Gabrielle Union is not here for countries banning films over their LGBTQ+ content.
While there haven’t been any bans yet on Disney’s upcoming Strange World—in which Union voices the mom of gay teenager Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White)—it wouldn’t be an unprecedented move.
Animated films featuring queer characters in smaller roles, such as Onward and Lightyear, have been publicly banned in conservative countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Russia over the past few years; a queer main character would be practically unheard of.
While Union told Yahoo! Entertainment that she’ll “absolutely be sad” if Strange World meets a similar fate to its fellow animated flicks overseas, the only thing that countries accomplish through censorship is the erasure of queer individuals who very much exist.
“…All you’re doing is denying people information that we exist. You’re just denying reality,” said the actress, who is also a mom to transgender teen Zaya Wade.
Union Says Fans Always Find a Way to Skirt Censorship: ‘I Don’t Ever Want to Encourage Piracy, But…’
Despite her calls to stop censorship, Union knows that Strange World will likely still face bans in certain countries. Although the actress makes it clear that she (usually) isn’t an advocate for piracy, she says that audiences affected by the bans will find a way to access the media forbidden to them.
“What I’ve learned about the internet is that once it’s out there, it’s out there. I don’t ever want to encourage piracy, but I understand how these things work! People who want to see it will find a way,” she laughed.
“The more that certain countries work to deny their citizens the opportunity to see things, the more they’ll find a way.”
At the end of the day, the Bring It On actress says that she’s “honored” to be a part of telling the story of a loving family without the entire plot being a “coming out” story.
“I just love that we have created a space where you can show a loving, affectionate family that creates enough loving space for everyone to chart their own course in life,” Union said.
“I’m absolutely honored to be a part of telling that story.”
Directed by Don Hall and Qui Nguyen, and also starring Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal, Strange World hits theaters November 22.