For a studio that recently weathered barbs for shifting the “Love, Simon” spinoff from Disney+ to Hulu, Disney has just made a forward leap in terms of representation with the latest Pixar animated short “Out.” It’s now streaming on Disney+. This quirky and surprisingly moving short film comes from director Steven Clay Hunter, making his debut after decades as an animator on Pixar films.
“Out” centers on a young gay man, Greg, who’s not out to his parents and is (naturally) about to move into the big city to live with his boyfriend, Manuel. Unexpectedly, Greg’s buoyant parents show up unannounced with a tray of pizza casserole to lend a helping hand in the move. Which finds Greg suddenly needing to scramble to cover up evidence of his sexuality, and his relationship, which includes a framed photo of the happy couple, and a calendar of sexy firemen.
What follows is a kind of “Freaky Friday”-esque, body-swapping plot where Greg and his dog Jim suddenly switch places, and Greg as Jim has to resort to all sorts of rascally bad-dog techniques to keep his mother’s prying hands off that framed photo. To his eventual surprise, it turns out that Greg’s mother is more intuitive than he ever realized.
Almost shockingly, a gay couple is even seen kissing, albeit briefly, in this otherwise tame but still revolutionary in its own way film, as it features animation studio Pixar’s first gay lead. Plus, it’s also revolutionary that it’s also available on the otherwise family-friendly streaming service. One small step to normalizing gay characters in animated films for youngsters.
Pixar, earlier this year, featured a gay character prominently in the animated hit “Onward,” which is also available to stream on Disney+. The passing LGBTQ reference occurs as the film’s elf brothers (played by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt), collectively disguised as their mom’s centaur boyfriend, named Officer Bronco, discuss parenting with two female police officers. One of them is a purple cyclops named Specter, who’s voiced by Lena Waithe and is, according to the studio, Disney’s first openly gay character. Specter tells “Officer Bronco,” “It’s not easy being a new parent. My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out, okay?”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” also featured a brief same-sex kiss, but “Out” is the first time we’ve seen a same-sex couple take center stage. Watch a teaser for the nine-minute short below.