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May 24, 2015

By FBOTU

May 24, 2015 at 9:43PM EDT

"At the end of Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, after watching Ariel’s sea friends joyously wave to her as she stood on newly obtained perma-legs next to the human she just married, Prince Eric, I found myself thinking: The Little Mermaid works shockingly well as a trans allegory. I’ve known for a while that mermaids are iconic to some trans kids, but only then did I truly understand why. Mermaid Ariel yearns to be what she feels inside that her body does not reflect (a human), she undergoes a physical transformation to get rid of the part that she does not want (her tail), and, in the story’s most progressive development, she takes on that new form permanently, and everyone is so happy for her. This includes her father, King Triton, who after initial reluctance ends up accepting her by reconciling the person he thought his daughter was with the person she actually is. At the end of Disney’s version of that fairy tale, Ariel has become her true self. It is a triumph that she becomes who she is, not a tragedy."
-Rich Juzwiak, "Alone in Disney World"