Pride Month Picks: The Owl House Changed The Landscape Of Queer Animation
Yes, I’m writing about The Owl House again. I can’t be stopped, and given its on hiatus I need to cope with the lack of new episodes somehow. But instead of focusing on a specific character, theme, or theory like usual – to celebrate Pride Month I want to look at how much Dana Terrace’s fantastical show has done for LGBTQ+ representation.
I tuned into the show from its first episode, watching from afar as the fandom began to form around Luz Noceda and her magical adventures amidst The Boiling Isles. Themes of found family, personal acceptance, and learning to be a stronger person in spite of societal expectations across the first handful of episodes established the bedrock for what was to come. From here it was off to the fruity races, and we’ve never looked back.
Small comments and cutesy interactions between certain personalities had some of us believing that maybe The Owl House would go all the way despite its home on Disney Channel, but there remained so many lingering doubts. Luz’s attraction to both Edric and Emira throughout ‘Lost in Language’ cemented her bisexuality, while we’d see Amity’s own defenses lessen across the first season as she sought to help Luz instead of bully and belittle her. So much of the show was queer-coded, both in dialogue, appearance and overall intention. Our doubts turned into hope, no longer a need to search endlessly for subtext.
Amity caught feelings for this nerdy little human girl, inadvertently spurring forth her own personal growth as a consequence. Episodes like ‘The First Day’ and ‘Enchanting Grom Fright’ planted romantic seeds that would soon blossom, unafraid to explore the anxious delight of same-sex relationships in a fictional world free from homophobia. As the first season came to a close it was clear that Luz and Amity were going to be made canon, their chemistry so evident that only the most hardened of sceptics could deny it. Despite this, I’m not sure anyone expected The Owl House to be so unapologetic in its LGBTQ+ storytelling. It didn’t just open the door, it kicked the damn thing down and set it on fire.
We’d see this throughout the second season as Amity grows from a girl secretly hiding her rejected Grom invitation to someone who rebels against her parents to save Luz from danger. She even dyes her hair in an act of defiance to better represent her love for abomination magic and a desire to break free of her mother’s unreasonable expectations. She loves her family, but wants to be her own person while still standing alongside them. Amity’s queer journey is arguably the show’s most compelling, with her character arc seeing them become a kinder, more considerate person while still recognising she has room to grow. In later episodes we see that despite her father Alador wanting a better relationship with her, she still isn’t willing to fully forgive him or even grant him a hug. Yet love still persists, it just needs a place to grow and repair itself in the face of unforeseen obstacles.
It’s a beautiful demonstration of growth, and one we’ll likely see reach its final destination in the upcoming trio of specials. It’s the same for Luz, even if romance is a secondary trait of her character journey when all is said and done. She might be in a sapphic relationship, but her bisexuality is never once undermined as she shows attraction to both men and women. It’s valid, adorable, and provides her identity with a deserved sense of agency. Lumity might be The Owl House’s crown jewel of queerness, but there remains countless other examples of representation spread throughout that help paint the show as peerless in its diversity.
Willow Park is a daughter to same sex parents, while queer couples of all shapes and sizes can be found amidst background characters who are all treated as a facet of normalcy in this world. Even when they’re bullied by the likes of Boscha or Odalia, Lumity are never once targeted because of who they are or who they fall in love with. It’s always secondary, and proves that evil or malicious characters need not resort to bigotry in order to feel threatening. That and Boscha is totally just a loser mean girl who secretly has a heart of gold. She’s just jealous that Amity has a cute girlfriend and she doesn’t. It’s cool, she can join the club.
Then we have the relationship between Eda Clawthorne and Raine Whispers. A rarity for the medium, their relationship is weathered and more grounded, depicting a queer bond that has been subject to myriad tribulations over the years but still stands firm in face of it all. We only know fragments of their shared history, but it points to a mutual admiration built on intimacy, respect, and a need to protect one another from potential danger.
Raine’s non-binary identity is equally groundbreaking in the context of the show, with Avi Roque providing an accurate portrayal of what it means to inhabit that part of the queer spectrum. It feels real, and that authenticity matters more than anything. Lilith Clawthorne’s asexual identity is another highlight. While it was confirmed outside the show, it fits her character perfectly, and was honestly a big reason for me figuring out my own demisexuality. I’m likely missing some examples, but you get the picture.
Even outside of canon relationships and identities, The Owl House fandom has built upon this reputation with interpretations of their own that find subtext in certain characters and storylines to make them feel more welcome in the show’s universe. Whether you see a certain character as trans, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or whatever else is perfectly valid so long as it doesn’t harm anyone, and that’s become such a common factor in today’s media landscape. I grew up in a world where queer representation was so often marred with stereotypes and abuse, but today young viewers can watch The Owl House and see themselves without fear of being othered or treated differently for embracing who they are.
If you’re after a show that is queer and so wholesome, yet also isn’t afraid to explore darker lessons of what it means to be human and fall in love with who you are, make sure you give The Owl House a look this pride month. That, and it also gives me an excuse to keep writing about it. I need to keep my hyperfixations alive!
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