The Dutch Donald Duck comic books will include a lesbian couple for the first time, after a complaint from a 10-year-old with two mums.
10-year-old Fenna, an avid Donald Duck fan, had complained that there was nothing to represent her two mums in the long-running comic book, which has been published in the Netherlands for 66 years.
10-year-old Fenna complained that gay people ‘don’t exist’ in Donald Duck
Speaking to the Dutch broadcaster NOS‘s Youth News show, Fenna said: “My parents are gay and lesbian and I think it’s important that that’s just as normal.
“But in Duck City it’s as if they don’t exist at all.”
She suggested they make the change “just for the characters in the background,” adding: “You see lots of couples, a few of those extras could be gay.”
Fenna said it was “ridiculous” that there was no LGBT+ representation in the Donald Duck comic, which is published in the country by Sanoma on behalf of Disney.
Speaking to NOS, Donald Duck editor-in-chief Joan Lommen agreed with the criticism, and promised to include a same-sex couple in the comic soon.
The publisher has already made a tweak thanks to Fenna’s request, changing a cartoon in an upcoming comic.
The panel had already been drawn, featuring a man and a woman on a date surrounded by hearts—but was altered to instead feature two women.
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Disney has a long journey on LGBT+ issues
It is not the first Disney property to feature same-sex couples, but the change represents the company’s increasing ease with putting LGBT+ content in its content.
TV show Andi Mack recently made history by featuring the first gay character to come out on a Disney Channel show.
13-year-old character Cyrus came out to his friends in a February 8 episode of the kids’ TV show that was warmly received by fans.
Upcoming Disney film The Jungle Cruise will also feature a gay character, though it is unclear how heavily his sexuality will be featured.
Disney’s mammoth Marvel and Star Wars cinematic universes have never featured a single visibly LGBT+ character across more than 25 films.
Industry insiders have hinted that Disney is reluctant to include LGBT characters in major international blockbusters due to fears of a potential negative reaction in overseas markets.
2017’s live-action Beauty and the Beast was banned in several markets after the director stated in pre-release inteviews that character LeFou was gay.
The film itself did not explicitly confirm that LeFou was gay, though he was shown briefly dancing with a man.
GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index report recently showed that Walt Disney Studios was failing a basic test of LGBT inclusivity.