Today Disney announced that Lefou will be an explicitly gay character, the first for Disney fairy tale films and films aimed at the all ages group from the company. A lot of people feel strongly about this on both sides, conservative extremists feel this is the utmost betrayal from Disney and think the film needs a new content rating. I think that is ridiculous for a number of reasons mostly that a gay man existing in a world where a girl falls in love with a beast is somehow the controversial topic. But on the other end of the discourse rainbow many feel that this is an insult to lgbt people and that Disney has insulted and made a grave mistake by having Lefou be canoically gay. I also think that’s a bit much. So here are some of my bullet points/thoughts on why I truly believe this is a good step for Disney and the LGBT community if you would so indulge me.
- I understand many concerns revolving this piece of news, Lefou in this version is now a gay man who pines for his straight macho best friend/pack leader. Some are condemning that idea which I find a bit silly. I understand that a stereotype thrown upon our community is that we are unable to have straight friends because we will “always fall for them”. Which we all know is bullshit, that being said sometimes it also fucking happens but it’s no more different than the friendzone guy who is in love with his childhood best friend. Point is it’s an actual thing queer people do deal with so to prohibit as a storytelling device is just stupid and weird. A good lesson for lgbt people and anyone honestly is sometimes the people you will like, or even love will not reciprocate those feelings.
- Not all lgbt people need to be portrayed as saintly or even good people to count as representation. For example one of my favorite things about the new Series of Unfortunate events show on netflix was that there was a gay couple in it. My favorite thing not being that they were gay, but that they were gay and just as bad as the rest of the adults in the show. Because I believe it’s important to show LGBT people as humans rather than amazing people with little flaws and great outcomes even though I understand the need for that. So Lefou can be in a bad relationship, he can be allowed to make poor decisions because he is blinded by love from someone who will never love him back, he is even allowed to be a bad person because him being gay shouldn’t excuse him from any of that. Because character flaws make for a interesting character shocking I know and can even be the payoff for character growth. Which leads me to my next point.
- This is a character arch Bill condon has even said it. Meaning Lefou will go through some sort of change or lesson in this film. Just because he starts following this awful person in the beginning of the film does not mean that’s where he story will end. Because again this is not the animated feature, we don’t know the exact context of their relationship nor do we have an idea of what will happen to Lefou through the course of the film. But for a movie about acceptance of those who are different and learning to love I have a hard time believing it’s going to end poorly for the now gay Lefou. Just remember Bill has said where they end with Lefou is something rather beautiful, and I personally cannot wait to see what that is.
- Any bit of screen time in which a gay person is a person and given an actual story arc is something that I view as important. This is a company that for many years had to code in order to get away with anything. We are living in a day and age where they can openly say that a character is gay. Which I think is something huge and something I want to encourage from the company, so that we can get more of these kind of ideas. I am not saying you have to be inherently okay or accepting of this, but I am asking that you give the film a chance and watch it before having your final thoughts be a reblog slamming this from all angles. Because while you may disagree maybe some kid out there is going to watch what happens with lefou and feel better about themselves leaving that theater.