Editorial: Straight characters becoming LGBT

Some of you may have heard on social media and in the news that there have been pushes towards Disney and Marvel for them to try and rework two of their most prominent characters as LGBT. These are Elsa from Disney’s monster hit ‘Frozen’ and
Marvel’s Captain America from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Polls have been shown, a petition made, and even Idina Menzel (the voice of Elsa), says that it would be great.

To be honest, I really don’t mind having a gay character in TV, film, or literature. Not only does it allow for more diverse characters, but it can allow for interesting commentary and make way for creative and new stories. As everyone knows (and some try to ignore) America is a changing and diverse country with a variety of different people. There are people of different backgrounds, class, colors, creeds, nationalities, religions, and especially sexuality.

However, when you try to make a popular character gay for the sake of them being gay and not to add something interesting, it feels more forced than enjoyable. A character in fiction is supposed to be someone who we enjoy because of their personality and struggles, not their gender, sexuality or race. A fictional character is more than a character, but a person like you and me. Their sexuality doesn’t define their personality or character, just like a person’s race, gender or religion doesn’t define who they are. IF we did associate a certain aspect of a person, it could be seen more as a stereotype rather than a trait.

We didn’t fall in love with Elsa from ‘Frozen’ because she may or may not be the first lesbian princess; we love Elsa’s personality as an emotional young woman with the desire to be herself and be proud of her icy abilities. We didn’t root for Finn in ‘The Force Awakens’ just because he’s African-American or gay for Poe; we like his good heart and empathetic ambition to do what’s right. We didn’t fall in love with Captain America because he could be given a boyfriend; we fell in love with the Star-Spangled Soldier because of his drive for freedom, liberty, and being a badass while fighting Nazis. Would be cool if it turns out Finn, Captain America and Elsa are gay? Sure, but it shouldn’t be the only reason we like them on the big screen.

Overall, it’s hard to say what my opinion is on this. On the one hand, it would be interesting to see a different aspect of a character we enjoy, but at the same time we should not add something to a character so suddenly just to make it either more politically correct or to please the fanbase. It would be cool to see Elsa with a girlfriend, but it would also be odd to see Captain America be gay despite the fact he’s extremely straight. In all honesty, if you want to write a character that is LGBT, a different ethnicity, a different nationality, etc. it’s cool, but be sure to treat that character with a level of respect as a person and not as a stereotype.

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