Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991) has been a fixture since I was 8 years old and (like everyone else) captivated by the music and animation. Each time I watch the movie it represents my queer and homosexual experiences.
Belle’s reading, bravery, and compassion made her my Disney princess; Ursula and Maleficent had been my favorites up until then; Oliver and Company was my Disney film up until then. Belle was the outsider as princess – the villagers thought she was odd, while Jasmine or Snow White were born princesses with privilege. Belle’s desire to escape from her village to experience the bigger world mirrored my own queer desire to escape suburbia. Unlike Ariel and Eric, or Aurora and Phillip, Belle and Prince Adam’s love formed organically. Yes, I do find prisoner falling in love with their jailer romantic.
The Beast is Heathcliff-type romantic. He is downtrodden and angry, insecure about the future because there had been so much rejection. His fear and pain reflected my own, entering the dating realm with baggage of rejection and pain before having even begun dating. The Beast also became the model for my ideal partner: rough with an awoke interior. As well as a certain minotaur fantasy.