Is Disney creating a LGBTQ princess?

Disney. This word is practically synonymous with your-entire-childhood.

So, what about Disney princesses? Who springs to mind? Maybe it’s Snow White, the first Disney princess to be in a full-feature animated film; or Sleeping Beauty, the princess who has the least amount of dialogue to date; or maybe even Belle, who is enchanted by the Beast. The plot in almost every Disney princess film follows the story of a girl who falls in love with a boy. So, would you find it surprising if the girl fell in love with another girl, or a boy with another boy?

Disney animated films are known for their optimistic outlook and encouragement for audiences to never stop dreaming, which surely should be inclusive of all.

Over the last few decades, there have been various complaints regarding the appearance and characteristics of Disney princesses, ranging from comments on their unrealistic body figures to their ‘damsel in distress’ nature. To a certain extent Disney has already made some headway in introducing more diversity to its characters. The 1992 animated film Aladdin screened the appearance of the first racially diverse Disney princess, the Arabic Princess Jasmine. Since then, The Walt Disney Company has made further progress, with the creation of princesses such as Mulan (2008), Tiana (2009) and most recently, Moana (2016). However, it still has some way to go.

So, what is the next step for Disney? The latest rumour to circulate the Disneysphere is that an LGBTQ princess may be just around the corner. This notion has already received a lot of attention and positive feedback, with some saying that Disney must do more to use its influential power to spread positivity and promote equality. We have already seen some strong, independent princesses like Merida (2012), who openly dismissed the belief that she must have a man at her side, and Moana, who didn’t even meet a possible love interest throughout the duration of the film.

As for a representative for the LGBTQ community? The initial notion last year started on Twitter when the hashtag #GiveElsaAGirlfriend went viral. Fans expressed their hope that Queen Elsa should become the first Disney animated character to represent the LGBTQ community in the Frozen sequel, expected to hit the big screen in November 2019. However, the most recent spark of interest on this matter did not come from fans, but instead from an interview with the creators of Moana. When questioned about the possibility of an LGBTQ princess, they answered that there are no restrictions or boundaries in their way and, if the correct directorial team were put together, it could be a serious prospect. Although they assured that nothing is currently in the works, their comments fuelled many reactions from enthusiastic fans who began another tweeting frenzy.

Homophobia is an ongoing issue, with victimisation of members of the LGBTQ community causing serious issues from self-harming to suicide. Although some improvement has been made in the last 20 years or so in terms of acceptance and awareness, this issue is far from solved and a Disney princess representing the LGBTQ community could have a hugely positive impact. Disney animated films are known for their optimistic outlook and encouragement for audiences to never stop dreaming, which surely should be inclusive of all. The creation of an LGBTQ princess would be both a big step forward for Disney and an inspiration to people all around the world. Despite there currently being no confirmation from The Walt Disney Company, there is still a sense of hope that this could become a reality in the not too distant future.

Emma Prentice

(Image courtesy of Radio Times)