Russia rates Power Rangers 18+ over lesbian storyline
Russia has rated the new Power Rangers reboot for aged 18 and over over a lesbian storyline.
The reboot of the 90s TV show and film series sees one of the five main characters struggle with her relationship with another girl in the film’s second act.
Trini, the Yellow Ranger, eventually comes to terms with her sexual orientation and is accepted by all the other characters, said director Dean Israelite.
Russia has now rated the film an 18+, after originally rating it 16+.
The film was criticised by United Russia party politician Vitaly Milonov, who is adamantly anti-LGBT+.
Shortly after, censors rated the film an 18+ without explanation.
Russia in 2013 passed an anti-gay bill which bans the ‘promotion of non-traditional sexual relations’ to minors.
The country will show the film in its entirety despite that it includes the lesbian storyline.
The decision for the censors to allow the full film to be shown is being held up as a triumph in the conservative country.
This comes after the country backed down when Disney banned the Beauty in the Beast film there when censors cut out a gay moment.
Last week, Disney barred the film from being shown by any cinema in the country after it found out censors had removed the moment where Gaston’s sidekick LeFou dances with a man.
The live-action remake is the first major Disney film to feature an unambiguously gay character, and smashed box office records this weekend despite an attempted evangelical boycott.
And Disney released a statement today reporting that it had triumphed in its stand-off with the censors.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the film’s release at the end of this week, Israelite said: “For Trini, really she’s questioning a lot about who she is. She hasn’t fully figured it out yet.
“I think what’s great about that scene and what that scene propels for the rest of the movie is, ‘That’s OK.’
“The movie is saying, ‘That’s OK,’ and all of the kids have to own who they are and find their tribe.””
The development is especially remarkable as Power Rangers was previously known for causing the original series’ Blue Ranger to quit because of vile homophobic abuse.
David Yost, who played Billy Cranston and the Blue Ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, also said his co-stars were repeatedly quizzed about what they knew about his sexuality.
In 2010, he revealed: “I walked off set one day during the middle of lunch – I had made a decision, I had been thinking about it for a good week, and the reason I walked off was because I was called faggot one too many times.”
But in reaction to news of a gay Yellow Ranger, Yost praised the new film for its bravery.
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“They really stepped up to the plate,” he said.
“I think so many people in the LGBTQI community are going to be excited to see that representation.”
Trini, who is played by singer and actress Becky G, follows a relatively recent shift towards writing gay characters into superhero films and TV shows.
Deadpool, whose film came out last year, is pansexual, while Supergirl, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow – all on US TV channel CW – all feature a gay character.
The coming out storyline of Alex Danvers, Supergirl’s adoptive sister, this season prompted a hugely positive reaction from fans and the LGBT community.
And of course, the news comes on the heels of Beauty and the Beast featuring the first ever explicitly gay Disney character, Le Fou.