Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gay Characters on The Disney Channel: A Do Or A Don't?

There has been some debate lately about the fact that The Disney Channel doesn't feature any gay characters.

Some people state that Disney has the obligation to feature gay characters, while others, specifically the Disney programming people, don't think it's necessary.

Here's why I think Disney's staying away from featuring gay characters:

1. Let's face it - TV is all about marketing to your target audience. Disney's target audience is comprised of young kids and their parents. While I believe that gay and lesbian relationships should be openly supported, I'm pretty sure not everyone agrees, and Disney could take a major hit by featuring a gay couple.

2. Disney's target audience is pre-pubescent, and some American parents probably won't appreciate a television channel teaching their kids about sexuality. Disney execs are smart - they know featuring a gay couple is likely to alienate more people than it will encourage to watch their shows. Does that make it right? No. But does it make it a valid marketing decision? Absolutely.

3. The topic of homosexuality isn't the only topic Disney avoids due to the nature of the target audience. The channel also doesn't focus on other controversial topics - it's just not in their strategy.

4. Disney allows characters to be identified as gay, even if it's never stated. From this, the company opens the door to GLBT relationships without specifically bringing them into the shows. The network probably sees this as the best of both worlds.

Clearly, this issue has been well thought through by the Disney team, and a decision has been made. Is their decision right? Opinions will vary - it depends on who you ask.

What do you think about Disney not featuring gay characters? is it right or wrong?

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