Queer Theories

Is this ‘Inside Out 2’ character gay?

Pixar fans have long been clamoring for a queer main character in a feature film, and with this year’s upcoming Inside Out 2, their wish might just come true.

In the newly released trailer for the Inside Out sequel, main character Riley is starting high school. She’s gotten older and more complex, and her emotions — Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust — are having a hard time keeping up. Enter a cast of new, teenage emotions: Anxiety, Envy, Ennui, and Embarrassment. They show Riley how it feels to be a teenager — including apparently crushing on the coolest girl in school.

New character Valentina “Val” Ortiz, played by Lilimar, has a red streak in her hair, in off-shoulder top, and undeniable swagger. Riley is clearly instantly smitten, stumbling over her words and ditching her old friends to get in with Val — though if her attraction is platonic or something more remains to be seen.

For fans, though, Riley’s queerness is already as good as confirmed. As one user put it on X, formerly Twitter, “Her new emotion is lesbianism.”

It’s not like the signs weren’t there in the first film, either. Riley’s favorite activity was playing hockey, and she was the only character portrayed with emotions of multiple genders: it’s giving nonbinary. Not to mention that both movies are set in San Francisco, one of America’s gayest cities. The writing is on the wall, people!

Plus, two of Inside Out 2’s new emotions are voiced by actresses well-known for playing gay on screen. Anxiety is played by Maya Hawke, best known as lesbian icon Robin in Stranger Things, and Envy is none other than Ayo Edibiri, whose role as Josie in Bottoms cemented her as queer royalty.

Pixar has had plenty of brushes with queerness in its earlier films, particularly Luca, which was recently confirmed to have had an alternate gay ending during development. But the studio has yet to follow through on canon queer representation beyond a single short film, Out. With Inside Out 2, will Pixar break the mold?

The film even hits theaters during Pride Month, releasing on June 14. Check out the trailer below.

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Tags: Disney Pixar
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