Recently, the hashtag #GiveElsaAGirlfriend has been a topic of conversation. Supporters believe that in the Frozen sequel Queen Elsa should have a girlfriend since the last movie left her sexuality ambiguous. Although our society has progressed with LGBTQAI-which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Ally/Asexual, and Intersex- representation, Disney has not progressed with us.
Elsa isn’t the first character throughout Disney’s history to be interpreted as queer by fans (Ursula and Mulan). Still the community has not been given outright representation. When the writer and co-director of Frozen were asked about the perceived homosexual undertones in the film, Lee Jennifer told the Big Issue, “We know what we made. But at the same time, I feel like once we hand the film over, it belongs to the world, so I don’t like to say anything, and let the fans talk. I think it’s up to them.”
We are fed up with it being up to the fans to “imagine” these characters as queer. The LGBTQAI community deserves more love stories and positive representation within media. Giving Elsa a girlfriend could do a lot for lesbian and bisexual women all over the world.
Time and time again, Disney repeats the narrative of princesses being saved by the prince and living happily ever after. Frozen stands alone in thematic elements of self-acceptance and sisterly love conquering all. Disney has a worldwide empire and Frozen is the highest-grossing animated film of all time. If they took the opportunity to use their platform for LGBTQAI representation it could potentially help young women and girls struggling with their sexuality. It would also serve to normalize these relationships for the rest of the world.
According to the WomensHealth.gov lesbian and bisexual women report higher rates of depression and anxiety than other women do; caused by social stigma, rejection by family members and stress from hiding all or parts of their lives.
The Feminist Wire article “Slamming the Door: An Analysis of Elsa (Frozen”) points out that Elsa lives with symptoms of anxiety and depression. The article also mentions the positive portrayal of how she handles herself; “Elsa is not portrayed as selfish or “crazy,” but as someone who is doing the best she can in her situation.” This makes Elsa a positive and more realistic representation of bi and lesbian women. Mental health is not the only issue lesbian and bisexual women face. Sexual health issues come into play.
Bi and lesbian women don't often realize they are at risk for STIs because of the lack of education they are given about the sex they have. This is caused by the absence of information and attention given to lesbian and bi women’s health. Right now, 26 states do not mandate comprehensive sexual education in public schools, let alone education on the LGBTQAI community’s sexual health. In Florida specifically, the law states that when talking about sexual relationships, it cannot be outside of a heterosexual monogamous relationship. When it comes to preventing STI’s and HIV, it is usually heterosexuals and gay men who are given most of the recourses. This can make lesbian and bisexual women feel like they are “safe” and don’t need to be tested regularly for STI’s and cervical cancer.
More importantly, it is usually assumed in the medical community that patients are heterosexual and with the shame lesbian and bisexual women may feel, they are less likely to seek out medical help in fear of discrimination.
I understand that these issues are bigger than giving Elsa a girlfriend. I don’t think giving Elsa a lady in Frozen 2 will educate lesbian and bisexual women and girls about their health risk but I do believe it could allow them to start feeling “normal” and less alone. This could create a cultural shift on how these women see themselves. And with confidence comes the higher likelihood that they will seek out information about their health while also changing other’s views, and raising awareness that we exist, and that we need resources.