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"Beauty & The Beast" banned for featuring gay character

by Jaymi Gooden - Campus Talk Editor
Mon, Mar 27th 2017 10:00 pm
Photo taken from Beauty & The Beast on Facebook

Pictured above is the cast of Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast. LeFou, played by Josh Gad (second from left) is the first gay character in a Disney movie, receiving both praise and criticism.
Photo taken from Beauty & The Beast on Facebook Pictured above is the cast of Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast. LeFou, played by Josh Gad (second from left) is the first gay character in a Disney movie, receiving both praise and criticism.

 When I was young, two lovely men kissed in front of me once when I was at a birthday party. So like any curious, but clueless child, I asked my mother about it and the conversation went something like this:

"Mom, those two men just kissed."

"Yes, honey, they're in love. Like a man and a woman love each other."

"That's a thing?"

"Yes, Jaymi."

"Oh. Okay. Can I have a piece of cake?"

End of conversation.

So you can imagine my confusion when people expressed outrage at Disney's live-action "Beauty & The Beast" which premiered Friday March, 17. The director of the film, Bill Condon admitted months prior to the film's premiere that he pictured LeFou, Gaston's loyal sidekick and comic relief in both the live-action and the original, to be gay. 

When word spread, an Alabama drive-in theater pulled the film and Russian lawmakers urged the country's government to do the same.

It's no surprise that Russia, also known as the "opposite of progressive" country, wanted to ban the fairy tale. Russia's anti-gay climate is one of the most famous in the world. 

According to the CNN article, "Russia urged to ban 'Beauty and the Beast' remake over gay "propaganda", by Emma Burrows and Tim Lister, in 2013, Russia's government passed a legislation prohibiting the spreading of "gay propaganda" among minors. The law, which described homosexuality as "non-traditional sexual relations," bars the public discussion of gay rights and relationships anywhere children might hear it.

I'm not sure what exactly qualifies as "gay propaganda" but I can confidently say that "Beauty & The Beast" strays far from it. 

Spoiler alert: at the end of the film, there's a huge celebratory dance when the beast has transformed back into a man. The dancers switch partners in a traditional Elizabethan fashion. On one of these changes, LeFou finds himself paired with another man. They freeze, surprised, in their new position. The audience laughs and then the camera cuts away. The moment was over in less than a second. There was no romantic kiss like the one Belle shared with the Beast a few scenes prior, and even if there had been, so what?

If you would allow your child to watch a man and a woman dance, then why wouldn't you allow your child to watch a man dance with another man? If you've let your child watch a man and a woman embrace and kiss, then why would you bar them from watching a man kissing another man?

I know the answer but I won't say it on account of, I think you know it too.

According to the USA Today article, "Backlash grows over Disney's gay 'Beauty and the Beast' character," by Bryan Alexander, representatives of the Alabama theater, Henagar Drive-In, announced Thursday, March 2, on Facebook that they won't show "Beauty & The Beast" when it is released because Disney is "premiering their first homosexual character."

"When companies continually force their views on us, we need to take a stand. We all make choices and I am making mine," the unsigned Facebook post says. "If I can't sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me, then we have no business showing it. I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That's fine. We are first and foremost Christians. We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches."

Of course you won't.

"I don't want my child to see this," and "I don't want my child to see that."

See what? That the world is made up of people of different religions, races, ethnicities, cultures and sexualities? 

In response to the Alabama theater's decision, Condon told USA Today that outcry over the first gay character in a Disney movie is "overblown."

Gee, you think. I have a theory. Maybe if people let their children be exposed to more diversity and actually took the time to explain it to them, children wouldn't grow up to be as close-minded and ignorant as their parents. Kids are not as incapable of understanding as we would like to believe, especially if you put the subject at hand into a context that they can understand, like perhaps a fairy tale about a young woman and a beast. 

"This is a movie for everyone," Condon said in the aforementioned article. "I'm sad about that theater but there are 4,000 theaters showing the movie. I hope everybody moves past that and just goes to take pleasure in what we made."

Condon is right in the sense that this is a movie for everyone. The all-star cast included the beloved and youthful "Harry Potter" heroine Emma Watson; Hollywood hunks Dan Stevens and Luke Evans; movie titans Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline and Ian McKellen; African-American actresses Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Audra McDonald; and last but not least, comedian Josh Gad, who takes on the role of LeFou.

The diversity of this film is magic in itself. Restricting someone from viewing it on the basis that it contains a gay character not only enforces the idea that homosexuality is wrong but treats homosexuality as if it's a separate entity that is foreign and utterly unknown to the world when we all know that's not the case. 

Homosexuality is a tale as old as time. No pun intended. Okay, fine. The pun was intended but watching 21st century folks freak out over every little thing is exhausting. Eat some cake, drink some tea and get over it. 


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