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LGBTQ Movies and the LGBT Community
Written by Alexander Joonhwan Song | Published. 2017.07.24 21:20 | Count : 1061
When it comes to Disney, representing the LGBT+ community hasn’t exactly been their forte. There has never been an openly gay character in an animated Disney film, except for some speculation on Oaken from Frozen. Some activists have gone as far as to claim that many villains in Disney films are portrayed with stereotypical “gay” features. Villains include Scar from the Lion King, Jafar from Aladdin, and King Candy from Wreck-It Ralph.
There is nothing wrong with men or women who share characteristics that may be considered stereotypically “gay.” However, as stated in an article by the Pacific Standard magazine, a problem does arise when many Disney villains such as Scar and Jafar are men “with feminine qualities and campy behaviors that perpetuate the pop-cultural trope that feminine men have evil tendencies.”
(Image of Scar from Disney with a feminine posture credit: ohmy.disney.com)

Perpetuating negative stereotypes of people from the LGBT+ community isn’t a quality only Disney possesses. Several Hollywood movies have had a hard time addressing the stereotypes connected to individuals with different sexual orientations.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, GLADD, released a report in 2012 that rated the major studios in Hollywood on the quality, quantity and diversity of LGBT people found in their films. Suffice to say that many studios such as Paramount, Disney and the Warner Brothers received a “Failing” grade, which means that the movies produced in these studios failed to include LGBT people or failed to represent the community accurately. No studio has received a “Good” rating.

Though these ratings may seem subjective to many people, the fact that less than 20 percent of the 126 major movies released in 2015 contained characters that were identified as LGBT speaks volumes in the lack of representation.

The discontent of the status quo was voiced by GLADD’s president Sarah Kate Ellis in an interview with Huffington post, where she claimed, “Leaving LGBT people out of the picture — or including them only as a punchline — keeps old prejudices alive and creates an unsafe environment, not only here in America, but around the world where most audiences see these depictions.”

An accurate portrayal of the LGBT community is important especially for movies that target teenagers as a key demographic since these movies can leave a strong impression on the young minds.

Mateo Leon, a gay teen at The American School Foundation, explained the impact of Hollywood’s misrepresentation in his life as he claimed, “it makes it harder for the LGBT community people to feel more free or to be more open with anybody else. There’s this constant pressure to be what society wants you to be, and even if you’re different, society wants you to fill certain stereotypes. So, it puts more pressure on people.”

Inaccurate portrayals of LGBT characters in movies not only fail to represent the community but to also actively harm those who may associate with a different sexual orientation. Proper representation is important for any group in society and the LGBT community is no exception.


Alexander Joonhwan Song
Grade 11
Seoul International School

Alexander Joonhwan Song  student_reporter@dherald.com

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