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Disney's First Gay Character is a joke cycle about the cliché where media outlets repeatedly announce that a new Disney property will feature their "first (openly) gay character." The memes began after Disney promised an "exclusively gay moment" in the 2017 Beauty and the Beast adaptation, and continued through the year 2022 after several films included brief appearances by implicitly gay characters.
In early 2017, discussions about Disney's 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast having an "exclusively gay moment" began to circulate. On Feb 28th, 2017, Twitter account @playbill posted a tweet referencing a now deleted Attitude Magazine interview with the film's director Bill Condon where he says, "But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie." The quote is in reference to LeFou's feelings toward Gaston, and @playbill's tweet gathered over 400 likes in five years (seen below). The interview received a response from Ben Shapiro shunning the movie.
On March 4th, 2017 Twitter user @hatemasterhugo posted a meme in response to the aforementioned news, gathering over 11,000 likes in nearly five years (seen below, left). On March 18th, Twitter user @anakinsvywalker posted a meme as well, gathering over 13,000 likes in nearly five years (seen below, right).
Disney continued to announce various "first openly gay characters" in consecutive years, often with little to no impact to the plot of the story. In 2016, Zootopia and Finding Dory both had brief cameos from a supposedly gay (see below, left) and lesbian (see below, right) couple.
Disney had more implicitly unnamed gay character appearances in later movies, including a man grieving the loss of his husband in the "snap" in Avengers: Endgame, and an unnamed lesbian couple comforting their child in the background of a scene in Toy Story 4. However, Disney's first named gay character was Specter, a lesbian cyclops police officer in the 2020 film Onward. At this point, people began noticing the repetitive trend of Disney announcing their "first" gay characters.
On February 21st, 2020, Twitter user @renazyk posted a tweet noting this fact, gathering over 70,000 likes in nearly two years (seen below.)
In 2021, discussions about the film Cruella featuring the first openly gay Disney character began to circulate. On May 22nd, 2021, Twitter user @medusawife posted a tweet about the news, gathering over 25,000 likes in over a year (seen below).
In 2022, Disney revealed their first "openly gay teenage character," in the 2022 film Strange World . This unleashed another wave of reactions to Disney's new "first" gay character. On November 20th, Twitter user @Trey_Explainer posted a tweet featuring a redraw of the past Avatar line-up scene from Avatar: The Last Airbender gathering over 200,000 likes in three days (seen below).
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