Disney Channel Comes Out

Jack Rattenbury

Born in Wales but based in London. I have seriously considered being a drag queen, just so I can go on RuPaul's Drag Race. I like cocktails, festivals and cartoons. I'm one of those people who blames Netflix for being single. @KC4J

The Disney Channel featured its first lesbian couple on the show Good Luck Charlie last week – the first same-sex couple in its entire 31 year history. In the episode, the parents Bob and Amy Duncan are waiting for their daughters play-date to arrive, and it turns out that the play-date has two mothers. Disney released this news last Summer and cause a huge social media-frenzy, with even ex-Disney star Miley Cyrus praising the channel for taking a leap into the gay pond.

A spokesperson for Disney said “‘This particular storyline was developed under the consultancy of child development experts and community advisers. Like all Disney Channel programming, it was developed to be relevant to kids and families around the world and to reflect themes of diversity and inclusiveness.”

Disney executed the scene perfectly and it’s such a great thing to witness. The Disney Channel has a huge influence on children, and even though it’s responsible for every single girl (and some boys) wanting to become famous like Hannah Montana, I take my hat off to the writers of Good Luck Charlie. With more and more gay couples adopting and having children, it’s nice to know that the children of these couples will feel represented by a respectable television network watched by their peers.

Even though the scene was short and sweet, this is a huge step forward. The lesbian couple won’t be featured in the series again, but this will be the start of something new and we will see more and more LGBT characters in children’s television. It’s important that children not only consume media that’s silly and fun, but media that reflects the real world without going crazy, and Disney did this with grace and dignity. That said, it will probably still be a while until there is a feature-length movie where Prince Charming finds his, well, Prince Charming.

Disney have always been pro-gay rights, regularly holding ‘Gay Days’ at the Disney World resort in Orlando. Thinking about it, we have a lot to thank Disney for. Not only are they now super-cool for featuring a lesbian couple in mainstream children’s entertainment, but they introduced us to Zac Efron.

My only complaint is that I feel like Disney had to do it, as opposed to wanting to do it. The scene is really short and the couple will never be seen again on the show. A lot of people found it unnecessary because there was no connection with the characters, and it didn’t add anything substantial to the plot, except for the fact that Disney featured a lesbian couple in one of its shows. If Disney really wanted to impress us, they should have put the couple in as recurring characters. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but is that too much to ask for?

With right-wing groups all over the world complaining about what was only a tiny scene that a lot of the audience will probably forget about soon, could a children’s network get away with having full time gay characters? A lot of people would probably say that children’s television is for education and escapism, and doesn’t need to be ‘politically correct’.

Personally, I think that there should be some gay characters in children’s television, especially television for young teenagers. If they aren’t exposed to gay people, most youngsters don’t truly understand what being gay or lesbian.  I think education on these things can really open up minds and normalise it for children who are unaware or confused. With more gay people in mainstream media, the gay and lesbian kids in school, or the kids with the two dads will feel like everyone else – normal.

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