Have you ever noticed how Mount Everest ‘firsts’ get more and more specific each year? You hear the occasional story of the first twins who climbed the mountain together, or the first woman from a specific district of India, or the first Pakistani man to do it without oxygen. And after a while, they feel so damn specific that you wonder what the point is.
Officer Specter appears to be some kind of gay cop cyclops, who’s being billed as a “major first for Disney.” They promise that the character is “treated almost matter-of-factly in the movie itself” and say that “it’s a modern fantasy world and we want to represent the modern world.”
Honestly, it seems like damn near every Disney release features some kind of LGBTQ first, with the most recent candidate being the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gay kiss in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. So, is Disney’s push for representation in their films sincere, or is it just a way to get some free marketing? We’ll leave that one up to you, but here’s just a sample of how the internet is reacting so far:
DIVERSITY WIN! disney's first openly gay character is an ugly troll that is also a cop https://t.co/WOVahmJmUv
— funké (@funkemcfly) February 21, 2020
fun how are first disney live action movie rep was a gay man who’s name literally means “the fool” and now our first animation rep is a lesbian whos literally not a human. they hate us
— laura?? (@CambieArt) February 22, 2020
Reminds me of all those cartoons that love making nonbinary people into creatures…Somebody needs to have a long talk with the people making these decisions.
— Lex Luthor Brown (@gunswordfist) February 22, 2020
openly-LGBTQ translates to “ambiguously mentions partner in passing during crowd scene”
— female protagonist (@WeegeeWuvver) February 21, 2020
This is literally so tone deaf that only a marketing group could have come up with it
— Jacob T. Gore (@JacobGoregeous) February 22, 2020
bet they will never even mention her sexuality i dont trust disney they said there would be a gay character in star wars and never happen they wouldn’t allow poe and finn to be together
— adam driver’s y/n (@winonaryxderz) February 22, 2020
I'll bet you money that the only allusion to her being gay is her partner showing up as a background character for ten seconds.
— The Pronouns in Satan's Bio (@AMEccoSpeaks) February 22, 2020
— Christian Holden (@moldyfish) February 22, 2020
How many "first openly gay" characters has Disney made already? https://t.co/lBi5NKg0EI
— certified catboy (@renazyk) February 21, 2020
i can't fucking believe this is our disney representation pic.twitter.com/nNtI63EUx8
— julia ⴵ (@mrvelbitch) February 22, 2020
Disappointingly, it sounds as if this pessimism will be proved correct. Apparently, Officer Specter will only appear in a single scene in the movie, but Disney promises her role will be “vital to the emotional arc of the story.” The reaction to that is a gloomy prediction that the character is going to die, and her death will be used to give the straight leads of Onward some motivation.
Look, I get the financial reasons why Disney tends to have LGBTQ representation that can be neatly edited out of the movie if a censor board demands it. Still, it’s a bit nauseating to hear them trumpeting their woke credentials over and over while only tossing in the occasional gay background character. Disney, if you really believe this is the right thing to do, then have some courage and put an LGBTQ character front and centre.