Onward, the Pixar-Disney animated film that features the studio’s very first lesbian character, has been banned in four Middle Eastern countries - Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.
These countries criminalize same-sex relationships, which, unfortunately, they are not inclined to show the film. Nevertheless, other Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Bahrain, and Lebanon are showing the film.
In particular, aside from the sexual orientation of one character, the reference to lesbian parents was not approved.
"Onward" indeed features lesbian police officer Specter, played by out actress and screenwriter Lena Waithe.
In one scene, Officer Specter addresses parenting issues with teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot and mentions a couple of lesbian parents as she says, “It’s not easy being a parent... my girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out, OK?”
Russia also censored "Onward". Not only was the term “girlfriend” replaced by “partner” but they do not mention the sexual orientation of the character.
It’s not the first time countries censor films for their reference to LGBTQ characters.
In 2017, Kuwait and Malaysia had banned "Beauty and the Beast" for mentioning the homosexuality of one character. Last year, Russia censored scenes from the biopic “Rocketman” and “Avenger: Endgame” for LGBTQ references.
But know that “Onward” was released on March 6, 2020, and topped the North American box office on its opening weekend.