Tuesday, March 7, 2017

To Those Boycotting Beauty and the Beast

It's been revealed that the soon-to-be-released adaptation of Beauty and the Beast features a gay character. His name is LeFou, and he has feelings for Gaston. And people from Franklin Graham to the owner of a movie theater in Alabama are calling on Christians to boycott the movie. Because that's exactly what Jesus would do. He would turn away from people who are marginalized and would make them feel less worthy, right?


From what I have read the one scene that somewhat addresses LeFou's sexuality is toward the end of the movie when he accidentally ends up dancing with another male. Rather than pulling away, they smile at one another and continue dancing. Over the top, isn't it? I can't believe Disney and their political agenda. My guess would be that more than 99% of children seeing the movie won't even pick up on LeFou's sexuality. Why? Partly because it's subtle; moreso because kids are cool like that. Children don't see color or sexuality or gender. They see human beings, and all they want to do is play and imagine and laugh. The adults are the ones who muddy things up.
 
So let's say you take your child to the movie, and he or she does notice the character of LeFou. Great! It means you have a child who notices things, and it also gives you the perfect opportunity to teach your child about love and the fact that we all have the opportunity to love whomever we choose.

Our children need to learn sooner rather than later that they will meet many people in this life who are different from them. And that's a good thing! Befriending people who don't look just the way we do only enriches our lives and opens our hearts and minds. Build a longer table not a taller fence.
I've unfortunately read the articles and the comments from people boycotting the movie. And they all made me so deeply sad. Some are irate, believing that Disney is forcing their political agenda on moviegoers. First, no one is forcing anything on anyone. See the movie if you want to; don't see it if you don't. It's pretty simple. Second, and most important, what's political about a person's sexual orientation? These are people; this isn't politics.

So, to those boycotting the movie under the cloak of their Christian principles: call it a boycott, but don't you dare call it a Christian boycott. Not much in life makes my blood boil more than people who claim Christian principles but live their lives shunning those who are different from them.

I've read many responses from Christians who state that they love the LGBTQ person but that doesn't mean they have to accept their lifestyle. Or my favorite (please note the sarcasm): "I love the sinner, but I hate the sin." Friends, this qualifies your "love" for them and is frankly dehumanizing. Our job is not to point out the "sins" of anyone. Our job as humans is to love without any caveats.

When you state, "I love you, but..." it makes people feel not fully loved. Right? We've all heard the dreaded "but" in a sentence and have waited with fear for the shoe to drop. "I love you, but I'm not in love with you." "I love you, but you're not the one." "I love you, but I don't love your lifestyle." Doesn't this make us all walk away feeling broken and not worthy? Guys, LGBTQ youth are two to six times more likley to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth. Does that not break your heart? Because it breaks mine. Our words and our actions have the potential to hurt people...deeply. Our words and our actions also have the potential to save lives.

Does seeing a movie with a gay character in it turn children gay? I'd say that's about as likely as their seeing The Little Mermaid and growing a fin.

Does seeing a movie that has a gay character normalize homosexuality? I hope so. The LGBTQ community exists; they're not going anywhere, nor should they. They are people who deserve love and inclusion and equal rights as much as we all do. They deserve to see their love stories portrayed on the big screen because they exist, and they matter. Period. The end.

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