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March 13, 2011
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Inspired by an essay I'm currently writing, I've decided to compile a list of what I consider to be the most ambiguously gay characters within the Disney animated canon (and one Pixar example for fun). Because as prudish and conservative as Disney is, there is a TON of ho yay contained within these films. Let's get started, shall we?


10. Flower from Bambi

"He can call me a flower if he wants to. I don't mind."

Now, before anyone says "Oh, but he got married at the end!", is anyone familiar with the concept of a beard? tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php… Flower is about as straight as a slinky, my friends. His name is FLOWER, for God's sake. Not to mention the gender confusion; up until he becomes an adult, you wouldn't be faulted for thinking he's a girl. When he first appears, he's practically blushing in Bambi's presence and he just about keels over when Bambi calls him pretty. Oh hell, who am I kidding, when he first appears, he's nose to nose with Bambi, which I think pop culture has pretty well established as being animal code for a kiss, right up there with licking your partner's cheek. Oh, and he named his freaking kid after Bambi. Someone had a forbidden crush going on, if you catch my drift. Not just because of the species barrier, but because Bambi's a freaking prince. No wonder he married the first skunk chick he lays eyes on. Flower would have been higher on the list had it not been for his lack of screen time, but considering he's from the earliest film on this list, I think that's still an achievement.

9. Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective

"You followed me, I followed you, we were like each others shadows for a while..."

Ahhh, foe yay. It is like a sweet, sweet wine to me. :3 Ratigan's cultured and theatrical manner just screams of camp, to say nothing of his angry sexual tension with Basil. I don't have as much to say about Ratigan as I did about Flower because I think his ambiguous gayness speaks for itself (seriously, listen to "Goodbye So Soon" and tell me it's not a love song), but I'll just say this: his goal in the film is to overthrow and replace the Queen. OH, THE MYRIAD OF WAYS WE CAN INTERPRET THAT.

8. Cogsworth and Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast

"Well, there's the usual things: Flowers, chocolates, promises you don't intend to keep..."

Once again, I hear the dissent from readers who point out Lumiere's relationship with Fifi/Babette/Whatever the hell her name is. Well, if I may quote Legally Blonde the Musical, "Depending on the time of day the French go either way". Yeah, essentially what I'm saying is that I think Lumiere is a flexible kind of guy as far as sexuality goes. Cogsworth on the other hand? Totally gay. Much like Ratigan, he gives off a very camp vibe. Being voiced by a gay actor definitely helps give that impression, but add into the equation his married couple-esque bantering with Lumiere and the fact that the two are nigh on inseparable and you see where I'm coming from. Plus, though it's a rather small thing, I always raise an eyebrow during the 'healing' scene when Lumiere actually clings to Cogsworth as they back away from the Beast's rage. Almost like he's saying "Protect me, honey!" What? Reading too deeply into things? What makes you say that?

7. Baloo and Bagheera from The Jungle Book

"You wouldn't marry a panther, would you?"

This is the third highly cultured British character in a row. I'm sensing a pattern. Anyhoo, these two are on the list primarily because they spend the entire film acting as parents to a young human, with Bagheera taking on the logical and protective motherly role and Baloo being the fun and irresponsible father who becomes considerably more mature and responsible when he starts to think of Mowgli as his child. Much like Lumiere and Cogsworth, these two are frequently engaged in married couple banter. They clearly knew each other quite well prior to the Mowgli adventure, and it's clear that they stick together after it's over. Not to mention the sequence where the above quote comes from. After all, what's Baloo's answer to that question? "Come to think of it, no panther ever asked me!" complete with nudge nudge, wink wink. Also, I would like to point out that, in some adaptations of The Jungle Book, Bagheera is portrayed as female. That really has nothing to do with my point, but I just find it incredibly amusing.

6. Francis and Slim from A Bug's Life

"So, being a ladybug automatically makes me a girl!"

Here's the Pixar example I mentioned earlier. Francis' character arc in the film is directly tied to his gender identity. Being a ladybug, he is constantly mistaken for female, and perhaps to compensate, he has an extremely short temper and a gruff personality. But under the influence on the little girl ants he takes under his wing, he starts to reveal the softer side of his personality. The whole situation to me screams of "just because I'm gay doesn't mean I'm a sissy". And yes, I legitimately do think that Francis and Slim were a couple in the film. Have I mentioned that I'm insane? I'm pretty sure I have. But seriously, watch the film again and tell me you don't see it.

