Disney's Frozen and the 'gay agenda'

Actress Bailee Madison blows a kiss at the 19 November, 2013, premier party for the film Frozen.Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Is there a lesbian subtext to the Disney movie Frozen?

Does "letting go" mean coming out?

To Kevin Swanson, a pastor and host of a right-wing Christian-themed radio show, it does. Swanson slammed Disney's award-winning animated film Frozen, calling it the work of the devil.

"Friends, this is evil, just evil," he said. Swanson contends the film indoctrinates young women to be lesbians and convinces people that homosexuality and bestiality are acceptable in society.

While Swanson doesn't specifically cite what parts of the film he sees as promoting homosexuality, others have drawn parallels between the kingdom's rejection of the magical powers of one of the main characters, Elsa, and society's rejection of homosexuality.

Many equate film's most recognisable song, Let it Go, with the experience of coming out and accepting one's sexual orientation.

"Disney has a long history of fielding accusations of using its children's movies to advance one liberal agenda or another - whether it's gay rights, environmentalism or socialism," writes the Daily Beast's Caitlin Dickson.

"However, there seems to be something about Frozen that has attracted more than the usual amount of controversy for a kids' cartoon."

Kathryn Skaggs, a Mormon blogger, identifies what she sees as the film's attempt to normalise homosexuality.

She writes:

When mainstream society comes to the point where it celebrates that which is contrary to the commandments, taught in a movie presumably made for children, by awarding it the highest accolades within its culture, and good parents don't perceive it, but rather endorse it unwittingly, we are in serious trouble.

She targets much of her fire on Let It Go, which she says hides a "subversive" message beneath a catchy tune:

The words to Let it Go are clearly not Christian-values friendly, by any stretch of the imagination, when understood and heard. This is not an innocent song, with a catchy tune. It is rebellious. It mocks moral absolutes. It is careless. It is unaccountable. It is anti-obedience. It is regardless. It is selfish. And if you still disagree, then by all means, feel free to show me how I've misinterpreted the lyrics.

Mark Saal, another Mormon blogger, disagrees with Skaggs' comments.

"Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar," he says. If you look hard enough, he says, you can find a hidden homosexual agenda in almost any song, movie or any other work of art.

Meanwhile, some members and allies to the LGBT community are claiming Elsa as their own.

Ryan C Robert, writing for Qodda, argues that the film has given LGBT youth a character with which to empathise. He says the movie portrays unconditional sisterly love, and many LGBT kids need to understand that people will love them regardless of what happens.

"Disney's Frozen may not have intended for one of the main characters, Elsa, to have a story that is such an easy parallel to the world of growing up in the closet, but it happened," he writes. "It happened, and now we're gonna celebrate."

There isn't consensus in the LGBT community as to what the movie means, however.

"It's time for a reality check," writes the Daily Dot's Rob Price. "I don't wish to dismiss anyone's interpretation, or tell someone they're watching a film 'the wrong way' - but for me at least, these claims just don't add up."

While he says he would love Frozen to be a movie about coming out, it's not, he says. Frozen is a timid step in the right direction, but still sticks to plenty of societal standards.

"Praising the film studio for the meagre animated scraps they're currently throwing to the LGBTQ community will only breed complacency on their part; it's about time they 'let it go' and come out the celluloid closet for good," he says.

It seems like just about everyone wants a piece of Elsa. Perhaps the best thing to do is to act like the movie's lovable snowman, Olaf, and go looking for some warm hugs until the storm blows over.

(By Kierran Petersen)