Frozen is Walt Disney Animation’s biggest non-Pixar hit since The Lion King, and is poised to be their biggest hit ever when all is said and done. It’s been heralded as Disney’s best animated musical since the glory days of the early nineties, which produced such modern classics as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Since its release this past Thanksgiving, Frozen has remained in the top five each weekend, which is almost unheard of in this day of one-week blockbusters with no legs. The movie has been lauded for being Disney’s most feminist fairy tale film ever, with both Queen Elsa and Princess Anna being strong female leads. For the Walt Disney Company, which had a pretty spectacular 2013 at the box office, Frozen has been the gift that keeps on giving.
But aside from being super-feminist, which is totally is and deserves every bit of recognition for being so, Frozen also happens to be Disney’s gayest animated musical ever made. And, let’s face it, that’s saying something, as Disney’s classic animated musicals are pretty damn gay as it is. Disney is even going to re-release Frozen tomorrow as a sing-along event, which ups the gay factor even more (what’s so gay about a sing-along? Go to a sing-along screening of The Sound of Music or The Wizard of Oz, and see how many of my peeples shows up. I’m just sayin’) Aside from the sing-a-long, here are eight ways Frozen wears its LGBT colors with pride.
1. The Whole Movie Is One Big Gay Metaphor
Frozen’s subtext is so gay, it’s barely subtext; it’s just on-the-nose text. The folks at Disney practically put it all out on Front Street, but for those who missed it or just weren’t paying attention, let me lay it out for you: Frozen is all about a young girl who was born different, a difference that her parents told her to hide away from the world at large, partly because the world would reject her, and partly because they really care what the neighbors think. After Elsa’s true nature is revealed to the kingdom, she’s denounced as a freak and a monster and driven out of her own home. After that, she creates her own fabulous kingdom for herself (and sings a doozy of a number about self-acceptance and pride.)
Eventually, her only family left, her sister, expresses to her that she loves her no matter what, and convinces her to come back home where eventually the people around her learn the error of their ways and accept her. Yes, this is the story of Frozen, but it’s also the story of almost every indie gay coming-out movie that’s played Sundance for the past 20 years.
2. Queen Elsa Is (Maybe) Not Straight?
Ok, so with the previous entry we’ve established that the whole movie is a giant LGBT allegory. But, there is evidence that Queen Elsa is actually not just subtextually gay, but, ya know…maybe just GAY gay. First off, she’s the first and only Disney Princess that doesn’t have a male love interest. All right, I know that alone doesn’t make someone gay, but considering every single Disney princess before has had a prominent male love interest, it at least raises an eyebrow.
At least once in the movie, a husband for Elsa is considered to be a non-issue from one of the villagers, and this is all before the kingdom knows of her ice powers (what would make Elsa non-eligible for marriage prior to that knowledge?) Of course, none of these things concretely state that Elsa is queer, however, for the first time in any Disney animated musical, there is nothing 100% confirming she is straight either. And that’s something.
3. “Let It Go” Is This Generation’s Coming Out Anthem
Queen Elsa’s big number, the Oscar nominated “Let it Go,” is pretty much the gay kid’s coming out anthem for a generation. Seriously, expect a whole gaggle of musical theater kids to belt this number out in audition after audition and show choir presentation after show choir presentation…for like, the next 30 years. So really, start getting used to this one. And all those kids will say this song is “totally about me.” And why wouldn’t they? This song is one of the best songs yet about owning whatever it is that makes you different and letting it empower you instead of defeat you.
4. Jonathan Groff Is Disney’s First Openly Gay Actor to Play the Love Interest
Let’s be honest here – the Disney princes have all been a little bit gay, ever since The Prince strolled into town in Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, seemingly wearing more lipstick and eyeliner than even Snow and the Evil Queen combined. But for the first time, Disney has hired an openly gay actor to voice the main love interest in one of their animated films, in the form of Broadway star Jonathan Groff, who is also known for his roles on Glee and HBO’s new gay-themed series Looking.
Now, for some of you reading this, especially you younger readers out there, it may not seem like a big deal, but Disney is a company where image is everything; just as little as 15 years ago, they wouldn’t have hired an openly LGBT person for a role that is considered to be the main love interest in a family film – one who appears on toys and Happy Meals – for fear of conservative backlash. But times have changed, and in this world of Modern Family and Glee, it’s just not that big of a deal anymore.
5. Oaken Appears To Have A Husband
This is one of those “blink and ya miss it” things, or it’s just an easter egg the animators threw in and thought no one would notice, just like they thought no one would notice Jessica Rabbit’s flash of her bare hoo-haw in Who Framed Roger Rabbit 25 years ago (by the way, people totally noticed.) Remember the scene when big, burly Oaken refers to his family at “Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Sauna,” he points to four kids and one big ol’ muscular dude?
Of course it theoretically could be another family member, but I think the inference here is that guy is Oaken’s life partner. As some have pointed out,Frozen is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale The Snow Queen, which is Danish, and Denmark has had civil unions since 1989 and made gay marriage legal in 2012. So it’s only fitting.
6. The King and Queen Are Classic Homophobic Parents
I wouldn’t go and say that Elsa and Ana’s parents, the King and Queen of Arendelle, are terrible parents, since they clearly love their children and don’t disown them or anything, or ever try to “fix” Elsa of her ice abilities. When asked by the trolls, they freely say she was “born that way.” But much of their behavior strikes me as classic homophobic parent behavior. The mantra that they feed Elsa about her ice powers-“conceal, don’t feel”- could be any right-wing parents’ advice to their gay teenage child. Just bury who you are and try and be normal, and don’t let on what you’re really like to the people around you.
And then they literally keep her in the closet. Okay, okay, it’s a big room and not a closet, but close enough (remember what I said about the subtext in this movie being barely sub? This is a perfect example.) Let’s just say they didn’t do poor Elsa any favors, and when their boat went all Titanic on us, I wasn’t shedding any tears in the audience. Those girls are better off without your bad parenting skills, thanks.
7. Hans Christian Andersen Was Bisexual. (And Also Kinda Perverted)
Where oh where would Disney be without Danish author Hans Christian Andersen? Not only did he write The Snow Queen, on which Frozen is loosely based, but he was also the original author of The Little Mermaid, the last Disney animated musical to start a new golden era for the company. Well, we don’t know if Frozen is the start of a new golden era quite yet, but I’m being optimistic here.
Not only was Hans bi, he was kind of a perv; he kept a journal of every time he masturbated, which, it turns out, was quite frequently. He even made little annotations in the journal whenever a particular session was particularly good. Although he loved women, he seemed to enjoy men just as much..or rather, boys. During a visit with Charles Dickens in 1857, he asked to be shaved by one of Dickens’ young sons every morning, a request that Dickens flatly turned down. It was said that he spent his life yearning for boys and men, but always unrequited. But whether he did anything about his desires or not…it is clear that Hans liked the D.
8. Once Elsa “Lets It Go”, Her Wardrobe Becomes Fabulous
When we first meet the adult version of Elsa, she’s wearing a purple cape and a dress that keeps her fairly covered up from head to toe, with her hair done up in a more conservative fashion. When she finally lets it go and embraces her true self, she gets a fabulous new glittery gown to match her new attitude, lets her hair flow free, and sparkles for all to see. Oh, and then she builds herself a palace that resembles She-Ra’s Crystal Castle from the ’80s cartoon series. In a movie filled with gay stuff…this might be the gayest part of all.
Previously by Eric Diaz: