Disney Junior’s popular television show for preschoolers, Doc McStuffins, has drawn praise from LGBT advocates for airing an episode that features two lesbian doll moms voiced by lesbian actors.
The show, now in its fourth season, is about a little girl who hopes to be a doctor and fixes dolls and stuffed animals in her home clinic with the assistance of her friends.
In the episode titled “The Emergency Plan,” the two doll moms, voiced by Wanda Sykes and Portia de Rossi, are faced with an “earthquake” that causes the doll family to be separated. Doc McStuffins then assists them with making an emergency plan.
— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) August 5, 2017
The episode aired on the Disney Channel on August 5 and on Disney Junior on August 6.
“My kids watch – they watch the show,” Sykes says in an interview in the show’s promotional video. “In this episode, they see a family that looks like our family. We’re two moms and we have a boy and a girl, two kids, and it’s going to be very exciting for them to see our family represented. We’re a family, and families stick together.”
Zeke Stokes, vice president of programs at gay rights media advocacy organization GLAAD, praised Disney for “breaking new ground” and “teaching valuable family lessons.”
— Zeke Stokes (@zekestokes) August 5, 2017
The series’ creator and executive producer, Stokes observes, is Chris Nee, a lesbian mother.
“I always envision Doc McStuffins as a show about what it means to accept everyone as part of our communities, said Nee, who also wrote “The Emergency Plan.” “As part of a two-mom family, I’m proud to have an episode that reflects my son’s world, and shows everyone that love is love in McStuffinsville.”
GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis also praised Disney for reflecting “the real world.”
“Children like mine deserve the chance to see their families reflected on TV, and this episode does just that in a beautiful and positive way,” Ellis said, adding that “many children being raised by gay and lesbian parents” will “celebrate this story.”
Lifesite News notes Nee’s 2012 interview with AfterEllen.com, in which the show’s creator said she was “definitely” planning to include gay storylines in Doc McStuffins:
My son [Theo] has two moms and it’s a huge part of my life as a human being and it’s been an incredible part of the way that I see the world and the way I see characters and the way I want to create characters who are incredibly accepting of each other and whatever is happening in their life. I think that I work very hard on creating the family of friends. I like to create a world that’s a world of friends who are just extraordinary at supporting each other in whatever they’ve doing — my own biological family is an amazing family but I think that classic story of gay kids is that you end up creating that family of friends and that’s always reflected in my work.
Nee added that she has been “incredibly surprised by how supportive Disney has been in the process of looking for press for this show.”
“I’ve never been anything but accepted in the world of writing kids’ TV but I was surprised that Disney has been so beyond willing and excited to sort of publicize this part of my life and this part of who I am,” she said.
Disney featured an “exclusively gay moment” in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast released earlier this year, described the film’s director Bill Condon.
Condon told Attitude magazine that the character LeFou (Josh Gad), “wants to kiss Gaston (Luke Evans),” in what “is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
Later, however, the director said his controversial comments became wildly exaggerated.
“Because it’s just this — it’s part of just what we had fun with,” Condon said. “I love the way it plays pure when people don’t know and it comes as a nice surprise.”