Here is a complete list of the best LGBTQ+ movies on Disney + in celebration of Pride month. LGBTQ + representation is so important in media, and the number of openly LGBTQ + characters and stories have been increasing in recent years. Disney + hosts a wide variety of movies from the many franchises it owns, but finding the ones that contain positive LGBTQ + stories can sometimes be tricky.
Disney has come under fire for its handling of LBGTQ + representation in the past. With its reaction to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the removal of LGBTQ + characters in series like Gravity Falls and the cancellation of LGBTQ-led The Owl House, and Pixar employees alleging that executives have censored queer characters out of their films, there has been an outcry from the LGBTQ + community for Disney to improve its LGBTQ + representation. Some more recent additions to Disney’s repertoire – including Eternals and The Owl House season 2 – have given some audiences hope for a brighter future. Though LGBTQ + representation from Disney is far from perfect, some solid examples can still be found on its streaming platform.
Disney + might have had its ups and downs with LGBTQ + representation, but they still have a selection of movies that help to represent the beautiful spectrum of the LGBTQ + community. While some of the films tell explicitly LGBTQ + stories, there are some that offer brief representation during their narratives. Ranging from animated shorts that depict the process of coming out to documentaries that explore the world of gender presentation, here are the best LGBTQ + movies for viewers of all ages from Disney +.
Out (Short) – 2020
The struggle around coming out to family members is one experience many LGBTQ + people can relate to. The Disney short Out follows the story of a man named Greg who finds himself in a tough position when his parents surprise him by arriving to help him make the big move to a new city. The only problem is that Greg has never come out to his family about his relationship with his partner, Manuel – something that’s been causing a rift in their relationship. With the help of a few animal sidekicks, Greg learns that his family’s love for him is truly unconditional. Out was Disney’s first short to follow a gay main character and showed their first same-sex kiss on-screen.
Better Nate Than Ever – 2022
All Nate Foster (Rueby Wood) has ever wanted is to be a Broadway star; however, his dream seems to be going nowhere when he turned down for yet another school play. When his parents decide to get away for a few days, Nate takes the opportunity to sneak off to New York City with his best friend Libby – and ropes his Aunt Heidi (Friends‘star Lisa Kudrow) into the plan as well – in order to try out for the Broadway adaptation of Lilo & Stitch. Based on the coming-of-age novel of the same name, Nate has to learn to navigate familial dynamics, his sexuality, and his lack of confidence on stage in order to obtain his dream in Better Nate Than Ever.
Howard (Documentary) – 2020
One of the great LGBTQ + documentaries on Disney +, Howard, tells the story of one of Disney’s unsung heroes. Howard Ashman was the brilliant mind behind some of the most iconic Disney songs, penning the lyrics to classics such as “Friend Like Me” and “Prince Ali” from Aladdinas well as the soundtracks to The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. Sadly, however, Howard was another LGBTQ + artist who was lost to the AIDS epidemic. Receiving his diagnosis in 1988, Howard continued to work through his illness, finishing his work on The Beauty and The Beast – a story he personally interpreted as a metaphor for his AIDS diagnosis – just shortly before he passed in March 1991. Howard pays a touching, intimate tribute to Ashman’s contribution to Disney, including never-before-seen personal films, photographs, and archival footage.
Mack Wrestles (Short) – 2019
In Disney’s continuing LGBTQ + representation, the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary Mack Wrestles tells the real-life story of Mack Beggs, a trans wrestler from Texas who has struggled against the stigma surrounding trans athletes in sports – a topic that has become a hot button issue in recent years. After Beggs ‘2018 State Championship wins in the Texas high school circuit (in which he was forced to wrestle in the girls’ division) became a national controversy, Beggs stepped up as an advocate for transgender athletes and youth across the country as told in the Mack Wrestles documentary on Disney +.
Growing Fangs (Short) – 2021
Being a teenager is already hard enough; but Growing Fangs‘Val Garcia (Keyla Monterroso Mejia) has it even harder: she’s a Mexican-American teen who is balancing life as a half-human / half-vampire with a crush on the school’s basketball captain, Elsie Fang (Grace Song). When Val’s human best friend, Jimmy, shows up at her new high school for monsters, she is forced to come to terms with her identity. Growing Fangs is a unique tale in Disney’s collection of LGBTQ + representation, presenting a heartwarming short story that celebrates diversity and personal identity in a coming-of-age story with a supernatural twist.
West Side Story – 2021
Disney’s 2021 retelling of the classic West Side Story features Anybodys (Iris Menas), an explicitly trans character who is desperate to be approved by the Jets. In the 1961 original, Anybodys’ gender was never explored in much detail, though there was a subversive tone of gender nonconformity in the way the character was often portrayed; ultimately, however, the 1961-Anybodys was portrayed as a cis woman who simply had tomboyish tendencies. The 2021 remake doesn’t shy away from the topic of Anybodys’ gender, using he / him pronouns in regards to Anybodys as well as including a brief scene where he feels affirmation for being referred to as “buddy boy. ” West Side Story takes a character that has long been an icon for the queer community and gives Anybodys the explicitly trans identity he deserves.
Gender Revolution: A Journey With Katie Couric (Documentary) – 2017
Award-winning journalist Katie Couric takes a look at the world of gender identity and gender presentation. In the National Geographic documentary Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric, Couric interviews a wide range of sources – from experts to everyday people – to explore the ever-shifting social phenomenon of gender dynamics and the effects they have on real, human lives. Though Couric’s own performance in the documentary received some criticism from the LGBTQ + community upon its release, the documentary is a great starting point for LGBTQ + terminology and a wide variety of stories surrounding gender expression and gender nonconformity. As Disney owns National Geographic, Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric is available to stream on Disney +.
Eternals – 2021
Marvel’s Eternals is filled with LGBTQ + themes. The film was the one to introduce the first openly gay superhero – Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) – to the MCU, but that isn’t the only thing that makes Eternals the perfect addition to a celebration of Pride. There are nods towards multiple LGBTQ + identities throughout Eternals, including the asexual and aromantic relationship between Thena (Angelina Jolie) and Gilgamesh (Don Lee) – identities that are often overlooked by mainstream media – and the possible queer read on Sprite’s (Lia McHugh) gender that has led some audiences to believe she could be trans or genderfluid as the character is sometimes referenced as such in the comics. While Eternals LGBTQ + representation has received mixed responses, it has been an important stepping stone for Disney and Marvel as they strive to increase the queer representation on screen.
Disney + Movies With Brief Moments Of LGBTQ + Representation
While Disney + does not have the widest variety of LGBTQ + films out of all of the streaming platforms, it is slowly adding films that offer brief moments of representation. Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast may not explicitly be an LGBTQ + story, but the film was still a major benchmark for Disney’s LGBTQ + representation. LeFou (Josh Gad) may seem like nothing more than Gaston’s sidekick, but he made history in 2017 as Disney’s first openly gay character. Similarly Onward featured Pixar’s first openly gay character, where Officer Specter (Lena Waithe) references her girlfriend. Sometimes, queer representation is less outright and more in how a film is interpreted – which was the only way the LGBTQ + community could find queer stories in media for a long time. Some Disney films – like Luca – may not have explicitly queer storylines, but can be read to contain queer themes if viewed with the right lens. Though Luca‘s creators originally pushed back against this queer interpretation of Lucathey have since embraced it and some audiences see Luca‘s story as an allegory for the coming out experience. All of these LGBTQ + milestone movies can be found on Disney +.
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