Ryan’s gay, but we’ve known since ‘High School Musical 2’
In an article we still can’t believe was written in 2020, lord and savior of every 2000’s kid Kenny Ortega, also known as director of the High School Musical franchise, said Ryan Evans is gay. The iconic character played by Lucas Grabeel, who is a guy obsessed with theater and strange hats, is gay.
Now, the reason this is news is because Ortega, in an interview with Variety, talked about how he puts a little bit of his queer self in all of his movies. He openly admits that had High School Musical had a college edition, Ryan would’ve come out as gay in it. But because Disney is all about “family values”, having a gay character in 2006 would’ve been absurd.
Thankfully, Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series has rewritten the narrative, adding in not only a gay character, but a gay relationship into the franchise. But to anyone who grew up with these movies, we’re far from surprised Ryan is gay. Bear with us, as we rely on stereotypes, but come on, Ryan was a walking 2006 gay stereotype.
And before we dive in, no one in the comments better argue Ryan’s straight because he went to prom with Kelsi in High School Musical 3. Have you ever heard of a beard? Don’t even get us started on Kelsi most likely being bisexual, if not a lesbian herself.
The large collection of fedoras and other colorful hats
Have you ever seen a straight man obsessed with hats that weren’t baseball caps? Exactly. Nearly every scene with Ryan had him wearing some form of hat, whether it be a fedora for summer in High School Musical 2, a bowler hat for prom in High School Musical 3, or his every day newsie hats during the first High School Musical.
A theater kid
Look, we’re by no means saying every man in theater is gay. Just look at Lin-Manuel Miranda. But you’re lying if there isn’t a connotation that theater is an escape for those in the LGBTQ+ community. And literally down to his personality, Ryan Evans is a theater kid.
Not even the most energetic theater kids are as dedicated to jazz hands as Ryan. But you know who’s often known to talk with their hands and be very personable while speaking? Italians! But also gay people.
A conversation on “I Don’t Dance”
We’ve been beating around the bush, but let’s dive into the most obvious evidence: the hit song from High School Musical 2, with Chad (Corbin Bleu) and Ryan dueting. A song about how Chad cannot dance at all, we also learn a lot about Ryan during this.
First off, he’s not your typical theater kid without an athletic bone in his body. He is actually decent at baseball, implying that as a kid he used to be a baseball star before being drawn to the arts.
Second, the sexual tension is palpable. Watching Chad and Ryan get in each other’s faces, it’s impossible to not read further into that and see emotion there. Especially with how quickly they make up after, it’s clear they were close.
Third, and most damning, Chad and Ryan literally switch clothes at the end of “I Don’t Dance.” How do you explain that unless that they’re gay lovers?!?!
Even Grabeel himself acknowledges the discussion of Ryan’s sexuality, acknowledging that there’s more than him wearing pink and acting feminine. Working off of Ortega’s own experiences in high school, Grabeel tried to play him with more nuance, and even implies he played him as more bisexual than straight gay.
While Ortega’s declaration may confirm what we already knew, we’re just poking fun at the character of Ryan. Not every gay kid is going to wear pink and be flamboyant, while not every theater kid is gay. But it’s great to see even in 2006, Ortega was trying to push diversity and LGBTQ+ representation in kids’ entertainment.
But seriously, Chad is 100% bisexual and definitely had a fling with Ryan at some point. Try to convince us otherwise.