5. Kuzco from The Emperor's New Groove

"Hate your hair, not likely, yikes, yikes yikes, and...let me guess, you have a great personality."

To quote my brother, "No heterosexual man would dismiss a bunch of beautiful women by nitpicking their hair." Kuzco seriously talks like one of those sassy gay guys they get to be fashion consultants on makeover shows. Also, he dresses in drag in the sequel and looks very comfortable doing so. I think this pretty much speaks for itself. xD

4. Radcliffe and Wiggins from Pocahontas

"My rivals back home, it's not that I'm bitter, but think how they'll squirm when they see how I glitter!"

Two words, folks: Gift baskets. Wiggins is so gay that I honestly expect rainbows to fly out of his mouth when he speaks. Radcliffe is not as obvious, but he definitely gives off a very foppish air. And really, watch their interactions; you can't tell me these two weren't fucking in the tents while the other men were digging. And of course, we once again have David Ogden Steirs voicing Radcliffe, which adds a lot to the foppish qualities. You know, it just occurred to me that Steirs wasn't officially out of the closet when he recorded these roles. If he had been, I wonder if they would have been portrayed any different? Honestly, I think it would have made it even more obvious.

3. Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King

"What do you want me to do? Dress in drag and do the hula?"

Once again, we have a gay actor (Nathan Lane) playing an ambiguously gay character, and once again, we have the adopted parents angle. Now, I'd like to point out that the whole 'Timon and Pumbaa are Simba's surrogate parents' thing is played far more obviously in The Lion King 1 1/2; in the first film, it's played more as a friendship. 1 1/2 also is far more obvious in playing on Timon's queerness; he's the odd one out amongst the meerkats, and he only finds happiness when he meets Pumbaa. These two may not do as much of the married couple bantering as some of the others on this list, but they still give off the vibe of being a long-time happy couple. The Lion King's expanded universe has shown on numerous occasions that Timon and Pumbaa need each other and cannot be happy when they are apart, and hey, that's pretty much the point where heterosexual life partners bleeds into ho yay, right? 8D

2. Hugo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

"The city of lovers is glowing this evening. True, that's because it's on fire, but still there's l'amour."

You remember when I said Disney has never had any openly gay characters? Well, Hugo is so close he might as well be covered in rainbow graffiti. He spends a good portion of the movie lusting after Djali, a male goat. I swear to God, the only reason this squeaked past the censors is because Hugo is a rock. Now, I've heard some people make the argument that Djali might be a female goat; however, he is explicitly referred to as male by Esmerelda at one point, and honestly guys, I think she'd be able to tell the difference. As for whether Hugo can tell the difference, consider the time that passes between the first movie and its sequel. If Hugo had been unaware of Djali's true gender, someone would have clued him in by the time the sequel takes place. And yet, by the sequel, he seems to have stepped up in his flirtations and, hell, Djali even reciprocates in the end! ....You know, I just realized that it's three in the morning and I'm writing about the sexuality of a fucking rock. Anyone know where I can purchase a life?

1. Jumba and Pleakley from Lilo and Stitch

"You're just jealous cause I'm pretty!"

My. Frigging. God. I could write a fucking BOOK on how gay these two are. Pleakley's cross-dressing, the fact that they masquerade as husband and wife even when there's no need to, the fact that they almost got married in an episode of the series and they both seemed pleased as punch about it. Since it would take me forever to list every single piece of evidence that these two are as gay as a bag of Skittles, I direct you instead to a marvelous essay written by WeyrdChic: community.livejournal.com/ship… Enjoy!


So, there's my list. And hey, if you guys can think of more, I'd love to hear your opinions! For now, I'm going to bed.
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:iconliloandstitchpikaxar:
LiloAndStitchPikaxar Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014  New member Student Digital Artist
When lilo and stitch was created gay wasnt a thing é3é
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:iconthedarklordkeisha:
thedarklordkeisha Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2014
I will just go ahead and assume you're kidding.
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:iconliloandstitchpikaxar:
LiloAndStitchPikaxar Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2014  New member Student Digital Artist
I am not  On May 17, 2004 same sex in USA is leglized. Also how can an alien from another planet be gay?
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:iconichbindespreuben:
IchbindesPreuBen Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Gott, loved Kuzco man xD only saw him once but once was enough <3
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:iconppg-fan-girl:
PPG-Fan-Girl Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014
Omg this is like, 3 years old. I can't believe I found it. xD
In The Emperor's New School, Kuzco had a crush on a girl...but that show doesn't count because it was stupid and totally sucked! The show ruined the movie...but anyway, I guess Kuzco really IS gay.

