Disney Gets Its First Bisexual Character In Animated Series, ‘The Owl House’. Finally, We’re Getting Real
On May 22, 2020, Disney Pixar’s short film Out dropped and became an important ‘first’ for both Disney and Pixar. Why? Because Out’s main character, Greg, is gay. In fact, Out’s story is about Greg finding the courage to come out to his parents. The reason this is such a big deal is that this is Disney’s first foray into LGBTQ+ characters and stories. And since Disney movies and shows have such a profound impact on children, such stories could go a great way in normalising homosexuality and dispelling any prejudice against it from a young age. And now, merely three months after Out, Disney has debuted its first bisexual character in an animated series called The Owl House, on Disney Channel.
The Owl House, for those unaware, is the story of a teenage girl, Luz Noceda, who is sent to a detention summer camp called ‘Reality Check Camp’ (IKR!), by her mother after certain complaints pop up at school. However, she stumbles upon a portal to another world, where she meets a rebellious witch called Eda the Owl Lady, and begins pursuing an apprenticeship with her at the Owl House. It is there where Luz finds acceptance, friends and family.
Luz is previously shown to have feelings for boys but eventually pursues a romantic relationship with another female character, Amity. What’s more, Amity even wants to go to the Grom (the show’s version of prom) with Luz and that’s exactly what got people talking about how Disney was finally representing LGBTQ+ characters in their leads.
Show creator Dana Terrace spoke about this on Twitter first back in July, when the promo for the Grom episode, ‘Enchanting Grom Fight’, dropped a major hint, Amity and Luz looking deep into each other’s eyes, the former’s hands on Luz’s shoulders.
When the episode was finally telecast on August 8, Terrace tweeted again, about how she had always wanted more representation for bisexual and queer characters, being bi herself, but was shot down at first. Eventually, however, she mustered enough support from her team and the execs to include a queer storyline. Though she doesn’t reveal which of the two, Amity or Luz, is the bisexual character she’s referring to, fans have a feeling it is Luz.
The show’s animation supervisor, Spencer Wan, also spoke about ‘the gay thing’, i.e., his storyboarding for the episode, of the dance between Amity and Luz while they’re casting spells to defeat a demon. This was his first time working on anything queer.
I'll post about the gay thing later. Maybe tomorrow.
— Spencer Wan (@SpencerWan) August 8, 2020
The storyboards for the dance. This was a collaboration between Hayley Foster and myself. At some point I got carried away and timed it to Veo Lu Sluice by Kumi Tanioka.
This was my first time getting to do anything even remotely queer, and I've never been prouder of any board. pic.twitter.com/r0ljIGRxTV
— Spencer Wan (@SpencerWan) August 9, 2020
Initially, with Terrace’s reveal, fans were a little miffed that Disney executives were unsupportive about adding queer characters in her work before. However, she cleared the air that she did receive support from her execs, and well, the coupling is here, isn’t it?
As someone who has grown up on a steady feed of heterosexual relationships, I am lucky to have understood that love is love, without facing much inhibition from my value system. However, not everyone’s that lucky. Not just in India, but around the world, in some of the most progressive nations even, there is still an aversion to queer culture and a lack of support and representation for the LGBTQ+ community. With a brand like Disney shedding its bias with stories like Out and The Owl House, the change can finally penetrate into mainstream conversation.
Kudos, to creator Dana Terrace and her team for this! And all the best to Luz and Amity for their relationship, I guess!