For a franchise about breaking free of socialized norms and clichés, High School Musical is absurdly heteronormative. Heteronormativity, for those of you who aren’t sure, is the idea or belief that heterosexual relationships are the norm and thus everyone and everything must be straight (and often includes the belief that men and women must follow certain gender roles). Now, it seems unlikely that Disney will ever have a queer character in any of its media, but it has a long history of promoting and extolling the virtues of heterosexual romance. Think of any Disney princess movie, where “true love’s first kiss” will transform a beast into a man or a woman into a princess, and heterosexual marriages can save whole kingdoms. High School Musical is no different with its heterosexual romances.
Spoilers for all the High School Musical movies below.