11 Disney Animated Characters Who Were Definitely Queer

LGBT characters have always been part of your world.

Turns out, the House of Mouse is full of queer characters. They may not have been out of the closet, but these animated folk definitely pinged our gaydar.

  1. Captain Hook

    captain hook
    Disney

    Peter Pan’s fashionable foe leads a ship full of men to capture a group of young boys. Need we say more?

  2. LeFou

    Disney

    Gaston’s sidekick in Beauty and the Beast definitely gave us gay vibes in the animated original. In the live-action remake, director Bill Condon made it explicit with what he called the company’s first “exclusively gay moment.”

    Disney

    “It may have been a long time coming but this is a watershed moment for Disney,” Condon said of Josh Gad’s character flirting with Gaston and dancing with another male character. Gad, whose older brother is gay, told The Advocate he’s eager to tackle queer roles. “If there are any great gay roles available for a young bear like myself, I’ll take them,” he said. “You guys can trust me.”

  3. Ursula

    ursula
    Disney

    The The Little Mermaid’s villainess has a direct tie to the LGBT community: She was based on John Waters’ drag queen muse, Divine. (No wonder she’s a fave Halloween costume, among gay men.)

  4. Li Shang

    Disney

    This Mulan star is pretty canonically bisexual: As Mulan’s captain, he falls for her when she’s in boy drag, believing she is truly. Fans of the animated classic are angry Disney plans to erase Li Shang from the forthcoming live-action version.

  5. Timon and Pumba

    timon and pumba
    Disney

    The Lion King’s sassy meerkat and his warthog BFF never leave each other’s sides, so we’re counting them as one unit. They even raised a lion cub together, proving that same-sex parenting is a breeze when you’re living the “hakuna matata” lifestyle.

  6. Jafar

    jafar
    Disney

    Sports black eyeliner and shoulder pads, Aladdin’s nemesis is a great example of Disney’s long history of queer-coded villains. Other glaring examples include Scar in The Lion King, and Pocahontas’ John Ratcliffe.

  7. Maleficent

    maleficent
    Disney

    The wicked sorceress in Sleeping Beauty was also queer-coded: Cold, powerful, “unfeminine”—and oddly obsessed with young beautiful Aurora.

  8. Elsa

    Elsa
    Disney

    With lyrics like, “I don’t care what they’re going to say,” the ice princess’ signature song, “Let It Go,” has become a gay anthem.

    And her storyline—turning shame about being different into pride—mirrors the experiences of many LGBT people. No wonder #GiveElsaAGirlfriend was trending when the Frozen sequel was announced.

  9. Oaken

    Disney

    Frozen’s innkeeper was a very minor character but, prior to LeFou, the closest we got to an out character in a Disney movie. When Oaken says “Hello, family!” the camera pans to another man and four children.

  10. Genie

    genie
    Disney

    With a knack for drag and an abundance of pop-culture knowledge, Robin William’s big blue spirit is like your favorite brunch gay. He may have been forced to serve Aladdin, but he’d probably have done anything the “street rat” wanted anyway.

  11. Ferdinand the Bull

    Disney won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 1939 with a cartoon about a sleepy-eyed bull who doesn’t conform to traditional expectations of masculinity.

    “All the other bulls wanted most of all to fight at the bullfights in Madrid, but not Ferdinand,” the narrator explains. “He still liked to sit just quietly under the cork tree and smell the flowers.” Once captured and forced into the ring, Ferdinand still refuses to fight—he’s too distracted by the flowers the toreador is holding.

    Though the short is mostly forgotten, it’s one of the few instances where a queer-coded Disney character wasn’t depicted as evil.

Adam Salandra is a writer, performer and host in Los Angeles. When he's not covering the latest in pop culture, you can find him playing with his French Bulldog puppy or hovering over the table of food at any social gathering.
@adamsalandra