Remember when the teaser trailer for Finding Dory was released and then everyone was going bonkers for that supposed same-sex couple? While it was exciting to think about that, the truth is that the lesbian couple is only shown on the screen for a matter of seconds. Even Ellen Degeneres, the voice of Dory, did not know that there was supposed to be a gay couple in the film. If they are indeed lesbians (which is highly probable), it is a shame that Disney didn’t play that up more. As a matter of fact, a lot of people in the LGBTQ community were greatly disappointed in Disney for this. All that happens is the two women are pushing a baby stroller. One of them grabs the other’s arm and is wearing an atrocious short “lesbian” haircut. No. Just no.
Anyway, let’s move on from the whole Finding Dory fiasco and focus instead on our list of 15 Disney Characters You Didn’t Know Were LGBTQ. These characters span some of the most popular Disney movies, such as Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen and more. Be sure to check it out and you will see that a lot of the characters on this list were portraying some homosexual tendencies, whether you noticed it or not. Perhaps it went over your head when you were a child, so you might want to go back and hold a Disney movie marathon with your friends! You never need an excuse to watch Disney films all day, do you?
15 Hugo & Djali
So we know that this one is a bit of a stretch, but it is perhaps the only example of LGBTQ characters in a Disney film that end up together at last. While the book version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame features Djali being a female, in the Disney animated movie, this character is definitely male. He and Hugo seem to have some flirtatious tension going on, and if you watch the sequel to The Hunchback of Notre Dame (yes, there’s a sequel), you can see that the romantic advances on Hugo’s part intensify. In the end, both the goat and the gargoyle end up happy together. Odd? Heck yes. Heartwarming? For sure. We feel a bit weird including non-humans on this list, but the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame II is just so cute that we can’t pass it up. Hugo presents Djali with a flower at the Festival of Love, which Djali accepts. He then returns the favor by kissing (licking) Hugo.
14 Timon & Pumbaa
How did you not see this before? Timon and Pumbaa have the ultimate bromance going on (actually it is probably a bit more than that). These two friends are so carefree and unabashedly themselves that they could be two of the most inspirational gay Disney characters to date. Plus, their hit song “Hakuna Matata” has become synonymous with just letting loose and doing your thing; it could practically be a gay anthem. In another aspect, Timon is voiced by Nathan Lane, an openly gay actor. While Scar is another Lion King character who is said to be gay, we think his case is less convincing than Timon and Pumbaa. After all, they spend their time living together, staring up at the stars, and living on their own terms! They are basically relationship goals. Remember when they mused that Simba could be “on their side”? What do you think that meant?
This Frozen character became instantly famous for singing “Let It Go," which went on to become the gay anthem of the millennial generation. If we listen to the lyrics and pay closer attention to Elsa, we can surmise that her character is meant to be a lesbian. After all, she never gets a Prince Charming and that’s just fine with her. In fact, she feels so free to just “let it go” and proclaim that “now they know”! At first, Elsa may seem like a cold-hearted woman; sort of like that closeted lesbian who doesn’t want to reveal her true identity, so she hides behind a veneer. Yet Elsa is actually a really great character and she will melt your heart. It is rather strange for such a beautiful Disney character (a queen no less!) to not have a romantic love interest. Much like Merida in Brave, many people assume that Elsa is a lesbian.
Besides being the right-hand man to a total hunk, LeFou seems to be into Gaston just as much as his female admirers. He even sings about Gaston’s physical assets in the aptly titled song “Gaston.” LeFou is short and squat, and often acts like a fool as he falls head over heels taking care of Gaston and his ego. If LeFou and Gaston were a gay couple, then LeFou would definitely be the abused one in the relationship. He repeatedly takes the physical and verbal abuse that Gaston throws at him (too bad Beauty and the Beast takes place in old-century France). Basically, LeFou has dedicated his entire life to making Gaston happy. LeFou seems to be reminiscent of the bumbling, timid, pudgy gay kid who may still be in the closet. That being said, LeFou is a cool character, and Beauty and the Beast wouldn’t be the same without him.
