More than a dozen nations have banned the distribution of Disney-Lightyear. Pixar’s Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lebanon, and Kuwait are among the nations that have banned the cartoon spin-off owing to the inclusion of a same-sex romance, reports PinkNews. Keke Palmer, a previous Bustle cover star who plays the major role in Lightyear, talked to Newsweek about her ambitions for the film’s portrayal of Lightyear and his same-sex partner.
She said that she thinks that children will “enjoy” the inclusion of the same-sex connection between the characters of Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) and her lover in the Disney-Pixar picture. For today’s youth and those who will follow, the very presence of such an environment “simply normalizes what has always been there.”
Lightyear, according to Palmer, is merely expressing “what our world has always looked like” by having a same-sex partnership in the novel. Continuing, the actor said, “If you assume that this is the movie that Andy saw [in 1995], then it’s like these folks were always a part of the story, and so it’s good to make sure that that is portrayed in cinema.”
This choice to include a same-sex relationship in the cartoon was made by the film’s producer, Galyn Susman. She explained that she believes it is a “great chance” to help LGBTQ+ children feel accepted.
Newsweek quoted Susman as saying, “I think that every kid wants to see themselves on the screen when they watch a movie.” For youngsters who haven’t seen much of themselves, especially in animated films, the concept of sitting in the theatre and saying to themselves, “Wow that’s me and I feel seen and I feel represented” is a powerful thing.
One of the countries that prohibited public screenings of Buzz Lightyear was the United Arab Emirates. The UAE’s Media Regulatory Office stated in a statement that the video “violates the country’s media content requirements.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a sequence in the prequel spin-off that featured a same-sex kiss was originally cut from the picture. However, the decision was eventually reversed after a wave of criticism and charges of banning “overtly gay affection.”