Thursday, August 11, 2011

Come out, come out Bert and Ernie!

The Daily Beast has an article about 11 gay characters who need to come out of the closet. The article is prompted by a petition on urging Sesame Street to have long-time roommates Ernie and Bert marry (with 6,520 signatures so far and growing). (Of course there is now a petition urging a stop to the gay marriage push--with only 210 signatures so far.)

Sesame Street has responded with a statement on its Facebook page (yes, Sesame Street has a Facebook page!):
"Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation."

I find the whole issue immensely amusing, although many people on either side of the issue most certainly do not. Here are the other children's characters who author Sujay Kumar is urging to come out of the closet (read the article for details):
  • Tinky Winky
  • Spongebob Squarepants
  • She's always been my favorite Peanuts character!
  • Peppermint Patty
  • Vanity Smurf (I must admit I do not know all of the Smurf characters, but I have a male college friend who is a Smurf diehard!)
  • Piglet
  • Velma (from Scooby Doo)
  • He-man
  • Stewie Griffin (from Family Guy--although I think this is cheating--he's hardly a children's character!)
  • Cogsworth (from Beauty & the Beast)
  • Snarf (from the Thundercats...?)
Kumar has a point on a number of these characters. Now that Barack Obama is a shining beacon of what African-American children could be, wouldn't it be great to have openly gay children's characters so that young children who are struggling with their sexual identity would feel affirmed as well?
Yep--not gonna happen anytime soon. Then again, it wasn't that long ago that Ellen came out and her show was soon cancelled. And look at her now.

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