Will The Owl House Finally Present Disney’s First Confirmed LGBTQ+ Protagonist?
**Spoilers if you’re not all caught up on Disney’s The Owl House.**
Lately, Disney has been on a roll with its animated projects, such as Big City Greens, Amphibia, and my latest obsession, The Owl House. Created by show runner Dana Terrance, The Owl House centers Luz Noceda, a 14-year-old Dominican-American girl who accidentally stumbles across a portal to an alternate world called the Boiling Isles, encountering a powerful witch named Eda and pint-size demon named King.
Right off the bat, The Owl House immediately captured my eye with its unique visual design, combining elements of the cute and the creepy in true horror-fantasy fashion. Terrance’s love for artists, such as Hieronymus Bosch and Remedios Varo, inspired an aesthetic that brings to mind some of my favorite macabre and magical fandoms, such as Harry Potter, The Addams Family, and Scary Godmother.
But what really caught my attention was its lovable heroine, Luz. Reminiscent of Marvel’s Kamala Khan and Akko from Little Witch Academia, Luz is a hardcore fantasy nerd who unapologetically loves books and weird stuff and is in training to become a witch.
All this alone would be enough to entice anyone into the watching the show, right? But watching the latest episodes of The Owl House, it would appear that the show is stepping into new and uncharted territory for Disney, with strong signs suggesting that its protagonist might be bisexual/queer.
Within the show, Luz has already demonstrated her attraction towards guys in episode 7 (“Witches Before Wizards”), when she displayed a brief crush on a character named Nevareth (who’s not entirely human or a guy, but I digress). Later on, when encountering Edric and Emira, the two very attractive twin siblings of her “rival,” Amity (we’ll touch on that later), Luz simultaneously blushes after encounters with both of them.
Yet, the kicker that had really had me (and the comments section on YouTube) wondering if Luz was entirely straight was when she was discussing school in episode 12 (“Adventures in the Eleme”) and said, quote, “I’ve got a new crush and her name is education.”
Now, all this could still easily be brushed under the table if it weren’t for Luz’s continued interactions with Amity Blight, one of the show’s main supporting characters.
Initially, during her first encounter with Luz, Amity comes off as the stereotypical Mean Girl/Rival: smug, condescending, and mean, a powerful witch at the top of her class. However, the more we see of her, the more layers are revealed to this morally complex character (think less Draco Malfoy and more She-Ra’s Catra.)
Luz discovers a softer side to Amity, a girl who loves the same fandom she does (The Good Witch Azura book series), enjoys reading to children, and deeply craves academic excellence to the point of anxiety when anyone threatens her top student status. Rather than seeing an enemy in her, Luz wants to befriend and get to know Amity better, which builds into a fragile, fledgling friendship.
The Owl House’s fandom’s true kickoff into Lumity (the ship name for Luz x Amity) appeared after a promo shot for an upcoming episode (now revealed to be titled Grom) came out, in which both Amity and Luz are wearing formal attire and standing close together. A fan commented beneath the picture: “There is no Heterosexual explanation for this,” to which Dana Terrance responded, “There really isn’t,” and honestly, the Princess Prom vibes aren’t really helping to deny this.
There really isn’t.
— Dana Terrace (@DanaTerrace) July 8, 2020
Since then, the girls’ continued interactions in episodes have continued to become warmer, as seen in Amity’s recent behavior around Luz, involving blushing and increased physical contact, such as hugging and hand-holding (in the episode “Understanding Willow”). Even notes of have been noted when Amity worries about Luz attending the same school as her, saying, “So, you two both go to the same school now, that doesn’t change anything” (in “The First Day”), leaving fans speculating over what exactly in their relationship had changed.
Honestly speaking, after watching the final season of Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, my poor heart was craving new animated queer content, but even taking the shipping glasses off, there are so many indications that The Owl House might actually be going in the direction it seems it is. Dana Terrance herself previously came out as bisexual online, and many of the writers on the show, including Molly Ostertag (comic book legend and Noelle Stevenson’s wife) are openly queer themselves. Heck, so much of the show features traditional queer narratives and archetypes, such as the outsider being told to confirm to society’s rigid standards (in “The Lying Witch and the Warden”) and discovering found family.
Within recent years’ children’s animation has made leaps and bounds regarding LGBTQ+ representation, as seen in shows like The Legend of Korra, Steven Universe, The Loud House, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. And honestly, the fact that companies like Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and DreamWorks are advancing like this when the House of Mouse had only previously included blink-and-you-miss-it queer characters, like in its latest film Onward, means the company is falling far behind.
Unfortunately, when it comes to “family friendly” corporations, LGBTQ+ representation is almost never guaranteed outright, frequently being relegated to subtext, so we’re still bracing ourselves to be disappointed. Yet, if Disney were to actually take stock of fans’ theories, not only Luz would be their first openly LGBTQ+ protagonist, but Luz as a young queer Latinx woman of color would bring so much representation to kids who are just beginning to understand who they are in ways that even my generation was not shown in our fiction.
Plus, I’m just cackling at the idea of knowing how many bigots’—a demographic already rankled by this show—heads will turn with an openly queer brown witch on TV in a kids’ show.
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