Apparently Bill Condon thinks that his masterful decision to make LeFou gay in the live action Beauty and the Beast film is a “watershed” moment. Unless “watershed” actually means “something I’ve known since I was 14”, I think Condon may have missed that memo over a decade ago.
In an interview with Attitude magazine, director Bill Condon said: ‘LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston.
‘He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realising that he has these feelings. It is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.’
– Daily Mail
I mean here’s the thing, anyone who has really listened to the lyrics of LeFou’s main song in Beauty and the Beast can see that Condon’s commentary on LeFou is right. LeFou admires Gaston in way that is, shall we say, not entirely the most heteronormative of ways. Gaston is described as being the most overtly masculine of characters, he spits the best, wrestles the best, and every last inch of him is covered in hair. LeFou fauns on Gaston’s appearance and physical prowess more than the pretty French girls in the tavern.
(Incidentally, I may be a lesbian because of this film. Because gross.)
So Condon isn’t wrong, but he’s also not the first person to think this was the case.
I mean there’s a line in Gaston that says “You can ask any Tom, Dick or Stanley/And they’ll tell you whose team they prefer to be on”. Can it be any more obvious?
“But wait Meredith,” you say, “they are clearly talking about SPORTS teams, right? I mean this is a song about how masculine and strong he is, clearly this is about sports, not some disturbing sexual innuendo. This is Disney, they’d never make a cleverly worded sex joke in a children’s movie.”
Well yeah, maybe so. I might even pass this off as not being a “batting for the other team” reference if it weren’t for the names LeFou mentions.
If you don’t recognize that Tom, Dick, and Stanley are all fairly popular euphemisms for certain male protrusions, then you haven’t been paying attention to pop culture for a few decades at least and I can’t help wondering why you’re so upset about another film you weren’t planning to see anyway.
More importantly, we have bigger things to worry about. Don’t get all bent out of shape at the fact that a director recognizes what half the people who viewed Beauty and the Beast as children, already realized was true by the time they hit the age of 15.
Now jokes aside, we put this up now more as a preemptive strike against both sides of the aisle deciding this is the latest socially important hill to die on. You know it’s coming. One side will depict this introduction of gay images (which were already there) as the corruption of society. The other side will treat the fool as a new icon which much be protected at all costs and the bigots must be destroyed. To both sides, we know where you’re going, and we don’t care. Enjoy the movie if it’s good, don’t if it’s not, don’t act like gay characters are the end of the world or the basis for a good film. LeFou having a crush on Gaston isn’t going to confuse your children and it’s not going to fix homophobia around the world, he’s just another character with bad taste in men.