Kids media companies become inclusive of LGBT characters
Today’s youth want to see the real world reflected in entertainment, and that includes LGBT characters, particularly as Gen Z demonstrates an open-minded attitude. And with a majority of people personally knowing LGBT individuals, there has been an outcry to include them in all facets of entertainment. At long last, children’s media companies are answering the call, not only including secondary characters in same-sex relationships but also main characters.
The animated series Rosaline hit Hulu in June, in time for Gay Pride month. The title character is a lesbian (or bisexual) who has to navigate the usual fairytale tropes, including a big bad wolf, a wicked witch, and a fairy godmother who wants to set her up with a handsome prince. Spoiler alert: she ends up with a beautiful girlfriend instead. The series is the second on the platform from Daniel Errico, children’s book author and founder of Pajama Publishing. Errico has noted the need to give children positive characters and role models that reflect a broad range of lifestyles to allow them to validate their self-image.
There has been a strong public campaign for Disney Pixar, the behemoth of children’s films, to include more LGBT characters. In a scene from the trailer for Finding Dory, the company included a lesbian couple who appear briefly on screen. The latest cry is for the studio to give Elsa from Frozen a girlfriend in the forthcoming sequel. The groundswell has reached such a point that Idina Menzel, the actress who voices the character, has expressed her support. This would bring the animation house in line with competitors such as DreamWorks, which included a gay Viking in one of its How To Train Your Dragon films and Laika, which included a gay jock talking about his boyfriend in ParaNorman.
Disney has showed its progressive side on the small screen, introducing a gay couple in the season finale of Gravity Falls. The show, which airs on Disney XD, suggests that coworkers Sherriff Blubs and Deputy Durland are, in fact, an item as they confess their love for each other. Series creator Alex Hirsch has noted that he’s always wanted to include an LGBT character in his shows but feared he wouldn’t be allowed to on children’s TV. This isn’t the first time the children’s entertainment company has featured a same sex couple: previously, it included a lesbian couple on Good Luck Charlie.