Earlier this week, I sat on the couch with my boyfriend, discussing a Los Angeles Times editorial that calls for Disney to create a gay Disney princess. The article (which smartly quotes my article in PolicyMic about Frozen’s gay character) asserts that children are comfortable with homosexuality, and that it’s time for Disney to stop hemming and hawing around the idea and present us with a homosexual main character already.
Naturally, my boyfriend’s and my conversation turned to the premier of the two gay moms in Disney’s latest children’s show, “Good Luck Charlie” and the kerfuffle it has caused. I was busy rolling my eyes at One Million Moms who were whining about the new characters when he shrugged and said, “I can understand why someone would not want to hit kids with that too early” lest they somehow be taught that they should orient a particular way.
Now, before the readers reel back in shock, let me just say that my partner is generally a very progressive dude. When I explained that Disney romances already promote a particular kind of sexuality (heterosexuality), he agreed and we moved about our day. But his immediate hesitance, I think, also has roots in the same misunderstanding that One Million Moms and their ilk have. Namely, they think that homosexuality is about sex alone. If this were true, it would be easy to see why they would be hesitant to show homosexuality to children. But just because sex is the first thing that might jump to their minds when discussing homosexuality doesn’t mean that is what it is about.
To my heterosexual readers, let’s engage in a thought experiment. When you close your eyes and think of “happily ever after” with a romantic partner, what gender is this person? Probably the one that isn’t yours. Now, is your happily ever after scenario explicitly sexual? Do you imagine loving, sharing, caring, and building a life with someone you care deeply about, or do you imagine a really long term sex partner? Now, can you imagine loving, sharing, caring, and building a life with someone who is the same gender as you? If you already have a partner, would you still love them if you could not have sex with them?
Everyone experiences love differently, and I’m not here to tell people how it should be done. But for those who are romantically inclined and for those who are homosexual, it is more about that “happily ever after” scenario than it is about sex. Like with heterosexual people, sex certainly may be a part of it, and to varying degrees, but it’s not necessarily the whole picture.
There are exceptions to every rule, but, generally speaking, homosexuality is about love and compatibility just as much, most likely moreso, than it is about sex.
Disney, for all its flaws, sells us a lot of “happily ever after.” Now that the world is shifting to include more people who get to have that, it’s time to let our kids know that, if, when they close their eyes they dream of someone the same gender as them, that it’s possible for that dream to come true, also.