The Beastly Beauty of Disney’s ‘Gay Moment’ — And How We Should Respond

Christians must answer with wisdom to match gay activists' strategic savvy.

By Tom Gilson Published on March 2, 2017

So Disney is going to have an “exclusively gay moment” in the live-action film version of Beauty and the Beast. It’s not going to be a big thing, just a moment in the action of LeFou the manservant. Something “nice.” Something very feelings-oriented.

That news follows close upon Disney Studios’ first animated same-sex kiss.

We’ve been talking about this behind the scenes here at The Stream. Al Perrotta, our managing editor, made this prediction by email:

Let’s not kid ourselves. The reason you put in a lighthearted, perhaps even obvious, gay attraction theme in Beauty and the Beast is to soften the ground so a Disney princess or heroine can be gay. That’s the goal. They’ll get away with it here because it’s likely to be humorous, over-the-top fun, and done with much skill. (The Modern Family lesson well applied. And the film’s director Bill Condon is no slouch.) But I guarantee Disney is eyeballing a feature with a gay lead.

He’s right. Modern Family presents gayness in such a pleasant and positive light, it’s done more for gay-rights activism than any gay op-ed or slogan has ever done.

Strategically Putting Christians In a Corner

They’ve centered their strategy on positive imagery. The visual media, film and television, are plainly the most powerful image-makers in Western civilization.

Make no mistake, this was by strategic intention. Marshall Kirk and “Erastes Pill” (a pseudonym for Hunter Madsen) laid it out decades ago in a strategy document they called “The Overhauling of Straight America.” Written in 1987, it’s a disturbing paper yet still worth the read if you can stand it, for the insight it gives into decades of gay activism.

Kirk and Pill speak of opening up “a gateway into the private world of straights, through which a Trojan horse might be passed. As far as desensitization is concerned, the medium is the message — of normalcy. So far, gay Hollywood has provided our best covert weapon in the battle to desensitize the mainstream.”

It’s a strategy centered in positive imagery: “For openers, naturally, we must continue to encourage the appearance of favorable gay characters in films and TV shows,” they write. “The visual media, film and television, are plainly the most powerful image-makers in Western civilization.”

Their approach has been astonishingly effective. Consider the strategic savvy of what they’re setting up in Beauty and the Beast. If we say, “That’s wrong!” people will hear it as “That’s ugly” instead. Everything is happening on the level of images, remember.

So there’s no easy way for conservatives to object without looking ugly ourselves. They’ve put us in a corner. If we object, we lose now. If we don’t object, we lose later, when Disney plies gay princes and princesses upon us. Disney is the Beauty, critics are the Beast.

Overhauling Under Way

But how did that happen? How did we get that way? It comes out of “Overhauling Straight America.” Opponents “must be vilified,” say Kirk and Pill:

The public should be shown images of ranting homophobes. … Bigoted southern ministers drooling with hysterical hatred to a degree that looks both comical and deranged; menacing punks, thugs, and convicts speaking coolly about the “f*gs” they have killed or would like to kill; a tour of Nazi concentration camps where homosexuals were tortured and gassed.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? If you haven’t seen those precise images, still you know how neatly Christians have been maneuvered into the place of the “intolerant haters.” You could almost admire a strategy so effective, if it weren’t so dishonestly manipulative.

And that, fellow Christians, is the difficult strategic setup we’re dealing with. What’s our best response?

Fight Beastliness With Beauty

We’ll get much further by revealing the true beauty of the way of Jesus Christ.

What we’ve been doing for the most part (and I include myself here) has been trying to make gays and gay activism appear the Beast. We have ground to stand on there, to be sure. Even their strategies are beastly.

But just as there are no fairy tales where the heroine turns ugly at the end, and “they all live happily ever after” (I don’t think even Shrek is an exception, though that’s another discussion), it’s hard to make people happy by exposing gay activism’s ugliness. From both a strategic and biblical perspective we’ll get much further by revealing the true beauty of the way of Jesus Christ.

