The Beauty and the Beast maybe a ‘tale as old as time, true as it can be.’ However, the reactions of some conservationists over a singular ‘gay moment’ in the movie is perhaps, further behind time.
The Alabama Theatre has banned the screening of Disney’s latest live action adaptation of ‘The Beauty and the Beast’ over the featuring of Disney’s first gay character.
The musical score has also faced a setback in Russia where it has been slapped with a 16+ restriction. Even though the Russian Box Office has agreed to distribute the film’s license without any restriction, the ‘adult only’ viewership has stripped away a large section of the movie’s intended audience.
A Progressive attempt by Team Disney
In what is being hailed as a watershed milestone in the world of entertainment, Disney is finally embracing diversity. In an attempt to educate children on the different forms of love and equal representation in a pluralist society, the character of LeFou has been given a homosexual twist in the Beauty and the Beast.
LeFou, who has been dubbed as Disney’s first ‘unambiguously gay character’ is the chubby sidekick to the villainous Gaston. He is confused about what he wants and is just coming out of the enchanted wardrobe.
‘Just a Little Change, Small to say the Least’
Disney history has its fair share of ‘queer coding’ as villains like Scar from “The Lion King” , Ursula from “The Little Mermaid” and Jafar from “Aladdin” were modelled after drag queens and given effeminate undertones.
Despite several examples of Disney using queer coding to demonize its villains, there are other positive characters that have a large gay following. The iconic Genie from ‘Alladin’ has been adored and admired for his cross dressing tendencies and pop culture references.
The beautiful Elsa from “Frozen” is also speculated to be gay and the Oscar winning song “Let it Go” has been hailed as the ‘coming out anthem’ to break free from the shackles of confinement. A huge Disney fan base is rooting to #GiveElsaaGirlfriend to prove that a princess does not always need a prince to find her happily ever after.
Even though “The Beauty and the Beast” is not a giant leap for LGBT representation, it is however the first time that Disney has acknowledged that a character like LeFou is homosexual and has taken a small step towards inclusiveness.
Image credits: Broadway.com