How could a Disney movie about a ripped guy in a loincloth not include a gay character? In the case of Tarzan, we have a gay female character, the androgynous ape named Terk. The evidence just mounts up for Terk being a lesbian. First of all, many people who watched the film needed a long time to realize that Terk is actually a female. She is the anthropomorphic equivalent of the tomboy or butch lesbian who has no interest in guys. Terk was also voiced by the out comedienne and lesbian personality, Rosie O’Donnell (who did a great job by the way). Terk has no problem being the “big sister” to Tarzan because she has no romantic feelings towards him whatsoever (and would an ape be attracted to a human? Who knows?) Anyway, Terk is strong and powerful and she is the iconic representation of the butch lesbian. She’s awesome!
You may not think of a Greek god being part of the LGBTQ community, but these are Disney characters we’re talking about. When it comes to the film Hercules, the god of the underworld, Hades, is said to be a closeted gay. Let’s look at the evidence to support this claim. First of all, Hades tends to be quite dramatic and a bit melancholic, sort of like that gay best friend who tends to exaggerate about everything. When Megara starts talking about her romantic feelings to Hercules, Hades steps in as the gay counsel and tries to get Meg to see Hercules for what he truly is: “a guy!” Given Hades’ effeminate voice and the way he tends to carry and move his body, he seems to be a bit more campy than the other male characters in the film. Is he the most flamboyant? Of course not, but we think he belongs in Disney’s LGBTQ community.
Some people say that The Little Mermaid’s Prince Eric was gay because he was so hesitant about kissing Princess Ariel. We say phooey with him, it’s all about Sebastian instead! Said to represent the sage-like gay friend that some girls have, Sebastian belongs in the LGBTQ community. He has a rather campy voice and his mannerisms and behavior mimics those of a wise gay man. Plus, he has just the right amount of attitude and sass to help him fit in perfectly with the gay man stereotype (not that we support stereotypes). Sebastian is the Royal Court Composer and he takes his craft very seriously. Being a stoic composer and musician makes Sebastian uptight, but he is still a great guy and he can belt out a tune with no problem. He also gives Ariel tips on how to win Prince Eric over...how does Sebastian know so much about how to win over a guy? Hm?
Elsa isn’t the only Frozen character that is said to be a modern-day LGBTQ advocate. Oaken may not get much screen time, but we don’t need too much time to figure him out. Oaken has perhaps the clearest indication that he is a gay man. First of all, there is his camp voice and demeanor, but then he waves hello to his family in the mirror. When we see his children surrounding his spouse, we see that he has a husband, not a wife. This was a sneaky way of introducing an openly gay character into the world of Disney films. Oaken never explicitly says that he has a hubby, but when he references the image of his fam, we see a large male and four adorable children. Frozen was released in 2013, just when gay rights and same-sex marriage was being more widely discussed. Plus, this movie produced an incredible gay anthem that is still celebrated today.
Yzma, the devilish old villain in The Emperor’s New Groove is said to be heavily influenced by her voice actress, Eartha Kitt, who is an advocate for the queer community as well as other LGBTQ rights and awareness. In the film, we can see that Yzma is very over the top and when you think about has quite a resemblance to the makeup and clothing of a flamboyant drag queen. Yzma has the memorable behavior of being over the top and a source of comic relief in the film. She also dresses exclusively in purple, and her surrounding environments usually contain a lot of purple as well. While Yzma is the antagonist of The Emperor’s New Groove, at least Kitt has helped raise plenty of support with the LGBTQ community and is far from an antagonist in real life!
Come on, a cross-dressing alien who loves to be the feminine partner in Lilo and Stitch? He has got to have something going on, and the fact that he chooses to dress in drag when he is on earth reveals much more about Pleakley than his clothing preferences. Pleakley is the second in command to Jumba, who is voiced by David Ogden Stier, an openly gay actor. It is beyond obvious that Pleakley is not straight, at least not 100%. We would say that he leans more towards being a homosexual who is only attracted to men. Pleakley also plays the stereotypical role of a housewife, and he seems to greatly enjoy cooking, cleaning, and dressing up. He is obsessed with women’s clothing and makeup, and is often seen in the movies and TV series as primping and preening. He also goes by the female name Wendy when he is dressed in drag on Earth.
