Okay so I know there has been a lot of buzz around the internet about the subject of LaFou, sexuality, and queer representation lately and now that I’ve seen the movie, I want to put in my two cents. 

If you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, many people have been talking about LeFou being gay and getting a “gay moment” at the end of the film. Vanity Fair put out an article calling the character “ a touching tribute” to Howard Ashman” Many of us LGBT+ folks are obviously not happy with this character, who is literally “the fool” being a bone that’s thrown to us. Many, including myself, where infuriated by the article because not only was Ashman the man who saved Disney from bankruptcy with hits like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the beast and the formula he created is still successfully used by Disney today, he was a gay man who died of AIDS. So you can see why many of us think calling a villainous side character a “touching tribute” is a gross cop out on Disney’s part.  On the flip side, some christian parenting groups are made because our existence is acknowledged in anyway, even if the representation is bad. A theater in Alabama even refused to carry the film. Needless to say, many people had lots of opinions. 

All that being said, I’m not here to preach to the choir, nor am I here to argue with anyone about whether of not LGBT+ people are are “appropriate” for a disney movie( hint hint we are) I really want to talk straight people who don’t get why LGBT+ people are upset. I need to share my personal experience with the movie to maybe help some people understand. I know I can only speak for myself, but here it is.

I’ll start off by saying, overall, I enjoyed the shit out of this movie. Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite films as a child. I knew all the songs, I was Belle for multiple halloweens. I loved the over the top, Rogers -and -Hammerstien esque feel of the remake, i liked the bright colors, the songs and grumpy clock Ian McKellan. I want to get lost in how much I loved it. But every time LaFou came on screen, he was like a fly in the ointment, the irritating itch that kept me from enjoying this ridiculous spectacle for exactly what it was, because every LaFou scene was a gay joke.His mannerisms were carefully an explicitly coded to be recognized as those of a gay man, which are not a bad thing on their own but they were played for laughs and combined with a comic, pining-induced subservience to Gaston. He’s hangs on Gaston’s every word, he tells the girls no to waste their breath, he soothes Gaston’s temper. He’s a joke, one we have seen many times before, a weasely ,queer-coded villain. It’s supposed to be funny to us because we know this silly gay man is NEVER going to have his affections returned and all his work if for not.( ie he’s making a fool of himself, so he’s aptly named)  It’s something you get used to when you’re queer and grow up watching Disney films though, so for the most part, I rolled my eyes and tried to enjoy the scenery. 

Until Gaston’s song started.

Now let me start by saying, that has ALWAYS been my favorite song in the film. I have a very naturally loud voice that carries and as a kid I loved to belt the shit out of it when it came on our Disney’s greatest hits CD. It drove my sister crazy on car trips. It’s so silly and it’s poking fun at this hyper masculine douche bag you’re not supposed to like. Luke Evans had been killing it up to that point and I was so jazzed about it. 

And then, we get LaFou, lounging on Gaston’s chair, gazing at him longingly. Gaston looks at him and asks why the girls to love him and LaFou sighs dramatically, like the comedic stereotype they have set him up to be, and says he hears he’s been clingy.

And everyone in the theater laughs. 

Everyone but me. 

Because in that moment, everything snaps into alarming clarity. I am no longer immersed in the nostalgic euphoria of an actor I love about to preform a cherished piece of my childhood. 

I am a joke and everyone it laughing at me. 

Because that’s what it feels like, when you see someone like you splashed on the screen and their feelings being the thing that makes them laughable. When there mannerism that are directly coded to read GAY PEOPLE are the joke. You see the thing about sterotypes is, some of use have those traits. I am clingy as hell, a joke often made about wlw, which I am. I know effeminate gay men. I know people who have fallen in love with straight people. None of those things are inherently bad or make you a bad or shallow person  but somewhere along the way, straight people decided they made us wrong and decided to use those things against us and turn it into a joke. People in the theater were laughing about LaFou’s pining for Gaston, while I had lost friends because I was queer and some women don’t want to be friends with you if they think you’re going to fall in love with them. The rub of knowing this was a conscious choice on the part of the filmmakers. Why not have Cogsworth rush into the arms of a long lost husband, instead of Mrs. Potts? You can’t tell me Sir Ian wouldn’t have been all for that. You had two promient gay actors in this film, which was scored by a gay man and the best you could come up with the villain’s side kick who’s name means fool? Really?

