The lesbian kiss of “Lightyear”: the first representation of the collective LGTBQ + of Disney

Disney-Pixar’s latest animated adventure has just hit the movies. This is the origin story of one of his most beloved characters: Buzz Lightyear, from toy story. On the eve of its premiere, speculation on the Internet skyrocketed after it was confirmed that Lightyear would include the company’s first same-sex kiss. The film’s producer, Galyn Susman, stated that the female character Hawthorne is in a “meaningful” relationship with another woman and a kiss ensues between them.

In response, several countries – including the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Egypt and Indonesia – recently announced that would prohibit the exhibition of Lightyear in theaters due to its “violation of the media content standard of your country” (in short, the inclusion of LGTBQ+ themes).

Susman responded by saying that no scenes would be cut, adding, “It’s great that we’re part of something that’s taking steps forward in social inclusion, but it’s frustrating that there are still places that aren’t where they should be.”

Disney’s complicated LGTBQ+ history

While this may seem particularly progressive in a Disney-Pixar feature film, it’s not the first time internet speculation has created a sense of anticipation. queer around a new Pixar movie. In 2016, Disney released the trailer for Finding Dory Y fans spotted an alleged lesbian couple in one of the scenes. And after the premiere of the long-awaited Toy Story 4online communities highlighted the presence of a female couple who dropped off their child at daycare.

Yet despite small inclusive moments like these, LGBTQ+ communities and fans have often been disappointed with the final product. So even though the kiss of Lightyear It’s a huge step forward for Disney, which in the past has shied away from any open representation of the LGBTQ+ community, so it’s no wonder many viewers remain skeptical. Is this just another miniscule attempt to please the public, or is this really a groundbreaking moment for Disney and Pixar?

Susman’s insistence that Hawthorne’s kiss will remain in all versions could be considered ironic considering Disney’s past. According to some reportssaid kiss in Lightyear had originally been cut. However, it was later restored following the recent campaign scandal Don’t Say Gaywhich led the company to grab headlines in the media.

Disney and Don’t Say Gay

In March 2022, the Florida Senate passed the bill Don’t Say Gay (“Don’t say gay”), which prohibits schools from discussing and promoting issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Given its huge cultural reputation in the state, fans and employees were frustrated by Disney’s lack of response or condemnation of the bill.

Following a staff strike and a huge reaction on social mediaDisney changed his mind, suspending all political donations to the Republican and Democratic parties and committing to donate $5 million to LGBTQ+ charities and organizations. Company CEO Bob Chapek also stated in an internal memo that the “biggest impact” the company could have “in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content we produce.”

In response to this, a letter attributed to “LGBTQIA+ Pixar employees and their allies,” published by Varietysuggested that “nearly all moments of openly gay affection are cut at Disney’s behest, regardless of protest from both creative teams and executive management.”

Animated woman in a space suit.
Alisha Hawthorne, voiced by Uzo Aduba, is in a relationship with another woman in the film.

Disney did not directly comment on the letter, but in another internal noteChapek responded by saying, “You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I have let you down. I am sorry”.

keep the kiss

Now, in a surprising plot twist, it appears that Disney is refusing to budge when it comes to Lightyearand chooses to assume the inevitable economic losses involved in not being present in the prohibition markets for the sake of greater awareness and projection of LGTBQ+ values.

In retrospect, Disney’s slow reaction to Don’t Say Gay it may have heightened this need for change and to offer a better and more contemporary public image. But it is still important to recognize that this change is taking place.

In the media a representation is being created queer much broader with popular platform series of streaming What sex education, heart stopper Y euphoriaY Lightyear it could be a sign that Disney is coming together (slowly). Disney’s great reputation and cultural impact have the power to shape viewers’ perceptions and awareness. With an audience made up mainly of children and families, seeing a same-sex kiss between two characters could be very important for self-identification, and could contribute to a greater acceptance of the LGTBQ+ community.

The criticisms of Lightyear and their same-sex kiss will be unavoidable, so it’s important that Disney stay true to LGTBQ+ values. I and other Disney-Pixar LGBTQ+ fans and allies, frustrated by their previous lack of representation, will be watching Lightyear Eagle-eyed, waiting for the glorious moment we’ve been anticipating: a true performance for the first time.

Matt WeaverPhD Student in Film, Media & Communication, University of Portsmouth

This article was originally published on The Conversation. read the original.

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