Frozen - Photo by Katie Strandlund via Flickr (http://bit.ly/1cCf2oU)

Frozen – Photo by Katie Strandlund via Flickr (http://bit.ly/1cCf2oU) Katie Strandlund via Flickr


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

It’s like playing The White Album backwards, only this time the message isn’t hidden and you can see it all unfold before you for $12 at your local movie theater. Or so say Kevin Swanson and Steve Vaughn, radio show hosts in Colorado who had a lot to say on their March 4th show about the homosexual undertones (overtones?) of the Disney movie Frozen. Neither of them have actually seen the movie, you see, but they are pretty sure Satan is behind it. Swanson, who is also a pastor, wondered whether parents knew what they were in for:

“Friends, this is evil, just evil. I wonder if people are thinking: ‘You know I think this cute little movie is going to indoctrinate my 5-year-old to be a lesbian or treat homosexuality or bestiality in a light sort of way.’ I wonder if the average parent going to see Frozen is thinking that way. I wonder if they are just walking in and saying, ‘Yeah, let’s get my five-year-old and seven-year-old indoctrinated early.’”

This theory appears to propped up on three legs: One, that the film was made by Disney, “one of the most pro-homosexual organizations in the country.” Two, that the film’s now-ubiquitous anthem, “Let It Go,” is a coming-out song. And three, that the Kristoff character has an “unnatural relationship” with his reindeer pal, Sven.

Let’s set aside, for one moment, the fact that being gay is not something into which people are “indoctrinated.” The question I really want to ask is why some people are so eager to read a “gay agenda” into a film they have never seen, and into a company whose movies are widely regarded as some of the best, most kid-friendly films of our age. It seems strange that they would even bring up this issue when their theories are spurious at best; like they are determined to see threats everywhere. And perhaps they are.

So, the first question: Is Disney “one of the most pro-homosexual organizations in the country?” Well, I don’t know how you would measure these things, but I would guess that maybe GLAAD or Lambda Magazine or the Connecticut Gay Men’s Chorus would top Disney on that list. But, sure, Disney does have Gay Days each year in June, which has become one of the largest gay pride events in the world. Through its VoluntEARS program, Disney employees can volunteer their time in exchange for a donation to a charity of their choice — although, as of 2015, donations will no longer be made to the Boy Scouts of America because of their policy banning gay Scout leaders. And the Disney Channel original show Good Luck Charlie just featured the network’s first gay couple. There you have it. Disney acknowledges that gay people exist and wants them to enjoy their park.

To their second point, Swanson and Vaughn opine that the Elsa character must be gay because she doesn’t really have any serious male suitors. I guess I thought this was a plus in a Disney film, that for once, the story didn’t only have to be about the girl settling down with the guy at the end. But because they think Elsa is gay, Swanson and Vaughn also suggest that “Let It Go” is her coming out song. It does contain the lyrics, “I am gay, la la la,” so I can see where they would get that idea.

Oh, wait! It doesn’t? It’s a song about a girl rejecting the strictures of a society that told her she needed to look and act a certain way in order to be acceptable? It’s about letting go of your fears, not declaring a sexual orientation? Hmm. Interesting.

As to their claim that the film promotes bestiality because of Kristoff and Sven’s “unnatural relationship,” I’m not sure what to say. Have Swanson and Vaughn ever seen a Disney movie? They are filled with unnatural relationships between humans and animals. Aladdin and Apu. Mowgli and Baloo. Ursula and her eels. Ariel and Sebastian. A mermaid and a lobster crab? That’s waaaay more unnatural than a guy and a reindeer.

People will continue to root around and try to find evidence of what scares them. To many conservative Christians, what they perceive as the gay agenda is a real, threatening thing. I couldn’t disagree more, but that won’t stop a lot of people from seeing what isn’t there at all.

10 Comments

  1. And as for Gay Days, that is not even a Disney sanctioned event. Disney welcomes the gay community during that time (and the rest of the year) but it is not something like their Food and Wine Festival that is put on by the DIsney Corp. I have to wonder how hard people have to look to find their ammo.

