It’s hard to believe but Disney almost made Raven Baxter a canonical lesbian in the That’s So Raven spin-off series Raven’s Home. Raven-Symoné has been a major part of series from The Cosby Show to Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper over the years but her real-life lesbian identity has never been a part of her characters in TV shows. But it looks like that might have been possible much sooner.
In an interview with Straw Hut Media’s Pride podcast, she discussed how those making the series had actually asked if she would like to make her character a lesbian.
“You know what, there was a conversation before the series started, and I was asked the question: ‘Would you like Raven Baxter to be a lesbian?’ And I said ‘no’. I said ‘no’. The reason I said ‘no’ wasn’t because I wasn’t proud of who I was, or I didn’t want to represent the LGBTQ+ community in any way. It was because Raven Baxter is Raven Baxter is Raven Baxter. And there was no reason for me to change the human that she was in order to fit the actress that played her.
She also was concerned that it might result in her being typecast in ways into the future of her acting career, saying she didn’t want to fall into a trap of “blending your personal self with your character self.”
“Like, I’m stereotyped for the rest of my life. Let’s just keep it 100. You know what I mean? If you ever see me in another character, you see Raven Baxter, and that’s just what the deal is. I think the one thing that differentiates me from her is now a lot more.”
While Raven-Symoné came out back in 2013, she’s been historically shy about playing a lesbian character on screen as she discussed in a 2020 interview about her appearance in A Girl Like Grace.
“I was scared. I was scared for my mom to see it. I was scared for my mom to see me kiss a girl on screen. That was a lot of mixed emotions that I’m still ironing out. Nothing wrong with it, it’s just when I watch it, I see the clip where I’m shaking and it’s like my legs spread open. I’m like ‘Oh My gosh!”
Despite telling Variety in 2019 that, “The LGBTQ community wants to be represented on a medium that they watch as much as everybody else,” Raven-Symoné still seems happy to have played Raven Baxter as she did in the end. “Raven Baxter is a character that I was proud to play. Even if she is straight, cisgender. I don’t mind. Let her have her moment.”
Source: Straw Hut Media’s Pride Podcast