One of the most recent and important movies for LGBT youth may in fact be a movie that has nothing (at least on the surface) to do with LGBT issues at all. Disney’s Frozen may not have intended for one of the main characters, Elsa, to have a story that is such an easy parallel to the world of growing up in the closet, but it happened. It happened and now we’re gonna celebrate.
WARNING: Some mild beginning-of-the-movie spoilers ahead.
Elsa is never stated to be a part of the LGBT community, just to point that out ahead of time. But, the progression of her story is very reminiscent of the lives of many young, LGBT kids, which undoubtedly will make her a very important Disney figure for anyone growing up in the closet. In no uncertain terms, Elsa’s story is of a girl who was born with something inherently different about her. Because of this unique quality (the ability to create and control ice) Elsa was locked away in her room by her parents and treated like a monster that needed to be cut off from the outside world. Her parents constantly warned her to hide who she really was for “their own safety” rather than trying to understand what was happening and help her to embrace it.
Because of this, Elsa grows up depressed and isolated; shut off from the world and cold towards everyone, including her own sister, Anna. Then at Elsa’s coronation her secret comes out and everyone in attendance, aside from Anna, is horrified, with some even proceeding to actually call her a monster. Because of this, Elsa runs off to try and create a life for herself where she “won’t hurt anyone” and where she can finally be herself and be free, even if it means leaving behind everyone and everything she’s ever known.
The entire LGBT symbolism comes to a head with Elsa’s song “Let It Go” which follows the natural progression that one might experience when coming out. Fear and regret, then acceptance, then finally a sense of complete freedom now that you’re able to be yourself without limits and anxieties. With lyrics like, “Couldn’t hold it in, heaven knows I tried. Don’t let them in, don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know,” it’s easy to see how the song, which is every bit about someone repressing who they truly are, can be applied to LGBT youth.
While this only occupies the first half hour or so of the movie, it’s certainly an important aspect. Especially considering the fact that the song “Let It Go” has arguably become the most memorable scene in the movie, accruing over 30,000,000 views on YouTube (as of January 7th, 2014).
One of the most important things that LGBT kids will take away from the movie is the unconditional love that Anna shows her sister throughout the movie, despite Elsa pushing her away. Anna never falters regardless of who tries to convince her that her sister is evil. And knowing that the people who really matter will love you in spite of everything is a very important lesson for LGBT kids to learn early on.