Because representation matters.
The Disney Channel series The Owl House just made history as the first Disney show with a main character who is bisexual.
The Pixar short Out, which was released on Disney+ in May, featured a gay main character, CNN previously reported. But The Owl House's Luz Noceda, a 14-year-old Dominican American girl who travels to another world to become a witch, is the first bisexual character to be featured in a Disney TV series, according to Variety.
The show premiered in January and just returned in June after a short break, according to ABC News. Throughout the series, Luz was "at odds" with another female character named Amity. But the two most recent episodes revealed that Amity wanted to ask Luz to Grom—their world's version of Prom—and they end up dancing together, Gizmodo reported.
The series' creator, Dana Terrace, confirmed that Luz is bisexual in a tweet after the most recent episode aired, writing that Disney leadership initially told her that she could not depict a gay or bisexual relationship on the Disney Channel. But she didn't give up, and she says leadership is now very supportive.
In dev I was very open about my intention to put queer kids in the main cast. I'm a horrible liar so sneaking it in… https://t.co/Dc5zW000UH— Dana Terrace (@Dana Terrace)1596948416.0
"I'm bi! I want to write a bi character, dammit!," she tweeted on August 9. " Luckily my stubbornness paid off and now I am VERY supported by current Disney leadership."
She urged other creatives not to give up when it comes to fighting for characters who look like them. "Representation matters! Always fight to make what YOU want to see!," she wrote.
LGBTQ+ characters are lacking much of the film and media young people consume, despite the fact that an estimated 2 million to 3.7 million children under the age of 18 in the U.S. have an LGTBQ+ parent, according to a 2015 survey. Additionally, an estimated 1.3 million high school students (8%) reported identifying in the LGBTQ community, according to 2017 data from the CDC.
In 2019, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) conducted a review of films released by major studios in 2018. It found that just 18.2% contained characters identified as LGBTQ. But Disney didn't release any films with LGBTQ characters that year, GLAAD found.
As a result, Disney has faced increasing pressure over the years to include more diverse main characters and to show more queer relationships. Pride described many of Disney's first attempts at depicting queer characters as "blink-and-you-missed-it" moments, where the characters were shown only in passing. In March 2020, Onward featured the first openly gay animated character in a Disney movie. Officer Specter, a cyclops cop voiced by out actor Lena Waithe, mentions in passing that her "girlfriend's daughter got me pulling my hair out."
At the time that, critics wrote that, though the line was short and sweet, that's what made it so important. "It passes unremarked, because in this world, it's accepted as a fact of life," Sam Adams wrote for Slate. "Some babies have two daddies, and some babies have two mommies, even if those mommies happen to be centaurs or elves."
Twitter users, many of whom self-identified as LGBTQ, thanked Terrace for including an LGBTQ+ character in The Owl House. One person wrote, "LGBT representation is so important for kids trying to find themselves and I thank you so much for including it."