13 Queer-Friendly Animated Movies That Will Get You Fired in Florida

When she decided to show her students Disney’s 2022 movie Strange World, Florida teacher Jenna Barbee says she was unaware the “Parental Rights in Education” bill (derisively dubbed “Don’t Say Gay”), which bars all references to “sexual orientation or gender identity” in classrooms, had been expanded from elementary school to include the entirety of the Florida school curriculum.

The teacher had signed permission slips allowing her to show PG-rated movies; she figured she’d be safe showing Strange World, a throwback action-adventure animated film about a family of explorers seeking a lost land. Unfortunately for Barbee, that family includes 16-year-old Ethan, who is shown to have a crush on a boy named Diazo.

Enraged, parent and school board member Shannon Rodriguez reported Barbee to the Hernando County School District Board, saying, “As a leader in this community, I’m not going to stand by and allow this minority to infiltrate our schools…God did put me here.” Under Florida law, penalties for educators who commit the crime of acknowledging the existence of queer people while teaching range from suspension to revocation of their licenses. Barbee is currently under investigation by her local board and state, despite having already resigned. Clearly this is a good use of everyone’s time and taxpayer money.

Just in case you too are worried about drawing the ire of reactionary weirdoes in the Sunshine State, here are other seemingly innocuous kids’ movies that contain dangerous and forbidden ideas that might cause children to speculate about the existence of people who make Ron DeSantis uncomfortable.


Lightyear (2022)

Lightyear – Alisha grows old (Movie Clip) HD

At its heart, Lightyear is a characteristically charming, poignant Pixar film with a strong science fiction hook. It was also a pretty big box-office bomb, in part because its deeply confusing premise was tough to market (it’s presented as the movie about Buzz Lightyear that inspired the toy from the Toy Story series). It also came courted controversy: Buzz’s commanding officer and best friend Alisha marries Kiko during the course of the movie, the two women ultimately becoming the grandparents of Izzy (Keke Palmer), who teams up with Buzz many decades later (time dilation, ya know). A chaste kiss between Alisha and Kiko was first cut then reinstated by Disney (the kind of wobbling guaranteed to piss off pretty much everybody), and the movie was banned in a number of countries while being censored in others.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 9. A gay main character? Who’s married? With children?!

Where to stream: Disney+


Onward (2020)

Onward (2020) : Specter, Ian and Barley scene

The lesbian rep in this cute Disney movie is pretty minimal, and so didn’t cause much of a stir stateside, though it was enough to get the movie banned in much of the Middle East and re-edited in Russia, Poland, and Hungary. In the film, a couple of elf brothers discover they might be able to resurrect their dead father, but only for one day, and only after a pretty wild adventure. Lesbian-identified actress Lena Waithe plays a cyclops cop, Specter, who briefly mentions her girlfriend’s daughter.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 4. The line identifying Specter as gay is crystal clear, but that’s the extent of it.

Where to stream: Disney+


DC League of Super-Pets (2022)

DC League of Super-Pets | Full Movie Preview | Warner Bros. Entertainment

The movie itself is cute, and even a bit moving in the end, but in the midst of all the super-pet action, there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to a gay couple when a dog friend tells Superman’s pup Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) that he has every reason to be worried about Clark and Lois getting married: that dog’s owner, Nancy, stopped paying nearly as much attention once she got engaged…to a lady! (We get a very quick shot of Nancy with her fiancée.) The minor moment of inclusion didn’t generate much drama upon the movie’s release, although you can hunt down one of the many YouTube reaction videos explaining how a split second shot of two cartoon women standing next to each other ruins the movie, and DC in general, if you are so inclined.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 2. You really have to be paying attention to even notice.

Where to stream: HBO Max


Steven Universe: The Movie (2019)

Steven Universe: The Movie | Isn’t It Love Song | Cartoon Network UK 🇬🇧

As a TV series, Steven Universe was groundbreaking for its approach to representation, foregrounding characters from across the queer spectrum, both casually and more directly. Two of Steven’s magical guardians are women who eventually marry (and also are frequently fused into one body), while a third is non-binary (like Steven’s creator, Rebecca Sugar) and once fell in love with Steven’s mother. There’s even a gay love song.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 10. Queer and gender-nonconforming characters? This series is gayer than I am, and I’ve been married to a man for decades.

Where to stream: HBO Max, Hulu


The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)

The Mitchells vs. The Machines | Official Trailer | Netflix

The title spotlights the entire Mitchell family, and that’s fair, but our lead is Katie (Abbi Jacobson), a quirky aspiring filmmaker whose relationship with her technophobic, nature-loving dad has grown increasingly strained as she prepares to head off to college. What doesn’t seem to be a drag on their relationship at all is Katie’s pride flag, her crush on schoolmate Chloe Chang, and her obsession with Portrait of a Lady on Fire director Celinne Sciamma. Katie’s queerness, is presented as no big deal, but it’s also more than just queer coding: By the end, we learn she has a new girlfriend at film school.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 7. Katie is straightforwardly queer, but it doesn’t really come up in a way that impacts the plot.

Where to stream: Netflix


Zootopia (2016)

Zootopia Unrated: Crazy Neighbors

The quarrelsome interspecies couple next door with the hyphenated last names didn’t seem to bother audiences much in 2016, when we were more willing to convince ourselves that middle-aged men living together were just roommates, or also possibly brothers who kiss. There’s no kissing here, of course, so it would be easy to look past the mostly subtextual relationship between Bucky and Pronk (Byron Howard and Jared Bush), though screenwriter Jared Bush did go so far as to confirm that the obviously married couple is, in fact, intended to be a married couple.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 3. Increasingly eagle-eyed bigots might be more likely to pick up on Bucky and Pronk’s relationship status today than they were in 2016.

