Earlier this week, an edited drawing of Disney's Mulan went viral on Twitter after it stated that the character was transgender.
While the origin of the quote is unclear, it is likely to have stemmed from recent tweets about President Trump's transgender military ban.
Following the spread of the meme, many people on Twitter expressed their dislike of the idea of it — saying that Mulan is not transgender, and that portraying her as such is offensive.
The meme was even picked up by Chinese outlet New Outlook. The page wrote, "Our Hua Mulan has been a woman from beginning to end."
Commenters mostly agreed with this sentiment.
But identifying Mulan as transgender or the themes in Mulan's story as pro-trans is not a new idea. Some people have said that lyrics from the film are relatable for trans people.
BuzzFeed News reached out to a Tumblr user who produced a piece of art depicting Mulan as trans.
The artist, a 26-year-old from Belgium called Chouly, said that the drawing was created as part of a competition to show animated characters after the end of their films.
She said she remembered seeing conversations on Tumblr about Mulan being trans, and thought it was a great idea.
Chouly said she thinks it's cool that people can relate to the character of Mulan, whether or not she is trans.
"She's always questioning herself about who she is, about the real 'her'. So yeah that can totally be saw like that! Disney is an inspiration for me and it always tries to help kids grow. So if someone want to see Mulan as a strong woman because it help them feel stronger/better. That's ok! And if transgender people and others want to see Mulan as a trans too, because they need representation, because seeing a character like ourself is so cool and make you feel good. That's totally ok too!"
Robby Cook — the artist who drew the picture of Mulan that was used in the meme — told BuzzFeed News he shared a similarly supportive message to those interpreting his art as supportive of Mulan being trans.
"If someone who is trans identifies with Mulan, I think that is great," he said.
"My intention was not to highlight Mulan as a trans icon in that picture. I really like the duality of her, the soft princess side, and the fierce fighter side. I personally do not think that she is a trans character. She was a girl, dressing up as a man to save her father. I appreciate the sentiment behind thinking she is trans. Being a gay man, I find I identify with some female characters."
The creator of the meme, who identified himself as Peter from Pennsylvania, told BuzzFeed News that the meme came from a joke with a friend, and that people should take the image, "with a grain of salt."
I got a lot of people messaging my personal Facebook that I didn't know saying that I'm uneducated and I'm ignorant," he said. "I think that idea is incredibly silly. I completely understand that Mulan; both herself and the Disney character, are not transgender. I'm transgender myself, so I'm obviously not trying to step on any toes. My main point is that I never meant to offend anyone, and people should try to take my memes with a grain of salt. After all, life is too short to be offended over a cartoon. The biggest issue right now is the Trump administration actively taking rights away from trans people and at the end of the day, My meme did exactly what it was supposed to do: direct more attention to these issues."
Rachael Krishna is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Rachael Krishna at email@example.com.
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