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The Little Mermaid Was Gay?

175-year-old tale of unrequited love.

Culture

Shih-Ming Yao
March 2, 2013

Gay trivia time: Did you know the Little Mermaid was based on a forbidden gay love letter from Hans Christian Andersen to his ‘man-crush’?

It’s true. Andersen, author of the classic fairy tale, wrote the note to Edvard Collin 175 years ago when he found out Collin was engaged to a woman. Collin not only rebuffed Andersen’s love but was reported to have been disgusted with the gesture (boo!).

So the premise of the story turns out to really be about a mermaid (Anderson) who will never be with her human lover (Collin). Clearly, Disney took some artistic license when it made the now classic animated film adaptation in 1989. But it’s not all bad: we didn’t get gay lovers but who doesn’t love singing crabs??