And adding insult to injury, it wasn’t LaFou as a person that was the fool, his gayness MADE him the fool in the context of the film. It was his pining for Gaston, to try and impress him, that was played to make him look foolish. Do you know what that says to people? That being gay makes you a fool, it makes you a joke. I’m 27, I’ve learned how to pack that shit up and process later, but what if I had been 16? 10? What does that say to gay parents, sitting in the audience watching their child laugh because social cues tell them this thing is funny and you should laugh? What LaFou really says to LGBT+ people, to gay men especially, is that you are good enough to put in the labor, to make this beautiful thing(Ian McKellan and Luke Evans did great work as Cogsworth and Gaston and without Howard Ashman, there would be no beauty and the Beast.), but you are not good enough to be well represented in it. 

So straight Disney fans, before you feel the need to tell us why we are “making something out of nothing” or that we should be “glad” for what we get, or that his half assed “redemption” arc or a single moment of him touching another man made it all better,  I need you to imagine sitting in a theater, and knowing everyone is laughing at you. Laughing at who you are, at the struggles you deal with. Imagine the things that have shaped you being watered down and played for comedy before you tell me what is or isn’t good queer representation. 

“I actually hate when people fancast Lupita Nyong'o as Tiana. She really doesn’t look like her and people just try to put her in literally every role the requires a Black woman, and it especially annoys me because Brandy Norwood is practically Tiana’s TWIN! Especially in her Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella getup!”


 get to know me meme » [2/5] favorite musical productions

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is a musical written for television, with music by Richard Rodgers and a book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based upon the fairy tale Cinderella, particularly the French version Cendrillon, ou la Petite Pantoufle de Verre, by Charles Perrault. The story concerns a young woman forced into a life of servitude by her cruel stepmother and self-centered stepsisters, who dreams of a better life. With the help of her Fairy Godmother, Cinderella is transformed into a Princess and finds her Prince.


Paige Faure and Andy Jones paying homage to Newsies at the Cinderella Curtain Call.

As much as I really love Hamilton (not that I’ve seen it because I like in the UK) there is nothing else on my dash and I really would like to see the other musicals that I love.

Sooooooo if you like any of the following, like this or reblog this or whatever - I will follow you and check you out!

- Next to Normal
- The King and I
- Heathers
- Finding Neverland the musical
- Spring Awakening
- Miss Saigon
- The last five years
- Literally anything by Sondheim he is god.
- Les Miserables
- Disney Disney Disneyyyy!
- Rodgers and Hammerstien (also gods)
- Legally Blonde
- West Side Story

If you do music or theater, please read, even though its kinda long.

Let me tell you a thing, my dear followers.

I have had many tumblr accounts. I usually get them and I’ll be on them for a while, but then I usually forget about them or the password and just make a new one.

This blog is the longest running blog I’ve ever had. And I began to wonder why that is.

Today, while browsing through a musical tag, I saw a post about a girl who had upcoming auditions, but just wasn’t believing in herself. I decided to drop by her ask, and tell her to break a leg, and just be confident in herself. And that’s when I realized.

I LOVE encouraging others to pursue their dreams. Especially when it comes to performing arts. Because I’m there. With you. Watching every musical, studying every soundtrack, researching current broadway stars, reading books. I have the same dream, and a lot of us don’t get encouragement from the outside world. They tell us our dreams are “unreachable” and a “one-in-a-million chance.’ And it gets us down. We begin to doubt ourselves and our career choices. My blog, for the most part, is dedicated to broadway and musical theater. I have that dream, and I know if the rest of you want this dream as bad as I do, it’s hard, and sometimes we need encouragement. 

My BIGGEST motivation for not giving up on MY dream is my followers. And even people who don’t follow me that pursue this career. When I see the rest of you posting about rehearsals, auditions, getting you’re dream lead role, it inspires me to be that much better and achieve my own dreams. You guys keep me going and keep me accountable so that I don’t give up on my dream.

