Disney Channel Drops The Ball With PSA Featuring Same-Sex Family

We were heartened by the news that the Disney Channel profiled the son of a same-sex couple for one of its social-outreach campaigns. But we were bummed the kids network buried the lead by barely mentioning that 14-year-old “Ben” has two moms.

In a promo for Disney’s “Make Your Mark” campaign, which encourages kids to pursue their passions, we meet Ben, an aspiring filmmaker with some serious skills. The clip goes into detail about Ben’s big project, a video he wrote, directed and edited about the bullying he and his friends experienced at school. Ben discusses bullying at length—even explaining how seeing fellow students enact scenes of harassment has impacted other kids at his school.

But the fact that Ben is part of a same-sex household is glossed over, save for a quick mention at the 0:12 mark.

If this was a video about a kid with a passion for astronomy, maybe it wouldn’t matter. But since it’s about bullying—and the likelihood is that Ben was bullied for having two moms—downplaying the reality of his family seems disingenuous.

Maybe we’re overreacting. (We do that sometimes.) But the Disney Channel—which airs tween-centric programs about pop stars, gamers, nannies and teen wizards—has never had an out character on one of its original series, even though many deal with adolescent growing pains and important life lessons. “There have been characters on Disney Channel who I think people have thought were gay,” President Gary Marsh said in 2008. “That’s for the audience to interpret.”

We have to believe Disney, a corporation with a long history of supporting the LGBT community, can do better.

h/t: AfterElton

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  • jeff4justice

    The Disney Channel dumbs down kids. Wanted to be included in that is like wanting to be included in the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts.

  • maroonlover

    Yes you are over reacting. This short was about the KID and what he is ACCOMPLISHING. It’s not a PSA about gay parents and their kids, it’s about showcasing a smart, talented young man… chill out!

    Now as for the lack of out gay characters on the channel, yes that does irk me a bit considering the positive impact it could have, but the company is gay friendly in MANY other ways, so I’m not exactly raising arms…

  • 2eo

    @jeff4justice: You know, the moaning about drones and whathaveya lend you a good amount of credibility.

    But descending into 9/11 conspiracies, other conspiracies and accusing Disney of being some kind of cult is outright insanity.

    I know calling you a deluded crackpot is pointless, as I have learned from experience your conspiracy nutcase friends are absolutely irrational about criticism, and incapable of separating self from persona.

    You’re welcome to start new in 2013, you should try reading about and learning about the things that are happening in the world, and stay off the green alien forums for a while.

  • 2eo

    For a frame of reference, as a 27 year old male from England I had a stand up argument with conspiracy hero David Icke back in 2005, the man was a lunatic, and not the funny kind either.

    There’s something sinister in the people who follow him, very sinister.

  • only1deenus

    I think its a complete overreaction on the journalists part. This is a story about the boy and what he is doing. Who’s to know why he was bullied last year. It may have been for having brown hair and have nothing to do with having same sex parents. Had Disney edited out the fact he had 2 moms while he was showing us his lige through his eyes, then there would be a problem.

  • Red Meat

    “My Moms” as they show two women hugging in front of the house

    Really? Can it be anymore clear? What do you want? Them kissing? Scissoring?

  • gaym50ish

    It’s complaints like this that convince people like Bill O’Reilly that gays are a bunch of whiners. Do we have to be the gay equivalent of Al Sharpton, who sees racism in everything that happens to a black person? Can’t we stop seeing homophobia everywhere?

    Most people are with us, and Disney certainly is.

  • JDJase

    Dan Avery is an embarrassment to the gay community.

    In one paragraph, he says the video is a PSA for a campaign for kids TO PURSUE THEIR PASSIONS. Two paragraphs later, Dan claims that the PSA is for anti-bullying? Um, NO.

    The PSA is about a kid pursuing his passion, which is making videos, and THE KID made a video about bullying – bullying is NOT THE POINT OF THE PSA. A halfwit could understand this distinction, but obviously that is above Dan Avery’s level of thinking. It’s getting really clear that Dan Avery and Queerty are grasping for straws for SOMETHING to complain about because they aren’t satisfied unless they’re bitching about something.

    So in Dan Avery’s world, Disney should scrap their focus on the kid’s passion for making videos, because his only relevant trait is that his parents are lezzies.

    For Dan Avery’s sake, I hope Queerty lasts forever…because nobody in their right mind would hire him after seeing this garbage that he calls work.

    and P.S. @only1deenus, don’t call him a journalist. Dan Avery’s no journalist. He’s a shitty blogger that couldn’t get a job anywhere else.

  • jwrappaport

    Scissor me timbers – let’s not get our knickers in a twist over something that was clearly well intentioned and innocuous.

  • Anonymous

    Jeff4justice made a really good point. Disney IS dumbing kids down. That’s not a fringe belief either. Any moderately educated person who watched a few minutes of Disney’s programming would come to that conclusion. 2eo is a troll. Nobody said anything about 9/11 or David Icke until you brought them up. Complete strawman.

    Disney’s programming for kids is not educational or socially uplifting. Saying that does not make me a “conspiracy crackpot”, it’s a reasonable assessment.

  • cashby

    I don’t think Disney dropped the ball. I think it was exactly as it should be. They showed that this kid has two moms and nothing more. The video was about bullying, not lesbian parenting skills. I think the writer of this has lost some perspective. They weren’t hiding his parents. By saying, “these are my moms” and nothing else, Disney is showing how normal this family is and there is no need for explanation.

  • Will L

    Sometimes if you do things subtly like it’s no big deal, you make a better long-term impression. Being in-your-face can have negative results.

  • jeff4justice

    @2eo: You should totally watch my YouTube channel and tell me everything wrong and right about my views. My YouTube user name us the same as it is here.

    It’s not just the Disney channel but most of the corporate media’s programming is dumbed down gibberish or ultra-violent death porn.

    Regarding 9/11 (which I did not bring up here), it’s well documented that at the very least the Bush team ignored warnings. Regarding whether or not it was some sort of inside job with Bush team complacency my humble opinion is that it’s probable.

    The 2-party system just gave itself a raise in Congress. But remember government loves, always has your best interest in mind, and never lies. Riiiiiiiiiiight.

    @Anonymous: Amen. It’s painfully obvious. I cannot stand when adults dumb down for kids needlessly.

  • erics

    @cashby: I agree. Introducing them as just any other parents – because that’s what they are – is even more accepting than making a big deal about their genders when that isn’t the subject of the clip.

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