Bert and Ernie at the movies
May 3, 2011 7:06 PM   Subscribe

What are some homo-normative childrens' movies?

My six year old son loves romantic films. However, he has been adamant for at least a year that he will only marry another boy. I am sure it is a small field but what are some films, animated or real-life, that he can watch where two men have a normal relationship?
posted by anonymous to Media & Arts (43 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
How about Billy Elliot?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:17 PM on May 3, 2011

I think Billy Elliot is just a film about a kid who likes to dance. I don't remember the boy ever expressing that he identifies as homosexual (it's been a while though).
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:22 PM on May 3, 2011 [5 favorites]

it's pretty advanced in some ways for a 6 year old, maybe you can make him a safer copy by cutting a scene or three...but latter days is wonderful.
posted by nadawi at 7:23 PM on May 3, 2011

The closest thing I could find to any children's programming with any mention of LGBT and etc. couples is an episode on this Buster DVD called "Sugartime". There is mention of a lesbian couple.

Perhaps focus on things which just promote being yourself and not caring what other people think, etc. The number of homo-normative films out there is limited already, but the offering's to children is pretty much non-existent currently. The reasoning is probably that its difficult for many people to discuss such relationships outside of sex since many people just associate being gay, bi, etc. as a sexual preference only.
posted by fuzzysoft at 7:29 PM on May 3, 2011

Oops, sorry I'm bad at html. Link to referred DVD is here:
posted by fuzzysoft at 7:29 PM on May 3, 2011

Sadly, I think you're going to have some trouble finding kid's movies that fit the bill. Ma Vie En Rose is one I think of immediately. There's also the option of showing him media that has traditionally been "read" as gay by kids growing up who were starved for this sort of thing--for example, old episodes of the 60s Batman TV show, or film versions of stories like Frog and Toad are friends as an example of two men living happily together or having very close friendships. But it's not exactly romantic.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:35 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could show him Maurice, but I think it got a NC-17 rating in the theatre for its Mercant-Ivory period pr0n.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:37 PM on May 3, 2011

It's a TV show and not a movie, but what about Modern Family? One of the three main nuclear families is a comfortably settled gay couple who just adopted a baby. It's a network sitcom so there's nothing too racy, although there is innuendo that will probably go over a 6-year-old's head.
posted by oinopaponton at 7:41 PM on May 3, 2011 [9 favorites]

It's probably not what you're looking for (since the main characters are women and not men), but D.E.B.S. is pretty homonormative. It is the best teenage-lesbian-spy-romantic-comedy in the history of the genre.

I have no idea what people consider age-appropriate, though.
posted by Vibrissa at 7:44 PM on May 3, 2011

Maybe you can try TV- Modern Family? (although I don't know how much a 6 year old would enjoy the show).

Great question though!
posted by bearette at 7:48 PM on May 3, 2011

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
posted by ovvl at 7:49 PM on May 3, 2011

There's a film called Ma Vie en Rose, that came out a while ago. The film doesn't feature two men; it's about a young boy (actually, I don't know how the child character in the film would self-identify, so just nix what I wrote and put in whatever that child would self-identify as [it could be transgender, it could be I'm a boy who likes to be a girl, or genderqueer, and on...]) and—according to Rotten Tomatoes—it's rated R, but maybe you could pre-screen it and see if it's apropos for your child.

I haven't seen the film in ages, so I don't remember it very well.

And, who knows what normative is? Somewhere, somehow, Einstein was attributed with the following quip: "Normal is just a bundle of prejudices acquired before the age of 18."
posted by simulacra at 8:08 PM on May 3, 2011

The Birdcage?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:17 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

I can't think of any age-appropriate movies, the only children's entertainment I can think of that presents girls liking girls and boys liking boys as totally normal is Card Captor Sakura, an anime series aimed at 10 year old girls. It's all about romance.
posted by betweenthebars at 8:46 PM on May 3, 2011 [6 favorites]

Oh, yes, cardcaptors! That's a wonderful suggestion. Definitely only look into the original Japanese version, which has a pair of boys in love (this was down-played in the American dub). Great series.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:52 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

Are you interested in any books? Or just movies/TV? There are quite a few good homo-normative narratives for kids!
posted by barnone at 8:52 PM on May 3, 2011

Ma Vie en Rose is a fantastic movie, but it might be slightly traumatizing to someone that young. The mother in the movie is very supportive of her son (who wants to be a girl) but the father and other adults in the movie are not supportive at all and sometimes vilify and humiliate the main character. Specifically, they try to "fix" him/her. I would definitely watch it because it is such a great movie, but perhaps keep it on the back-burner for the future.
posted by ruhroh at 8:56 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Only English I can find:

Eu Não Quero Voltar Sozinho / Go Back Alone (2010). (imdb, trailer)

Two European ones:

You are not alone (amazon, imdb, trailer)

Love Songs / Les Chansons D'Amour (imdb, trailer)
posted by flif at 9:12 PM on May 3, 2011

I would screen most of these suggestions in advance before showing them to your son, I'm seeing a LOT of adult gay stuff that may really confuse him.
posted by hermitosis at 9:15 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

Some argue that the relationship between Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy is crypto-gay (though others disagree).

