Parents Should Not Worry About the Gay Character in “Beauty and the Beast”

Posted on March 13, 2017 at 3:08 pm

This week’s live action remake of “Beauty and the Beast” features a character who is gay, leading to some complaints, some controversy, and one theater refusing to show the film. I applaud Disney for the way they have created the character and think the film is entirely suitable for family viewing.

Copyright Disney 2017
Copyright Disney 2017

In what way is the character gay? The character is LeFou, played by Josh Gad (Olaf from “Frozen”). He is a sort of sidekick/henchman to the film’s villain Gaston. Making him gay just means he has something of a gently suggested crush on Gaston, which makes his character more sympathetic and his loyalty more understandable.

At the end of the film, we see him dancing with a female character and then briefly with another male character. That male character seems happy when magically put in a dress — for just a second or two.

That’s it. There is nothing explicit or sexual about the portrayal.

Why is it important to have gay characters in movies for families? Families should see characters who reflect the diversity of the world around us. Children need to see the people they know portrayed in the media. Most kids will not even notice whether LeFou is gay or not, but kids who have gay friends or family members or whose classmates may have gay parents or siblings or who may think they may be gay themselves may find it reassuring to see a gay character appreciated and happy.

What should I say if my child asks about the character or the controversy? “Some boys like girls and some boys like boys.” “Some people are uncomfortable about others being gay because they don’t understand it, but fortunately, stories like this help us see how gay people are cherished members of our community in movies like they are in the world.” “There are other gay characters in stories, too, like Dumbledore.” And “I’m always happy to hear your thoughts and try to answer your questions.”

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GLBTQ and Diversity Understanding Media and Pop Culture

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