Growing up, it felt like there wasn’t any queer representation on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon.
All the characters date and express interest in characters of the opposite sex and are cis-gendered. However, looking back with a trained gay eye, it’s hard to find a show that didn’t have
a character that seemed to be a member of the LGBTQ community. Now, obviously there is
nothing about a person’s appearance or personality that MAKES them queer. Straight, cis-gendered men can be feminine and straight cis-gendered women can be masculine, etc. and we
all know this. However, I think that you can make an educated guess and honestly it’s just fun to
imagine a childhood where you saw people like you on screen. But I digress.
1.) Ryan Evans and Kelsi Nielsen from High School Musical
Let’s just get the obvious out of the way. They made these characters so obviously queer and
then just smooshed in a scene at the end where they kissed to be like, “Hey guys, don’t worry,
these kids are straight as they come!” Ryan just dressed way too well and Kesli just wore way
too many layers but I think the gay Easter egg was the various berets they had both characters
rock throughout the series. If this movie was made now, they would give Ryan some hot
lifeguard to run around with in High School Musical 2 and Kelsi would be hopelessly in love with
Sharpay. I think Sharpay might even be into it but that is a story for another day.
2.) Sam Puckett
It’s not just the plaid shorts and hoodies; Sam is a lesbian through and through. You can tell
she’s never quite fit in outside of her little group (common feeling for queer people) and her
intense personality could only be handled by another woman (hint hint, Cat).
3.) The Entire Cast of Victorious
Well, they go to a performing arts high school so I could really just end it there, but for the sake
of argument, I’ll explain my reasoning. Jade and Tori are bisexual. The tension between them is
not that of typical frenemies. They go to hang out at a karaoke place and when men hit on them
they literally are disgusted and just want to be with each other so they sing ‘Take a Hint’, and I
think we ALL took that hint. Cat is a lesbian which is why she can never seem to be completely
interested in Robbie, her best friend and seemingly perfect match, and why she follows Jade
around like a puppy. The jury is out on Andre and Beck but I am willing to bet they are
pansexual. They seem to be ‘go with the flow’ kind of guys and I could see them casually making out
after a jam sesh. Singin is nonbinary as his personality and the way he carries himself leads me
to believe he would not fit into the gender binary.
4.) Harper Finkle
Those outfits had she/they pronouns and pansexuality written alllll over them. Nobody straight
and/or in the gender binary would have the guts to wear those outfits.
5.) Jennifer “Moze” Mosley
A softball lesbian if I ever saw one. She literally handed out applications to find female friends
and figured out her “enemy” was her perfect match. It’s almost like she had strong feelings
towards her and didn’t know what to do with them so she said she hated her. And only when
Moze takes a quiz and figures out that Ned would be her “ideal” boyfriend does she realize her
“feelings” for him. It is a common experience for gay people to “pick” members of the opposite
sex to “crush” on before coming to terms with their sexuality. It seems to all have been figured
out until the “best friend” comes back. Maybe it’s because that’s also Ned’s ex or maybe, just
6.) Shego and Kim Possible
Yes, I am referring to the scenes that every woman loving woman remembers fondly as an early
gay memory. One could argue that they were simply nemeses but one would be wrong.
7.) James Diamond from Big Time Rush
He’s the obvious answer due to his grooming skills and the choice for his last name.
Nevertheless, you are telling me that none of these scarf wearing singers have ever
experimented with each other? Not buying it.
Now this article leaves out the queer-coded characters found in many older Disney movies
(Scar, Hades, Ursula, Captain Hook, Jafar etc.) because consistently giving villains stereotypical
gay attributes is a bigger issue and doesn’t have a place in such a light-hearted article.
However, you can find a great article explaining Disney’s queer-coded villians here. The Disney
I am analyzing is from my childhood, and while it wasn’t nearly enough representation, it was all
the crumbs us queer kiddos needed.