Two weeks ago, I watched Disney’s newest princess film “Raya and the Last Dragon,” and as I was watching I couldn’t help but notice the relationship between Raya and Namaari. They had this love-hate relationship, but I couldn’t help but notice the flirty banter during their fights or how Namaari sometimes nervously brushed her hair behind her ear whenever she’s talking to Raya. The movie got me thinking, why hasn’t Disney given us a canon LGBTQA+ main character yet?
This isn’t the first time Disney had the opportunity to give their audience a LGBTQA+ character. When Disney announced a sequel to “Frozen,” the hashtag #giveelsaagirlfriend started making the rounds, and even Idina Menzel — the voice of Elsa — said she wouldn’t mind if Elsa got a girlfriend. But alas, Disney did not succumb to the pressure and left Elsa a single, independent woman.
One thing I will credit Disney for is they have been able to make some amazing princesses who have stayed single and are exceptional role models for young children. I mean, where would we be without Mulan, Merida, Elsa and Moana proving women can kick butt and lead their people just fine on their own?
Having strong, independent female leaders is great for Disney to show — I think people need to see that on the big screen. But there are other minorities out there in the world that need representation and who need it at this time.
I think having a LGBTQA+ character would be a great place to begin. It’s crucial to show children that being a part of the LGBTQA+ community is OK. Teenagers especially have enough confusion going on throughout middle and high school, and I’m sure it would help them come to terms with their sexuality even more if they saw a company like Disney was willing to take a risk and put a same-sex couple front and center for the world to see.
If Disney was willing to put a LGBTQA+ character in the spotlight, it would help pave the way for other studios to follow their lead. I know there are a lot of big companies introducing LGBTQA+ protagonists, such as Nickelodeon’s “The Legend of Korra” and “The Loud House,” but Disney has so much influence in the media that I’m sure their first step would encourage other companies to do the same.
The world is changing, and I think it’s time media companies and Hollywood writers realize that. It’s time for the LGBTQA+ community to get the representation they deserve and for children and teenagers to see this for it to become the new normal. I know change can be hard for people, but change can’t be stopped. So instead of getting upset about it, how about we embrace it? The community deserves to see themselves on screen to feel seen and heard.
I believe there is change coming, but writers and producers have got to stop dipping their toes in the water and jump in headfirst.