Disney really has a history of doing the bare minimum when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation, if they do anything at all. For years, the most that we got was "queer-coded" villains, or roles that spoke to experiences shared by our community. And then slowly we began to see small couples, or other glimmers of actual same-sex attraction on screen. The issue: the scenes have consistently been of the "blink and you miss it" variety and Disney has played the role of spineless studio, erasing and censoring their own work in any country that objects to "LGBTQ+ themes." Such is the case with the new Disney-Pixar film Onward.
Though Onward doesn't hit theaters until next month, reports are already surfacing that Disney is making some changes. The project will make history as it features the first openly, self-identified LGBTQ+ character in the Pixar universe. That character, voiced by Lena Waithe, is named Officer Specter and is a lesbian, cyclops police officer.
Officer Specter doesn't have a huge part in Onward — although reports say that she is vital to the emotional arc. She doesn't even have a ton of lines. But, in the lines she does have, she refers to her girlfriend and her girlfriend's daughter. Well, apparently a woman speaking about her "girlfriend" is too much for Russia.
Reports say that Russian distributors have changed 'girlfriend' to 'partner' and actually avoids ever mentioning that Specter is a female cyclops. You know, take out the details so only someone who is paying very close attention can decipher what might be going on.
“Presumably, Disney’s Russia branch tried to avoid unnecessary problems with the anticipated project’s release,” the Russian movie website Kinopoisk.ru wrote.
Disappointed but not surprised!