Whether the intention was there or not, I think they might work well for your purposes.
posted by bubukaba at 10:06 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

There is conflict in the movie I'm going to recommend, so I don't know if this is really what you are looking for. Breakfast With Scot is a romantic comedy/drama about a gay couple who find themselves suddenly parents to a recently orphaned boy (Scot) who is probably gay himself.

The conflict in the story is that one member of the couple is an ex-hockey player turned sportscaster who is closeted from fear of losing his macho-identified job. When little Scot shows up in all his flamboyant glory (he likes to wear makeup and feminine clothing, and is comfortable being himself), the sportscaster is freaked out and reacts poorly. I am sure it isn't too much of a spoiler to tell you by the end of the movie lessons are learned by all: 1) It's OK to Be Gay 2) Gay Men Can Be Good Dads (once they get over their internalized homophobia) 3) Always Be True to Yourself and 4) Don't Let Others Push You Around.

It's a very tame movie (some would say too tame; the San Francisco Chronicle review's advisory says: "Absolutely no danger of sexual situations anywhere in this film") but it is pleasantly entertaining, with a positive message of acceptance. It's a nice feel-good movie, and (with your preview, of course) it could possibly be an appropriate movie for a six-year-old. I think it is particularly interesting because of all the characters, the child is the one most comfortable in his own skin and ends up being a role model to the adults.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:50 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Were the World Mine is sort of a gay, high school Midsummer Night's Dream.

The TV show Glee also has a lot of gay characters (at least 3 boys and 2 girls). The characters of Kurt and Blaine are particularly popular; I'm sure your son would even just enjoy watching the songs on Youtube if the show itself is too hard to understand. There are a lot of Kurt-Blaine singing to each other moments.

I think the movie Valentine's Day had a gay couple, although I'm pretty sure it was a big twist at the end and not really shown for a very long time.
posted by acidic at 1:28 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Victor/Victoria has a rather lighthearted, nonjudgmental but campy depiction of gay and straight characters. It's a pretty wild exploration of gender, too.

nthing The Birdcage also. It's wholesome as hell.

And, of course, this is all fertile ground for "teachable moments" about how movies and TV shows are more often about certain kinds of people, certain kinds of families, certain kinds of relationships, and less often about others.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 4:43 AM on May 4, 2011

I have a suggestion of a short YouTube animation (it's an adaptation of Sleeping Beauty; one of the changes is that there are two dads) but it's a self-link so if you MeFi Mail me I'm happy to give you the details.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 6:48 AM on May 4, 2011

Okay -- it's at It's amateurish but carefully and lovingly constructed.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:06 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm an adult and I can't cope with watching Ma Vie en Rose!! Painful and triggering to me personally, but my sweetie absolutely adores it.

Were the World Mine gets a hearty endorsement. It's fun, magical, and there isn't much in the way of "adult situations" (e.g. sex) but might be a smooch here or there.

The Curiosity of Chance might be a good film, but does have adult language and is a bit more of a teen story rather than a kids story.
posted by kuppajava at 7:19 AM on May 4, 2011

Beautiful Thing is a great film, but not sure it's exactly what you are looking for.
posted by gyusan at 7:31 AM on May 4, 2011

nthing The Birdcage also. It's wholesome as hell.

Uh, except that premise about a senator dying while having sex with a prostitute, and all the jokes about gay sex ("hung like a horse" "leapfrog" etc.)
posted by hermitosis at 8:14 AM on May 4, 2011

Also, seconding Billy Elliot. There is indeed a gay romance element to the boys' friendship.
posted by hermitosis at 8:30 AM on May 4, 2011

I'll actually go ahead and second Laurel and Hardy, plus (moreso, because they are funnier IMO) Abbot and Costello. They're inseparable male couples living together in what are essentially same-sex marriages; a six-year-old won't know the difference. And, since they're not 'gay couples,' there's none of the homophobia drama that you'd get in most movies about that sort of thing. The Odd Couple would also fit the bill on that front.

And, yes, Modern Family is an excellent suggestion for the real thing.

Billy Elliot, yep. Totally age-appropriate, if slightly off topic. (It's not made apparent whether Billy himself is gay, but his best friend is, and Billy's fine with it. Sort of a cute Bambi/Flower thing there. The main thing that makes it a 'gay movie' is that the whole dancing thing is a 'coming out' metaphor.)
posted by Sys Rq at 9:22 AM on May 4, 2011

Mod note: From the OP:
I'm the OP. I had to make this anonymous so my older children wouldn't find it. Thanks so much to everyone for the suggestions. I am going to have a fun weekend ahead previewing films. He loves the Barbie films and it is shame there are so few films out there that for little children that validate same sex romance. Thanks again!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:51 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

NOT a movie, but if your son hasn't yet read King and King, he really should. It's just a super sweet kids book about a prince who is pressured to find a princess to marry, and ultimately figures out he wants to marry another prince.
posted by chowflap at 11:30 AM on May 4, 2011

Houro Musuko/Wandering Son might work, but you'd want to watch it before by yourself: the art looks very cute, but it's not a kids show. I've only read the manga, which is lovely, but it has some weird adult situations and cultural differences that might be confusing. The anime might be very different, too.

