In the past few years, we’ve been more closely examining the lack of inclusion in major Hollywood films, and since Walt Disney Studios is among the largest film houses, audiences have been waiting for more LGBTQ+ community inclusion. In 2017, the live-action Beauty and the Beast attempted to do this with Josh Gad’s LeFou, but the actor recently reflected on the film has determined that the move was not “enough.”
At the time of the movie’s release, Josh Gad’s LeFou was touted as the character at the center of Disney’s first “exclusively gay moment.” However, it ended up being a pretty limp attempt at queer representation given that it amounted to LeFou dancing with a man for a few seconds at the end of the film. Gad shared his thoughts five years after the film’s release with the Independent, saying,
Josh Gad reportedly pitched the idea to make LeFou have a happy ending with a man in the film. But the move itself didn’t warrant any particular praise from the studio for including the LGBTQ+ community into the mix. The actor continued,
And years later, not only is the Beauty and the Beast spinoff starring himself and Luke Evans cancelled for now, Disney has yet to give any character an explicitly queer story arc on the big screen. Disney has many fans who are hoping Elsa gets a female love interest following “Let It Go” becoming a gay anthem, and, more recently, there were LGBTQ+ themes with Raya and the Last Dragon’s titular princess as well. The studio has been accused of queerbaiting.
The studio did make a legitimate stride in representation when it comes to Marvel’s release of Eternals, where Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos had a male love interest and shared a kiss with his partner during the film. (Plus, Phastos wasn’t solely defined by his sexual identity within the film.) On television, Disney Channel had its first leading LGBTQ+ couple on The Owl House, but sadly the series has already being cancelled.
It’s safe to say that Disney (and other Hollywood studios) have more growing to do when it comes to representing the LGBTQ+ community in major films and through significant characters. Josh Gad is able to reflect on this years later and realize that the LeFou moment was not much of a “moment” for the queer community.
Hopefully, we can look to a brighter future when it comes to representation in Disney movies. It’d be unrealistic for everyone to be straight, wouldn’t it? In the meantime, you can revisit Beauty and the Beast with a Disney+ subscription.
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