OK, so this might not be the *first* gay character to grace a Disney film screen. For years, viewers have speculated the sexual preferences of their favourite cartoon icons: Timon and Pumbaa, Ursula and Genie to name just a few.
BUT Disney has never spoken about about intentionally creating LGBTQ moments in its movies. That is, until now.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon revealed to Attitude.
If you’ve seen the original 1991 animated film, you’ll remember Le Fou (played by Josh Gad) as antihero Gaston’s gap-toothed sidekick/manservant. In perhaps a not-so-unexpected plot twist, Le Fou is revealed as lovesick for Gaston in the highly anticipated live action remake of the Disney classic.
“He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie. It may have been a long time coming but this is a watershed moment for Disney.”
Condon continues, “By representing same-sex attraction in this short but explicitly gay scene, the studio is sending out a message that this is normal and natural—and this is a message that will be heard in every country of the world, even countries where it’s still socially unacceptable or even illegal to be gay.”
After decades of cookie-cutter narratives about love, beauty ideals and gender roles, it’s pretty great to see Disney finally representing same-sex romance. It’s just one more reason we’ll be lining up to see Beauty and the Beast in theatres on March 17.
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