Lightyear LGBTQ+ representative is great (but there is a big problem)


Disney and Pixar’s relationship with LGBTQ+ representation has been precarious, they have often lured their audience, but Lightyear is paving the way for new and better LGBTQ+ stories in animation. Despite the excellent portrayal of a lesbian couple, Lightyear does not correct Disney’s previous mistakes regarding LGBTQ+ in many franchises. We hope that Alisha and Nico in Lightyear is Disney’s attempt to improve and continue to create rich and diverse stories.

Buzz Lightyear (Chris Evans) spends most of the Light Year trying to fix his mistake and bring everyone back to Earth. When Buzz returns from his many flights into space, years pass each time, and he returns to find his best friend and partner-space ranger Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba), who is four years older. Four minutes for Buzz is equal to four years for the inhabitants of the planet. Through these time jumps, Buzz sees Alisha engaged to Kiko, married, started a family, became a grandmother, and became a beloved and important member of the community she helped build.

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Lightyear showcases Pixar’s most significant LGBTQ+ relationship to date and builds on what Disney started with the Fastos family in Eternals, but there’s still a bigger problem in the game. In “Light Year”, Alisha marries Niko, a woman she probably would never have met if they hadn’t been trapped on the planet. Their relationship is only glimpsed and their time together is short, but unlike many other LGBTQ+ characters in Disney and Pixar, their relationship is undeniable. A shared kiss between Alisha and Niko helps to make their romance obvious to the viewer. Alisha and Nico’s relationship shows Buzz what he missed while he was away from home. In fact, the story of Alisha and her family is an integral part of the Lightyear storyline. Buzz sees how happy Alisha is on this planet, as long as her wife and family are with her. Comparing his life with Alisha’s, Buzz realizes that finding community and family is a real mission that he had to fulfill all this time.

Alisha and Nico are the heart of Lightyear, and this is very important for Disney. But it seems Disney has only just started to include LGBTQ+ representatives because of the pressure put on them by their audience and their employees. When they turn it on, it’s often so brief that it’s hard to tell if the characters are really part of the LQBTQ+ community, which has led to accusations of Disney queerboating. Pixar has a similar problem: their image in “Forward” is just a mention that is easily censored. It was almost the same with Lightyear. Initially, Disney refused how much love could be shown on the screen. The animators were forced to restore the relationship between Alisha and Niko. It was only after Disney was criticized for donating to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida that the animators were allowed to return the kiss to Lightyear.

Alisha remains a hero to Buzz and his team throughout the Light Year. Not only her bravery as a space ranger, but also her fierce love for her family and community make her a famous source of inspiration. Lightyear shows not only an LGBTQ+ family, but also a married and happy LGBTQ+ family that makes the most of its position on this new planet. While Disney and Pixar have had their problems presenting LGBTQ+, Lightyear is a big leap in mainstream family films with LGBTQ+ characters and families, which we hope will continue.