In a huge success for a young social justice activist, Disney have added a lesbian couple to the Dutch release of their Donald Duck comic.
10 year-old Fenna criticised Disney for the lack of representation of LGBT+ couples whilst appearing on children’s TV News programme Jeugdjournal, stating, “There are no gays or lesbians in Donald Duck. I’ve checked them all.”
“My parents are gay and lesbian,” she says, “and I think it’s important that it’s just as normal. But in ‘Duck City’ it’s as if they don’t exist at all.” Fenna raises an important issue with this; Disney including characters, even in the background, is an amazing opportunity for the normalisation of all couple types and family units.
Fenna continues, “You always see a lot of couples, some of which could also be LGBT.” Fenna was then taken to the studio where the comic was drawn to see her suggestion brought to life.
LGBT+ representation in Disney, however, is still woefully small, with only a handful of characters actively featured to date, including a lesbian couple on Doc Mcstuffins and teenage character ‘Cyrus Goodman’ of Andi Mack fame getting his own coming out storyline, both back in 2017.
Whilst this is a definite step forward for Disney, who classically have issues with lack of representation and diversity, backlash from conservative parent groups may have had Disney bosses running scared from inclusion.
It could be argued that characters such as Elsa from Frozen are inclusive, with her journey of self-discovery and ultimate acceptance being a positive (if subtle) metaphor for coming out, a more direct approach would be a leap forward for children’s education and knowledge about all types of family units and relationships, especially with the planned LGBT+ inclusive lessons in UK schools on the horizon.
Let’s hope going forward, Disney can continue to support young social justice activists like Fenna and her parents, and learn from the bravery of their editor Joan Lommers who made this inclusive addition.
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