The anime is available in Crunchyroll if you live in the US.
posted by clearlydemon at 11:38 AM on May 4, 2011

Depending on how good he is with "scary" stuff, you could start watching the modern Dr. Who episodes with him. One of the characters is interested in both men and women, and it's treated as a perfectly unexceptional choice. The only time a character ever expresses surprise at Captain Jack flirting with the Doctor, the Doctor simply explains that once you encounter aliens, restricting who you can love to only one half of humanity seems pretty silly.

A recent episode also featured a minor character being dismissed from the FBI for wanting to get married. In a throw-away line at the end of the episode we learn that he wanted to marry another man. After which, President Nixon basically says to him "yeah, that's not gonna happen yet." It would definitely raise the issue that some people aren't happy when boys like boys, but this is probably something that your child, even at age 6, has already sensed. And the portrayal of the FBI agent is so positive, and his sexuality so not-an-issue, that it's very clear from the context that Nixon is the one that's in the wrong, so the conversation might not consist of anything more than: "Why doesn't he want them to get married?" "Some people don't think boys can marry boys." "That's silly, mom!" "It sure is."

Dr. Who is seen as a lot more of a kids program in the UK, so he'll be able to enjoy it as a good spooky monster/alien show, but definitely don't move on to Torchwood, which, while it puts gay romance much more front and center, is very much an ADULT show.

Oh, and just thought of the cartoon tv series Home Movies, where there are two little boys, Walter and Perry, who always hold hands and talk about wanting to marry each other.
posted by MsMolly at 12:08 PM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Off of Chowflap, here is an acted-out version of King and King. The couple with the account have a ton of other videos, including, I noticed, their wedding video. It might be nice to play that, or other gay wedding videos.

AfterElton had an article recently- possibly the Ask the Flying Monkey column- that asked a similar question, and the author came up short, but mentioned a Nick show about a girl whose dad recently came out to her. There is also Degrassi: the Next Generation, which had a character named Marco who came out in, oh, the third season or so, and dated another boy for a while. There was also the Paige/Alex relationship, and now the show (which I no longer watch) has, if I understand it correctly, a gay football player, a lesbian who came out about two episodes ago, and a Trans guy who was dating the lesbian until she realized she only liked his female-body, if I am not mistaken.

And lots of things are kind of coded gay, even if they do not have actual relationships- I am thinking of the kid from High School Musical, or Spongebob Squarepants (apparently; I have never watched it), or Ken from Toy Story 3, even though he does end up with Barbie. Or Scrubs, with JD and Turk in the bestest bromance eva!
posted by jenlovesponies at 1:23 PM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Depending on how offensive you consider camp stereotypes, The Reluctant Dragon is awfully sweet.
posted by Erasmouse at 2:10 PM on May 4, 2011

Should add Reluctant Dragon part 2.. spoiler! The dragon ends up with the Knight, I'm fairly sure.. According to Wikipedia it's on the Disney Animation Collection DVD Vol. 6, with the appropriate accompaniment of Ferdinand The Bull.
posted by Erasmouse at 2:22 PM on May 4, 2011

Oh for pete's sake.. fixing that last link, should be, The Reluctant Dragon Pt 2
posted by Erasmouse at 2:28 PM on May 4, 2011

How about Xena, Warrior Princess? It's child-friendly, with just enough mild swording to entertain a six-year-old but no serious gore, and normalises Xena and Gabrielle's relationship very nicely. I remember a lot of lesbians writing about how they watched it with their kids with precisely this idea in mind.
posted by Acheman at 2:45 PM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I recommend Touch of Pink, and Shelter, though they are both intended for an older audience.
posted by jjonajason at 10:44 AM on May 5, 2011

Mr. enlarged wanted me to post the gay adaptation of Taylor Swift's You Belong to Me (the original has been deleted, so there are only lower-quality copies floating around, unfortunately). Though it's not as substantial as a movie, it's about as wholesome as you can get, and it's pretty sweet as well.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 7:49 AM on May 6, 2011

Oh, I think this is the original video (set to the actual Taylor Swift song -- so the lip-synching matches up better, but the vocals are female).
posted by enlarged to show texture at 7:56 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, this probably won't be appropriate for another few years, but In & Out (if I recall correctly) is a surprisingly progressive movie with a (spoiler alert!) happy gay ending. The reason I think it's inappropriate now is not because of sexual content (I don't think there is much, and what there is would probably fly over the head of a little kid) but because it tackles homophobia pretty explicitly, and while that's a good thing, it might be a bit much for a little kid to handle when all he wants to see is a happy couple ride off into the sunset.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 8:13 AM on May 6, 2011

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