Gay Characters in Cartoons

smithers_gayI ran into someone on Twitter who was bemoaning the fact that in most cartoons, there are no clearly gay characters and damn it, there ought to be!  I asked them what kind of characters they wanted and they said we should see two male characters kissing or two female characters holding hands or whatever, because there are too many heterosexual characters running around.

The obvious question is, how do they know?  Do they just assume it?  Because in most cartoons designed for young kids, there shouldn’t be any hint of sexuality at all.  There shouldn’t be two male characters kissing, two female characters kissing or a male and a female character kissing. Sexuality has no place in TV shows designed for young kids.

On a show intended for adults, that’s a different matter and there are plenty of openly gay characters in shows like the Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy, etc.  That’s not what he was bothered  by though.  He wants young children to be exposed to homosexuality and, of course, by suggesting that this wasn’t a good idea, clearly I was being homophobic.  No, I don’t want them exposed to heterosexuality in cartoons either!  Little kids should not be the targets for indoctrination that some people want them to be.

I don’t get why some people think that every single character in every single medium has to be sexualized so that they can reflect every form of sexual orientation and preference available.  Some people think that if gays are not present everywhere that presumably straight people are, that’s discrimination.  That’s just not the way things need to be.

Of course, I’m not saying that cartoons can’t operate on multiple levels that can be enjoyed both by young children and older folks and that’s fine, so long as the writers understand who they are aiming their material at. People can argue all they want that Bert and Ernie are gay lovers when they’re not busy in Sesame Street, but that’s never something that is talked about on the actual show, they never show anything that might be going on behind closed doors and they shouldn’t.  If older people want to look at it and chuckle and think that they’re getting something over on the censors, that’s fine.  It’s when they start arguing that Bert and Ernie should get married, and I have seen people suggest that, that they cross the line.  We know that, according to J.K. Rowling, Albus Dumbledore was supposed to be gay, at least in her mind, but that was never shown in the books or in the movies.  Nor should it have been.  Nor should it matter one way or the other.  His sexual preferences had nothing whatsoever to do with the story being told.  Nobody’s sexual preference should have anything to do with the stories being aimed at young children.  Let’s stop pretending that we have to sexualize the world and get kids thinking about sex any earlier than absolutely necessary.  That will come in time.  That time is not early childhood.

5 thoughts on “Gay Characters in Cartoons”

    1. The impression I get, and I could be wrong, is the same reason the religious want to get their ideas in front of children, children are impressionable and if you convince a kid of something early enough, you've probably got them for life. I totally agree with you, kids should be left alone, they have a lifetime of people trying to make them do things or think certain ways, we need to just let kids be kids without being politicized.

  1. I have heard this argument for various characters when it comes to animation. What these people don't realize is that you cant force creativity in the first place. That is if the artists does not want to draw a gay couple (or black person, or female or atheist) they are not going to.

    Your example from Harry Potter is excellent though, as all that sexuality stuff does not matter and should not matter as they are not showing romantic scenes between characters anyway.
    My recent post How responsible are we?

  2. "If older people want to look at it and chuckle and think that they’re getting something over on the sensors, that’s fine."

    LOL. I think you meant to write censors?

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