Hooray For Disney! Mulan Is Bisexual On ‘Once Upon A Time’ Disney-ABC Show

Mulan and Aurora in the  Disney-ABC show 'Once Upon A Time.'
Mulan and Aurora in the Disney-ABC show ‘Once Upon A Time.’

I’m pretty sure I’m bisexual. I say “pretty sure” because I was raised Mormon, a religion that proclaims homosexuality is a terrible sin, so I never really experimented until my twenties. Residual guilt kept me from fully exploring that side of myself that had been so repressed all those years. Mormon hangover, I call it. So I had a few encounters with women in my twenties and then fell in love with and married my husband.

So that’s that. Except we all know that marriage doesn’t stop us from being attracted to other people, it’s part of life. I often find myself attracted to other women and not in the “girl crush” way that straight girls describe when they meet a girl they click with or admire. When I occasionally find myself attracted to a girl I experience the same feelings as when I’m attracted to a guy. I have felt this way since I started having sexual feelings. I remember wanting to kiss a friend in high school but revealing that side of myself seemed impossible.

In fact, just typing this post and envisioning myself linking to it from my Facebook account where I’m also friends with many friends and family members who don’t really know this information about me makes me feel uncomfortable. Ashamed, still, of my own feelings: I’m attracted to women.

So I figure, bisexual? Who knows? Maybe if I hadn’t been so afraid to explore that side of myself instead of stomping it deep down into my guts until I never even thought about it —  then I might have even allowed myself to experience relationships with women before I met my husband. I’ll never know because I met the love of my life and he happens to be male, so that eliminates my need for further exploration. Although it still pains me that I let another group of people and their rules dictate something as important and intensely personal as my sexuality.

This tamping down of my sexual self out of shame is similar  to what gay people must feel as they struggle to come to terms with their own sexuality, although being gay is an entirely different animal. They can’t default to the socially acceptable attraction to the opposite sex, like I did. They are forced to brave scorn and ridicule, even the demise of their closest relationships, by coming out or they can live a lie. That right there is why the fact that the Mulan character in the Disney-ABC show Once Upon A Time is bisexual is such a big deal.

As The Huffington Post reports,  new ground was broken this week when a member of Disney’s iconic Princess franchise was revealed to be bisexual:

The hit Disney-ABC series Once Upon A Time functions under the premise that classic icons from various fairy tales have been transported to a “real world” town and have lost all memories of their former lives due to a powerful curse. On this past Sunday’s episode, Mulan quietly revealed her unrequited love for “Sleeping Beauty” princess Aurora in a heartbreaking scene that can be viewed below. During the show’s previous season, Mulan also developed feelings for Prince Phillip.

As HuffPo notes, a recent GLAAD study shows the decline in depictions of LGBT characters on television over the past year. While I’m all for LGBT characters all across the television spectrum, I’m specifically excited about Mulan because, even though Once Upon A Time is for young adults, it’s tiptoeing ever closer to children’s programming.

Yes, this is a good thing.

With transgender children as young as kindergarten and first grade fighting for their basic rights in addition to seeking understanding and acceptance from their peers, LGBT role models for young children are desperately lacking in pop culture. And with people still of the mindset that gay is somehow contagious, I don’t see children’s programming changing it up any time soon, which is a sad state of affairs. Think how enlightened our children could be if they grew up feeling accepting and tolerant of all the ways people love each other in the world with confirmation of that on their favorite programs. Mulan likes girls? Okay, cool. Snow White digs dudes? Fantastic.

My daughter is 4 years old and I find myself trying to outline love for her when she asks. “Do daddies marry mommies?” she wanted to know last week. I struggled to answer because I didn’t want to exclude any type of marriage. “Yup. Daddies marry mommies and sometimes daddies marry daddies and mommies marry mommies. It just depends on who you love,” was what I finally came up with.

Now, you might have chosen to just answer that yes, daddies marry mommies, and that’s great. As for me, I want my daughter to know the full answer to her questions. Growing up with a narrow description of what constitutes love because her parents are in a heterosexual relationship isn’t helping her develop into a compassionate, loving, caring woman. She needs to grow up with an equal knowledge of gay relationships and love and that’s where LGBT characters on children’s programming come in.

What if my daughter is gay? I want her sexuality to be validated in the same way that straight love is validated on so many children’s TV programs featuring loving heterosexual parents. Does Dora need to get freaky with another female character? No, that’s not what I’m saying. Sexuality isn’t appropriate for young children. But we do see Dora’s mom and dad in several episodes. Peppa Pig’s mom and dad are in every episode. You’ve got Gordon and Susan on Sesame Street and we watched Maria marry Luis, why don’t we have Aiden and Jason? Why not Sarah and Margaret? Just a happy couple living their life.

I know, I know, because, like Glee, that would “glamourize issues like being gay and transgender.” God forbid we have a bunch of kids running around thinking it’s cool to be gay. You know, because it’s a choice, right? Wrong. But we don’t need to get into that apparently endless debate here. I’m just saying that there is a dearth of responsible, loving gay couples in children’s programming and that’s a shame.

What if we could raise an entire generation of kids who have grown up with an equal knowledge of gay and straight love? A generation of millions of gay children who won’t feel an ounce of shame or repression upon realizing they’re gay. No self-hatred. No suicide. I don’t know if it’s possible in this decade but I’m sure going to give it my best shot here in my house, with my kids.

Bring on the gay! Bring on the straight! Bring on the transgender! It’s all a part of the world and there is absolutely no reason why I should shield my child from anyone’s true self or true love.

See Mulan almost reveal her true feelings for Aurora in the clip below:

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