Pixar Reportedly Restores Same-Sex Kiss In LIGHTYEAR After Disney Controversy Surrounding "Don't Say Gay" Bill

Following Disney's handling of Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" (aka "Don't Say Gay") bill, which sparked conversation of censorship at Pixar, the studio has restored a same-sex kiss in Lightyear.

Following the heated employee criticism of Walt Disney Company's lack of public response to Florida's controversial "Parental Rights in Education" bill, it seems Pixar's next feature film, Lightyear, will restore an on-screen same-sex kiss. 

According to Variety, the film's main female character Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) is in a meaningful relationship with another woman. And while the relationship was never in question at the studio, an on-screen kiss between the two characters was reportedly cut from the film initially. However, following the uproar at Pixar in response to Disney CEO Bob Chapek's handling of the controversial bill, that kiss has now been reinstated into the movie.

The bold move comes on the heels of a statement by Pixar employees that claimed "Disney corporate reviews" were responsible for the curtailment of LGBTQIA+ representation in Pixar films. This statement, of course, followed Chapek's initial lackluster response to the Florida bill when he claimed that the "biggest impact" Disney can make "is through the inspiring content we produce." 

The "Parental Rights in Education" aims to prohibit "classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards." However, critics, who commonly refer to it as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, argue that its vague language allows for discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community.

Although Chapek has since backtracked on his statements made in the initial company memo and ceased political contributions from the company, it has opened up all sorts of conversations surrounding LGBTQIA+ representation in Pixar films and company censorship. 

Although recent Pixar feature like Finding Dory, Onward, and Toy Story 4 have had scenes with unambiguous LGBTQ representation, the company has largely taken a pervasive approach towards the subject. In 2020, the Pixar short film Out, which released on Disney+ through the SparkShorts program, featured the most overt LGBTQ representation as it was about a gay man struggling to come out to his parents. But other than that, there's not been much same-sex representation in Pixar's 27-year history of movies.

Suffice to say, a same-sex kiss shared on screen between a main character in Lightyear would be a monumental turning point for LGBTQIA+ representation in Pixar films and in feature animation as a whole. 

It's worth noting that Variety's report also notes that none of its sources could cite first-hand knowledge of Disney executives directly cutting LGBTQ content from specific Pixar movies. It's speculated that most of these decisions to cut this content were made by either the movie's filmmaking team or the studio's own leadership — an act of self-censorship with the belief that the LGBTQ content wouldn't get past Disney review due to the need to play in markets traditionally hostile to the LGBTQIA+ community (China, Russia, and much of West Asia).

Set in the Toy Story universe, Lightyear is the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the legendary Space Ranger on an intergalactic adventure, and the hero who inspired the toy. Marvel star Chris Evans lends his voice to Buzz, while Keke Palmer, Dale Soules, and Taika Waititi voice a group of ambitious recruits. The film is set to fly into theaters on June 17, 2022.

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