Let me tell y'all a bit about myself. I am a VERY small town girl from Arkansas. I’ve been humming tunes before I could talk. When my mom was pregnant with me, she worked for the Baldwin piano company, tuning pianos, so I naturally have a pretty good ear. I was always involved in church performances when I was little, and I always loved music class. I did elementary music with everyone else in school. In 9th grade I joined choir (you couldn’t do band and choir until then). It was my first year in choir and I made all-region. A lot of the kids who had been in choir for a while HATED me for it. I continued choir into high school. I didn’t try out for all region in 10th grade (cause I was dumb), but in 11th and 12th grade I made both all region AND all state choir. Not only that, but those two years I also made all region AND all state band. In high school, band was my niche. I liked choir, but I wanted to be a band director. When in high school, I was also involved in the drama club. My sophomore year we did a show called "The Curious Savage.” I didn’t get a part. I was one of the few people who didn’t. But I did crew, I came to all the rehearsals. Then one day one of the seniors stopped showing up to rehearsals. The director came up to me and gave me the part, because I was so dedicated and never missed a rehearsal. It wasn’t a huge part, but I appreciated it. My junior year, the director decided we would do Rogers and Hammerstiens “Cinderella.” There was this girl in drama club, blonde, that said she was going to be an actress one day, and she KNEW she was going to get the part of Cinderella because she was blonde. The girl was a great actress, but her voice was kinda puny. I knew I wasn’t going to get the part, but I auditioned for Cinderella anyways, and the stepsisters. I sang “Memory” from Cats. When the cast list came out, I couldn’t believe it. I was Cinderella. I was so excited. It was such a great experience.

Now moving on to college. I entered college as a Music Education major with emphasis in both flute and voice. As a freshman, I made the top choir, and I was also involved in Music Theater Workshop. Long story short, I lost my passion for the flute, and I switched to strictly Vocal performance. I have always been good at the flute, but I never improved. No matter how much I practiced. But my voice, my voice grew immensely. Fall Freshman we did Little Red Riding Hood-the opera. I was on crew because I was a freshman and we never get parts our first semesters. In the Spring, we did Oklahoma!. Laurie is my DREAM role. However, unfortunately, our director is one of those people that, when he has his “star”, there’s no getting a part over them. But she had every right. She was beautiful, and had a voice like an angel. Obviously, she got the role of Laurie. I got cast as Gertie Cummings. I was the only freshman with an actual part. Fall of my Sophomore year, we did The Medium and The Four Note Opera. I got the soprano role in The Four Note Opera, but I had to drop out of it because of some personal issues I was dealing with at the time. Spring of Sophomore, we did “The 1940’s Radio Hour” in which I was just chorus. However, the week before production, the same girl, “his star,” went MIA. He split her part between me and another girl. I had to learn a song in pig latin in 10 minutes before rehearsal, by memory, because it was dress rehearsals. I did it. And I did it good. That was the year she graduated. Fall of my Junior year we did an opera called Gallantry. My high school choir teacher went to the same college as I did, and she played the lead role of Lola in Gallantry, so I was gunning for the role. And I Got It. I was so excited. The next semester we just did a showcase thing. I sang Nellie’s solo in Wash That Man Outta My Hair from “South Pacific.” This past semester (my last semester) we did two operas. “The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Lukas Foss and Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte”. I got to play Fiordiligi in Cosi and the ONLY female role in The Jumping Frog.

I know this is long and you’ve probably stopped reading by now, but if you’re still reading, I appreciate it. The moral of this post, is that I started off as a NOBODY, and even though I’m still a nobody in the professional world (I just graduated) I haven’t given up, and I HAVE made progress. 

I just want all of you pursuing a career in performance, whether its theater, vocal, classical, instrumental, jazz, or ANYTHING, that I believe in you. I don’t want you to give up on your dreams. Giving up is the only way you will lose. This is my message of encouragement. I love you all. Keep posting your success stories. Keep motivating others. Keep doing what you LOVE no matter what.

<3 Hayley