‘Finding Dory’ Misses Opportunity to Feature Pixar’s First Gay Couple

'Finding Dory' Lesbians Lacking in Disney
Courtesy of Disney

For a brief moment, it looked like Pixar had finally made history by offering up the first gay character in a Disney animated film. The Internet erupted last month over a new trailer for “Finding Dory” that showed two women next to a baby stroller that’s attacked by an octopus. Some viewers wondered if they were a lesbian couple, as US Weekly and other entertainment outlets reported on the speculation. It would have been long overdue after 16 previous Pixar films had been populated exclusively by heterosexuals.

But according to our spies at an early screening, “Finding Dory” doesn’t break any gay glass ceilings. The animated women who were the subject of intense online chatter make a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance in the sequel, which opens on June 17. It’s up to viewers to decide just how they know each other, as the camera scurries past them. (Disney didn’t respond to a request for comment.)

Against a national — and international — conversation about the lack of diversity in Hollywood, gay characters are barely granted speaking roles in movies. According to a study from GLAAD, only 22 of 126 studio releases last year featured characters that identified as LGBT. Many of those films were lower budget efforts, not the kind of blockbuster productions that have audiences lining up. (Disney and Paramount were the only studios with movies that didn’t feature a single gay character.)

This seems starkly out of touch with advancements in society for the gay and transgender community. Just last summer, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in the United States. “Finding Dory” might feature the voice of Ellen DeGeneres, who became the first lesbian TV star to come out of the closet in 1997, but it joins the rest of the summer blockbusters that ignore the LGBT community.

Bryan Singer used to infuse his “X-Men” films with a gay subtext (the mutants had to “come out” to friends and family), but that’s not a theme of the latest installment. There’s yet to be a gay Marvel star in the “Captain America,” “Iron Man” or “Avengers” franchises. Last February’s “Deadpool,” the lone comic book hero who is pansexual, still only had sex with women.

When Andrew Garfield suggested that Spider-Man could be gay, Sony Pictures quietly put the lid on that idea — and instead rebooted the character as a high school student. For all the talk about the men (or even women) who could play James Bond, there weren’t any headlines about gay actors who could portray him (although Rupert Everett suggested the idea in 1999). In fact, as bad as #OscarsSoWhite has been for not recognizing any actors of color for two consecutive years, the last openly gay actor nominated for an Academy Award was more than a decade ago: Ian McKellen for playing a wizard in 2001’s “Lord of the Rings.”

Hollywood isn’t homophobic, but studio executives are still crippled by fear. As major blockbusters rely heavily on China and other countries intolerant of LGBT rights, a gay character is viewed in the industry as a financial risk. But that’s also why so many young ticket-buyers are starting to feel like TV is more cutting-edge than the movies. Since characters on the big screen aren’t representative of our society, they seem out of touch with what’s going on in the world.

A studio like Disney could afford to pave the way for change. “Finding Dory” is one of the most-anticipated movies of the summer, and in 2016 you’d be hard-pressed to find too many tickets buyers who don’t have gay friends, family or colleagues. Isn’t the ocean big enough for Dory to find someone who isn’t straight?

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  1. jocelynwebbs says:

    This movie is about fish, not people. So did you really expect Pixar to focus on people?

  2. Joe M says:

    In my 44 years of being in this world, it’s been clear to me that there are always foolish people around us. The majority of them all are led around by popular culture. They need to be educated on Truth. And the truth is that popular culture is heavily politically driven. Owned and operated by the same filthy rich people who also own the news. Modern life as we know it is like a credit card. A big scheme or game to play. We’ve all been placed inside a bubble. And the only way out is through the Truth. Just realize the lies. And walk away. But that’s no easy task if you’re like everyone else. Buying your way through life and being spoiled by the whims and wonders of the world. Man always did make stuff for profit. It’s greed. The root of all evil. And its likely that all the things that are wrong or immoral will be painted as good by society and heavily promoted. Homosexuality is a prime example of this. But do not be fooled. They know how to make it happen. It’s like a slow poison. Give someone a very TINY dose of it at a time. They won’t know what’s happening to them until its too late. That’s how the deconstruction agenda began taking place in the 1950s. This is nothing new at all. The only way out is to get outside the bubble. Turn away from popular culture. Are people doing it? You bet! Taking their kids out of public schools and other institutions. And selling their modern homes to live off the grid. Getting close to nature. Growing their own food. Finding out that spiritual growth is why we are here. Not to be forced into a herd like cash cattle.

