While there have been plenty of hints and potential gay subtext in a lot of the studio’s films (enough that some Christian groups are convinced that any Disney film that has a theme suggesting someone should be themselves, is trying to turn the whole world gay), there haven’t been any properly, unequivocally gay moments in any of Disney’s family movies. However, if director Bill Condon is to be believed, that will change with the live-action Beauty & The Beast.
He tells Attitude that the movie will add a little more the story of the arrogant Gaston’s acolyte, Lefou, played by Josh Gad. Condon says, “LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realising that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
There’s no info on exactly what the scene it, but it would suggest that at the end of the film, Lefou might get a bit of romance with a man who isn’t Gaston. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s played, and whether it’s done in a explicit way, or whether Disney will hedge its bets by having it as something that adults will understand while it’ll go over the kids’ heads.
Disney has flirted with gay characters before, but usually in coded or secretive ways. For example, in last year’s Zootropolis, Judy Hopps’ male neighbours may well have been a gay couple. This wasn’t clear from the actual film (they could have been roommates), and no one even thought about it until it was noticed in the credits they had the same surname. The Beauty & The Beast scene certainly seems like it’ll be a step forward, although not exactly the sort of fully realised LGBT storyline we might like to see in a Disney movie.