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Queer Corner: Once Upon a Time

Philip Degaltini

When I was growing up, I never really saw anyone like myself on television, in movies, or fairytales. It was always Boy meets Girl, they fall in love, and they live happily ever after. I never was able to identify with a character in a story in the way that straight children are. I didn’t want to rescue the princess; I wanted to ride off into the sunset with Prince Charming.

I honestly think that fairytales are a great way to teach children about the world, and everyone should read their children fairytales. However, in order to do this we have to include all children. The boys who like to wear dresses and the girls who like to play sports, the boys who like boys and the girls who like girls.

I hear people ask when Disney is finally going to make a film with a gay prince. I really think that it won’t happen any time soon. Let’s be honest, it took Disney seventy-five years to finally have an animated film starring a black princess. At the rate we are going, we won’t have a gay prince until 2087. I really hope that this won’t be the case.

Disney has been supportive of the LGBT community. Every year on the first Saturday of June since 1991, Disney World Orlando opens its doors for its annual Gay Day. Though Disney does not directly sanction Gay Days at Disney, they open their doors to the LGBT individuals, their family, and friends. Disney has been the subject of boycotts from The Southern Baptist Convention for eight years for not putting a stop to Gay Days and another organization flew banner planes warning the populace about the events during the Gay Days weekend.

What are we waiting for? Do we not live in a world where we are put in contact with different people of different cultures, beliefs, lifestyles, creeds, looks, tastes, and attitudes every day? Why haven’t we gotten to a point where an animated character can be openly gay when we have films and television shows depicting openly gay characters played daily? Last time I checked I lived in America, the home of the free and the brave. I have the right to see two gay men kiss in an animated movie while Mickey and Minnie cheer on from the side-lines.

Some people may not agree with me. They would say that sexuality has no place in children’s films or television, but isn’t it already? When Ariel kisses Prince Eric doesn’t that count as impressing sexuality upon a child? When children watch the princess getting the prince in the end, isn’t that implying to them that being straight is the “normal” and “correct” thing to do?

Once upon a time I was a little boy who never saw or heard a fairytale about a gay prince who met another prince and lived happily ever after, but I still grew up to be a young powerful gay man. Exposing children to the world will not harm them, it will teach them. Have you ever spoken to a child about boys who kiss boys? At first, they don’t understand because they’re taught to believe heterosexuality is right. Then, they look at you with eyes wide with understanding and they get it. They truly understand that if you love someone it doesn’t matter if they’re a boy or a girl. Why is it that the older someone gets the less they are able to see that? If a child can understand the concept of love and how simple it really is than we have no excuse. So, let’s see a gay prince, or a lesbian princess, hey, I’ll even go for a cross dressing pirate. It’s called True Love’s Kiss, not Straight Love’s Kiss.

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