Homophobes and homosexuals enraged for entirely different reasons
By Rebecca Peterson, Humour Editor
Disney made headlines this past week for confirming that their first canonically gay character will appear in the upcoming Beauty and the Beast remake. Gaston’s sidekick from the original animation, Doormat Lackey McFool, is to be reimagined as a three-dimensional, sympathetic character with respectful treatment of his sexuality being a plot point in the film.
“We just felt like it was time to acknowledge that, you know, gay people exist,” said Disney spokesperson Piers Soname. “It was pitched to us that we should give such an important role to a significant and well-developed character—you know, first ‘real gay’ and all, it’s a lot of pressure. At the end of the day, though, we happened to find a character that was already heavily queer-coded, and also spends an entire song talking about how great the villain is. We thought ‘You know what would be fresh and innovative? If we made this guy actually gay instead of just heavily-implied gay!’ That’s how you get the Oscar, folks, by taking risks.”
This decision, as to be expected, has upset a great many people, though the reasons for the backlash and outrage seem to vary wildly depending on who you speak to.
“This is quite simply political correctness gone mad,” said Other Press strawman John White, in a statement to absolutely no one, this past weekend. “When I see a wholesome family movie like Beauty and the Beast, I expect it to reflect my own personal family values! This is the heartwarming story of a sweet, feminine, beautiful girl abducted by an unholy human buffalo-bear hybrid, where Stockholm Syndrome eventually overtakes her will power and results in an eternal love between her and her furry captor. It shows how love conquers all, and how we can overlook the uglier sides of a relationship because if we do that long enough our partners will eventually turn into conventionally attractive people! It’s an important message for young children, and one that I wholeheartedly approve of. If they were to expand on anything, I would rather they show the gruesome lynching of Belle and the Beast a few decades later when the French Revolution occurs, and all the spurned villagers from Belle’s past storming the castle to overthrow the bourgeoisie. That would be a far more valuable reflection of real-world politics than shoe-horning in a homosexual.”
Conversely, Petera Careb—a different kind of strawman who also works on behalf of the Other Press—had this to say on the matter:
“Well, I can appreciate what Disney is doing; they’re sort of on the right track? I mean, good for them, finally realizing that 10 per cent of the population and at least 40 per cent of your average Disney audience is made up of LGBTQ+ people. Though, it’s kind of upsetting to see what they think of us, based off of this choice. You know, your first-ever gay character is a helpless, buffoonish patsy who’s obsessed with a straight villain who happens to be the embodiment of toxic masculinity. It sends a sort of disheartening message. Disney villains have been queer-coded for years: Look at Scar, Ursula, Hades, even Jafar. Each of these characters have exhibited gender-nonconforming, non-heteronormative traits. Simply confirming that you’re setting queer people up to be villains isn’t exactly progressive. I don’t know if I should be ‘grateful for the representation’ when the representation is rampantly shitty.”
There are strong opinions on both sides of the issue to be certain, but if one thing is for sure, it’s that straight moderate liberals are ecstatic about the announcement.
“I’ve already written, like, three slash fics about Gaston and McFool,” said Brenda O’Tumbooler, an entirely different sort of strawman from the first two mentioned in this article. “I just can’t even! I want McFool to be my #GBF. That’s ‘Gay Best Friend,’ by the way. Oh, don’t worry, I can say that. I have like, so many friends who are gay, and I recently had to come out as an ally, so I practically know what it’s like.”