Disney’s New LGBTQ+ Characters

Acquisitions, addendums, and double entendres have made Disney queerer than ever before!

HomoCulture Gay Culture Triston Brewer

This article was published on April 12th, 2022

Just about everyone breathing has been subjected to Disney in some form or another, and now with their latest mergers and involvement with streaming services, there is almost assuredly will never be a way to effectively avoid the entertainment powerhouse. At HomoCulture, we applaud companies that have supported the community, even those that have taken their sweet time inviting us to the table.

Disney has, across generations, found a way to subtly, and not so subtly, include characters that could be viewed, depending on perspective, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Today, there are some characters that are definitively in our corner, and these are the ones, both supporting and even lesser roles, that have made it across our screens. 

Artie, Cruella

If anyone deserved a queer presence to explain her life growing up, it would be the over-the-top, campy character of Cruella. So, it was long overdue when the release of Disney’s Cruella finally threw one into the mix in her origin story. In an appearance that partially explained the many questions about Cruella’s upbringing and background, Artie (played by gay actor John McCrea) appeared as Cruella’s confidante and put a distinctive stamp in a movie that is considered by many to be the best foray into a villain in the history of the company’s existence. 

Phastos, Eternals

Once Disney acquired Marvel, one of the first questions was when an LGBTQ+ character would have a major presence. That was answered by none other than Oscar winner and director of Eternals Chloé Zhao, who promised to bring a gay character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only did the lauded director bring a gay superhero in Phastos (played by Brian Tyree Henry), but she also gave the MCU its first same-sex kiss with the introduction of Phastos’ husband, AND a son. The normalcy around the character and his presence on screen were praised by critics but left many in the LGBTQ+ heavily anticipating his return in inevitable sequels. 

McGregor, Jungle Cruise

It took quite a while, but McGregor (played by Jack Whitehall) finally was able to come out in Jungle Cruise, although – to the dismay of fans – this plot point was not revealed in the many trailers leading up to the release of the film, a fact not lost on those within the LGBTQ+ community. Nonetheless, McGregor did more than serve as comedic relief in the role, and his performance was a layered, more realistic approach that stressed the importance of family – a solid effort by Disney. 

LeFou, Beauty and The Beast

Note to Disney: when you can capitalize on the artistic talents of one Josh Gad, do your best not to waste them! This is at the crux of the problem with Disney’s introduction of gay characters in the new version of Beauty and The Beast, which featured Gad dancing with another man in a blin-and-you-miss sequence. The brevity of the scene may have left much to be desired, but with the alleged Gaston spinoff in pre-production, perhaps Disney will dig deeper into the character and truly deliver for members living under the queer umbrella?

Larma D’Acy and Wrobie Tyce, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Instead of the love story that many die-hard Star Wars fans wanted to see develop between Finn and Poe (played by John Boyega and Oscar Isaac respectively), what Disney brought to us via Lucas Films was a tiny peck and a few lines from a character no one cared about in one of the biggest movie franchises in cinematic history. As Princess Leia’s Carrie Fisher does somersaults in her grave, Disney has a plethora of sequels to be released that can rectify this shoddy submission.

Officer Spector, Onward

It may have been brief, but it was certainly memorable – Lena Waithe’s turn as an out police officer mentioning her wife in passing was cute but short – sweet but left us wanting for more. But, if Disney likes a tease, this is the best way to pull it off without upsetting the masses. 

Conclusion

Although these roles, and even ones we omitted, have given Disney somewhat of a leg to stand on, the LGBTQ+ community still would like to see more characters under the Disney umbrella that reflect the diversity that comes with the territory. 

HomoCulture wants to know which characters from the current list and those of yesteryear have always struck you as a member of the LGBTQ+ community? Let us know in the comments section below!

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