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11 Queer-Coded Animated Characters in Pop-Culture.

Vaishnavi Srivastava

Have you ever rediscovered one of your childhood cartoons and wondered, “Hey! That seems a lot like the hand putting on nail paint emoji to me!”. Well, you’re not quite wrong. Certain characters in media have been queer-coded and it is pretty evident if you just put on your rainbow-coloured lenses. Now what exactly is “Queer Coding,” you ask? It is essentially a phenomenon in pop culture wherein the sexuality of a certain character is not blatantly mentioned, it however persists in the form of a subtext.  Queer coding was initiated in order to follow certain censorship guidelines and a way for creators to seek-in a representation of an “obviously gay” character in their media via stereotypical mannerisms and character storylines. 

Quick Read

Well, we at Abir Pothi have compiled a list of our favourite queer-coded animated characters below: 

1. Him, The Powerpuff Girls

One of the most fabulous villains in children’s television history, (and my personal favourite) is the character of Him from The Powerpuff Girls. Him is one of the most powerful and spine-chilling villains in the history of kids television. The high-pitched voice, the thigh-highs, the flamboyant clothing and the perfectly groomed beard, all scream, “Be Gay, Do Crime”. And so Him does.

Courtesy: Sci-Fi Stack Exchange

2. Jafar, Alladin

Jafar the villain from Alladin is known for his flamboyance which brings its own sense of terror to the character. His emotional support parrot and the snake-shaped magical sceptre all scream witchcraft! (We’re pretty sure Jafar is a crystal gworl!)

Courtesy: Wallpapers13

3. Scar, The Lion King

Did you know that most of these infamous Disney villains were designed by the same man named Andreas Deja who is openly gay? Well, no wonder both Scar and Jafar share their fame for being the most bone-chilling and articulate Disney villains.

Courtesy: Medium

4. James, Pokemon

Okay, the whole of Team Rocket screams DRAMA, with every failed miserable attempt at evil. With his coloured hair, a permanent rose in one hand while the other rests daintily on his waist, James is one of my biggest inspirations to be a criminal but never without the sass.

Courtesy: Reddit

5. Bugs Bunny, Looney Toons

Talking about sass, how can we not mention Mister Bugeth the Bun-Bun himself? The prey and roasting the shit out of his own hunter is probably the most queer thing ever.

Courtesy: The New York Times

6. SpongeBob SquarePants

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Another queer-coded character. Apart from the whole “controversy” about Spongebob’s sexuality. Each and every character in Spongebob is very freaking queer. The network announced Spongebob to be gay in the year 2020, meanwhile, the creators once mentioned how all the characters were written to be asexual.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

7. Velma, Scooby-Doo

With the recent animation that showed Velma going jinkies and openly trying to impress a new female character, the franchise finally confirmed Velma being queer. No one in the community was shocked however, It was pretty evident from the start. Wake up!

Courtesy: People

8. Elsa, Frozen

Apart from Let it Go being an LGBTQ anthem of the time and years to come, the Snow Queen herself exhibits queer tendencies. Moreover, the storyline of Elsa- always under scrutiny for being the way she is and not being able to change and control it no matter how much she tries because she was born this way and eventually alienating herself by running away from home- spoke volumes to the queer community as in someways it validates their struggle.

Courtesy: Cosmopolitan

9. Ursula, The Little Mermaid

The character of Ursula was literally inspired by the Drag Queen Divine. Need we say more?

Courtesy: Change.org

10. Terkina, Tarzan

Remember that scene in Tarzan when Terkina had to put on a dress and make-up and her absolute disdain for the same? From the obvious buzz cut and characteristic, no effs to give attitude, Terkina from Tarzan is most definitely gender non-conforming, to say the least.

Courtesy: Fanpop

11. And Finally, Beauty and the Beast

LeFou was the first gay character in the Disney live-action. The animation too, however, had certain sprinkles here and there. From the characters of Gogsworth and Lumiere to the villain Gaston, all have been subjected to queer coding according to fan speculations.

Courtesy: CinemaBlend

Psst.. notice how a majority of these characters are villains? That is because the representation of queerness in characters couldn’t be projected in a positive light which resulted in most of these characters being (fabulous) villains. Just a fun little fact as the end note.

Read More:

11 Famous Works in Art History That Depict Queer Love.



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