Telling Disney they must act now, the letter called the matter “urgent,” stating that 42 percent of “LGBTQIA+ youth seriously considered suicide in 2021, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth, with a large factor being the lack of support that these discriminatory legislations enable.”
Disney supporting politicians who push bills like the “Don’t Say Gay” bill are indirectly hurting “one of their most vulnerable audiences,” LGBTQIA+ employees wrote. “There are lives at stake and Disney’s support could save those lives.”
Last Friday, Variety reported that a source close to the production of “Lightyear” shared that one of the significant female characters named Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) is in a same-sex relationship with another woman.
The source told Variety that although the relationship was never in jeopardy of being cut out of the film, the kiss between the two female characters had already been. But after the LGBTQIA+ employees statement caused an uproar due to Disney’s indirect support of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the studio has reinstated the kiss back into the animated film.
If the same-sex kiss makes the final cut of the movie slated to be released this summer, it will the first time a kiss like that will be in a G-rated animated blockbuster film aimed toward children.
Pixar films have had subtly placed LGBTQ characters but has always cut any physical affection between same-sex couples from its films. “Onward’s” female Officer Spector, voiced by Lena Waithe, mentioned she had a girlfriend and “Toy Story 4” showed two mom’s hugging their child at school. “Finding Dory” appeared to show a brief shot of a lesbian couple. These examples have been the extend to which Pixar has incorporated LGBTQ elements into its blockbuster films.
Russia required Disney to swap the word “girlfriend” in lieu of “partner” in its “Onward” release. The film was banned in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia due to it’s same-sex relationship references.
In 2020, Disney-Pixar released an animated short straight to their streaming platform Disney+ titled “Out” that tells the story of a gay man who is struggling to tell his parents about his sexual orientation.