I suspected that Timon and Puumba are gay. ;)
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:iconhippygurl6:
HippyGurl6 Featured By Owner May 28, 2014  Student Filmographer
This just made everything more interesting. I don't think that I'll be able to ever take off the shipping goggles for anything ever again. Thank you.
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:iconbobi200:
Bobi200 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2014  Hobbyist
I wont say their gay. Its just a joke they slip in there of guys acting like girls. Pleakley was in particular was hilarious to watch and dressing like a girl was his disguise.
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:icongod-like-thing:
God-like-thing Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014  Hobbyist Filmographer
I think you overlook flamboyant characters or characters who have some bromance between them and put the gay label on them. 
From your list, tops - 1 or 2 might be called gay. 
Do you think all males in cartoons should act tough and macho? What would the main character do then? Just as in real life they portray more sensitive personas who act to balance out the main character. Have you not noticed that in real life there are tons of sensitive, colorful people who are not gay at all?
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:iconthedarklordkeisha:
thedarklordkeisha Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014
Have you not noticed the word "ambigously" in the title?

Of course I don't think all flamboyant people are gay, and of course I don't think all men should be tough and macho. Sensitive men can be straight, macho men can be gay, and vice versa. That's how real life works, no one is the same. But Disney is fiction, and relies pretty heavily on stereotypes in order to make characters easily recognizable and relateable to the audience. The characters on this list were chosen due to displaying similarities to "coded gay" stereotypes. Disney has an extremely heteronormative slant in its films and the chances of them having a well-written, non stereotypical openly gay person in one of their animated films is, at the moment, basically zero. At the time I wrote this journal, I was researching coded gay characters in old Hollywood films and decided to see if I could find similar traits in Disney characters. Sure enough, I found a ton. If you're unfamiliar with the term, "coded gay" is a method used in Hollywood films to imply to the audience that a character is gay without stating it outright in order to fool the censors. This might be by making a character overly flamboyant, or very touchy-feely with a member of the same sex, or having them subvert gender sterotypes. Coded gay characters have, for the most part, gone by the wayside in recent years- with the exception of children's films. With VERY few exceptions (and really, the only one I can think of is Paranorman), homosexuality is a non-entity in children's media, silenced or censored because of an absolutely ludicrous notion of protecting children's innocence. Therefore, if a writer wants to have a gay character, they have to attribute recognizable stereotypes to him/her in order to get the point across to an older audience. That said, some writers use coded gay traits as a way of creating a sense of "otherness" to a character, hence why so many Disney villains are very foppish. If that was all I was looking for when I made this list, it would have included a lot more bad guys, like Jafar and Scar. But that wasn't my criteria; I was looking for characters who you could, realistically, make a case for as being gay or bi. (I really should have emphasized that these characters could easily be bi as well. And I wish I'd included at least one female character. Hindsight's a bitch.) Were I writing this now, I'd have been a lot clearer about why I made the choices, but I wrote this thing for fun and was not taking it seriously in the slightest. (As evidenced by the constant bad jokes.) I do, however, take homosexual representation in children's media seriously, being queer myself and a supporter of gay rights. As to your "tough and macho" statement, there's plenty of sensitive and colorful straight characters in Disney films. The vast majority of the Disney princes and heroes fill that criteria. As well, I could have easily chosen non-sterotypical Disney characters for this list. To give an example, let's pick Joshua Sweet from "Atlantis: The Lost Empire". He's strong, very masculine, does not show any interest in women, and fits into none of the most well known stereotypes. I could easily say that Sweet is gay; there's no evidence to dispute it. But there's no evidence to prove it either; if I'd included him, no one would have understood why. The characters I chose for this list were ones who you could interpret as queer. Were they intended to be queer in canon? Probably not. But that's the fun of speculation. Is it absolute BS that I have to rely on outdated stereotypes in order to pinpoint ambiguously gay characters in children's films? Of course it is. It is a complete crock of shit. But until we get an openly gay/bi/queer Disney hero, stereotypes are all I have to go on to find some sort of queer presence. And really, the alternative- that all these characters are straight and other forms of sexuality do not exist in the Disney universe- is a far, far bigger load of bullshit. So quite frankly, I'll take what I can get for now.
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