It’s Pride Month and Disney+ is offering a Pride Collection to work your way through to enjoy shows and movies that highlight the LGBTQIA+ community. There are a plethora of great movies, television shows, and animated shows to choose from.
I want highlight Pixar Sparkshort’s “Out.” Released in May of 2020, the short marks the first time a queer character is the main subject of a Disney film. It also features a on-screen same-sex kiss.
Directed by Steven Clay Hunter, this nine minute short film focuses on Greg, a young man, who has a boyfriend, Manuel, but has not told his parents that he is gay. At the top of the film, it states that the short is based on a true story. I later learned from reading the Advocate online that it is more inspired by Hunter, the writer/director’s life as he did not come out to his parents until he was 27.
Spoiler Alert now in effect for the Pixar Short, “Out.”
The short is a tad fantastical in that a cosmic cat and dog overlook Greg’s house and send down magic upon his dog’s collar. Through a series of events, including his parents coming unannounced to Greg’s house, the dog and Greg end up switching bodies. Greg, as Jim, the dog, can now see how his mother really feels about her son moving away. Greg, as the dog, tries everything he can think of the get his mother not to see the lovely picture labeled “Greg and Manuel.” He does succeed and she does not see it.
Greg’s mother does openly admit to Greg, as the dog, that she is saddened that her son moved away. Greg is able to hear these words and the most important admission from his mother where she says she hopes he finds someone that makes him happy. She knows Greg is gay, and she accepts him as he is. She simply wants her son to be happy. It’s a beautiful message of acceptance.
Greg and Jim eventually are able to switch back, and with the knowledge of his mother’s acceptance; he introduces his mother and father to Manuel, his boyfriend. The onlooking cosmic dog and cat are pleased with the outcome and fade off into a rainbow.
As per the Advocate, Steven Clay Hunter, interviewed friends and other gay men about their experiences as research for the film. He was shocked at how different all the stories, like Greg’s, there are. He told the Advocate, “There’s so many positive ones, there’s so many negative ones, there’s so many right in between. There are people that are still struggling with it, even at my age.” (Hunter is now in his 50s.) Hunter wished for his short to spark conversations about the issue of coming out with its viewers.
The Producer, Max Sachar, told the Advocate that every viewer, despite being in the LGBTQIA+ community, can relate to something in the short. He said viewers can “find some connection to the true human experience that comes with revealing truths about yourself.”
As for backlash from the studio on doing a queer centered Sparkshort, there was none. Pixar was fully behind them. However, since the film’s release there has been backlash from various groups including One Million Moms who stated that the film should be boycotted. Steven Clay Hunter’s response was, “We are part of the human story, and we’re not going anywhere. And we deserve to be seen and heard.”
“Out” was recognized by the GLAAD Media Awards and was shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short. It’s a beautiful film that truly just expresses love and acceptance of others and yourself.
“Out” is available on Disney+, but it was also released on YouTube for Pride Month in 2021. enjoy below.