  3. ? says:

    You people in the comments are so upset that minorities (blacks, gays, etc.) want representation. You’re saying that representation doesn’t matter, just enjoy the movie. So you’re telling me if you saw a mainstream Hollywood movie with a 100% non-white, LGBT cast (which is totally possible IRL, before you say “that would never happen statistically”, I had entire cliques in my school that looked exactly like this), you wouldn’t complain about it? Oh, you would? But I thought the race, sexuality, etc. of characters doesn’t matter! Just enjoy the movie!! Or, wait, does representation matter only when the character represents YOU and YOUR values?

  4. gabusan5 says:

    So characters on the big screen aren’t representative of our society? How is that new? Our society has plenty of Christians that go mass every sunday and pray in their daily lives, they have Jesus Christ quite present in their lives. But you wont see any of these in movies, unless there is a plot point about religion, like that The Witch movie. So far, no one seems to have cared about the lack of presence. Where are our christians superheroes? Missing or carefully hidding their beliefs. Isn’t the ocean big enough for Dory to find some christian fish swiming around or going to Church, same as they go to school? So why should the LBGT group, or any other group, be any different? Why is it alarming they do not get proper representation in movies, when other groups are not getting it either? I know far more christians in my daily life than gays. Something just does not add up here.

  5. Justin says:

    If lesbian fish are so important and a good thing per (radical left wing Pixar), then why didn’t they highlight it in all their ads. Trying to offend and spit in the face of loyal family viewers. If that is your belief Pixar then advertise it.

  6. Glenda Butler says:

    I’m so sick of LBGT being cramped down everyone’s throat. Lets just have a kids movie & no sex. I would love for my grandchildren to grow up normal without all the garbage.

    • Maria Cucci says:

      Well said! We should let children’s movies be children’s movies with the innocence they used to have back in the early days of Disney kids movies. Now we have to let groups with a sexual preference use such venues to change the values of children when they are most vulnerable at a young age. The LGBT lifestyle is a moral issue and should not be presented in kids movies in a way that shows it to be a morally acceptable lifestyle. The LGBT community has a radical agenda to change the values of society. Keep what happens in the bedroom, IN the bedroom, both gay and straight sexual behaviors. Let kids keep their innocence for a little longer, for heavens sake. Don’t let the politically correct crowd usurp our children’s movies for their own agendas.

  7. Kimberly Carter says:

    This article is very pro gay. Honestly I am so sick of people imposing their personal and private way of life on everyone else. Disney is for children. Why the heck do we speak of homosexuals as a minority? Since when does who I sleep with or identify with equate to minority. As far as what ticket buyers are “used to” the author obviously lives in a box. There are many things people do but opt not to expose their children to it. When the time comes it comes just like the talk of bird and bees but let’s get realistic and stop trying to identify something as normal in our Western society when it’s not in our culture. We still have racism so please get a grip. Production is business and people promote what they feel will sell. The end.

  8. lbh says:

    This review is biased. The target of this film is very young children. Since when does any studio need to force feed social issues on young children? It is absurd. Let children be children. Let them enjoy their childhood without distorting or pushing a social conscience to a child who does not know what it all means. Enough!

  9. Wait, so in the article, it says 22 of 126 films features an lgbt couple. Considering they make up about 2-3% of our population, I’d say them being in 1 of every 6 films is pretty good percentage.

    • I agree. I feel like people are going overboard with the whole diversity thing. It’s like everyone wants 50% representation in everything. I personally just want media to accurately represent society for what it is instead of trying to push an agenda.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why do people care so much about if it’s a lesbian couple? It’s a 3 second clip. If they’re not gay, they’re background characters. If they are gay, they’re still background characters. You’re assuming every background character in Disney is straight? Don’t make assumptions about sexuality. A character is much more than just a sexuality.

    Also, someone in the comments said about if there are 10 characters in a film, then one should be gay statistically. Actually, no. Roughly 5% of people in the US are LGBT, so 5 of every 100 people should be LGBT. Or 1 in 20. Work on your math skills.

  11. James Heckel says:

    What’s missing in these comments is the effect the “global economy” is having on film content. In many of the less enlightened nations in which Hollywood now depends for a significant share of a films’ box office, they don’t just dislike homosexuals. They execute them,

  12. GKN says:

    A “blink-or-you’ll-miss-it” appearance? My dear, try “blink-AND-you’ll-miss-it”. Think about it.

