As Disney announces that its forthcoming live action Beauty and the Beast will feature the studio's "first gay moment", courtesy of Josh Gad's LeFou, we take a look at some of the studio's other (possibly) queer characters.

Queen Elsa - (Frozen)

Who is Elsa?

Unless you've been living in outer space for the past few years, you're probably aware that Elsa is one of the protagonists of Disney's smash hit Frozen. Gifted with powerful (but dangerous) ice magic, troubled royal Elsa hides herself away...until, with the help of her loyal sister Anna, she finally learns to embrace her gift.

Why do people think she's gay? In all honesty, most people don't think Elsa is gay - but a number of Frozen aficionados have said that they'd quite like it if she was. Last year there was even a trending Twitter hashtag, #GiveElsaAGirlfriend, as fans called upon Disney to reveal the character as a lesbian in forthcoming sequel Frozen 2. On the less pleasant, significantly more bizarre end of the spectrum, a viral post by a Mormon blogger and traditional marriage advocate argued that Elsa and her struggle to be accepted were intended as a coded representation of homosexuality...and criticised Disney for trying to "normalise" gay marriage.


How convinced are we? There's no real evidence that Elsa is interested in women, other than the fact that we don't see her express interest in any male characters - which, obviously, should not be taken as a sign that she must therefore be a lesbian. And while many fans would doubtless find it inspiring if one of the studio's most popular (and marketing-friendly) heroines was revealed to be gay, doing so would be a big, brave move on Disney's part. We're not getting our hopes up just yet.

Merida - (Brave)

Who is Merida?

She's a Scottish princess and archer, and the flame-haired heroine of Disney's Brave.

Why do people think she's gay? Again, as with Elsa, there's no real on-screen evidence that Merida might be a lesbian...but a number of fans like to think she is, because of the way she rejects traditional stereotypes - and male suitors - to challenge gender roles and pursue a more active, exciting life.

How convinced are we? We think this one should be left with the fans. Want to think of Merida as a lesbian? There's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't.

Oaken and his (possible, probable) partner - (Frozen)

Who is Oaken?

The friendly owner of Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna in Frozen.

Why do people think he's gay? Remember the brief scene in which Oaken says "Hello family!" and opens a sauna door? The family we glimpse inside consists of four super-cute dark-haired children...and a strapping blonde hunk. Because of this, many people have speculated that Oaken and his manly chum are a gay couple, raising kids together.


How convinced are we? Pretty convinced, all things considered. The filmmakers have never explicitly said that Oaken is in a relationship with a man, but, after being accused of spreading a "gay agenda" (yes, that again), they've stuck to their guns and refused to back down. "We know what we made," Frozen writer and co-director Jennifer Lee told The Big Issue. "But at the same time I feel like once we hand the film over, it belongs to the world. So I don't like to say anything, and just let the fans talk. I think it's up to them."

Bucky Oryx-Antlerson and Pronx Oryx-Antlerson - (Zootopia)

Who are Bucky and Pronx?

In Zootopia (Zootropolis), kudu Bucky and gemsbox Pronx become the bickering new next door neighbours of Ginnifer Goodwin's bunny cop Judy Hopps.

Why do people think they're a gay couple?

1.)They live together and act (and argue) like a couple.
2.) The film's credits confirm that the characters (who are voiced by Zootopia's co-directors Byron Howard and Jared Bush) have the same, hyphenated surname... suggesting that they could be married.
3.) Jared Bush has said so.

"They are a gay married couple. But they don't yell at each other because they're gay, they yell because they're real," he wrote on Twitter in December 2016.

How convinced are we? Thanks to Bush, we're 100% convinced: these guys are definitely a couple. We just hope they're still together.

Officer Clawhauser - (Zootopia)

Who is Clawhauser?

A chubby, doughnut-guzzling cheetah and police officer, who works alongside the film's protagonist Judy Hopps.

Why do people think he's gay? The short answer? Because he's quite camp and effeminate. While these traits - alongside Clawhauser's obsession with celebrity singer Gazelle - don't necessarily indicate that the character is gay, some fans have interpreted them as a coded representation of homosexuality. At the very least, it's fair to say that Clawhauser isn't conforming to traditional male stereotypes.

How convinced are we? It feels like, with Clawhauser, the filmmakers had fun creating a character who very definitely could be gay...but there's no real confirmation either way.

Kaa - (The Jungle Book)

Who is Kaa?

In the 1967 animated Jungle Book film, Kaa is the slithery, soft-voiced snake who tries to lure man cub Mowgli down his throat.

Why do people think he's gay? Art historian and academic Greg Metcalf has argued that Kaa, who effectively tries to "seduce" Mowgli into being eaten, can be linked to the (offensive, but very much of its time) Sixties stereotype of the older, predatory homosexual man.

