After weeks of Disney employees speaking out against the company’s handling of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, it sounds like concrete action is finally being taken. Variety reports that a kiss between two women in the upcoming Pixar animated film Lightyear, which had been edited out, will now be restored.
The movie, which is out June 17, features Chris Evans as the voice of Buzz Lightyear, the inspiration for the Toy Story space character. One of Buzz’s colleagues on his adventure is a character named Hawthorne, voiced by Uzo Aduba. Hawthorne is in “a meaningful relationship with another woman” according to the trade, and while that dynamic was always part of the story, a kiss shared by the couple had been cut from the film. That changed last week though after Pixar made a very public statement accusing Disney of censoring its LGBTQIA+ content over the years. And while no specifics were given, this moment in Lightyear must have been the most recent example. Gizmodo has reached out to Disney for comment or clarification on this information and will update this post if or when we hear back.
Whether it’s two characters kissing in the background, a passing mention of a relationship that’s never explored, or films that just full-on ignore the subtext, Disney’s disappointing approaches to LGBTQIA+ representation have been well documented. (See articles here, here, here, here, and here just to start.) That came to a head in recent weeks as the company was revealed to be funding government officials who supported Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The company ignored the allegations until its own employees made their displeasure public. This forced CEO Bob Chapek to acknowledge the controversy and, finally, put an end to the political funding. The Pixar letter only escalated things, and restoring the kiss to Disney’s upcoming summer blockbuster signals that perhaps real change is finally afoot. One can only hope that this action is the first step in Disney fully embracing the simple, undeniable fact that no matter who you are or who you love, we’re all human and deserve to be treated as such.
Lightyear will be released June 17. Head over to Variety for more.