As a child, it’s likely that your first introduction to romance was through a Disney movie, likely about a princess who ultimately finds her prince. In fact, Disney has built a reputation on these kinds of stories -- a girl, usually downtrodden or the farthest thing away from royalty, the iconic Disney princess, meets a true prince, they fall in love, and they live happily ever after. It’s the set standard for romance since childhood, a standard that generations of children have been exposed to. But now Disney is rewriting that narrative with the inclusion of its first “exclusively gay moment” in the upcoming live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” director Bill Condone revealed of Gaston’s sidekick, portrayed by Josh Gad. “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.”
The inclusion of an openly LGBTQ+ character in a Disney movie is long overdue, and it comes in the wake of the push for better representation and diversity in Disney films. There has been speculation that Frozen’s Oaken was gay, but it wasn’t explicitly confirmed, and there was even a campaign to “Give Elsa a Girlfriend” in response to a GLAAD report that revealed Disney had failed to include any LGBT characters in their major 2015 movies.
“It may have been a long time coming but this is a watershed moment for Disney. 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,” Attitude editor-in-chief explained. “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 real social progress.”
Beauty and the Beast stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Kevin Kline as Maurice, Josh Gad as LeFou, Stanley Tucci as Cadenza, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Babette and Audra McDonald as Wardrobe. The movie opens on March 17, 2017.