The upcoming animated film Onward will feature the first-ever openly LGBT character in a Disney/Pixar children’s film.
The movie, which releases in theaters March 6, is set in a fantasy world and tells the story of two teenage elf boys who go on a magical road adventure to meet the father they never knew. It is during this road quest that a lesbian police officer named Officer Specter – who is a Cyclops – enters the scene.
When Specter and her police sidekick Officer Gore pull over a car, the male passenger complains that his girlfriend’s children distracted him. Specter then says, “My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out.”
Viewers never see Specter’s girlfriend or her daughter – and Specter is a secondary character – but the moment nevertheless is historical. The LGBT media outlet Advocate calls Officer Specter the “first self-identifying LGBTQ character” ever in a Disney or Pixar children’s film.
The 2016 Disney/Pixar film Finding Dory included a brief scene with two women walking with a stroller, but the characters never spoke, and filmmakers neither confirmed nor denied their identification. The 2017 live-action Disney movie Beauty and the Beast briefly showed two men dancing, although – again – neither spoke about LGBT orientation.
The filmmakers behind Onward confirmed that Specter is lesbian.
“It just kind of happened,” movie producer Kori Rae told Yahoo Entertainment. “The scene, when we wrote it, was kind of fitting and it opens up the world a little bit, and that’s what we wanted.”
Said director Dan Scanlon, “It’s a modern fantasy world and we want to represent the modern world.”
Specter is voiced by Lena Waithe, who also is lesbian.
Rae told Electronic Urban Report that Specter’s character is worthy of another film.
“[Waithe is] brilliant, she would improv for an hour. I want to make a whole new movie about Officer Specter, we already have the material,” Rae said. “She basically wrote it all and gave us a back story.”
Photo courtesy: ©Disney/Pixar
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.