One small step for representation at Disney, one larger leap for Pixar.
Upcoming Pixar film “Lightyear” has officially restored a same-sex kiss between two romantically involved female characters amid the backlash against Walt Disney Co.’s stance on the homophobic Florida bill dubbed “Don’t Say Gay.”
In the animated film, Chris Evans voices the titular Buzz Lightyear, the real astronaut who inspired the “Toy Story” action figures. Uzo Aduba plays fellow scientist Hawthorne, who is described as in a romantic relationship with another woman. Per unnamed Pixar sources, as reported by Variety, Hawthorne’s sexuality was never in question, but a kiss between her and her partner was cut from the film.
The scene has now been returned to the film, marking a turning point for LGBTQ+ representation in Pixar animated features. Per Variety, Disney creatives have a history of trying to curb Pixar’s attempts to represent a variety of romantic relationships onscreen.
The Variety story also revealed that efforts to include LGBTQ elements in Pixar films like “Luca,” “Soul,” and “Inside Out” were also shot down.
Disney was criticized for financially backing Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in Florida primary schools. Amid the “Don’t Say Gay” backlash, Pixar employees issued a statement on March 9 citing that “Disney corporate reviews” set out to diminish LGBTQ+ storylines at Pixar. The allegation comes on the heels of Disney CEO Bob Chapek applauding the “inspiring content” produced by the Walt Disney Co. while simultaneously funding anti-gay legislation. Select Disney employees also planned a week-long walkout protest.
“Nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest, regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar,” the statement read. “Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.”
The letter went on to slam Disney for censoring same-sex relationships onscreen.
In 2021, Blue Sky Studios staffers alleged that the since-scuttled adaptation of graphic novel “Nimona” included a same-sex kiss that raised “concerns” for Disney execs. The story’s queer elements also included a gender non-conforming lead character. The erstwhile Disney-owned Blue Sky has since shuttered, and the project lost with it.
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