How convinced are we? We've got to admit that there's a plausible edge to Metcalf's interpretation... Although Jon Favreau, who directed the live action remake, isn't having any of it. "It's fantasy about a boy living among both friendly and dangerous animals, and coming of age," he told The Telegraph's Robbie Collin, when asked for his thoughts on the theory above. In Favreau's update, Kaa was voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

Scar - (The Lion King)

Who is Scar?

Scar, an archetypal evil uncle sort who conspires to take the throne from his brother and disinherit his nephew, is the main villain of Disney's The Lion King.

Why do people think he's gay? Scar is clever, camp, more than a little snide - and posh and British. Because of these traits, some people think he's probably gay - or at least conforming to a "bitchy old Queen" gay stereotype. It's also worth noting that, when he usurps his brother and takes over his territories, Scar appears to show absolutely no interest in any of the remaining lionesses....opting instead to spend his time with a caged singing parrot. Feel free to make your own "Pride Rock" jokes.

How convinced are we? We're not sure if Scar is really meant to be a "coded gay" - or if the filmmakers just decided to make him slightly effeminate, to provide contrast with his more masculine brother, the heroic Mufasa. Either way, given the character's undisputed villainy, it all feels somewhat problematic.

Cogsworth - (Beauty and The Beast)

Who is Cogsworth?

In the original 1991 animated Disney film, Cogsworth, the head of staff at the Beast's castle, spends most of the movie transformed into a clock.

Why do people think he's gay? Readings of Cogsworth as gay boil down to three things: the character's perceived campness, his fiery "relationship" with enchanted Candelabra Lumière (who admittedly seems to have eyes only for the Feather Duster), and the fact that the voice actor who plays him, David Ogden Stiers, is gay himself.

How convinced are we? Stiers has said that, when it came to playing Cogsworth, he - and Disney - were careful not to take things too far.

"I enjoy working, and even though many have this idealistic belief that the entertainment industry and studios like Walt Disney are gay friendly," they weren't always," he said in 2009. "For the most part they are, but that doesn't mean for them that business does not come first. It's a matter of economics.

"Cogsworth, the character I did on 'Beauty and the Beast,' could be a bit flamboyant onscreen, because basically, he is a cartoon. But they didn't want Cogsworth to become Disney's gay character, because it got around a gay man was playing him."

Another gay actor, Sir Ian McKellen, was cast in the role in the forthcoming live action remake.

Governor Ratcliffe - (Pocahontas)

Who is Governor Ratcliffe?

In Pocahontas, the evil, greedy and racist Ratcliffe, leader of an expedition to Virginia, is determined to plunder the riches of America...with no regard for the native people who live there.

Why do people think he's gay? Again, readings of this character as gay are based on certain stereotyopes: Ratcliffe (also voiced by David Ogden Stiers) is vain and effeminate, with a flamboyant dress sense, apparent passion for fashion and a pampered pet dog. He even has little scarlet bows on the end of his pigtails.

How convinced are we? As with The Lion King's Scar, it's difficult to tell if Ratclffe is really meant to be gay... or if Disney (like many other filmmakers throughout history) was just problematically equating effeminacy with evil.

Hugo - (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)

Hugo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Photo / Youtube
Hugo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Photo / Youtube

Who is Hugo?

In the 1996 animation, Hugo is one of three comedic gargoyles (the other two are named Victor, completing the tribute to Notre Dame de Paris author Victor Hugo, and Laverne).

Why do people think he's gay? Rewatch The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and you'll notice that, despite being made out of stone, Hugo appears to be deeply, romantically obsessed with Esmeralda's goat, Djali...who is referred to throughout the film as a "he". In the 2002 direct to video Hunchback sequel, Djali decides to stop spurning Hugo's advances, and the (admittedly extremely odd) couple end up together.

How convinced are we? Hugo is quite clearly a gay, goat-obsessed gargoyle...and we're very happy for him.

'The lesbian couple' - (Finding Dory)

'The lesbian couple' from Finding Dory. Photo / Youtube
'The lesbian couple' from Finding Dory. Photo / Youtube

Who are 'the lesbian couple'?

Fans across the world reacted with excitement after they spotted a female "couple" in the trailer for Disney Pixar's Finding Dory. Despite the furore, however, the finished film steered clear of giving away any further information about the briefly-glimpsed minor characters, meaning that fans had to make their own minds up.

Why do people think they're lesbians? They look a bit like they could be a couple...and, as Finding Dory voice star Ellen DeGeneres later joked, one of them has "a very bad short haircut". (Of course, as DeGeneres went on to point out, short hair and lesbianism are definitely not synonymous.)

How convinced are we? In all honesty, there's no way of telling for sure - the women in question only appear in the film for a few seconds.

The filmmakers have also kept things frustratingly ambiguous.

"They can be whatever you want them to be,"director Andrew Stanton told USA Today. "There's no right or wrong answer."

Lindsey Collins, a producer on the film, added: "We never asked them".