High School Musical Welcomes First Queer Romance of the Franchise
'High School Musical' Welcomes First Queer Romance of the Franchise
It's about time!
It’s jarring to look back on the High School Musical franchise and realize that in three movies about ambitious theater students putting on shows, there were absolutely zero canonically gay characters. And yet, that’s where we landed, despite pseudo-villain Ryan Evans being read as queer by basically anyone with eyes.
But High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, a Disney+ series following a (fictional) high school as they try to put on High School Musical as a stage production, is finally giving us the gay theater content we so obviously deserved from the very first HSM.
Frankie A. Rodriguez plays Carlos, the franchise’s very first out gay character and choreographer of High School Musical within the series. And in the fifth episode of the show, which dropped on D+ last week, Carlos actually asked his crush, Seb, to homecoming.
One of the things that’s great about this particular storyline, especially on a show that appeals to a younger demographic, is that there’s no big coming out sequence. It’s not about Carlos struggling with being gay, it’s about him navigating through dealing with your first crush, your first date, your first relationship. It’s about him going through the things that almost every teenager goes through, those things just happen to be with someone of the same gender.
“This is a story that would have changed my life if I had seen it when I was a kid,” showrunner Tim Federle told the Los Angeles Times. “And the reason it would have changed my life is because it’s no big deal. It’s actually just real life.”
Of course, as meaningful as this storyline is both for young teens and for queer millennials who grew up watching High School Musical, there’s the expected outcry from conservatives who say that Disney is pushing a queer agenda by allowing gay people to exist in a show about…theater.
But no matter how much they hate it, it happened! It’s happening! High School Musical finally has a queer character, a queer romance, and there are no take-backs. Only progress.
New episodes of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series are released every Friday on Disney+ and we absolutely can’t wait to see where they’re going with this next.