I used to work for Disney, and I love the company’s animated features. Recently, for reasons that passeth understanding even to me, I checked the Internet for lists outing Disney characters as adherents to the love that dare not speak its name — at least, not on the animated screen. Below are the characters who show up on the most lists. My sources, at the end of this post, include Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed.
Bear in mind that my sources have listed these characters as gay because the characters conform to gay clichés and stereotypes, not realities. I lived for 30 years in West Hollywood and rarely if ever came across anyone so flamboyant or butch as the cartoon characters listed below.
Hades, from Hercules
The Greek god of the underworld is literally flaming. This is the guy who tells Hercules, “We dance, we kiss, we schmooze, we carry on, we go home happy. What d’ya say?”
Timon and Pumbaa, The Lion King
Simba has two daddies, and they literally weep when they see their grown-up cub “feel the love tonight” for a lioness.
Ursula, The Little Mermaid
I don’t see Ursula as gay myself, even though gay actor Divine served as a visual inspiration. Still, many gay writers have listed her as queer, and gay comedian James Adomian has called her “a big dyke with a butch haircut.”
Governor Ratcliffe, Pocahontas
To quote Buzzfeed’s Matthew Guiver, “Lushy and theatrical, Governor Ratcliffe was surely in heaven spending weeks on a ship surrounded by men.”
Oaken, from Frozen
A minor character, Oaken — proprietor of Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Sauna — makes this list because he refers to his “family,” and the camera shows four kids and a grown man.
Also mentioned on quite a few lists:
Genie, from Aladdin
Li Shang, from Mulan
Terkina, from Tarzan
Elsa, from Frozen
Merida, from Brave
Pleakley, from Lilo and Stitch
Scar, from The Lion King
But my vote has to go to the Seven Dwarfs, from Snow White. Really: Seven men living alone in the forest. And their heads look like penises. Do I have to draw you an animated picture?