Gaston berates LeFou in the classic angry mob scene in Beauty and The Beast.Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” will show the first canonically gay Disney character, LeFou.
There has been some backlash from more conservative fans of Disney, a drive-in theater is even refusing to show the movie due to the character.
Like with many choices, the choice to have LeFou be gay has some pros and cons.
One pro of LeFou is a small representation of the LGBT+ community in a Disney film. Who knows how many in the community will watch this movie and think “there’s a character for me now in Disney.” Those that are still “in the closet” may feel safer about coming out to parents or to friends.
One con could be that conservative parents may not take their children to see the movie, causing enough backlash so that Disney refuses to make another gay character. LeFou is also a villain, or at least the sidekick to the villain. What if his presence as a gay man on the villain’s side makes others perceive gay people as villainous?
The scene where LeFou’s sexuality comes into play is written as a moment of confusion and a circulation of feelings. The director of the film, Bill Condon, reportedly said on the subject, “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody just realizing he has these feelings.” This could make for a wonderful coming out/coming to terms scene that could resonate with anyone in the LGBT+ community in the audience.
But again, LeFou is a villain’s sidekick whose name literally translates into “The Fool.” Names tend to have meaning for Disney characters, so are they going to turn him into the butt of the joke like they did in the animated film? Or will they take better care of this character and how he is treated because of what he will represent?
Joshua Love, a sophomore family and consumer science/human development major and a member of Spectrum, an inclusive club for LGBT+ students, shared his own thoughts of LeFou. He is glad that there is a gay character in a Disney movie because it means someone in the audience, whether a young child or an older Disney fan may see someone that represents them. “I support him. Not only do young and old LGBT+ members deserve a role model in film, but it is the right move toward realistic portrayal. “Beauty and the Beast” may take place in France’s history, but homosexuality has always been present.” He feels that being gay will give LeFou a bit more personality than he had in the animated tale.
For Nichole Dees, a freshman family development and child care major, this character will not stop her from seeing the live-action version of her favorite movie. “I have no honest opinion on the “gay scene.” It’s not showing contact, it’s probably just a song. He admires Gaston, just like in the cartoon. If this LeFou is gay, so is cartoon LeFou.” She said she didn’t see a big deal in him being gay and that a little diversity never hurt.
I personally want to see the movie. I enjoyed “Beauty and the Beast” as an animated film and now I want to see the live-action version. I want to see just how Disney handled the “gay scene” with LeFou, to see if they made it seem like a seamless part of the character or if it used as a joke.