Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published May 29th 2014
Celebrate Them With Pride
Nowadays children are growing up a lot more quickly than they used too. There was once a time when the innocent age of childhood was meant to be completely free from any thoughts of sexuality. But not now, and one of the many reasons is due to the media, where it gets flashed up constantly. Even in things aimed at kids. For example, did you know that many of the most famous children's characters in fiction and television are gay?
In some cases it was intentional, in others accidental, but in most cases, the characters were not gay until the media told us so. Unfortunately, this was usually a criticism by homophobes to promote their own political agendas. I can gladly say this did not work, because fans rose up, and made these characters so of the best loved in history. Here are my top five gay children's characters that deserve to be celebrated.
1. Tinky Winky
Image from teletubbies.wikia.com
Teletubbies is a BBC series that originally aired between 1997-2001. I was six years old when it came out, and although aimed at children up to four, I must admit watching it right through the series run.
The show consisted of four colourful creatures that televisions in their tummies. Tinky Winky was the tallest, and also the most gentle. I suppose you could call him the big teddy bear of the group. For two years, he got along fine, until in 1999 an American evangelical pastor called Jerry Falwell announced that Tinky Winky had been created to act as a gay role model, which was 'damaging to the moral lives of children.' The evidence? Tinky Winky, 'whose voice is obviously that of a boy' carries a handbag, 'is purple – the gay pride color; and his antenna is shaped like a triangle – the gay-pride symbol.' Falwell's claims stopped all sales of Teletubbies merchandise in southern states. The matter was not closed until finally in 2007, when psychologists confirmed that Tinky Winky had no negative affects on children.
Albus Dumbledore is one of the few gay characters whose gayness was actually seen as a positive thing. I think there are two main reasons behind this. First, the discovery that Dumbledore is gay was not made until 2008, a time when society - for the most part - had become much more accepting. Second, and I think this is the main reason, is because it was not a media accusation. J.K. Rowling, the author of the book stated the fact. Fans of the Harry Potter series adore J.K. Rowling, and what she says is lore. No one would dispute it, or consider it a bad thing. In fact, after the revelation, much fan fiction and speculation was produced about his possible relationship with Gellert Grindewald.
Another reason I think it is seen as a positive thing, is because it is so subtle. Read all the books, watch all the films, and you'll have no idea that Dumbledore is gay. There is nothing for worried homophobes to criticise. There is no mention or suggestion of Dumbledore being gay anywhere. He just is.
3. Captain Pugwash
Image rom uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Captain_pugwash.gif
Captain Pugwash started off as a comic strip by John Ryan; it was later turned into a children's cartoon in 1957. A colour series then came out in 1974. Long before my time, I still saw many episodes through repeats.
Criticism over the show was more over double entendres than anything else. Allegations were made by the Sunday Correspondent about the characters called 'Master Bates', 'Seaman Staines', and 'Captain Pugwash' apparently being Australian slang for oral sex. John Ryan successfully sued, but the Captain's close relationship with Roger the Cabin Boy is still debated every now and then.
4. Bert & Ernie
Image from muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Are_Ernie_and_Bert_gay%3F
Bert and Ernie are two Muppet characters from the American children's show, Sesame Street. It is generally fans who promote and support the idea that these two characters are gay. Although the creators deny it, the public seem to to want it to be true. The fact that they share a bedroom appears to be the main evidence - although they do sleep in separate beds.
Although Rod and Nicky from the Broadway musical, Avenue Q, are different characters, they look very similar to Bert and Ernie, and share a duet called 'If You Were Gay'. I expect this has also fired up enthusiasts.
5. Big Ears
Image from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Noddyatstoll.jpg
Enid Blyton's Noddy books began in 1949, and were brought to life in 1992 when turned into a television series called Noddy in Toyland. Noddy's best friend is Big Ears. He is described as a brownie, but to me, his white beard and outfit always made me think of him as a gnome.
I distinctly remember, some time back, that there was a controversy stating that Big Ears was gay, but I cannot for the life of me find anything about it. Whether it did happen, or was just my imagination I am therefore, not quite sure, but either way, Big Ears, in my heart remains Big, bubbly, bright, and gay.
I remember reading that Twinky Winkie being gay was because the actor playing him was.
For Big Ears, I heard something along the lines of when the books originally came out there were some scenes showed Big Ears and Noddy having a sleepover(?) where they shared a bed.
Have you heard the smurf one? Apparently when the Smurfs first came out they were rumours that they were all gay/it was promoting homosexuality. Then the creators made Smurfette and all the other smurfs are all in love with her.