Friday, August 12, 2011

Sesame Street would like you to know that Bert and Ernie are not gay

An online petition is making the rounds, calling on Sesame Street to present a gay wedding for Bert and Ernie, two guys who've been living together and sharing a bedroom since the late 60s. The petition makes that not unreasonable point that LGBT kids "need to know that they ARE BEAUTIFUL and their lives are worth living." The petition continues:
We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful. Only that they allow Bert & Ernie to marry or even add a transgender character to the show. It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different. Let Sesame Street and PBS Kids be a big part in saving many worthy lives.
If puppets have no
sexual orientation,
how did this happen?
In a statement, Sesame Street turned down the request and reminded petition-signers that "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.”

This rings hollow. We've had hetero Muppets, haven't we? Kermit and that pig got married, right? And I seem to recall a segment in which Bert had a female love interest. So it seems disingenuous to play the puppet card. Instead, Sesame Street should have said, "Sorry folks: We're not going to undo 40 years of brand equity, and turn two of our most famous characters into a political statement."

That would have taken guts, sure, but it would have had the merit of being true.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If Bert had a female love interest, then he's not gay. Maybe he's bi? The whole living with Ernie thing means that being straight isn't an option for him.