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Frozen’s Elsa at center of social media backlash against Disney’s LGBT failings

Disney has been noted as one of the worst offenders when it comes to LGBT representation in film, and now the magical kingdom is being taken to task on Twitter.

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The social media backlash began after GLAAD published the findings from its annual study into Hollywood’s take on LGBT characters. As in the past, the report showed little progress in regards to LGBT representation on screen. In fact, most film studios underperformed, with not one receiving a “Good” rating, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The production houses that flat-out failed included Disney, Paramount, and Warner Bros. GLAAD singled out Disney, claiming that its wholesome, family-friendly image was no excuse for the fact that it did not include a single LGBT character across the range of its animated and live-action films.

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Many Twitter users, who also cite themselves as fans of the company, have now chimed in with their own reactions to the revelations. And they’ve already chosen a mascot as a harbinger for change.

The #GiveElsaAGirlfriend hashtag, created by Twitter user Lexi4Prez has been tweeted thousands of times. Its mission: to call out the studio and urge it to make the protagonist of Frozen the first LGBT Disney princess.

“I absolutely adore the idea of #GiveElsaAGirlfriend. Kids need to know that love comes in different varieties [and] it’s okay to be who you are,” reads a typical tweet containing the trending hashtag. Another user states: “#GiveElsaAGirlfriend because half of Frozen is one big metaphor for being in the closet, getting outed, and coming to terms with yourself.”

“As recent successful animated films and TV programs have shown (Oscar-nominated ParaNorman, Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe), LGBT people appearing in “all-ages” programming — animated or not — is not the impossible notion it once was,” notes the GLAAD report. “LGBT people are already part of families and communities around the world, and films of all genres should reflect that.”

Overall, the report found that the majority of LGBT characters in mainstream films remain minor, both in substance and screen time. Referring specifically to Hollywood movies that offered offensive depictions of gay characters, the study targeted two Kevin Hart comedies; The Wedding Ringer and Get Hard, as well as Hot Tub Time Machine 2.

A change could be on the horizon for Disney, at least in the case of the Star Wars franchise. JJ Abrams, the director behind The Force Awakens, recently stated that he was open to the idea of including gay characters into the Star Wars universe. “When I talk about inclusivity, it’s not excluding gay characters. It’s about inclusivity. So of course,” stated Abrams. Whether this policy will impact Disney’s other blockbuster properties, including Marvel Studios’ output, and its animation department, remains to be seen.