Outcries and petitions began when news broke that Josh Gad would be portraying the first openly gay character in Disney film Beauty and the Beast, which releases in theaters this Friday.
In an interview with CNN, Gad — who plays LeFou — says the film is about inclusion.
“It’s one that has something to offer to everyone,” he said.
Some may argue the 13th Article of Faith tells us we should seek “anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy,” and those arguing may feel like the movie does not fall under these categories.
We have been taught we need to “love one another.”
One drive-in movie theater in Alabama refuses to play the film, according to The New York Times.
“We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches,” according to a Facebook post from Henagar Drive-In, the theater which refuses to play the film. “You can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.”
While LeFou is a fictional character, Disney’s decision is sending a message: It’s time to be inclusive.
No matter who we are or what circumstances we are in, we should all work harder to become inclusive of others.
“When we create a supportive environment, we build charity and empathy for each other and benefit from our combined perspectives and faith,” according to the “Same-Sex Attraction” webpage on lds.org.
Throughout history, we have seen countless examples of people wanting to be included.
The civil rights era, women’s suffrage and Black Lives Matter are only a few examples of this fight and need for inclusion.
Over the last several years, members of the LGBT community, which make up roughly 9 million people in America, according to Gary Gates from UCLA Williams Institute, have begun to voice their beliefs and desires for being included.
Disney has also worked to include other cultures in their films.
A few different cultures include princesses Moana, inspired by Polynesian cultures; Mulan, inspired by Asian cultures; and the newest addition Elena of Avalor, inspired by Latin American cultures, according to disney.com.
Over the years, Barbie has created other dolls in addition to the tall, skinny blonde doll in order to help foster a sense of unity and belonging among children. What was once one main Barbie doll now includes plus-sized dolls, black dolls and curvy dolls.
We at Scroll understand and acknowledge that “marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God” as stated in The Family: A Proclamation to the World; however, we have also been counseled to love everyone even if we do not agree how one decides to live his or her life.
The Church is working to improve inclusion in the world as well as within itself through several new websites.
In late 2016, the Church released the “Mormon and Gay” website, which provides three categories of purpose: stories, beliefs and understanding about same-sex attraction.
The Church also released “I Was a Stranger” earlier last year. This website helped increase understanding about “the Savior’s invitation to make a difference” in refugees’ lives. The website gives ways to help refugees both locally and around the world as well as shows what others are doing to help serve.
These are both attempts to include more people inside and outside the Church.
As members of the Church, we need to work on including everyone no matter the circumstance. Doing so will help bring a sense of belonging, and it can help us have an attitude of Christ-like love for those around us that we should strive to achieve.
We need to include others because it brings a sense of belonging.
Even though Beauty and the Beast is a fictional movie, we might need to start looking at the movie as a statement of needing inclusion rather than having another agenda.
We at Scroll recognize the need for inclusion, for we would not be living in the world we do now without it.