Disney Disappoints With Poor Queer Representation
Disney has yet again displayed their inability to create genuine LGBTQ+ storylines in their films.
Audiences are feeling let down with the lack of gay representation in the Disney cinematic universe. The company has a track record for restricting LGBTQ+ narratives to the side-lines, supporting roles and sometimes, completely neglecting them altogether.
In Toy Story 4, Disney branched out, including a lesbian couple in the background of one short scene. It was a pitiful attempt to provide the company with a false image of inclusivity. People have been quick to point out Disney’s habit of commodifying queer people in their narratives, banishing them to the outskirts of plot lines.
When Disney announced in 2016 that they were reviving the 1991 animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, people were buzzing with excitement. Aside from the star-studded case, we were promised LGBT representation like we had never seen before from Disney. Initially met with enormous praise, this was almost immediately eclipsed by outrage.
Despite the backlash, Disney went forward with the production of the film, releasing it in 2017 to positive reception.
It was only recently that critics have begun to bring to light the problematic use of the film’s only queer character. La Fou, Josh Gad’s character whose name translates to ‘crazy’ from French, has been cause of much debate. Rather than providing a positive representation of a queer person in film, Disney instead decided to rely on Gad to provide comedic relief. La Fou spends the entire film fighting for the affections of villain, Gaston, pining after him as he's constantly rebuffed.
Gad’s interpretation of the role highlights another prominent issue in the film industry, the overwhelming use of straight actors to play queer roles. A problem that has been discussed extensively in recent years, people worry that non-LGBT actors would have a lack of understanding of the roles they’re are playing; providing an unrelatable queer characters.
As debate begins to intensify, I’m sure we can all agree that Disney needs dusting off.