The Magic of Queer Disneybounding

This summer in California, my girlfriend and I disneybounded in Disneyland. I've been in love with the concept of disneybounding for a couple of years; looking at other people's always brings me such happiness so it was great to finally do it myself. Not only was I full of joy (I mean, I was in the happiest place on earth), but I was also emotional. Not just because Disneyland is incredible and magic like Disney has a tendency to make me cry, but also because I realised how much it meant to me to be able to kiss my girlfriend in the park whilst we were dressed as Snow White and Belle.

Photographed by: Ezra Rae
Being queer means that you're always looking for representation of your identity in the media. As someone who identifies as bisexual, I remember watching RENT for the first time and being absolutely entranced by Maureen. It was quickly drilled into my head that bisexuality didn't really exist, and my perception of lesbians was that they were butch, uncommon, and that I was going to struggle in life if I was one. I didn't feel butch and I desperately didn't want to make my life harder than it had to be by being gay. I may have been a kid with messy hair who didn't care about her appearance but I had a desire to grow up to be feminine. I was a romantic at heart and I thought I wanted a handsome guy to make me laugh and sweep me off my feet. I suppressed any crushes I had on women because deep down I just wanted to be a normal girl, and I thought that meant resembling a Disney princess as much as possible, just without the royal part.

Photographed by: Ezra Rae
If there's one bit of representation I wish I'd had as a child more than anything, it's a gay Disney princess. I can't even imagine how much it would have changed my life to know that a princess could like girls and still be special. So, to walk around Disneyland hand in hand with my girlfriend whilst resembling Belle who I'd grown up loving, and having strangers compliment us on how cute we were... well, it was the closest thing I had to the representation I dreamed of. There's something so fulfilling about being able to represent the characters that don't exist. We're just taking part in the most casual dress up - we're obviously not really gay Disney princesses. However, pretending to be fills me with hope for a future where they exist in Disney's films as well as in the parks through queer fans' disneybounds.

It wasn't just being a princess that made disneybounding magical. Bounding as Buzz and Jessie, and as Mickey and Minnie, made my heart feel so full. It was so special to mirror Disney's loved characters and be openly queer whilst doing so - I don't think I realised before just how much queer Disney meant to me. To have media that's constantly absorbed by children represent the queer community is so important and I can't help but hope that it won't be long until Disney do so justly. It would have made such a difference to me, and so many others, to have seen a gay Disney character that wasn't the joke of the narrative - that was a princess, that was a hero, that was strong and kind and didn't embody every negative queer stereotype that exists. I want to see gay princes and knights in shining armour too. I want queer kids to believe that they can be true to their identities and live lives that are as fulfilling as cis straight people's. They deserve to be able to see that we exist and that we're happy - love is love and our stories should be told.

But for now, you can see two girls kissing in the Disney parks pretending that they're the gay princesses they never saw in films. For now, I fill an empty hole in my heart with disneybounding, and I can act like I'm represented for a while.

It's not good enough, but in the moment, it feels magical.

Photographed by: Ezra Rae

Until the next post,

Em x

1 comment

  1. First of all, your pictures are FANTASTIC. I wish I was good at making costumes!

    I think you hit a point that a lot of girls feel. Girls are often pushed in categories. “You’re straight? You can’t be a tomboy then.” “You’re gay? Why do you dress so pretty?” It’s so unfair. Every single person is unique!!

    Thanks for sharing your story 😀

    Your Story Matters.