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We finally get a queer Disney protagonist (and not just a token side character)

How many queer characters do you see in a cartoon show? Not a lot.

Sure, you have the likes of Officer Specter, an openly lesbian cop from the movie “Onward.” “Star vs. the Forces of Evil” featured a queer couple kissing, and Star herself can be read as bisexual. “Gravity Falls” dropped a lot of subtle hints about their possibly queer characters: from Blubs and Durland’s relationship to Grenda being trans. 

But that’s sort of the problem: They’re all either supporting characters or simply speculated by fans to be queer. Disney often falls short in its attempts at a diverse cartoon show with token gay characters that appear for a few seconds onscreen only for those few seconds to get cut off. 

“Owl House,” however, actually has a queer person of color as the lead―and the first to be canonically queer from the beginning. Luz Noceda, a Dominican-American teenager, is living the fantasy alternate universe of her dreams battling witches and demons. (Not to spoil anything here, but the obligatory prom episode basically confirms everything.)

The show was created by “Gravity Falls” storyboard artist and animator Dana Terrace. In a series of tweets, she wrote that developing this series meant a lot to her as she is bisexual herself and creating the characters helped her come to terms with her identity. 

“I was very open about my intention to put queer kids in the main cast. I’m a horrible liar so sneaking it in would’ve been hard haha,” she wrote. “When we were greenlit I was told by certain Disney leadership that I could NOT represent any form of bi or gay relationship on the channel.”

 

Creating multi-dimensional queer characters is one thing, but getting the green light for them is another story. Some countries in the past either banned the airing of Disney films with gay scenes or censored them out entirely.

Alex Hirsch, the creator of “Gravity Falls” (who basically just confirmed that Wendy is bi), expressed support for Terrace’s series and shared his own experience working with Disney. 

While the success of “Owl House” is a good step towards inclusion, Disney still has a long way to go as many of their characters remain queer-coded and hardly confirmed to actually be queer. 

As Terrace said, “representation matters.” Queer characters written by queer people have geniune stories to tell, too. If we truly want to be inclusive, we can start by recognizing that queer characters can be the heroes, too, and not just the quirky sidekicks.

 

Read more:

“Adventure Time” is finally giving us the Bubbline spin-off we deserve

Yes, your fave childhood character is asexual—deal with it

Know if your ‘Avatar’ nation is pro-gay rights in this graphic novel

 

Still from “Owl House”

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