We must be His Beauty in the world. We won’t be able to do that the way Disney does, with multi-million dollar budgets, decades of film experience and a distribution system to drool over. But we are not without resources of our own.

We have the beauty of Christian marriage. Couples who pray together have more loving unions and divorce less often. We have the beauty of Christian forgiveness. We have the beauty of the love of Christ, reaching out to neighbors, friends, and even enemies. We have the beauty of truth, openness, honesty, transparency and humility.

Personal Relationships and Public Conversations

We have to keep pointing back to the better way. The way of Jesus Christ is beautiful. The more people see it with their own eyes, the more likely they’ll be to believe it.

I could go on. These things are best seen up close, not onscreen. We need to love our opponents. The closer we connect in real relationships with people who consider us beastly, the harder it will be for them to ignore the reality of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Meanwhile the discussion must go on. Disney’s support for homosexuality is very public, so we have to respond in public. But we must be wise to the trap they’ve set for us. Someone commented regarding the cartoon kiss, “It’s official. Our society has gone to sh*t.” Someone else wrote, “You Liberals are disgusting creatures of perversion!!” That’s falling into the trap, and it’s no help at all. Language like that is just as ugly as what it’s objecting to.

No, in our public conversations we have to keep pointing back to the better way. We need to learn to paint the picture better, to show the truly beautiful way, the way of strong and lasting marriages that unite in godly love to build the next generation.

Because the way of Jesus Christ, which our culture has come to consider beastly, is really beautiful. The more people can see that with their own eyes, the more likely they’ll be to believe it.

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  • Triple T

    There are some things that just shouldn’t be messed around with. This is a classic fairy tale and story. What’s next, a gay character in a Shakespeare work? Cyrano de Bergerac whispering lines to a man trying to woo another man?

    • concerned

      hmmm…..just kidding

    • NORMAN DOSTAL

      idiot-in Shakespeare’s day men dressed as women in all shows

  • Az1seeit

    Too bad. We loved the live action Cinderella movie. I was sure looking forward to this one, since there is precious little content in entertainment these days that does not reflect the deceived cultural kool-aid imbibers. Once again Hollyweird has dodged my dollars.

    • Debbie S

      I was counting the days until this film was released. I even talked it up with my kids. Now, I won’t be going. I’ve told my kids that I set the same standards for myself and for them.

      • NORMAN DOSTAL

        your kids have gay friends and they are ashamed of you

  • brothergc

    oh this kinda thing had been going on for years . I remember one episode of star teck the next generation having one such instance . ( I like sifi ) Now the Flash , has a gay guy upset that his gay husband is divorcing him. Supergirl has some instances ( did not used to ) In fact all the tv shows on today featuring super heros of old are doing what Disney is doing . Getting hard NOT to find a show that does not do it

  • Autrey Windle

    Commercials, print ads, every possible kind of tv show has shoved accept gay or die propaganda down our proverbial throats for many years now. I actually used to be very accepting of predominately gay people surrounding me as a member of the artist community. I am done with that now. I have done no favors to any of my artist companions by accepting their gay choice as anything except what it really is, a spiritually and often physically fatal choice of lifestyle. I tell you clearly, THEY are the bigots and THEY are the intolerant judgmental bullies in drag. I didn’t ever try to convert any of them away from their choice, but they never stopped insisting that their choice was the only one that was natural or made any sense. Tom, I would like you to be right about covering them in love and good examples, but I honestly don’t think that will be effective except perhaps one on one with a very close friend or family member. Also the churches could help, but most of them won’t. They go for the touchyfeely (no pun intended) atleastheyareinchurch attitude that defies the laws of God. We have children and vulnerable members of society who need us to take a REAL stand in these matters. I know we pray for our enemies, but if you think it is smarter to take a Bible than a gun to a fight with terrorists, I would have to lovingly suggest you may be wrong.
    These people are not Isis, but they fully intend to hold our society hostage to their despicable tyranny. We can and should pray, but we must also fight any way we can to shut the doors these heathens are kicking in that steal our freedom and personal choices and privacies to say nothing of calling their speech out for the true hate speech that it is. Pardon my ranting, but I have actually made my living once doing just that and old habits are truly hard to break…

    • I don’t disagree that we have to fight back. But we have to fight with godly weapons, and we really need to recognize the trap they’ve set for us so we can avoid falling in to it. They’ve won (so far, humanly speaking) by making themselves look good. We won’t win by making ourselves look ugly. Plus in Christ we don’t need to look ugly. He isn’t.

