Lightyear and the fight for queer visibility

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Time for Light year as good as it gets. Or perhaps worse. Based toy story The latest action figure from Pixar is the story of the brave space ranger Buzz Lightyear, who is determined to complete his mission and save a group of people he believes are responsible for landing on a distant planet. But in true Pixar spirit, Buzz’s journey is about learning from mistakes and accepting flaws. For some, however, there is another message they can’t seem to come to terms with: Queer people exist.

Light yearwhich is now in theaters in the United States, already clash with bans in several countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for a kiss between two women – Buzz’s commander, Alisha Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) and her wife. And in America, which is currently hosting LGBTQ+ Pride Month, the film is at the center of a culture war over whether children can talk about people they have seen and will see all their lives.

Disney likely knew this was coming. Back in March Diversity reported that the studio broke off the kiss at one point, but reinstated it after outrage from employees. It was among disappointing company response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. At the time, Disney held a virtual meeting where Latoya Raveno, one of the company’s executive producers, defended “House of Mouse”, saying that everyone applauded her “not at all a secret gay agenda.” When the videotape of Raveno’s remarks was leaked, she became like Michelle Goldberg put it in New York Times, “the national object of the right’s rage and disgust.”

Fast forward to this week and conservative commentators have seized on these remarks, speaking “Parents should keep this in mind before deciding whether or not to take their children to a viewing. Light year“. Meanwhile, Chris Evans, who voices Buzz, named people who react negatively to the portrayal of queer people in the film:idiotsadding that “the goal is to ignore them, move forward and embrace the growth that makes us human.”

All this comes at (another) challenging time for LGBTQ+ rights. In addition to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which bans sexuality and gender identity education from kindergarten through third grade, and was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis at the end of March, several other measures are currently in place making their way through state legislatures. Many of them are trans-oriented and focus on queer children and queer topics in schools. Police in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, arrested 31 members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front last Saturday on charges of plotting to riot at a Pride event. On the same day, several people – one of them was wearing a T-shirt that said “Kill the local pedophile” –ruined an hour of transvestite stories at the Bay Area Library. Meanwhile, Efforts to “hide pride” seek to remove LGBTQ+ friendly books from libraries.

This is a somewhat old piece. As you might have guessed from the aforementioned t-shirt, the latest upsurge in anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment is the desire to portray queer people as dangerous to children, a decade-old tactic. It’s the same thing that former Miss Oklahoma Anita Bryant tried to pull off in Florida in the late 1970s with her song “Save Our Children.” campaign.

And now it’s come to haunt Light year, a film in which two women in a committed relationship raise a family. To be clear, he has not yet seen such a backlash from the conservatives, which, let’s say, transvestites become. But the film still gets caught up in the debate about talking to kids about LGBTQ+ people, as if kids and their parents were sometimes not LGBTQ+ people either. As if showing acceptance was a bad thing. At its best, the film will inspire children to become astronauts and respect people as well as themselves. This will help them see that people can learn from their mistakes. This message seems more timely than ever.

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