  13. JOE S HILL says:

    Bottomline-we do NOT need LGBTs in any Disney movies,,that’s disgusting! these self chosen people and their same sex values have no place or business in children’s films,and if the people running Disney seem to think that this is a fine idea,then they will run into serious conflict,if they entertain this gender insanity!

    • That’s hilarious… considering the large amount of LGBT animators, effects artists, writers and technicians working to make your favorite Disney and Pixar classics. The idea has definitely come up in talks, and without you knowing it has already been presented… they just have never put it up front. It’s a matter of timing with them.

      • Gmacman says:

        A matter of timing? What, like the Empire’s Order 66? What is every gay person gonna jump out of the bushes and turn everyone else gay? What the hell are you saying?

        What does timing have to do with anything? Why would a heterosexual person have to “come out?” They don’t, it’s biology, it’s the norm.

    • TM says:

      Too bad there are already LGBT characters in Disney movies; ie Frozen. Stop the hate spewing. Start loving everyone. :)

  14. jedijones77 says:

    You just said 17% of movies have homosexual characters. That is far more than what the actual representation in the population is, which is why everyone knows Hollywood is overtly pushing and promoting homosexuality on people who don’t want to hear or see anything about it. That’s one reason your whining rings utterly hollow. It sounds more like you’re desperate to have the mass media recruit more people into your lifestyle. It isn’t the media’s obligation to promote and market someone’s sexual fetishes to the public.

    • General Private says:

      LOL There are gay characters in Frozen? I see you’re eating that gay internet hype and wishful thinking pie. Idiot.

    • timgray2013 says:

      GLAAD offers details about their numbers. While 17% is indeed higher than that the national average, many of the characters portrayed as LGBT are onscreen for only a few seconds — or are treated negatively. It’s surprising in 2016 that gay characters (mostly in small roles) are introduced only to be the punchline in a joke. As you say, there are some people “who don’t want to hear or see anything about it,” but these people evidently don’t want to see life as it really is.

      • TM says:

        The whole “representation” seems like a moot point. If a movie has more than 10 people in it, then at least one of them statistically should be gay. Saying that 17% of movies is representation of the community just seems short-sighted.

  15. Fire says:

    Sometimes I wonder, people are really as stupid as they act and sound. There is just no limit to peoples stupidity. So what if there is a lesbian couple in that movie. The only ones who pay attention to it is people like those that scream bloody murder about every little thing that does not agree with their views on life. I hate to say it the kids don’t pay attention to it unless they hear their parents homophobic views

  16. Lenora says says:

    God love ya Walt. We still do.

  17. Madonna Ciccone-Ritchie says:

    I read the original script, in which Dory has a hot make-out session with Ariel (the mermaid). Sucks to hear it was excised. We can all hope for an Unrated Director’s Cut on BluRay!

  18. Louis says:

    Good. Kids don’t need to be a part of the “agenda.”

  19. Guest says:

    One thing I don’t understand are the comments I have seen over the time ever since this topic has been brought up. Comments like, “This movie is for kids, so let it be. We don’t need to have complex ideas or themes put into it” Watch Zootopia and come back and tell me that film was only targeted to children and didn’t have some type of adult material in it? Like dealing with prejudice.
    I do find it stupid that some parents treat their kids like they are idiots. As if they can’t handle seeing a gay person on any type of media. Some show (years ago) on the Disney channel decided to have a character with gay parents. Of course there were those who threw a fit, but the channel decided to air the episode. Kids around the world didn’t start setting cars on fire, and chaos didn’t erupt. If you don’t make it a big deal then those kids won’t pay attention to it as well.
    A movie called Paranorman (something like that) had a gay character in it, the trailer for Boxtrolls had gay couples in it. Once again, the world didn’t end.
    I don’t mind seeing LGBT represented in film, I just don’t like it when it being forced fed like this article is doing.

  20. Marie says:

    Since I am a cisgender, heterosexual my opinion may not matter but..it’s just a movie. Get over it.

  21. Cryptic Knowledge says:

    Seriously? I don’t even have to read this. The focal point of the film is in the water. Dory. Not on humans.

  22. Malcolm says:

    Maybe they are gay, but as they are not vital main characters and as sexuality should not be a big deal, Pixar just didn’t feel the need to say it.

    In thousands of conversations with random strangers at work and school and socially, not one has opened a conversation by telling me they were gay or straight or anything else. So a background character in an animated movie also should not need to be labelled.

    I do understand the diversity and acceptance issues – but feel that while they are generally important, they are misguided here.

    Equally, while TENTPOLE films are still “problematic”, 22/120something is a sixth of films. Isn’t that quite close to Real Life Ratios…?

