot button issue a few years ago because, it showed primary school children, that not every King wants to marry a queen, and thats okay.
It was a simple enough children’s book, akin to Heather has Two Mummies, and other books designed to show that issues of equality can be presented to all ages and that acceptance is normal.
Of course King and King is not really enough content to stretch to a full Disney Epic, but looking at all those Disney movies about finding a place where they belong (Hercules), about finding one’s family (Lilo and Stitch), being true to who you are on the inside (Lion King), Seeing something from another’s perspective (Brother Bear), risking everything for a child (Finding Nemo), and even challenging the stereotypical attitudes of the day (Mulan). Maybe Disney should think about a story about a girl who grows up and falls in love with a princess….
It seems to me that while Disney does have its share of macho villains, such as Captain Gantoo (Lilo and Stitch), Shan Yu (Mulan), Gaston (Beauty and the Beast), their villains often show very negative stereotypes of another group.
Looking at many of their villains, such as Jafar(Aladdin), Scar(Lion King), Chi-Fu (Mulan), and Hades (Hercules), they represent intellect, and display stereotypically gay characteristics in speech, mannerisms and behavior. I’m not saying that this identifies them as gay but when so many villainous characters display such characteristics, it seems like an almost intentional effort to identify intelligent gay men as villains.
What does this add up to
I think its clear that Disney, while supporting publically LGBTQA rights issues, their actual record of behavior even up to today, is filled with areas they need to move forward on helping LGBTQA acceptance.
We need to see positive examples of LGBTQA characters, followed by LGBTQA protagonists, not to mention a stopping of the stereotyping of Disney villains.
Its a two-fold problem, firstly those LGBTQA youth who need the role models are let down by a company who claims they pride themselves on acceptance. Secondly all the other youth out there, need to see LGBTQA people, not as villains or non-entities, but as normal people.
Disney, the ball is in your court, step up, or stop wearing those rainbow colors as if you deserve them!