The Queerest Things on Disney+ Right Now
by Ian Carlos Crawford
In case you haven’t heard — a little indie company named Disney has recently launched their own streaming service called Disney+. It has a few titles that no one’s ever heard of like Aladdin, Lion King, Star Wars, The Simpsons, and The Avengers.
So, ya know, just a couple of things. But if you’re reading this article you’re probably wondering, “But where’s the gay?”
Disney+ has announced quite a few upcoming shows based on their popular properties. They even announced an upcoming series based on the stellar gay teen drama Love, Simon. But, weirdly, they don’t have that movie for streaming (yet). So the choices are slim if you’re looking for any LGBTQ content.
And while we patiently await our new Disney overlords owning every property ever and having every single thing on their streaming platform, including the gay stuff — here are some queer things you can watch right now on the service. Sadly, most of is it is subtext — but still!
Marvel’s Runaways (TV Series)
This one is actually gay! A Hulu original show based on the Marvel comic of the same name. The show is like a really fun Young Adult novel set in LA! It’s diverse with moral grey areas and lots of angst. Lyrica Okano stars as goth teen witch Nico Minoru and Virginia Gardner stars as the half alien teen Karolina Dean — and at the end of season 1 they revealed their feelings for one another. The show itself is maybe Marvel’s most diverse? And for their upcoming third (and sadly, final) season, Elizabeth Hurley will star as villain Morgan le Fay, which will for sure be gay rights.
Lilo & Stitch
“Ohana means family,” god damn it! Chosen family is the entire theme of this movie — which isn’t exclusively queer per say but like…come on. With apologies to Nightmare Before Christmas, Lilo & Stitch is one of the best Disney cartoons aimed at Hot Topic kids (former and current). Stitch is like a weird bratty pug and Lilo is definitely the girl who befriended other outcasts (aka queers) at school. This movie is precious and ridiculous.
Academy Award winner Brie Larson exudes Big Queer Energy as it is — but put her in a superhero outfit and whew! Carol and her ::air quotes:: Best Friend™ Maria Rambeau have an unbreakable bond — one that is very heavily coded as queer. Maria’s daughter, Monica, even looks up to Carol like she’s her cool aunt or…ya know, her other mom. This is not only one of the best Marvel superhero movies but it’s also the gayest (Thor: Ragnarok found rotting/not streaming on Disney+ yet) — and also the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film to be centered around a woman. The movie freakin’ ends with her blasting her evil mentor into a cliffside, after he insists she fights him without powers. Carol Danvers is an unfuckwithable lesbian icon and that’s that on that!
The Simpsons “Homer’s Phobia”
It’s weird that the Simpsons, a cartoon that was the bane of all conservative 90s parents, is now featured on a Disney streaming service. But, now that they own Fox, they own Bart Simpson, too! This episode is extremely iconic and features John Waters playing new family friend, John, who is an openly gay man. It was a big deal back in the day — and even won the show an Emmy and a GLAAD Media Award. The writing is surprisingly tender and progressive, while also still being funny. Homer deals with his homophobia, while Bart starts getting into campy things and trying on wigs. It features gay steel mill workers, John’s toy collections, and even ends with a sweet lesson being learned. It’s a historic queer episode of television!
Andi Mack “One in a Minyan”
This one is a Disney Channel original show and actually features a gay character! In a strangely progressive move for Disney, the final season of this show featured an episode where one of the supporting characters, a young boy named Cyrus Goodman, actually uttered the phrase, “I’m gay” and the moment is incredibly tender. It’s not played for jokes and his friend that he’s coming out to responds with, “cool.” It’s enough to make a 36 year old adult writer cry.
One of the often forgotten about Disney cartoon series from the mid 90s. This cartoon is about a group of misfit gargoyle demons that turn to stone during the day but come to life at night. They clash with evil billionaire David Xanatos and even one of their own, Demona. The show leaned hard into the evil billionaire trope and also the trope of finding your own “clan.” Years later, on a panel, the creator even stated that one of the main characters, a gargoyle named Lexington, was gay.
X-Men: Animated Series
Before superheroes were cool. Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe or any of the Fox X-Men films — there was a little 90s cartoon based on the X-Men comic book. And it was *fantastic*. The cartoon features a fairly diverse cast of characters, a ton of badass women, and was basically one big metaphor for being othered. The X-Men are feared and hated — the government even builds giant killer robots, Sentinels, just to hunt them down. This cartoon was never one to shy away from being political and was big on teaching kids why it was important to be themselves. The reason the X-Men work so well is because while they’re a superhero team, they are also like a family. The first episode opens with poor Jubilation Lee (aka Jubilee) being hunted by Sentinels because her own foster parents registered her as a mutant with the government. The cartoon never got less political from there. Fighting for your rights amongst a chosen family — it doesn’t get much more “be gay, do crimes” than that! We still stan, nearly 30 years later!
About the Author:
Ian Carlos Crawford grew up in southern New Jersey and, like most people from NJ, he graduated from Rutgers University. He then graduated from New School with an MFA in nonfiction writing. His writing has appeared on sites like Geeks Out, BuzzFeed, NewNowNext, and other random corners of the internet. He currently co-hosts a podcast about his favorite thing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, called Slayerfest 98 and is shopping around his fiction manuscript. Follow him on Twitter @ianxcarlos