      • Autrey Windle

        I truly do hope you are right. I love being wrong about having to get tough.

      • Kevin Quillen

        Tom; They have won because we have been too nice. We use their terminology for their sin. LBGTWXYZ or whatever. We should call them “QUEERS”. Not to be unkind but to be accurate. They are “abnormal”. By being “nice” we justify their actions and make the kids think it is normal to be queer. Civil disobedience is necessary where ever it can be used. We must not recognize queer marriage and must not accommodate them in any way. Law or not. The laws legalizing queer behavior are not valid laws. We must pull our kids out of public schools and educate them with the Bible. Churches must stop being afraid and speak truth to power. Churches should put aside denominational differences and pool resources and build schools. Give up tax exemptions and fight back!

        • Triple T

          I think all of you are right. We need to let these people know that we aren’t going to be pushed around by them any longer. But there’s a way to let these people know that we will not stand for this foolishness without making ourselves look like the vey worst elements of the Westboro Baptist Church, because that’s exactly what they want us to do. Fighting back with your wallet is a good place to start.

          • NORMAN DOSTAL

            bring it-you have no power and your god is fake

        • NORMAN DOSTAL

          nice? you have killed and beaten us and tried to deprive us of equality! we destroyed you through the courts. Youre done, bigot!

      • NORMAN DOSTAL

        too late-god of equality beats your fake god

    • Kevin Quillen

      God Bless you and stand strong! The “loving” response just allows them to keep on influencing society and especially the kids. They do not believe that God has any relevance. Public education has brainwashed too many and we have lost. I watched a video of a Republican town hall meeting a couple of days ago where the liberals shouted during the pledge if allegiance and even booed Jesus during the prayer. I say it is time for Christian conservative patriots to demonstrate the kind of intestinal fortitude that made this country great. Physical removal should be the order of the day. Civil disobedience and fighting(literally) for what is right. Some things just cannot be tolerated! I am over 60 but if some one insists upon saying certain words to or near my wife, I will shut them up or die trying.

      • NORMAN DOSTAL

        loving? please STFU-your kind has been nasty so we have to destroy you culturally

    • NORMAN DOSTAL

      must be scary to see your world is over-its cool-youre old and will be dead soon

  • faithntrust

    I’m sorry folks but I always did view “The Beauty & The Beast” as a weird fairy tale. Just way too far out of the ‘norm’!

    • David

      The norm? These are stories where frogs become princes, little girls live as maids for 7 vertically challenged people, and young boys climb beanstalks. WHat is the norm?

      • Tom Rath

        Talking snakes?

        • David

          They’ve had that since the 60s. Unless you were trying to make a weak biblical reference.

      • faithntrust

        HUGE difference in the fairytales you listed to the concept of “Beauty & the Beast”

        • David

          How? Each of them are simple morality tales for children with fantastical elements to make the analogy easier for kids to digest.

          • faithntrust

            My explanation is not allowed by the ones monitoring this site. Use YOUR imagination!

          • David

            …wait, you do know that he turns back to a human before they…ahem…get married, as it were.

          • faithntrust

            idk, maybe I never watched it, maybe I only viewed the TV version on occasion. But is Beauty & the Unicorn going to be next?

