Guest Post: LGBT Representation in Cartoons

636032544866373456-2030120783_5-reason-to-watch-steven-universe-828300Once again someone has stolen my blog and written stuff in it. This is by guest poster Linden.

Hello universe, it’s me, Linden: daughter of the biologist and the writer, speaker at geeky panels since age eleven, and passionate cosplayer since age nine – the nerd princess, in the ink. It’s Pride Month! I don’t know about you guys but I’ve been shipping up a storm. I’ve been painting rainbows and screaming, “JUST KISS ALREADY” to sentient rocks from space. Which isn’t all that different from my normal routine but who cares! It’s Pride Month! Anyway, as I fangirled to myself at 3:00 AM I realized something. Cartoons have far more LGBTQ representation then comparable live action shows. As they say on a very popular YouTube channel, “lets talk about that.”

Let’s look at LGBTQ characters from cartoons and live action and see what shows portray

them as interesting and relatable characters that everyone is likely to love and appreciate. LGBTQ characters that are shown purely as a stereotype and are only around for one or two episodes won’t count. Any movie, musical or anime characters won’t count either because this is only for cartoons and live action TV shows. Fan-made ships don’t count no matter how popular; the character’s queerness has to be 100% cannon. If a character is very likely to be LGBTQ but it’s still up to speculation they will not make a list because what one person thinks is very likely another might think is insane to even suggest and it would not be fair. With that said, let’s start listing.

 

screenshot-2015-03-14-19-26-24_1-1

The show that is most famous for having LGBT characters is Steven Universe, which is still running on cartoon network today. Steven Universe has three very openly lesbian characters: Pearl (who was in love with Steven’s mom Rose before Rose fell for Stevens’ dad and died) Sapphire (who is in love with a girl named Ruby) and Ruby (who is in love with a girl named Sapphire). In fact the show’s other characters are lesbian as well – however, it is never plainly stated. The only way we know that gems (the name of what most of the characters are) are lesbian is that all gems (that we know of) are female so if they are ever in a romantic relationship they kind of have to be lesbian by default. Steven Universe also has a Non Binary Character named Stevonnie. Stevonnie is a Fusion (a combination of the forms of beings obtained by dance) of the show’s main character Steven and his love interest Connie. Connie is a girl and Steven is a boy so it makes sense that the combination of the two would switch pronouns as well as be attractive to both males and females. Steven Universe goes above and beyond with representation and I would love to talk about it more but that’s a whole other post.

Another show with a lot of LGBT characters is Adventure Time. Adventure Time is also a modern cartoon on cartoon network, but it has been on the air far longer then Steven Universe. It has two bisexual characters: Marceline The Vampire Queen who was in love with Princess Bubblegum before they broke up due to the responsibilities of ruling a kingdom, and Princess Bubblegum who, you guessed it, was in love with Marceline before they broke up because of the responsibilities of ruling a kingdom. The show also has a non-binary character named BMO as well. BMO switches pronouns quite a lot and in the gender bended fanfic written by the Ice King (another character) BMO doesn’t change.

BMU does a happy dance

BMO

It’s not only modern cartoons though; Hey Arnold had a gay character way back in the day when it ran on Nickelodeon. His name was Robert Simmons and he was Arnold’s schoolteacher. Disney Channels’ old show Gargoyles also had a gay character named Lexington. He was one of the three main characters.

Disney, Nick, and Cartoon Network all have beautifully represented the LGBTQ community and still do with not only the characters listed before but with sill others like

Asami and Korra holding hands

Asami and Korra

Asami and Korra from Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra, who were revealed to be in love with each other during the show’s finale. Or with Rick from Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty on Cartoon Network who (though never hinted at or mentioned in the show) was revealed by the show’s creator to be pansexual. There’s also Luna Loud from a modern Nick show called the Loud House who is bisexual. In the modern Disney cartoon that ended far too quickly (Gravity Falls) there are two male cops who are in love with each other and last but not least Jeff (one of the main characters in a modern cartoon network show called Clarence) has two moms. That’s twenty-two LGBT cartoon characters all represented as actual complex and beautiful human beings not to mention there’s probably a lot that I just never heard about, and all the ships. Live Action, your move.

 

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