HTB (Helen “Troy” Bolton), or High School Lesbian Musical

THE FULL SCREENPLAY

About two hours into a very long car ride to see Tegan and Sara in Portland, Maine, and one hour into the High School Musical 3 soundtrack, I turn to my friend Sam and say, “You know, when you think about it, Troy’s struggle in the first movie is really emblematic of  what I feel like a lot of lesbians go through, like that thing, what’s it called-”

“The thing where Troy’s good at everything the way type A lesbians are when their parents pay a lot of attention to them and they want to distract from their sexualities. I read the article about that. It’s current. It’s potent.”

“And like,” I say, having vivid flashbacks to being nine and seeing a three-quarters profile of Zac Efron in the white jersey and thinking he was an attractive short-haired woman and feeling Weird about it, “and like. How the whole thing with him and Gabriella is about how the world sees them in a way that’s different than who they are-”

“Because of compulsory heterosexuality, yeah. Because they’re lesbians. Is Chad bi in this scenario still?”

“Chad is obviously still bi. But I feel like the first movie becomes a Chasing Amy situation for him.”

“That’s so unfortunate.”

“It all works out. Also, When There Was Me and You becomes a lot more emotionally harrowing if it’s Gabriella mourning the loss of her first real lesbian relationship-”

“Are you talking about your lesbian High School Musical thing again?” (Not me or Sam, but my other friend Sophie who I thought was asleep in the backseat.)

4 months and a lot of transcribing later, here we are.

(POSTSCRIPT: There is no publicly sourced High School Musical script available on the internet so please appreciate that this transcription was done almost entirely by me, Hannah, over the course of a week.)

15 thoughts on “HTB (Helen “Troy” Bolton), or High School Lesbian Musical

  1. Wildcat says:

    So, instead of reading my World War One documents like a diligent student, I spent around an hour reading this, the lesbian translation of High School Musical. And “translation” isn’t really the right word, but god, it feels it, doesn’t it? I was, and still am, a huge High School Musical lesbian. I had the board game, all the soundtracks, I even had High School Musical pajamas. And when I watch it now, as a lesbian, I think to myself, “Troy Bolton is undeniably a lesbian.” That’s funny, that’s really good. It makes me feel a little less lonely. But even that stings a little, because I have to take this work, something that is so central to me and so important to my childhood, and say, “It’s really difficult for me to relate to this work as it stands, so I’m going to retell this story to myself in a way that is meaningful to me.” It’s sad. Don’t I deserve to own this? It’s like watching a home movie by looking through a mirror; I have to work to make sense of what I’m seeing, is that my mom or my aunt? Shouldn’t I know? This is my family, after all. I’m tired of having to do it. And Hannah, I know you wrote this, at least partially, as a joke. It’s High School Musical, it’s silly! Troy’s a lesbian! It is funny, at least to me, at least a little bit. But I wasn’t expecting how meaningful it would feel to me. Not to mention that the central themes of the movie lend themselves so much better to Troy and Gabriella being lesbians, it simply felt natural to read this screenplay. It felt easy. You know, you must know how special that is. Nothing feels natural to read to lesbians, or, I guess, next to nothing. No media comes easy, save for lesbian-created content for lesbians (I don’t know if you’re a lesbian, sorry if you aren’t!). There isn’t enough of that. Thank you for creating, thank you for letting me enjoy one of my favorite movies without burden. So! I’m sorry I got too deep on your lesbian High School Musical blog post, and I’m sorry if I articulated my feelings weirdly. But thank you.
    What team?
    Wildcats!

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  2. Sam says:

    listen i want to be very excited abt Helen and i am bc she’s AMAZING but.
    the fact is i have had a crush on Gabriella since 2008 and reading her saying she was a lesbian made me so happy i can’t care abt anything else for the rest of the week. thank you for making this possible for me i will die a happy women.

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  3. cherikn says:

    I thought this would just be a direct transcription, but I really love all the parts you added. This was a delight from start to finish. Any chance for the sequels?

    Like

  4. Sierra says:

    I never realized how much of the music in HSM is really… lesbian. There must have been something there that resonated with me on that level that I didn’t even acknowledge yet in myself. My heart was pounding in parts as I was reading. I know the story inside and out, but I felt like I was ten again, only it was actually telling me what I wanted it to tell me.
    Thank you so much. I’m going to listen to the soundtrack now and shed a few tears.

    Like

  5. Giovanna says:

    Listen, I just read this in its entirety, and as a HSM lesbian who actually dates another HSM lesbian named Gabriela, this is the best thing to ever happen in my life. I know it’s a lot to ask, but I’d be definitely up for the sequels. This is amazing, I wish I had some background on filming to make this happen? It’s beautiful and I hope it makes you super proud.

    Like

  6. olly says:

    This whole thing is AMAZING. I never thought i’d be crying over high school musical, but your script honestly hits me so hard (what a lethal combination of formative childhood film and lesbian coming-of-age angst). If I had loads of money or were a producer or director or anything at all influential I would make this in a heartbeat. Looking back, if this had been the actual version of High School Musical, it would have saved me approx 10 years of struggling with sexuality, and the ways factors like ‘masculinity’ and other people’s expectations play into it. Everything fits into place so well, now I can’t see HSM any other way – the point you made about the world seeing Troy and Gabriella differently from their true selves made me realise how wonderfully gay ‘Breaking Free’ and all it’s undertones are. (Also that speech Taylor gave to Gabriella about how she perceived some women as merely attempting to ‘integrate into the masculine society of violence and competition’ is the first time I’ve seen that belief acknowledged in anything. It’s usually such an accepted thing that has had loads of ppl giving me grief for ‘co-opting superficial’ masculinity and having ‘more privilege’ or something because of it?) I’m not sure what I was trying to say here but I love this, I love it a lot.

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  7. Haem says:

    Thank you sooo much for writing this and thankyou to all the commenters! When I got to Breaking Free I had to lie down & cry puddles into my ears. Also this really is some deep cultural criticism plus emotions! Taylor’s character development away from rigid lesbophobic-transphobic feminism! Chad!!! The fact that Sharpay becomes more obviously Lesbian here too doing the same achievement-to-distract thing as Troy, but being a foil because she doesn’t see it and keeps harming people. A headcannon for this script is that Sharpay Cries very privately during breaking free in recognition. KELSEI!!!! My fave Lesbian Dandy Of The Universe—Godd how much better the whole “you’re the playmaker here” stuff becomes when it’s advice from a fellow Lesbian. I am deceased. Thank you.

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