5 Governor Ratcliffe
You might not recall Governor Ratcliffe, but he was that big guy in the shiny gold jacket in Pocahontas. This character was flamboyant and over the top. In fact, he was created to represent the old notion of a “fop,” aka an effeminate and theatrical man who usually speaks in a refined or British accent. And we can definitely see that this is the case with Governor Ratcliffe, plus he is dressed like he raided Liberace’s closet. Behind the scenes, this Disney character was voiced by a gay actor - David Ogden Stier. Anyway, the term “fop” was used back in the 1700s and referred to a man who was overly concerned with his appearance and clothing. Such a term might not be relevant these days, what with “manscaping” and all, but back in the time period of Pocahontas, it definitely suited Governor Ratcliffe. This man actually existed in real life...but he was skinned and burned at the stake by the Powhatans.
Take a look at Jafar, watch his movements and listen to his voice and tell us what you think. The villain of Aladdin is considered by many to be gay or bisexual. First of all, there is his perfectly shaven beard and mustache, as well as his fop-like attitude and demeanor. Jafar is spindly, long, and lean...much like the stereotypical gay man. Furthermore, he seems to have a queer obsession with Prince Ali, and he may actually be using Princess Jasmine as a pawn in his game to get his hands on Aladdin. Jafar’s effeminate voice, mannerisms, and movements lead many to believe he is a character representative of the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, Jafar is not a good guy at all, and he resorts to slavery and other devious means to get what he wants. He is not exactly the type of character that the LGBTQ community would want to represent them.
There is no denying this one! In Toy Story 3 we get to meet Barbie’s long-lost love, Ken. And it looks as though Barbie will continue searching for long-lost love because Ken doesn’t seem to be the most manly guy out there for her. It’s very easy to see that this Ken doll has a camp sense of style and the mannerisms of a flamboyant homosexual. His attire consists of a bright blue leopard-print polo shirt, baby blue shorts that hit way above the knee, and that ascot that Barbie compliments him on. To accessorize, Ken wears a shiny gold belt and some light blue loafers to match his shirt, shorts, and ascot. Just the fact that he is wearing a scarf around his neck goes to show that he is more interested in the other Ken dolls than Barbie. Clearly he was meant to be a joke character, but we need to include him here.
This Aladdin favorite was voiced by the iconic Robin Williams, who could play just about any kind of character or temperament. As for Genie, he definitely has the bulky gay guy vibe going on. There is even a moment in the movie when he tells Aladdin that he’s getting quite fond of him...not that he wants to pick out curtains or anything. Many people take this as a tongue-in-cheek reference to Genie’s sexual orientation. The first time we meet Genie, he proclaims: “What would you wish of me? The ever-impressive, the long-contained, the often imitated, but never duplicated...Genie of the lamp!” He is so out there and unafraid, he reminds us of that loud and ravishing gay friend we all have. He is also a great gay advocate, serving as a strong and powerful character who is not ashamed of being his true self. Keep working your thing, Genie.
#DragQueenOfTheSea. Ursula is one of the most beloved Disney villains because so many people love to hate her...and secretly love her too. Ursula uses sorcery and deception to get what she wants, and she is not afraid to stoop to the lowest depths (no pun intended) to achieve her motives. She was based off a real-life drag queen named Divine. This drag queen’s given name was Harris Glenn Milstead and unfortunately, he passed away in 1988. Given that The Little Mermaid came out in 1989, it is easy to surmise that Ursula was the animated manifestation of Divine; a loving memory to this drag queen. If you look at a side by side photo set of Ursula and Divine, you will see so many similarities: The voluptuous body, the heavy eye makeup, the bright red lips and the white hair...they are practically twins! This makes Ursula so much better than Ariel.
Sources: gaystarnews.com, mic.com, hollywoodreporter.com, clipd.com, thewrap.com
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