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September 21, 2023

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Disney brings first LGBT couple on show

After Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent crackdown on homosexual “propaganda” and the start of the Olympics in Sochi on Feb. 7 there has been an influx of LGBTQ commentary in the media.

Though most frequently coverage has been focused on reactions and protests against Putin’s agenda, the newest commentary on gay rights for Americans has been much closer to home.

Disney has recently introduced the company’s first gay couple onto the children’s television show, “Good Luck, Charlie.” The two moms, Cheryl and Susan, were first introduced to the show on Jan. 26 when they made an appearance while bringing their daughter Taylor over for a play date with the show’s main character Charlie.

Though the appearance was quick and the overall plot line was focused around Charlie’s older sister Teddy and her preparations for college, many conservative groups have already spoken out against the episode.

One Million Moms, a conservative group mainly for mothers, strives to “protest the attempt to desensitize America and push filth into our living rooms.” The group condemned the episode, launching an email campaign urging to stop sponsoring the Disney Channel. One Million Moms has had luck with this strategy in the past urging sponsors to pull funding for shows such as NBC’s “Save Me” and ABC’s “666 Park Avenue” consequently playing part in the shows’ eventual cancelations.

Director of Service Learning Jane Rosser, who has been involved in several LGBT service groups such as an LGBT support group, has a different view on the matter. Rosser said the media has a large part to play for young children growing up in a largely diversified country and that the ability of children to see their families and personalities represented in the media is imperative.

“I would applaud Disney,” Rosser said. “I don’t think that everything is perfect about Disney, but they are responding to the community they serve. Media has begun to embrace showing the LGBT community and certain kinds of families. Individuals who don’t want their children to watch that show, control the TV remote.”

While some are shocked or horrified at Disney’s actions, others are more supportive. Freshman and public health major Sarah Borovicka said she didn’t think the couple’s introduction should be such a big deal.

“A lot of people in my family are gay or bisexual so I guess I’m just used to it,” Borovicka said.

Though the choice to debut the couple is controversial, the decision has also garnered support from people of all standings. Miley Cyrus expressed her approval of Disney’s decision on Twitter saying, “I commend Disney for making this step into the light of this generation.”

Cyrus has been very involved with the Disney Channel in the past when playing the character of a country superstar named Hannah Montana on the network from 2006 to 2011.

“Good Luck, Charlie” has been airing on Disney since 2010 and is currently in its fourth and final season. Though the same-sex couple Cheryl and Susan will most likely not be making another appearance before the series finale, this is still a very big step for Disney, which has never before introduced a gay couple onto any of their programs. This decision is very influential coming from one of the biggest companies worldwide which, according to “Forbes Magazine,” employs an estimated 166,000 people and earns just under $43 billion yearly.

Sociology Professor Wendy Manning who has done research on the LGBT community said Disney’s decision to put this in the show serves as an important element of today’s culture.

“It is a reality of the landscape of American families which are not normally portrayed in popular media,” Manning said. “[It] reflects the changing nature and diversity of the U.S.”

American’s may continue to see this nature changing if Disney decides to integrate more characters of all sexualities into their programming.

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