These animated films for children who decide to stage LGBT characters

Like the British cartoon Peppa Pig, which recently introduced a couple of lesbian mothers in an episode, more and more animated works aimed at children are playing the card of diversity and inclusiveness. The next Disney film entitled “Avalonia, the strange journey” will also feature a homosexual hero for the first time.

Until a few years ago, diversity and inclusiveness were almost non-existent notions in animated films for children. Like the great Disney classics that rocked our childhood – such as “Peter Pan”, “Sleeping Beauty”, or even “Beauty and the Beast” – the stories told often featured the same kind of very stereotypical characters.

To the point of attracting the wrath of certain critics who deplore films that do not reflect the world as a whole, highlighting at the same time the systematic absence of characters from the LGBTQI + community. Even if the non-heterosexual orientation of certain figures can sometimes be assumed – like Frozen, whose song “liberated, delivered” is seen by some as a declaration of coming out – openly homosexuality claimed seems totally taboo.

>> Listen to the anthem of the movie Frozen:

But the tide is turning. Disney’s takeover of Pixar in 2006 and Marvel in 2009 – studios which have a reputation for better feeling the pulse of society and for adapting to it – is moreover fully in line with this desire for openness to the world. A revival that is beginning to be observed not only at Disney, but in the genre of children’s animation in the broad sense as well.

– “Scooby-Doo” –

It was an open secret, which had never before been revealed during the adventures of “Scooby Doo”: Vera, the nerd of the detective dog gang, comes out in the next animated film of the franchise.

The clips for this new opus, “Trick or Treat Scooby Doo”, made especially for Halloween, show Vera Dinkley blushing in her eternal orange dress, her glasses clouded with emotion, when she meets the film’s villain, costume designer Coco Devil. “I love Daphne so much! What should I do? What should I say?”, She then confides in another scene unveiled this week on social networks.

Many fans of the franchise had long believed that Vera was a lesbian, but it had never been confirmed on screen before. The producers of previous series and films had already left many clues to indicate that Vera was queer, but the studios had so far never agreed to make her an openly LGBT character.

– “Avalonia, the strange journey” –

Last June, spectators at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival had the honor of discovering the world exclusive trailer for “Avalonia, the strange journey”. The opportunity for them to meet Ethan Clide, the very first openly gay Disney studio hero.

As the creative director of Disney Animation pointed out, the choice of diversity and inclusiveness was becoming more and more obvious, as Disney studios will celebrate their hundredth anniversary in 2023. For Jennifer Lee, telling new stories offering a representation of the world as a whole was indeed becoming necessary.

“As a woman member of an industry that until recently had very few women in positions of responsibility, as soon as I became a creative director, I wanted to surround myself with people from the diversity, because I felt that our stories were not for everyone, whereas our work is about making universal stories. That’s why we went in search of these talents from of diversity, to give them the opportunity to tell their own stories in turn”, she explained on the occasion of the Annecy festival.

The animated film “Avalonia, the strange journey” which will take viewers on a fabulous journey to the heart of an unexplored and threatening land, populated by fantastic creatures, is expected on screens at the end of this year.

>> The trailer of “Avalonia, the strange journey”:

– Finding Dory –

Before that, it should be noted that in certain animated films from the Pixar studio, bought by Disney in 2006, allusions to homosexual characters are suggested. But like “Finding Dory” (2016) which seems to be the first animated film for children to tackle the issue from afar, these evocations appear in the background or are said during fairly short dialogues in order to be able to be cut during editing in countries where homosexuality is still reprimanded.

Thus, in “Finding Dory”, spin-off of “Finding Nemo”, we can quickly see a couple of women walking with a little girl in a water park. Although nothing is clearly explained by the producers of the animated film, many have seen in this short sequence the first lesbian couple of Disney.

>> See the scene in question in Finding Dory (2016):

In the same vein, Pixar’s animated film “Onward” released in 2020 features a policewoman who briefly mentions her partner’s daughter during a conversation.

– Buzz Lightning –

As the years go by, the more Disney studios seem to be moving towards more diversity and inclusiveness, even if that doesn’t appeal to everyone. Thus, more recently, “Buzz Lightyear” (2022), another film from Pixar studios, took the gamble of showing the very first lesbian kiss on screen in a children’s film.

At one point in the story, Alisha Hawthorne’s character, chief astronaut and Buzz’s best friend, very briefly kisses his wife. If the scene had originally been cut by Pixar studios, a subsidiary of Disney, it was finally reintroduced. Employees had indeed protested against the attitude of the world’s leading entertainment company, accusing it of not committing to defending the rights of LGBTQI + people.

>> The fleeting extract of the lesbian kiss in Buzz Lightyear

Note that the controversy was further reignited after the controversial adoption in Florida of the “Don’t say gay” law prohibiting the teaching of subjects related to sexual orientation or gender identity in elementary school. . However, calls for a boycott on social media led Disney CEO Bob Chapek to come out definitively against the law.

>> Read also: Florida punishes Disney for decrying its “Don’t say gay” law

This is why today, the lesbian kiss appears in all versions of the film, regardless of the country of destination. The censorship of the film proclaimed in fifteen countries, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Malaysia, has not changed anything.

>> Read also: ‘Buzz Lightyear’ movie banned in 14 countries over lesbian kiss

-Peppa Pig-

In episode 41 of the series entitled “Families”, Peppa talks with her friend Penny, the little polar bear. The latter speaks of her two mothers. [Capture d’écran Channel 5]

Small revolution also observed on the side of Peppa Pig. The British cartoon, which features a very popular sow among children around the world, has indeed chosen recently to introduce for the first time a couple of lesbian mothers in an episode.

In episode 41 of the series, entitled “Families” and broadcast on Tuesday in the United Kingdom, Peppa chats with her friend Penny, the little polar bear. The latter talks to her about her parents, while drawing their portrait: “I live with my mom and my other mom,” she explains. “A mom is a doctor and a mom cooks spaghetti.”

The initiative, which gives visibility to LGBTQI + people in a children’s program where they are still rarely represented, has been widely welcomed on social networks. For Chatty Ecoffey, co-director of the 360° Association, it was time.

“It is extremely important to represent family diversity as it is”, she explains at the microphone of La Matinale on Friday. “It’s important for the child to learn family diversity. And it’s also extremely important for the children concerned because they are finally visible, and their reality is finally shown in series for the general public. .”

Note that this initiative is the result of a petition two years ago asking for the creation of a family with parents of the same gender in the program. Nearly 24,000 signatures were then collected.

>> Listen to the subject of La Matinale:

A lesbian couple in the famous British cartoon Peppa Pig, a premiere / La Matinale / 1 min. / September 9, 2022

Fabien Grenon

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These animated films for children who decide to stage LGBT characters

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