Queer Coded: Ursula (“The Little Mermaid”)

I bet you’re wondering why I have Ursula down as a queer-coded character. Well, I’m not going to write anything like her villainy is coded in queerness (well…technically, it could still be, if you want to get really deep with it). The reason Ursula is queer-coded is because she is, in fact, based on a very infamous drag queen.

Divine, otherwise known by his real name as Harris Glenn Milstead, was a big name in the 198os, best known for her work in Jon Waters’ cult classic films. You might know her best as Trudy Turnblad’s mother in Waters’ Hairspray. (Great movie, by the way.)


You can see a lot of Divine in Ursula, obviously, and not just with looks. Just check out this music video for Divine’s song “I Am Beautiful” and see if you can’t imagine Ursula singing this:

And just for kicks, here’s Ursula’s song, “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” the best song from The Little Mermaid, in my opinion.

What do you think about Ursula’s drag inspiration? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

Screenshot from The Little Mermaid. Screenshot from Divine’s music video for “Shoot Your Shot”


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