  • John Oliver

    This was a frustrating article for me. I get his point, we must not fall into the trap they are setting for conservatives/christians, by appearing hateful and reactionary, and that we should always point to and exalt the beauty of our Savior and His ways…..but is there no other way we can engage with the culture over this moment? Is it not possible to graciously engage with our culture and, as the Bible says, “speak the truth in love”? Must we silently just go about our lives and hope they get our message? Is there nothing between silent, peaceful, niceness and Westboro Baptist church? What I was hoping to find in this article was a more concrete and detailed declaration of what was indicated in its title – “How we should respond.” The times they are a-changin’, and knowing how to navigate such cultural moments is what I’m looking for. I’m annoyed that retailers like Target and corporations like the NFL and many, many others are using their platform to thrust a social agenda down our collective throats. But now Disney?! They’ve taken one of my favorite animated movies and injected an element that was completely unnecessary and not found in the original material. It wouldn’t even have bothered me as much if they had put such a scene in a new feature film – that I expect, but to do this to a classic! And yes, I hate the nasty tone I so often find on Social Media, as “conservatives” sound-off against the culture in such sour, bitter memes. But again, is there nothing more we can do than live godly lives? And I’m not saying that that is no small feat in our increasingly hostile culture, but is there anything else we can do? I don’t like petitions, I don’t like how they come off, how they appear. I don’t like picket lines for the same reason. I’m not saying they’re bad, I’m just saying I wish there were more effective measures we could take, and was hoping an article with such a title would give more examples of beautiful engagement with the culture. Could you please write a follow-up article with perhaps more insight into how you believe we can respond to such strategic moves? Thank you!

    • Autrey Windle

      I do believe most folks have heard the question and the plea for non-radical Muslims to take a public stand and that that would be a powerful message to the terrorists and an encouragement to the fighters of terrorism…this is what is needed here or anywhere that the radical elements of any group usurp the entire group as being in favor of their superiority. Unfortunately, there is about as much chance of that happening with the alphabet set as it is that the Imams in the civilized world would stand against Isis. I love the kumbaya, but I also truly believe that we have to stand and fight with whatever weapons we have, hopefully the written word, the nightly news, the credit cards and the educational standards. I think we are more likely to witness the second coming, but I still advocate for peace. We didn’t rid the world of previous despotic overtaking of civilization with a PC debate. My 80 year old lady friend wants to get a tank with sparkles to protect us from all these crazy people…I kind of let her know she could put it in my garage…

      • NORMAN DOSTAL

        you bigots are done-dying off fast-too bad

    • concerned

      Nothing speaks louder than money..No sermons required. If Christians don’t go to see it, it isn’t likely to do well and less likely to show up in another classic anytime soon. Boycotting Disney, would be like biting our nose to spite our face,So go to the films we like and avoid the ones we don’t.

      • NORMAN DOSTAL

        too late-most Christians are cool with gays-this will be a smash hit

    • I thought I’d answered this a while ago but it’s disappeared…

      John, I heard that and I will write a follow-up article. Thanks for making a clear request — it helps.

      • John Oliver

        Thanks, Tom! I look forward to it!

    • Jayne

      Lovely comment. Particularly this: “Is there nothing between silent, peaceful, niceness and Westboro Baptist church?”

    • Sharon Turner

      I agree: easy to say this using vague inferences, but give specific examples of how this is supposed to look & play out in dialogues!

    • David

      “Is it not possible to graciously engage with our culture and, as the Bible says, “speak the truth in love”?”

      Not at all. You are fully free to talk about how the rich should have to pay more and give what they have to the poor. You are welcomed to talk with us about how it is our duty to heal the sick and give aid to the most downcast among us. You can speak of the truth and love of the savior and the beauty and purity of his actual message anytime you want.

      But when you try to dress up hatred by draping it in Christ’s robes, then yes, you will be called out as being hateful. You want to burn the entirety of the message of Jesus down rather than get rid of something that He never once said and you have merely clung to out of the whisperings of evil.

      There is no movie that does anything to attack anything Christ actually spoke of. But you feel the need to sully the sacrifice of Christ when you try to pretend that not spreading bilean d homophobie is somehow an attack on all Christianity.

    • David

      Its really very simple. If you want to not be seen as hateful, do not be hateful. I don’t know what else you would expect.

