Here’s the thing: It’s ok to think that Merida is a lesbian, not because she shirks traditional gender roles but because she doesn’t have a love interest. Archery prowess and a love of the wilderness does not a lesbian make, otherwise The Hunger Games might have been a little different. She’s not “an honorary boy” because she’s not actively trying to find a husband. On the contrary, it is unlikely that this story could have happened to a guy in this setting, and this conversation about sexuality definitely wouldn’t have happened. Also, stop conflating gender identity with gender presentation! Commentary like these reviews is frustrating, but maybe that’s the point Pixar is trying to make: Merida’s sexuality is a non-issue in the film, and the fact that this topic is even worth mentioning is because women are constantly sexualized.
That being said, it’s not a stretch at all to imagine Merida as a queer person. That’s part of Brave’s genius, really. Merida is a princess, but she’s also the hero, and because she’s not openly into dudes, it leaves her open for people of any sexual orientation to project themselves onto her without feeling weird. Besides, the story isn’t about romantic love. It’s about the conflict between Merida’s duty to her family and her duty to herself with a focus on her relationship with her mom.
Everything about Brave is beautiful.