Beauty and the Beast and Power Rangers are “a lifeline” for LGBT youth, says GLAAD head

GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis has called the inclusion of gay characters in this year’s Hollywood children’s films “a lifeline” for LGBT youth.

Ellis, who is also chief executive of GLAAD, a not-for-profit organisation aimed at promoting LGBT diversity in media, also said public was “hungry for this content.”

Disney caused a huge stir earlier this month when director Bill Condon told Attitude Magazine that Le Fou, antagonist Gaston’s manservant, would have an “exclusively gay moment” in the film.

The announcement led to the film causing controversy in the US, Russia and Malaysia as authorities rushed to censor, block or take the film away from children.

And even more recently, Power Rangers director Dean Israelite revealed that Trini, the yellow member of the group, was set to become the first ever gay superhero on the big screen.

Becky G, who plays the character in the film – which came out on Friday – told fans that she was “so proud” to take on the role.

Beauty and the Beast and Power Rangers are “a lifeline” for LGBT youth, says GLAAD head

She added that “life is so much better with it being more colourful rather than black-and-white”.

Ellis said: “LGBTQ youth deserve a happily ever after just like everyone else,” pointing to online campaigns to get Frozen’s Elsa a girlfriend or Captain America a boyfriend as proof of this.

“That’s kind of the public outcry saying: ‘We are ready for this,’” she added.

However, despite calling Hollywood’s latest inclusions of gay characters “very exciting and inspiring,” she warned that more progress was needed.

Trini and Le Fou represented “small inclusions. It appears that they are testing the waters and it is a step absolutely in the right direction.

“This is not the end game. We want to see better and more inclusion than we are seeing now. We have to start somewhere and this is a good place to start.”

She said that eventually, “what we want to build to is having a protagonist with a dimensional story about their LGBTQ life integrated into a movie as if it were anybody else’s life.

“We’re not there yet.”

A petition to support Disney and call for more LGBT characters in family entertainment has thousands of supporters.