“Queer Disney history” was made on Friday when the absurdly titled High School Musical: The Musical: The Series debuted the kids entertainment giant’s first ever gay love song between two boys on Disney+.
In the episode, titled “The Transformation,” Carlos (Frankie Rodriguez) sings to his boyfriend Seb (Joe Serafini). Seb is feeling insecure in their relationship and Carlos wants to set his mind at ease so he sings the new song “In a Heartbeat” to him.
The lyrics themselves aren’t explicitly gay but the fact that it’s one boy singing about his love for another boy was enough for the media to gush over.
Entertainment Weekly reported that “Disney's first romantic song between two members of the same sex” is “finally breaking that dated trend” of love songs being between a male and female character. (Actually, last month another Disney+ show, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, featured a lesbian teen kiss after one girl sang to the other a love song she wrote called "Everything to Me," but that one seems to have flown under the radar for some reason.)
EW celebrated the “romantic and groundbreaking ballad” with an interview of the two actors, who are also dating in real life. Rodriguez said he was “so happy” when he found out about the significance of the song. “It's very special and I hope that people are able to connect with it. I'm just hoping that this is like a blueprint for what else is to come and what else they can explore and what they'll do. To be the first, it's kind of crazy!”
Unfortunately, it appears this is only the beginning. They have a very clear agenda.
…So how does it feel knowing that you are presenting this more inclusive picture of what a love story can look like more clearly for young audiences?
RODRIGUEZ: Oh my gosh, it feels amazing and obviously it's so needed. The fact that we get to be that representation that we definitely did not get to see growing up on a platform like Disney with a popular franchise, it means a lot. We definitely see the response, especially on social media of kids who have reached out and said, "Your characters gave me confidence to be myself," or "Your characters gave me the confidence to come out." Those are big, life-changing decisions and so it's very special to be a part of someone's journey that way.
SERAFINI: Yeah and it's just so important to have people to look to, especially if you're in a situation or environment that's maybe less accepting, to see that, if I am feeling these feelings, other people are too and there's hope. There's someone to look towards. It's going to be okay, and hopefully, it will get better.
They want their characters to be an inspiration. “... the fact that they're just teenagers who really adore each other and that's what we're getting to see, and not only that but that they're being supported by the people around them, I think that is very important,” Rodriguez went on. “I hope people take away some sort of hope and feelings of support from watching it.”
“And validation,” Serafini added. Of course. First it was tolerance, now it's validation.
The gay teen romance was first introduced in season 1 and the show has been pushing gay pride since the beginning, not to mention hailing AOC, Greta Thunberg, and Michelle Obama as teen idols. Needless to say, their "inclusivity" excludes conservatives.