Raya’s sexuality has come up in the discussion among viewers of Raya and the Last Dragon, showing that Disney keeps repeating the mistakes made with Frozen.
Viewers of Raya and the last dragon They are already speculating about the central character’s sexuality, showing that Disney keeps repeating its Elsa problem. The animated film, directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, is being praised for featuring Disney’s first Southeast Asian heroine. Raya, voiced by Kelly Marie Tran, is the main protagonist, and some key scenes are sparking a debate about whether or not the character is gay. Disney’s lack of clarity shows they didn’t learn FrozenElsa, nor the obvious lack of LGBTQ + representation.
Raya and the last dragon follows the fictional world of Kumandra, a kingdom made up of five distinct regions based on the cultures of Southeast Asia. Raya, the princess of Heart, is on a mission to find the last surviving dragon, Sisu (Awkwafina), after the evil Druun monsters return and decimate the land. On his journey to collect all the pieces of the Dragon Stone, an orb that possesses the power to revive the population, Raya meets Namaari (Gemma Chan), a rival warrior princess of Fang. The two women are initially enemies until Namaari sets aside his views to join the mission to save the world from Raya.
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Although Raya and Namaari first appear as enemies, there is a hint of romantic flirtation between the two figures of Raya and the last dragon. While speaking in an interview (via Vanity fair), Kelly Marie Tran confirmed her belief that Raya is gay, adding that she voiced the character as if there was “some romantic feelings are happening there. “While cool, Tran set out to address the lack of LGBTQ + representation among heroines, especially depicted in animation, this continues the trend of Disney issues that made headlines through criticism surrounding Elsa in Frozen.
Disney still lags behind the times with LGBTQ + representation
Elsa’s sexuality has been a topic of discussion since the launch of Disney’s Frozen in 2013. Frozen II It brought back the debate when Disney did not address whether Elsa is gay despite fan outcry regarding the clarification. With Disney’s track record, this was another example of the studios’ “queer bait” method of overlooking important representation or implying, rather than proudly confirming, the sexuality of a specific character. Aside from Elsa’s ambiguous sexual orientation, Disney recently received criticism for Star Wars: The Rise of SkywalkeR’s gay blink-and-miss kiss plays too safe with Valkyrie’s supposed bisexuality in the MCU. Both Star Wars and Marvel, of course, come under the Disney umbrella.
Interestingly, Tran stated: “I could get in trouble for saying that, but whatever“in discussing his thoughts on Raya’s sexual orientation. This hints that Disney chose not to clarify the matter and failed to acknowledge that simply hinting at something is not a powerful enough message. Instead of continually tiptoeing around LGBTQ + representation Disney needs to make these crucial aspects of identity clearer. There is no question that Disney is a little further behind when it comes to representation, but if they want to continue serving more communities, it is time to take a stand. Raya and the last dragon Packing many positive attributes, the film is shaping up to be another missed opportunity for Disney as House of Mouse once again shifts away from shocking LGBTQ + representation.
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