Where to stream: Disney+


ParaNorman (2012)

You’re gonna love my boyfriend | Paranorman – Mitch Downe

The stop-motion animated ParaNorman was justifiably critically acclaimed (it’s fantastic), but only a modest box office success. The plot revolves around the titular Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who can communicate with the dead; nobody believes him, and he’s bullied for his claims about his abilities. Norman’s best friend’s older brother Mitch (Casey Affleck), is a stereotypical dumb jock in many ways, but we discover he’s gay at the same time as Norman’s sister. In contrast to Norman, who struggles with the best way to express his abilities in a hostile world, Mitch is entirely comfortable with who he is. It didn’t seem to generate a lot of hate back when it came out, though the National Review did take the time to warn parents that the film might burden innocent children with the knowledge that sometimes boys go out with other boys.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 6. Mitch is a relatively minor character, but he’s explicitly gay and thoroughly not a stereotype.

Where to stream: Starz, or rent digitally on Prime Video, Apple TV+, Vudu, Redbox


Wendell & Wild (2022)

WENDELL & WILD | Official Teaser | Netflix

Wendell & Wild (from The Nightmare Before Christmas/Coraline director Henry Selick) isn’t marketed toward younger kids like most of the movies on this list, so it might not occur to you to show it in your classroom. But just in case! Wendell and Wild are a couple of demons (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele) who meet their match in Kat (Lyric Ross), a punk-loving teen with few friends other than Raúl (Sam Zelaya), a sweet trans boy who’s also an incredibly talented artist trying to expose the injustices of their town’s messed-up prison system. Raúl is a highlight of the film, even in a secondary role.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 10. The movie is all about demons and it acknowledges the existence of both trans and Black people. Oh and it also critiques our American prison-industrial complex. If it were on DVD, people would be burning it.

Where to stream: Netflix


Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling (2019)

Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling Trailer | Netflix

A 25-years-later followup to the original Nickelodeon series, the film introduces us to Rachel Bighead (series creator Joe Murray), a trans woman who we knew as Ralph back in the 1990s. Rachel isn’t incidental here; the reunion movie centers around Rocko’s quest to find and convince Rachel to revive his favorite TV show, The Fatheads. Murray worked with Nick Adams, GLAAD’s director of transgender representation, in order to make sure Rachel’s story (which includes a scene of her coming out to her parents) was sensitively handled, even within Rocko’s surreal world.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 9. Even if Rachel isn’t the main character, the plot revolves around her.

Where to stream: Netflix


Wonder Woman: Bloodlines (2019)

Wonder Woman: Bloodlines – “Diana Meets the Kapatelis Family” (Exclusive)

There have been a lot of different takes on Wonder Woman’s sidekick Etta Candy over the decades, from an outrageously body-positive lover of sweets in her early days to Lucy Davis’ more subdued companion in the 2017 live action movie. Here, voiced by Adrienne C. Moore, she’s not only Black (as she is occasionally in the comics), she’s also unashamedly queer, balancing her military skills with a pronounced interest in Diana’s women-only home on Paradise Island. Early on, Diana promises to set Etta up with some (meaning more than one) of her friends from back home, and the movie’s conclusion sees Etta celebrating Wonder Woman’s victory in the arms of two fawning Amazons.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 7. Lesbians and polyamory?

Where to stream: HBO Max


Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo! (2022)

Velma first meets Coco Diablo: Velma Is Gay Now What?

Subtext became text, at least for one movie, with the 37th direct-to-video Scooby-Doo film produced in and around around a dozen TV shows. Velma, here voiced by Kate Micucci, is depicted as having a major crush on Halloween costume designer and felon Coco Diablo, admitting to Daphne: “Oh, who am I kidding? I’m crushing big time, Daphne! What do I do? What do I say?” Velma’s always felt pretty queer-coded, and it’s amazing that it took this long for her to come out…even if the subsequent HBO Max Velma series is all about how she’s in love with Fred.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 6. It would be higher, but who didn’t kinda figure that Velma might be queer?

Where to stream: HBO Max


Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors (2018)

Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors | Full Trailer

While live-action Marvel has struggled mightily with diversity, this 2018 animated film carried a group of young heroes over from the comics, leaping over the MCU in terms of representation in the process. Kamala Khan (Kathreen Khavari) leads, but it’s America Chavez who’s the real standout on the team. In the movie, as in the comics (more or less), America is a confident, Lesbian-identified Latina with two moms who sacrificed themselves to save their home. Contrast that to her live-action counterpart (seen onscreen in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness), who is in the position of always running from the now-evil Wanda Maximoff and whose rainbow pin offers the only evidence that she might be queer (in the movie, her moms died in an accident, rather than heroically). You could probably get away with showing that movie, but not this one.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 7. She’s gay and a Latina? On a team lead by a Pakistani-American young woman? Definitely triggering.

Where to stream: Disney+


Turning Red (2022)

Turning Red | Official Trailer

The big discourse around Turning Red had to do with the question of whether or not white kids (who are, apparently, the only kids that matter) could possibly relate to a story of a Chinese-Canadian girl named Mei, which serves as a solid example of the kind of exhausting and frankly stupid discussions we subject ourselves to these days. Racists were in such a froth that they largely missed the movie’s brief bit of queer representation involving Priya (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), one of Mei’s best friends, who dances with another girl at a party.

The likelihood you’ll get fired for showing it: 5. Priya’s queer moment passes quickly, but people who have already expressed outrage about the existence of Chinese-Canadian people will be ready to fight.

Where to stream: Disney+

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