  2. I will say that the pastor that made comment is not Christian, he is Mormon. I am a very strong Christian and very into Disney. The majority of my friends are actually gay because of my involvement at the parks. My church groups actually have never thought this of Frozen. In fact we have drawn Christian comparisons. Such a bummer that pastor made those stupid thoughts public. We cannot judge, we must love. Thank you for the article :)

  3. Absolutely spot on, Laura. What’s amazing to me is when people critique a movie they’ve not seen. What? if someone critiqued, I don’t know, the Bible, and then admitted they’d never read it, Christian conservatives would be like–well, read it before you criticize, right? But they’ll criticize a movie they haven’t watched? And make such wild claims? Ridiculous! Great review.

  4. Huh?!

    I saw “Frozen”! And I thought it was a thoroughly charming
    movie that taught lessons about keeping family ties strong and discovering loyalty in new-found friendships. I didn’t see anything even remotely suggestive of a) “homosexual behavior–which in my book is most definitely NOT a “deviant behavior”–or b)”bestiality”.

    Bestiality?! Really?!

    When certain people start pointing the finger at children’s animated films like “Frozen”, and saying there is an underlying theme that will promote–what THEY consider to be a “sinful lifestyle”–which it’s not–they should take a good hard look in the mirror. Look, if thoughts of “bestiality” are going through your mind while watching this movie, then YOU’RE the one with the problem, Buddy, not Disney.

    I hereby conclude my rant.

    I’d like to know what YOU think about this issue. As always, your comments are appreciated and validated!
    JB Richards
    Author of “Miriamne the Magdala”- The first chapter in the “Yeshua and Miri Novel Series” and Content Creator for The Miriamne Page

    For more information on this epic novel series, and The Miriamne Page, just click on this link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miriamne-the-Magdala-First-in-the-Series-of-the-Yeshua-Miri-Novels/206903979347028

  5. A Disney just comes out on Blu-Ray and some useless excuse for dead air feels the need to chime in and get a little publicity on its coattails.

    Useless parasite.

  6. Tim W Callaway

    Bummer! Just when I’ve stopped having nightmares over seeing the word “sex” in the smoke signals of The Lion King, I have to face this trauma!?

  7. As usual, we find out more about the preachers than the audience. Swanson and Vaughn clearly want to be Somebody, no matter what. That they accuse others of indoctrination is not surprising, since that is what they strive, always, to do themselves. Not seeing the movie is also predictable; probably they pride themselves on not knowing anything about the other things they denounce, either. And those are the shortcomings they share, proudly, with all religious conservatives: malice, arrogance, vanity, and wilful ignorance.

  8. Re: “The question I really want to ask is why some people are so eager to read a “gay agenda” into a film they have never seen, and into a company whose movies are widely regarded as some of the best, most kid-friendly films of our age.”

    I can answer that in just one word: Immaturity. That, really, is what all of this boils down to.

    You have a lot of very childish people who are now faced with something … in this case, gays … that they personally find objectionable. But their ability to go after them directly is limited (mainly by the law). This leaves them stewing in their own juices over the existence of gays. This causes them to invent notions like “the gay agenda” and insist that being gay is a “lifestyle” and not just how some people are. That, in turn, causes them to look around at the world around them, and view everything as, potentially, facades behind which those vile, insidious, wicked gays are operating.

    This is, at least, what’s going on within the mass of evangelical Christendom. Individuals like Swanson & Vaughn might not actually be thinking this way, themselves, but they’re aware of this sentiment within their audience, and are using their attack on “Frozen” to whip that audience into a frenzy and maintain their loyalty.

    In any event, without the immaturity inherent in fundamentalist Christianity (and, indeed, in any and all forms of religious fundamentalism, no matter the faith tradition within which it arises), you wouldn’t be seeing any of this sort of thing. Religious fundamentalism grants people what they perceive as a license never to grow up, act like adults, and treat others with respect. They get to remain little children, right into their old age, stamping and fuming and throwing tantrums about all sorts of stuff that bothers them … because, after all, their deity told them to be sanctimoniously enraged about it.

    Or so they think.

    • That was very eloquent and insightful. I really do not yet understand those who exercise such hateful criticism, such xenophobia, in the name of their religion, regardless of the core values of love and acceptance its majority embraces. I think this is an excellent article overall.

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