It’s officially Pride Month, so that means most American corporations are tweeting out their once-a-year message of acceptance and love for LGBTQ+ people. But not everyone is having it, and that includes Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch.
Naturally, Disney joined in on the Pride Month festivities. "There’s room for everyone under the rainbow. Happy #PrideMonth," they wrote in a tweet showing classic, straight Disney characters walking across a Pride flag complete with Black and Brown stripes and stripes for the transgender community.
Hirsch wasn’t having any of that. "Disney privately: Cut the gay scene! We might lose precious pennies from Russia & China! Disney publicly: Honk honk we put rainbow bumper sticker on Lightning McQueen today CONSUME OUR PRODUCTS TEENS," he quote-tweeted in response.
Disney famously censored an episode of Gravity Falls, Hirsch’s show, that was supposed to show two elderly women falling in love in the background. However, the censors said that the image was "inappropriate for the channel" and ordered Hirsch to revise the drawing to show a straight couple, or they would cut the scene from the episode.
However, is Hirsch the one who should be calling Disney out in this way? Hirsch is cisgender and straight, and his show wasn’t exactly a beacon of positive queer representation. But still, Hirsch seems content to rest on his ally laurels instead of continuing the fight.
To any creative at Disney TV, Feature, Publishing or Streaming: please mercilessly spam your execs with “there’s room for everyone under the rainbow” next time they tell you to “please revise” your LGBTQ+ character for “not being Disney appropriate”
— Alex Hirsch (@_AlexHirsch) June 2, 2021
Many times Hirsch has talked about how hard he fought to get gay representation on his show, sometimes to the point where he takes more credit for pushing representation forward than he deserves.
Queer creators like Rebecca Sugar (Steven Universe), Shadi Petoski (Danger & Eggs), Noelle Stevenson (She-Ra), Tim Federle (High School Musical: The Musical: The Series), and Dana Terrace (The Owl House) have fought tooth and nail to get queer characters into their shows, and they succeeded, without the straight, cis privilege that Hirsch has.
If Hirsch wants to consider himself an ally, that’s fine, but he needs to stop pretending that including two ineffectual and simple-minded gay cops in his show makes him an LGBTQ+ trailblazer. It doesn’t.
He also needs to realize that as an ally, it’s his responsibility to use his privilege as a cis, straight, white man to lift up and help queer creators. Instead of bragging about how good he is for the gays, he should be helping LGBTQ+ animators and writers break into the industry. He should be promoting projects by queer creators, and he should be giving credit where credit is due.
We want Hirsch to be a good ally, and straight people standing up for LGBTQ+ issues during Pride Month is always important, but the first step in being a good ally is humbling yourself, and that’s something Hirsch has yet to do.