Beauty and the Beasts’ Gay Moment: AKA The Whole Movie
Much ado has arisen regarding Beauty and the Beasts’ “exclusively gay moment,” regarding the film’s character LeFou – who is regarded as the first openly gay character in a live action Disney film.
However, the film in its totality is heavily tethered to the gay experience.
As he wrote the lyrics for the film’s numerous iconic songs, Howard Ashman was secretly living with AIDS, a diagnosis he received just after receiving a Best Song Oscar for “Under the Sea.”
Disney sought out Ashman to return to work on Beauty and the Beast, understandably eager for the award-winning lyricist’s participation. Ashman sympathized with the Beast, drawing parallels to his own experiences, and requested that they make the character into a more humanized role upon agreeing.
Together with his writing partner Alan Menken, Ashman crafted songs that would be cherished for generations – but he did so from home, growing more and more ill.
Throughout the process, the Beast’s character came to be regarded as a metaphor for living with AIDS.
Bill Condon, the director of the new film, said, “He was cursed, and this curse had brought sorrow on all those people who loved him, and maybe there was a chance for a miracle—and a way for the curse to be lifted. It was a very concrete thing that he was doing.”
Producer Don Hahn tied the “Kill the Beast” song to the feeling of societal ostracizing against those struggling with AIDS, stating, “He was really dealing with a debilitating disease, in an era when it was stigmatized. And so, there were so many of those underpinnings to the movie that people may not have seen.”
Tragically, Ashman passed away before the film was released. In tribute, the filmmakers included the dedication: “To our friend, Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful.”
Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
A good response to “But you have a (wo)man’s body!”:
Looking at them shocked and whispering “Oh gosh, you know about the body i buried under my house?”.
With all my love,
Your Tumblr Mom
PS: Just kidding. But seriously: You have a body - and that body is your body. You identify as a man? Then you got a man’s body! Wonderful! You identify as a girl? Then you got a woman’s body! Amazing! You identify as nonbinary? Your body is nonbinary! So cool! Doctors assigned a gender to it based on the shape of your genitals and people may perceive it as a certain gender based on cultural norms - but neither doctors nor other people get to decide what you identify as.