Chief among them was Franklin Graham, never one to hold back on issues of morality, who told Christians to boycott the movie: “[Disney] are trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children”, he claimed. “Watch out! I hope Christians everywhere will say no to Disney.” Graham’s contention is that by featuring a prominent gay character, Disney is “attempting to normalise this lifestyle.” And while homosexuality isn’t actually a ‘lifestyle choice’, there’s probably a lot of truth in this. Disney is certainly suggesting to its viewers that being gay is a normal and legitimate thing.

So what is the appropriate response to the film for Christian parents? Should we take our kids in the knowledge that this film could tell communicate to them that it’s OK to be gay? Of course we should. For a start, this is only an accurate reflection of the real world that they’re going to have to grow up in and learn to navigate. Gay people are a normal, vocal and active part of our society, and shielding children from the truth of their sexuality is misguided. Either it’ll help form them into prejudiced adults, or it’ll give them another good reason to reject the sort of faith that wants to repress reality. They’ll realise there must be more than this provincial life. 

But there’s an even more important reason. Whether we’ve made our peace with this idea or not, some of our own children will be gay. Some of them will even know it from a relatively early stage, and sitting through waves of media which does not affirm any kind of diversity of sexualities only reinforces the feelings of weirdness and isolation that can lead so many gay people to struggle with their mental health. It’s incredibly helpful for those young people to see the occasional gay character on screen, in the same way that it’s important that all cinematic heroes aren’t white men.




As it turns out, Director Bill Condon and Ewan McGregor (who voices Lumiere) have rather hyped up the Christian-baiting elements of the film anyway. Yes, Josh Gad’s LeFou is in love with his master, the villainous Gaston (Luke Evans), and yes he’s clearly gay. But it’s also abundantly clear that the feeling isn’t mutual, and that’s as far as it goes. There’s no kiss, and certainly not – as McGregor joked and various Christian media outlets reported without nuance “a lot of gay sex”. All we get is a young man who is processing his feelings of unrequited love for another man, a plot line which takes up about one per cent of the film’s total runtime. It’s also subtle enough that it’ll go over most children’s heads, but for some, it might just be helpful.

Franklin Graham’s concern about LeFou – the gay character in question – is well-founded and misplaced. Disney is attempting to normalise homosexuality, and there’s little doubt that future films and TV shows from the studio will tread similar ground. But the Christian response shouldn’t be a boycott, or even a disapproving head shake. Rather, I think it should be a firm: “be our guest.”