Pixar takes a stand on LGBTQIA+ representation amidst global bans of Lightyear film

By keeping the restoration of a same-sex kiss in the new film, the animation giant faces losses in revenue to set a precedent for the importance of representation in children’s media.

15 June 2022


On Monday (13 June), Pixar’s forthcoming film Lightyear was banned by the United Arab Emirates “due to its violation of the country’s media standards”, making it one of among 14 countries imposing restrictions. As reported by South China Morning Post, beyond the United Arab Emirates, Disney was unable to secure permission in countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia and Lebanon, with a screening in China “also unlikely”. In response to pressure to cut scenes or face potential revenue losses, Pixar has instead doubled down on its decision to keep the scene, which it reinstated in March following internal protests from employees.

At the Lightyear premiere in London on Monday, producer Galyn Susman told Reuters: “We’re not going to cut out anything, especially something as important as the loving and inspirational relationship that shows Buzz what he’s missing by the choices that he’s making, so that’s not getting cut.”

Lightyear, hitting screens this Friday, 17 June, in the UK, reportedly features a brief kiss between Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) and her partner.


Pixar: Lightyear (Copyright © Disney, 2022)

The decision to initially reinstate the scene was made by Pixar in March. It came after protests by employees against censorship from Disney, criticising the company’s response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill in an open letter.

The lack of meaningful queer representation in Disney franchises has long been an issue for animators and staff. The open letter from Pixar staff on 9 March stated Disney had previously had “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection” in its films “shaved down to crumbs”.

Disney and Pixar’s more recent decision to not create special cuts for individual countries marks a key shift toward crucial visibility for gay communities in its blockbuster releases. With Lightyear expected to draw huge audiences for Disney – analysts estimate the film could gross more than £82m in its first weekend – Pixar has illustrated the importance of showing children representative stories, at a point when they are most influenced by the things they see on screen.

Pixar: Lightyear (Copyright © Disney, 2022)

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Pixar: Lightyear (Copyright © Disney, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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