Disney’s first gay character (voiced by Lena Waithe) premiered in the recent film Onward and now, they just announced their first bisexual lead character, who also happens to be Dominican! Luz Noceda is the 14-year-old Dominican-American lead character in The Owl House and the first bi character to make a Disney Channel series debut. Disney Channel is also home to Disney’s first Latina princess on the show Elena of Avalor. The Owl House premiered on Disney Channel on January 10 and it has been renewed for a second season.
Luz – voiced by Sarah-Nicole Robles – is an average teen who journeys through a portal to another world to become a bruja despite not having any magical abilities. She previously made it clear she was attracted to male characters in the show and in recent episodes “Enchanting Grom Fright” and “Wing It Like Witches,” she explores a relationship with a female character named Amity.
— Disney TVA (@DisneyTVA) August 10, 2020
Series creator Dana Terrace confirmed on Twitter that the character was LGBTQ+ and shared that she is bisexual. “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 would’ve been hard haha. When we were greenlit I was told by certain Disney leadership that I could NOT represent any form of bi or gay relationship on the Channel.”
She then shared that she is bisexual and fought for the ability to include queer characters on the show. “I’m bi! I want to write a bi character, dammit! Luckily my stubbornness paid off and now I am VERY supported by current Disney leadership.”
In addition to Onward, Andi Mack became the first show on Disney Channel to have a character discover they are gay, and the Pixar short film Out on Disney+ featured a gay main character. Alex Hirsch, creator of Disney’s Gravity Falls responded to Terrace’s tweet saying he was not allowed to feature any kind of LGBTQ+ representation.
He tweeted a photo of Luz dancing with Amity saying that in 2012 there would have been a censor note: “inappropriate for channel, please revise, call to discuss. Now in 2020- there’s no note at all. Props where props are due! This time, Disney- you did good.”
In 2012 the Disney censor note on this image would have been:
“inappropriate for channel, please revise, call to discuss” (to avoid a paper trail)
Now in 2020- there’s no note at all.
Props where props are due! This time, Disney- you did good. pic.twitter.com/HLDux1jNUk
— Alex Hirsch (@_AlexHirsch) August 9, 2020
“I’ve seen lots of fans understandably say ‘what are these token gestures? It’s not enough! They’re baiting us!'” Hirsch tweeted. “They’re right to be passionate, but most fans have no idea how hard we have to fight behind the scenes and how long it takes. But each step leads to the next…”
As creatives continue to fight for more diverse representation and audiences make it clear they want to see themselves represented it seems Disney (along with other networks) are starting to see the importance of inclusion.
“Representation matters! Always fight to make what YOU want to see! As OH continues I can’t wait to explore things that are important to me and my crew. Looking forward to the next chapter.,” Terrace tweeted.