An episode of the new Disney+ series Baymax! sparked controversy on the internet for showing a Trans character buying menstrual pads and giving advice to the hero who was going to purchase some.
While some have taken this opportunity to call Disney “evil” and denounce a supposed “plan to re-engineer the discourse around kids and sexuality”, fans defended this display of inclusivity and diversity in the series.
Based on the big soft robot from the animated feature film Big Hero 6, Baymax! is a new series for kids released on Disney+ which follows the inflatable healthcare hero’s adventures. The third episode of the series shows Sofia, one of the young protagonists, dealing with her first period and the kind robot is thus sent on an errand to buy menstrual pads.
While at the store, the protagonist of Baymax! asks for advice and one of the people that joins in with a suggestion is a transmasculine character wearing a T-shirt in the colours of the Trans flag. It is such an important moment of inclusivity and education, as not only does the scene provide relevant information on sexual health topics like periods and puberty, but it also clearly displays that cisgender women are not the only ones who menstruate.
Unsurprisingly, some didn’t take it with the same spirit. The scene sparked controversy online even before the episode was released, when conservative writer Christopher Rufo shared leaked footage of the episode on Twitter, describing it with the following words: “I’ve obtained leaked video from Disney’s upcoming show “Baymax,” which promotes the transgender flag and the idea that men can have periods to children as young as two years old”.
Wait til all the people who were mad at Turning Red, see the new Baymax series! Bahahaha! We love to see it! pic.twitter.com/5Cf8Zh6uKa
— Patrick Dougall (@PatrickADougall) June 29, 2022
He then also added: “It’s all part of Disney’s plan to re-engineer the discourse around kids and sexuality”. Others also criticised the episode, calling it “straight up demonic” and giving out warnings about Disney going from “being family-friendly to being outright evil”.
Despite this pushback, many fans of Baymax! defended this display of much-needed representation, pointing out how it makes complete sense to include a Trans character buying pads in an episode about the realities of menstruation, since many Trans individuals experience periods.
— quorra @ BAYMAX! ?️? (@lucaspaguro) June 29, 2022
This wasn’t the first instance in which the show demonstrated its commitment to inclusivity and the portrayal of diversity, as in another episode the white soft robot convinces two young men to go out together by analysing their physical response to the attraction they feel for each other.
As a matter of fact, in the past year, Disney has taken baby steps towards more inclusive representation in their series and movies with the releases of Turning Red, about having periods, and Lightyear, which showed a kiss between two married women that prompted 14 countries to ban the film altogether. Since all of these examples have infuriated various conservative viewers, they might be on the right track.
— joan of art ?⚔️ @ pride pups kickstarter! ?️? (@JoanOfArtShoppe) June 29, 2022
© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.