Jack Whitehall Is Set To Play Disney’s First Openly Gay Character
And there’s concerns.
But the casting of a cisgender, straight, middle-class white guy has Twitter in absolute meltdown.
One of the biggest objections fans seem to be making is that in casting Jack, it denies the LGBTQ+ community the chance to represent themselves in an authentic way - especially bearing in mind there are still so few representations of LGBTQ+ people in mainstream film.
This is the first queer character to appear in Disney, so how the character is played is mega important. Portrayal is everything here.
And that's some tea.
The issue here lies in the fact that Disney’s first gay character is a huge deal. Like, massive. With millions of children, teens and adults being fans of the company and their products, this film will be seen by a lot of people.
And having a straight actor play an LGBTQ+ character onscreen, one who’s described as “hugely effete, very camp and very funny”, all of which are traits that stick to a social stereotype of gay men, could be problematic.
Simply put, casting a straight guy just isn’t inclusive. And Disney now allowing LGBTQ+ representation in their mainstream films was meant to boost inclusivity.
But on the bright side, and luckily for us, Jack is a fantastic ally to the LGBTQ+ community, and if a straight actor could do this role justice, and respectfully, it’s him.
And the comedian does seem to be super excited about the fact that he has landed the role, as he reportedly said: “I’m so honoured to be part of this epic adventure.
“Filming is underway and I am having the time of my life with my amazing co-stars.
“It’s so cool to be part of something of this scale and also as possibly one of the biggest Disney nerds on the planet so exciting to be working on a project with this much history.”
"I can’t wait for you to see this film…” he finished with.
Hopefully this film goes down an absolute storm and opens doors for further LGBTQ+ inclusion in mainstream media and then we can look at inclusion of LGBTQ+ actors more? That question's for you Hollywood.
The silver lining here is that Jack can use his privilege to really help open doors, and not even intentionally.
Fans of his, seeing him so openly and respectfully portray a gay character could help alter people’s perceptions of the LGBTQ+ community. And we do stan an ally.
- Words by Jordan Platt. @jordandplatt