  23. This is what happens when some people wants to see what they want to see. You just can’t judge or make any assumptions just for a blink-and-you-miss-it scene. Why in the hell this two women have to be lesbians? They can’t be just friends, or relatives? I’m starting to hate this era in which everything has to be “politically correct”…

    • EricJ says:

      Meaning, it was A ONE-SECOND SHOT, people! How desperate ARE we to link up imagined mainstream validation with established pop-culture franchises?

      (It’s beginning to sound reminiscent of when the Community was turning handsprings over the line at the end of “Paranorman”, where the annoying comedy-relief big-sister, who’s spent the film comically throwing herself at the big dumb high-school jock, finally asks him for a date, and he says “I’ll have to ask my boyfriend…”
      It’s meant to be just one more frustration-punchline to add crowning insult to her injuries, and to anyone else, this would sound like the same corny gagline that might show up in any sitcom or TV commercial…But to the Community, this was “A bold, new progressive step! Animated films are finally recognizing gay characters as the new normal!”, and insisted that every parent take their kids to the movie to learn tolerance.
      That’s sort of the working definition of “How desperate ARE we??”

  24. Morgan Violet Hart says:

    Ellen DeGenerates herself is gay, so why can’t a gay actress play a gay character for once? The fact is the majority of people aren’t really 100% straight. The point is seeing a different way of experiencing life, and the fact that we always see straight characters living out their lives in film as if their emotions count for everything, is very boring. We need to have gay and trans characters in leading roles in films, as well as every other ethnicity besides white, and women taking the lead in more of a variety of films. Diversity can only happen when different points of view are treated equally.

    • “The fact is the majority of people aren’t really 100% straight” is a lie you made up in your own imagination. Keep your non-statistically proven opinion to yourself. This is the reason why many straight people do not care for gays – not because they’re gay, but because a simple BOUNDARY, as in “I’m not interested and I’m not gay” is not respected.

      How about Disney just make movies for kids, and leave the social engineering off the screen?

  25. eddie willers says:

    Oh for God’s sake!

  26. Bo says:

    Stop trying to create an issue where there is none.

  27. EricJ says:

    And I repeat: As for the “First gay character in Disney films”…they had to write in a female romantic interest for Lion King’s Scar (the unmarried uncle voiced by Jeremy Irons) LATER. In the sequel.
    And whether she actually was or not, we pretty much only had her word to take for it.

  28. Jon says:

    This is a movie for kids! They don’t need to be exposed to that when their parents are paying a ton of money to simply enjoy a couple hours of entertainment. The vast, vast majority of people are straight. Stop trying to get mainstream validation for what will by necessity remain an extremely small percentage of the population. Captain America never has been and never will be gay. Elsa is not gay. There are no lesbian couples in Finding Dory. Look elsewhere for validation.

    • Guest says:

      Yes they are part of the small percentage, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be in films.

    • Mike says:

      While I’m not advocating for Pixar to feature a gay or lesbian couple (I certainly wouldn’t object either), you can’t say the movie is for kids so it shouldn’t happen. That’s just silly. These animated films deal with many adult themes: death, loss, love, divorce, and the list goes one. Why not sexual orientation?

      Also, some thoughts:

      1) Pixar has proven that its movies spans generations and are for kids and adults. 2) Almost every animated movie nowadays (Pixar included) have sexual innuendos and subtle dialogue/jokes that adults will get but will go over kids’ heads, so if you’re saying these are kids movies, you need to object to anything that leans toward adult matter — including these types of jokes/storylines. 3) Featuring a gay/lesbian couple will not damage kids. At most they may have questions for their parents, but, well, being parents means you need to be able to discuss issues with your kids and teach them about the world. You’re a parent, so be one. Don’t be mad at Pixar or anyone else because you don’t want to have a difficult conversation with your kids.

      Almost every kid I’ve met is fine with gay and lesbian couples. Nowadays many have fiends in their classes who have two moms or dads. It wouldn’t be a big deal to them. The kids who aren’t comfortable with it come from a home where the parents aren’t comfortable with it.

  29. Michael Anthony says:

    Reading and commenting on most of Variety is free. Subscriptions are fairly pricey as its a bible of the entertainment industry. Hollywood. Which given its content over many many decades, what did you expect? If you paid for a subscription, one would think you would know what you are buying. If you don’t want what they ffer, then don’t read or subscribe. But spare us your moaning and groaning. It’s like you subscribing to Sports Illustrated and then complaining it’s all about sports.

