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Dear Disney: Your Heteronormativity Is Doing More Harm Than Good

An Open Letter to the The Walt Disney Company

Image Credit: Disney

Disney,

Significant LGBTQ+ representation is lacking from you, and everyone knows it.

Although you have recently attempted at LGBTQ+ inclusivity by adding a gay character of color on The Lodge and showing a so-called “exclusively gay moment” in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast (Lefou and Gaston dancing for a good few seconds in the corner of our eyes), these are extremely subtle and, in some cases, unnoticed. Most people watching Finding Dory wouldn’t even know there was a lesbian couple unless they were attentive during their two seconds of appearance. Disney, the representation you have been providing is more often than not a series of easter eggs that a viewer can only identify with prior knowledge.

Screenshot from “Space Between” from Descendants 2

It is understandable the matter at hand is delicate for the biggest organization in family media. LGBTQ+ is considered untraditional by a large portion of your audience, and you want to avoid harm to yourself by centering romantic storylines on the typical heterosexual dynamic. Disney is known as a friend to all, and this is an attempt to keep everyone happy, including conservatives.

But by remaining largely silent on representation, you subtly chip away the spirit of LGBTQ+ children everywhere. Millions of children watching globally are victims to your invalidation of their identities through erasure.

Providing strong queer and trans characters with a deeper purpose than being props will be the first major step on your part to making the world a better, and happier, place. Isn’t that what Disney’s all about?

Just like people of all races and religions, heights and weights, careers and backgrounds desire to be properly represented, we do too. We exist. Every trans woman, every gay man, every genderqueer individual, and every member of the LGBTQ+ community has been familiar with Disney at some point in their childhood.

What you do matters, even when you do nothing at all. So represent us.

Give us lesbian heroes, bisexual princesses, transgender saviors, gay high school boys who break the stereotype of hyperfeminity. Give us these and so much more because as Disney, you can do more than just break stereotypes. You can break ground worldwide in fighting homophobia.

Sincerely,

A lesbian who still looks for herself in you

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Written by Catherine Horkay

Cat is a 5'0 junior in high school with dreams that reside much higher than her height. Her passions include academia, berry smoothies, and LGBTQ+ rights. (IG/TWIT: @catnipscarlet)

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