Disney’s Beauty and the Beast will feature an openly gay character for the first time ever.
In an interview with Attitude, a gay lifestyle magazine, the film’s director, Bill Condon revealed that one of the movie characters, LeFou would struggle to come to terms with his sexuality and eventually have a “gay moment.” Lefou played by Josh Gad is the sidekick to the movie’s main antagonist, Gaston played by Luke Evans.
— The Globe and Mail (@globeandmail) March 2, 2017
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. It is a nice exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
Attitude Editor-in-Chief, Matt Cain appreciated the “landmark moment,” for the LGBTQ community adding that Disney was sending a strong message that same-sex attraction was normal and acceptable. The editor-in-chief lauded Disney for being brave enough to make a statement about gay people in an attempt to change perception and create awareness in quarters where same-sex attraction was frowned upon.
“It’s only a first step towards creating a cinematic world that reflects the one in which many of us are now proud to live. But it’s a step in the right direction and I applaud Disney for being brave enough to make it—and in doing so hopefully helping to change attitudes and bring about social progress.”
Beauty and the Beast is a classic Disney story that revolves around the story of a young woman played by Emma Watson who falls deep in love with a beast while under lock and key in his castle. In the original 1991 animation film, LeFou’s notable scene comes when he sings, “Gaston” an ode to his macho friend. According to Fox 8, Disney’s new adaptation which is billed to be released March 17 decided to tow a different route and be more gay-inclusive.
Howard Ashman was a dazzling lyricist who co-wrote the 1991 film’s songs with his brilliant partner, Alan Menken. Ashman was a gay man dying from AIDS. Ashman who also wrote songs for The Little Mermaid and Aladdin battled against the stigma of being gay and sick. The talented playwright and lyricist eventually died of the disease aged 40. But according to Condon, his experiences crept into his work and influenced the portrayal of the Beast character in a whole new light. Condon pointed out that Ashman helped shape a new storyline for the beast, using it as a metaphor for his disease.
Disney's upcoming "Beauty and the Beast" will include an "exclusively gay moment" on screen, a first for the… https://t.co/kf0PGn3s8t
— The Christian Post (@ChristianPost) March 3, 2017
“It was his idea, not only to make it into a musical but also to make Beast one of the two central characters…Specifically for him it was a metaphor for AIDS. He was cursed and this curse had brought sorrow on all those people who loved him and maybe there was a chance for a miracle and a way for the curse to be lifted.”
Some see Disney’s LGBTQ inclusivity as a step forward and hope that gay characters would make it to the fore in Marvel movies and blockbusters like Star Wars. Others feel that producers are making unnecessary political statements with movies like the Beauty and the Beast and putting pressure on young kids. People are threatening to boycott Disney movies because for the stance the movie giant has taken.
Beauty and the Beast is Disney’s boldest attempt yet to inculcate the LGBTQ community into their movies. However, it is not the first. In another Disney movie, Frozen there was a short and subtle reference to a gay family. In the 2013 flick, there is an understated nod that Oaken the store owner is gay. In a brief scene, the mountainside store owner introduces another man as his partner surrounded by their children.
In February, Disney XD aired an episode of Star vs. the Forces of Evil where the main characters go to a concert where a boy band is bellowing out tunes. In the crowd, a bunch of people are kissing including a few same-sex couples.
The Season 2 episode titled Just Friends marked the first-ever same-sex kiss in a Disney cartoon.
[Featured Image by Jesse Grant/Getty Images]