How Cartoons Help My Child Understand LGBTQ

Jade-Ceres Violet D. Munoz

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Photo by Mercedes Mehling on Unsplash

When February rolled around and the pride flag started flying everywhere, my 8-year-old daughter asked me what that was. I began explaining the concept of LGBTQ to her. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she easily understood it because of Steven Universe. Yes, the cartoon made my life easier. I knew letting her watch television would eventually pay off!

I then started to look more into this. It was amazing to find out how many LGBTQ characters there are in today’s cartoons. Here are some great ones to watch out for:

  • Steven Universe - Steven Universe is a cartoon series by Rebecca Sugar, about a boy named Steven, the son of Rose Quartz. Rose (and by extension, Steven) is one of the Crystal Gems -- ancient alien warriors who protect Earth from evil threats. One of the characters, Garnet, is one of the Crystal Gems and is a fusion of two gems -- Ruby and Garnet. Because they are gems, they don’t really have a gender, however, they do look feminine and use female pronouns throughout the show. They eventually get married in the series.

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Screenshot from Cartoon Network

  • Adventure Time - This series follows the adventures of a boy named Finn and his best friend, a magical dog named Jake. They live in the post-apocalyptic land of Ooo, which is ruled by Princess Bubblegum. The vampire Marceline and Princess Bubblegum eventually fall in love. The final episode of the series shows them sharing a kiss after Marceline saves PB’s life.

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Screenshot from Cartoon Network

  • Gravity Falls - This animated series follows the adventures of twins Dipper and Mabel Pines who are sent off to spend a summer with their great uncle in Gravity Falls, Oregon -- a town full of paranormal activity and supernatural creatures. Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland are recurring characters in the series, often shown as antagonists. In the Season 2 finale, “ Weirdmageddon” Durland gets turned into stone but is eventually reunited with Blubs. The characters come out as gay and say that they are “mad with power...and love.”

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Screenshot from Disney Plus

  • Loud House - The series revolves around the chaotic, everyday life of Lincoln Loud -- the middle child and only son in a family of 11 kids. His best friend Clyde is an adopted child of interracial gay couple, Harold and Howard McBride.

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Screenshot from Nickelodeon

  • Loud House - One of the Loud sisters, Luna Loud, is shown to be bisexual. The 15-year-old and third child of the family is shown to be attracted to a male character (Lincoln Loud’s tutor Hugh) in the episode “Study Muffin” and was also attracted to a female classmate named Sam Sharp in the episode “L is for Love”. More recent episodes show that Luna and Sam are now dating and that the family is supportive of them.

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Screenshot from Nickelodeon

  • Summer Camp Island - Summer Camp Island is set in an anthropomorphic world following the adventures of best friends elephant Oscar Peltzer and Hedgehog during their time at a magical camp. One of the characters in the show is Ghost the Boy and he has two male ghost fathers -- one with a mustache and another with freckles. They were the second same-sex parents to appear in Cartoon Network.

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Screenshot from Cartoon Network

  • OK K.O. Let’s Be Heroes - The show is set in the futuristic world and follows the life of K.O. as he tries to become the world’s greatest hero while working at the hero supply shop Gar’s Bodega. Enid is one of K.O.’s close friends. She is friends with another female character Red Action, at first through social media, then they eventually meet and start dating in the series. They are shown kissing in Season 3, Episode 15 Grudgement.

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Screenshot from Cartoon Network

  • DuckTales - The popular animated show is about the life of Donald Duck’s nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie as they live with Uncle Scrooge. In Season 2 of the 2017 reboot, Webby (a friend of the 3 ducks) meets a new friend named Violet. Violet’s adoptive parents are Indy and Ty Sabrewing. The two male characters first appeared in the episode “Challenge of the Senior Junior Woodchucks” in Season 3. Tyrian and Indigo are the first homosexual couple of the DuckTales franchise.

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Screenshot from Disney Plus

  • The Simpsons - The Simpsons is one of the longest-running animated series that is still on air today. The animated sitcom debut in December 1989 and focuses on the life of the Simpson Family with dad Homer, mom Marge and kids Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. One of the characters, Patty Bouvier, Marge’s sister and twin to Selma Bouvier, comes out as a lesbian after being in the closet for years (even dating Principal Skinner in an episode). She comes out as a lesbian in Season 16, Episode 1o entitled “There’s Something About Marrying” where she was set to marry a woman named Veronica, who turns out to be a man named Leslie.

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Screenshot from Disney Plus

  • She-Ra Princess of Power - This DreamWorks Animation reboot of the Filmation animated series started streaming on Netflix in November 2018. The fantasy action-adventure series is about the life of Adora -- a former member of the evil Horde, who discovers a magical sword that turns her into the mythical warrior princess She-Ra. One of the main characters in the show is Catra, a Horde cadet and friend of Adora who was promoted to become her main antagonist in season 1. After she reforms, she becomes Adora’s girlfriend.
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Screenshot from Netflix

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