  • Gary

    What will being nice achieve? It won’t achieve Christians being liked by the sodomites. They hate God and will always hate Christians too. Being nice won’t cause any of the sodomites to stop being sodomites. They have chosen their course, and will not give it up. They are not going to be convinced they are wrong. Most of them believe queers were born that way and that what they are is both “natural” and as legitimate a state as being heterosexual. Being nice won’t cause sodomite enablers to stop supporting sodomites. The heterosexuals who support homosexuals are every bit as vile and perverted as the queers are. Being nice won’t get us what we want, which is the freedom to choose our own associations and who we do business with. If you want to be nice, go ahead. But I don’t think it is going to achieve any results you will be happy with.

    • NORMAN DOSTAL

      most Christians are cool with gays, dumdum-per ALL polls

    • David

      I like how you just cannot even picture Christiainity without a deep seated hatred for homosexuals and wanting to put them in camps and torture thme.

      Thats not called CHristianity. Its called evil. You calling it christianity does not make it any less evil.

  • porcupineman1454

    For those of us who don’t have the platform for our vocal criticism to make a difference, I think the answer is simple: vote with your wallet. I don’t particularly like wasting money on films at the theater anyway, when I can wait a few months and rent them for half the price. Rest assured, I will not do either with Beauty and the Beast, and I encourage everyone reading this comment to do the same, if not take it further and boycott all Disney products and films. Perhaps America will take a stand, this movie will bomb, and the industry will hear the message loud and clear: we’re not interested in taking our kids to the theater to be propagandized.

    • NORMAN DOSTAL

      Disney don’t need your welfare

  • Morgan Young

    Look, as Christians, it’s time to pool our resources and come up with our own strategic plan to engage the culture on these issues. The agenda outlined by these two men back in the 80’s is disheartening at the very least, but you have to give them credit: they came up with a plan and decades later, it’s still being implemented. Where is our plan? It’s time to get serious and do more than just circle the wagons and pray that the storm passes. We need to thoughtfully and strategically engage. My prayer is that the Lord raises up some bright, cultural warriors to be the figureheads we need in this battle.

    • NORMAN DOSTAL

      too late-most Christians are cool with gays. Now climb back into your hole!

  • NORMAN DOSTAL

    silly bigot! Gays run the western world now! Its time for representation in all media. Cut it out-all kids know a gay person now-its all good

  • Lyn N Dave Pesta

    American Family Radio commentator stated that a recent study concluded that only 10% of Americans adhered to biblical teaching. So, are we surprised by this? Disney? -We vote with our feet. We, our children, and grandchildren have long been exposed to this lie of homosexuality. It is simply another manifestation of original sin–man’s way over God’s way. We pray, seek God’s guidance, and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are hungry for His truth. We cannot be aligned with these powers of darkness disguised as light. -Lyn

  • Sharon Turner

    Maybe you could be more explicit in what you refer to as “using beauty” to counteract this deception? Give some examples of EFFECTIVE transactions between a Christian and a pro-guy person regarding this, what a dialogue would be, etc. I appreciate your sentiment, but can’t even fathom how a conversation would go… Would love some scenarios you have had or presume to have…?

  • 0bsoleteMan

    What other option is there other than to not patronize this stuff?

    • CbinJ

      We should boycott Beauty and the Beast, but boycotting Disney as a whole is just going to enable them to completely count us out in their business model. They won’t be enticed to make anything we can support if we start boycotting all of their movies, products, and services. Though, truth be told, I haven’t been inclined to see a Disney movie in awhile. The last good movie they made was a that live action version of Cinderella. And then you have to go back five or so years before Cinderella to find other quality movies. Considering Disney World has hosted gay pride parades and moved the Night of Joy (a CCM concert weekend event) from the Magic Kingdom (front and center) to the ESPN center (or wherever off to the side), I haven’t been inclinded to patronize their parks, either. We have to pick and choose and clearly explain what and why we are boycotting.

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