Could audiences be about to meet the first openly lesbian couple in animated movie history? From the looks of the latest Finding Dory trailer, it could very possibly be. On Monday, when the new trailer for the much-anticipated sequel to Finding Nemo was released, the internet was abuzz with what it could all mean thanks to one very brief moment. During a scene where a toddler drops her cup, two women who appear to be a couple tend to her needs, picking up the cup and giving it back to her. Of course, the assumption that these two women are a couple (when they could be friends or relatives) is just that, an assumption. But if these women are in fact a lesbian couple, it could mean big things for LGBTQIA representation in animated movies.
And by big things, I mean that this could be the first openly gay couple in an animated movie ever. If it is, it really is about time. Because while for many American children, having two moms or two dads is becoming more and more common, it has taken a long time for television and movie representations of this reality to catch up.
The statistics of how LGBTQIA characters and actors are represented across television and movies are pretty stark. The 2013 Studio Responsibility study conducted by GLAAD found that, of the 101 movies released in 2012, only 14 of them contained lesbian, gay, or bisexual characters.
Clearly, representation of gay and lesbian characters in movies has been a long-standing problem. But if this couple is the first openly gay couple in an animated Disney movie — one that is highly anticipated by adults and children alike and therefore bound to be seen by a huge audience — this could be an incredibly important step forward for representation.
And it should go without saying that representation is really, really important, especially when it comes to the media that children consume. Not only do these characters have an impact on our lives, they can shape our understanding of the world around us. In a recent article for The Guardian, writer and former head of communications for Women in Film and Television, Rebecca Brand, said that she believes strongly in the phrase, “if she can’t see it, she can’t be it.” And the same can be said for how LGBTQIA characters are portrayed in the media young kids consume. If children don’t see positive examples of gay characters or characters with same-sex parents, it could negatively affect how they feel about themselves and the realities in their own world.
Check out the moment at 1:05 in the trailer below.
So I’m crossing my fingers that this Finding Dory trailer means good things are in store for LGBTQIA representation in movies and television made for children.