With the company’s problematic flip flopping on LGBTQIA support, it’s a step forward.
Disney has a shaky track record around its support of LGBTQ+ rights. Pixar employees leaked information this spring alleging that the storied production company routinely cuts queer storylines from its content, and many think that if the corporation hadn’t dragged its feet to condemn Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, that it could have stopped it from being signed into law. Now, Disney is adding a new layer to their complex tableau of give-and-take when it comes to representation. A scene from their new show Baymax appears to depict a trans man buying tampons.
In the clip, which was tweeted by anti-critical race theory and LGBTQ+ education “activist” Chris Rufo before it aired on DisneyPlus on June 29, the popular robot from the 2014 film Big Hero 6 asks a woman for tampon recommendations. The woman suggests the ones she usually buys, and that was followed by other shoppers in the aisle excitedly offering up their own recommendations. That includes a character wearing a trans flag shirt who says he likes pads, “the ones with wings.” It’s a subtle and quick inclusion of trans visibility, which is incredibly important. But naturally, conservatives are now losing their minds over the educational moment. Rufo added in his tweet that the moment is “part of Disney's plan to re-engineer the discourse around kids and sexuality,” along with a link to his own article about Disney’s “not at all secret gay agenda.”
The news comes during the same month that Disney released its Buzz Lightyear origin movie, Lightyear, which included a gay kiss. Disney is another corporation notorious for courting the queer community during Pride Month, while not necessarily holding up those values during the rest of the year. Regardless, the inclusion of a trans character in Baymax would have a positive impact on educating children about the trans experience. Hopefully, we see more representation like this from Disney in the future, as the fight to protect trans rights and all LGBTQ+ children continues amid mass anti-trans and LGBTQ+ legislation.