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Disney’s ‘Pride’ Collection Feels Pretty Insincere for LGBTQ+ Fans

There’s no rainbow connection on this platform.

Disney Pride month Instagram post.

In typical Pride Month Corporate Nonsense, Disney+ has just debuted their “pride collection,” and if nothing else, it seems to highlight just how little Disney is actually doing in the way of meaningful representation.

The official Disney+ instagram made a post that read, “This Pride Month and beyond, The Walt Disney Company stands with the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies by proudly supporting storytelling that is inclusive, diverse, and authentic. 🌈” (And yes, they put the rainbow emoji instead of a rainbow flag). “Today and every day, we are committed to reimagining tomorrow by amplifying LGBTQIA+ stories as well as championing the importance of accurate representation in media and entertainment. Join us in uplifting LGBTQIA+ voices, talent, and content with our new Pride Collection on #DisneyPlus, including incoming titles such as #TrevorTheMusicalOnDisneyPlus and #LoveVictor, and additional upcoming activations. #Pride365.”

Fans, however, were not amused—not just because of the typical pandering but also because Disney is trying to seem progressive while also ignoring their own history of censorship of the media they are now promoting.

Luz and Amity dance on Disney's The Owl House.

The Owl House, Gravity Falls, and Star vs. the Forces of Evil all received harsh censorship if not outright cancellation over their portrayals of queer couples. The Owl House’s cancellation hurts especially because it was genuinely groundbreaking for Disney and now it seems to be paying the price for breaking the mold. Disney also moved the Love, Simon sequel series to Hulu over concerns that it wouldn’t be “family friendly,” only to bring over the nearly R-rated Marvel Netflix shows a year later.

This “collection” also highlights the lack of queer representation in some of their biggest franchises; fourteen years of Marvel media, and only 2 TV shows and 1 movie feature prominent canonically queer main characters (arguably 2, with Multiverse of Madness, but we’re still waiting for the big screen universe to acknowledge that America Chavez is a lesbian). 45+ years of Star Wars, and unless you count Lando Calrissian having a relationship with a droid, there’s no representation in a galaxy far, far away. And that’s to say nothing of Disney’s 85+ years of animated movies that have yet to make a main character queer.

I also can’t help but notice none of the movies that touted having the first Queer Disney character are in this post, be it LeFou from Beauty and the Beast (2017) or the cyclops cop in Onward).

Alex Hirsh, creator of gravity falls, tweeting: "Disney Privately: Cut the gay scene! We might lose precious pennies from Russia and China! Disney publically: clown emoji honk honk we put a rainbow bumper sticker on Lightning McQueen today CONSUME OUR PRODUCTS TEENS"
Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch, being an icon (via twitter)

Almost all queer representation to come from the House of Mouse has been thanks to the directors and creators fighting for said representation, not the company genuinely wanting to support the community. And Disney’s storytelling is frequently worse off for it.

Even their current good press for supposedly fighting Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill is laughable when you consider how Disney donated to campaigns of proponents of the bill, and Pixar seems to agree, calling out Disney on their hypocrisy.

A protester outside Disney holds up a sign that says 'Trans Rights are Human Rights' in Florida
(Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

I hope that Disney finally hears the wakeup call to do better with queer representation, rather than doubling down on their half-baked rainbow veneer or giving up altogether. But I also hope that audiences take this chance to support queer indie films and small-time creators who are doing the real work of showing the beauty of every color of the rainbow and all the people in it. There’s a whole new world of queer representation, and you can be a part of it.

(featured image: Disney+)

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Kimberly Terasaki is a Creative Writing graduate, fanfiction author, and intersectional feminist. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan. She appreciates all constructive criticism and genuine discussion.