  30. Michael Anthony says:

    Comments below by THE DUDE, JD, & STEVE are straight out of the 50s and 60s. They seem to think there’s a “gay agenda”, and that eduard outlets, like Variety, are pushing the agenda. One even clains to know how much of the population is gay. (Smarter than the scientists, i guess). Of course, they’re only thinking of the children!

    Agent? There is no agenda, other than showing American life as it is. And somehow they think a gay couple in a film would harm kids. (Once again, they are playing scientists again). And if you don’t like what Variety prints, why read it? And BTW, they’ve also covered the lack of woman in management in Hollywood and the lack of race in awards.

    And I wish these 3 would explain how any of this, even if it was true, harms children? Has watching films made you violent? Do drugs? Have affairs? Kidnap 101 dalmatians? Rescue motherless elephant? Avoid apples due to poison? One would hope it hasn’t. But given you’re thinking on the so called gay agenda, I’m pretty sure all 3 of you are convinced that Hogwarts actually is a real place.

  31. The Dude says:

    Why should sexuality even be a topic in a friggin’ children’s animated cartoon? Good lord some of you and your agendas… go seek help. I don’t care about a character’s sexuality. Why so many of you make a big deal of this is beyond me.

    • Joe marchetti says:

      There not talking about sex you dip shit….what does a man loving another man or woman loving another woman have to do with having sex….they don’t have to make out on screen….just simplify holding hands or a peck on the lips or cheeks…what you would see any straight couple doing in an animated film…no agenda just life as it is …life…..

      • jedijones77 says:

        That peck only leads to sex for fetishistic purposes. Affection between men and woman is natural, the way the world was designed and it promotes procreation, not sexual gratification for its own sake. There is no comparison between a wholesome heterosexual couple and a homosexual couple where the ONLY reason they would ever be together is for sexual gratification.

  32. CiCi says:

    and we will be going to the movie with our 9 year old niece who has known about our relationship since she was five. I could care less if a gay coupe is depicted on screen. I have the love of my life in the real world.

  33. CiCi says:

    My wife and I have been together for 18 years. Married for 10. We do not have a gay agenda. We are not together for sex. If that was the case we would have divorced years ago. We are together in sickness and in health till death do us part. We don’t even have any gay friends. We go out to lunch/dinner with our heterosexual married friends. It is called love.

  34. Ben says:

    Oh yeah and you sure do not have agenda…

    When activists compare the shortage of gay characters in children’s animated movies to the scale of suffering by African Americans you expose yourself as the narcissistic, precious and intellectually bereft people that you are. The scale of your immense myopic self absorbition is revolting.

  35. Lauren says:

    Exactly LMAO! I love how it says ‘misses’ as if the scene wasn’t already made or like Pixar was planning it from the beginning. They make it seem like it is SO IMPORTANT to have an acknowledgement of two minor characters being a couple for one second. It doesn’t even relate to the movie or add anything to the plot! When I first seen an abundance of articles dedicated to screaming FIRST LESBIAN COUPLE!!1 to a 1.2 second, faster-than-light cameo of two women in the same frame, I was confused. what a far stretch?! Are they really trying to find subtext in a Pixar movie? That should be one of the last things you should look for if you want bait for your politic agenda

    seriously I’m a supporter of the LGBT community but this is just being annoying if you’re going to look for insignificant details and plaster it all over the news in support for their movement. Forcing their ideas into people’s faces REPEATEDLY like campaigns such as #ElsaNeedsAGirlfriend or #CaptainAmericaLovesBucky isnt making people more accepting towards the ideas when it becomes a tired nuisance of nitpicking and focusing on sexuality as if that is the only component that will make characters more important or interesting. I agree with representation but trying to pressure creators to incorporate sudden sexuality onto already established characters is not the way.

  36. Michael Anthony says:

    Cmon French, share with us your how you came up with the “99% of families” figure?? Is this just traditional families, or does it include single parent families. Does it include gay families? And how did you decide what is “the truth”??

    Face it, it’s your opinion. An opinion certainly not based in fact. The very same words “I’m sick of the activism…” when African Americans fought for equality.

    And you know what the truth is? Gay families and singles exist. Your children will be exposed to an open country. Certainly better than the fantasy you live in. And the final truth? No harm comes to anyone, including children, when exposed to the truth. In a Google rated film, just that they exist. Somehow that’s more harmful than portraying villains.

    Go back to your “truths” now. And next time, try to come up with some real Truths. Not ones that FIT YOUR AGENDA.

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