[click to see the seizure inducing version...]
Dive deeper, Little Mermaid as a Gay/Transgendered Symbol
So lets dig in here... why not? Look at Arial, she is DIFFERENT, unlike her sisters Arial obviously has some eclectic taste in men... to be blunt, a transpeicial interest.
The story, as I'm sure you all know, goes that Arial falls in love with a dreamy human Prince Eric. King Triton [her father] finds out, shit goes down, and he destroys her relics of the human world. This is her boot into reality and forces her departure in to the right of passage.
Triton hates humans because they are different, nothing but murderous fish-eaters he calls them. This fear and hatred of humans is very similar to the real life prejudices and fear that the lbgt community often faces from their own parents and peers.
So because of her Father's freak out Arial flees the castle walls and gets quick species change operation from a fabulously masculine sea witch doctor by the name of Ursula over a wry deal. This has very obvious similarities with sex change operations or in other instances transformations that queers will make when they are forced from their homes because of the fears of there parents such as moving to the city, or a new boy/girlfriend or just being thrust into the world, often to make poor, rash decisions like Arial did.
She then has to make this guy fall in love with her in three days, and of course Ursula totally cheats cuz she's evil and shit. But in the end, love prevails, Ursula totally gets shanked and Arial's dad even turns around on the whole "hating humans" dealy and lets her live as she'd most happy, with Prince Eric as a human... also at this point I am usually balling, because I am so easily touched by Disney Cartoons, and to me it's acceptance from her family which is usually one of the most important things people, myself included.
Anyway. /endrant. I just wanted to do some writing I guess. Maybe if you read this it made you think a little, that might be cool.
Related: The Celluloid Closet (a documentary based on the book by Vito Russo)