Disney Animation Makes History Again, This Time With an Openly-Gay Teen Crush

Disney may have grown relatively quiet after a reported backlash over Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but the company isn’t losing steam where LGBT support is concerned.


The Mouse recently released its animated Lightyear to less than bountiful box office acclaim, and some might suggest one factor against the film was its same-sex kiss. Disney had cut the scene but reinstalled it after its showdown with Ron DeSantis.

Nonetheless, its next animated project may sport more Rainbow radiance than ever before: Strange World will include a gay teen romance.

Matthieu Saghezchi — Emmy-winning animation production designer — caught a glimpse of the movie while attending France’s Annecy 2022 International Film Festival.

Matthieu tweeted a Pride flag and historic news:

“Just saw the very first glimpse into #Disney‘s #StrangeWorld at the #Annecy2022 festival – it features the first openly gay teen romance in a Disney feature!!! #RepresentationMatters”

It’s boy-on-boy:

“The scene describes the son being very shy in front of his boy crush, and his dad comes in and says, ‘So nice to meet you! my son talks about you all the time,’ and further embarrasses his son. Very cute.”


Variety confirms the content:

Walt Disney screened three sequences from Strange World. In the first, Ethan flirts with heartthrob Diazo while friends from school look on, teasing in a friendly and warm-hearted way. Much to Ethan’s chagrin, his dad Searcher soon joins in, embarrassing his son with an overeager show of acceptance.

Back to Lightyear, The Independent notes it was banned “in 14 Middle Eastern and Asian countries, including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Egypt, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The film is unlikely to release in China as well, according to the South China Morning Post.”

Its gay-kiss reinstatement followed a disgruntled letter to the parent company by Disney-Pixar.

From an excerpt provided by Variety:

We at Pixar have personally witnessed beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, come back from Disney corporate reviews shaved down to crumbs of what they once were. Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.

Perhaps Pixar will be more satisfied with Strange World.

Either way, it’s certainly far from Disney’s first foray into #Pride promotion:

Disney Lops ‘Ladies and Gentlemen,’ Bounces ‘Boys and Girls’ in the Name of Inclusion


The Mouse Makes History: Disney Park Holds the Company’s First-Ever Official Gay Pride Celebration

Disney Launches Its ‘Pride Collection’ Product Line

The Mouse Makes History: Disney Channel Features Its First Gay Teen Couple

Strange World will doubtfully win back conservatives who passed on Lightyear due to onscreen amore. But perhaps the company has finally made peace with what audience it wishes to entertain — and which crowd it will no longer bow to.

The film — which the Daily News calls a “refreshing nod to inclusivity” — stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Gabrielle Union, Lucy Liu, Dennis Quaid and Jaboukie Young-White.



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