When "Finding Dory" released a trailer there was a huge moment where many believed two characters were a lesbian couple. The internet erupted with support for Pixar creating the first uniquely homosexual couple in an animated film, while others criticised the move as "shoving an agenda" down people's throats.
Eventually the film's star Ellen revealed the two characters were, in fact, not a couple, and it was all a big misunderstanding.
LGBTQ representation hasn't been a huge topic of conversation when it comes to animation and, subtext aside (Timon and Pumbaa much?) there hasn't been any real coverage of queer identities in animated films.
Two students from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida have created "In a Heartbeat", an animated short that follows a young boy living in the closet. When he sees the boy of his dreams he quite literally can't contain his heart as it pops out of his chest to chase him down.
The project ran a Kickstarter with a goal of raising $3,000, and has since raised over $14,000. A Tweet about the short went viral, with over 100,000 likes.
THERES COMING AN ANIMATED SHORT FILM ABOUT A BOY AND HIS HEART CHASING DOWN THE BOY OF HIS DREAMS THIS SUMMER!! ITS SO CUTE!! pic.twitter.com/OK1KKP73xI— marce (@tobshamilton) April 30, 2017
The creators of "In a Heartbeat", Beth David and Esteban Bravo, described the importance of the project in their Kickstarter pitch.
"Being gay is a subject that hasn't been widely explored in computer animation," Bravo explained. "Nine out of ten LGBT youths have reported instances of bullying based on their orientation and identity within the past year."
"We want to put out a message of love and self acceptance to all the kids and young people who struggle to identify as LGBT+," David continued.
The dialogue-less short will only run for about four minutes, but the pair hope it inspires understanding "that the heart wants what the heart wants, and there's nothing wrong with that".
"In a Heartbeat" will be released online for free later in the year.
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