Film Corner: Why I Want Queer Disney Princesses

Every so often someone goes semi-viral with a take that I will try to summarize as: "Disney doesn't care about you. Stop asking them for queer characters and representation. Support indie authors/creators instead."

Look. I'm a queer indie author and creator. I would absolutely love for everyone to support me and read my work. (I think it's really good! But I'm biased!) But I also strongly support asking Disney--I would even go so far as to say I support badgering and bullying Disney--into giving us queer main characters, queer princesses, and real queer representation that isn't just a minor side character being briefly in the vicinity of another character who might share their gender and GASP the "first" gay Disney character since the last "first" one.

Why? Why do I want queer characters included in soulless corporate media that only cares about us if they can get our money?

Well, for one, I do occasionally like to watch a nice flashy animated movie and I would like to see someone like me in those movies someday. We haven't had a queer Disney princess, nor a trans one, nor one that deals with a visible physical disability. (Unless you count Quasimodo as a Disney Princess and I kind of *do*, but his movie unfortunately has some...other issues.) It is possible to BOTH "support indie creators" AND want to see yourself in expensive flashy heavily-marketed soulless corporate media. Consuming the occasional Disney movie doesn't mean that I suddenly don't have time, or won't make the effort, to watch other things.

But secondly, and honestly more importantly to me: I don't ask Disney for queer representation for myself. I do it for all the folks who need queer representation and don't even realize it. I was a queer child who needed to be told that trans people exist, that gay people exist, that queer people exist, and that we're normal and wholesome and just fine as we are. I needed my parents to be shown queer representation in popular mainstream movies, so they could come around to recognizing that "queer" doesn't mean "child predator" or "inveterate sinner" but instead it just means that some people are a little different from them and it's fine.

We know--we have studies to show this--that repeated contact with realistic fictional representation of marginalized identities reduces overall social bigotry against the people being represented. The normal wholesome fictional character replaces the scary bogeyman that people have built up in their minds. You simply cannot continue to insist to yourself and your children that all (for example) queer women are seductive sirens luring good women away from their husbands when a bright cheery Rapunzel is on-screen shyly falling in love with another girl. What's more is that bigots *know* this and it's why they're so insistent that Disney not become inclusive--they want to teach their children to hate queer people and they know that will be impossible if someone popular like Elsa is queer. Kids can't hate Elsa.

In short: support indie creators, yes, please. But please can we stop the rhetoric that only a brainwashed fool would want representation from evil soulless corporate media? We are allowed to consume junk food alongside our organic artisanal fare, and we're allowed to want representation for all the baby queers out there who still don't even have a word for what they are.


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