Why are there no gay characters in kids tv shows?
My daughter has two moms. She loves us both fiercely. She doesn’t really think about the fact that her situation may be different than other kids. She knows about the concept of “father”, but she doesn’t have one. Also, not something she thinks about – yet – at 2,5 years old the world is as it is.
Like a lot of other 2,5 year olds she loves to watch Netflix. Peppa Pig is a favorite, obviously. Kazoops is the bomb. Princess Sofia is okay too (it’s mainly mom who loves that one). And she was devastated when The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse disappeared from Netflix. All of these shows are amazing: fun and pretty educational. She learns all kinds of things about blowing bubbles, jumping up and down in muddy puddles and to “just imagine”.
There is only one thing missing from her favorite shows. And that is families like hers. All of Peppa’s friends have a mommy and a daddy. I’ve never heard Monty muse “Can you also have two moms or two dads?” and see Jimmy Jones go “hmmm..”. And with all the traveling Mickey has done, why hasn’t he ever run into a gay marriage in Amsterdam?
It doesn’t have to be a whole big deal. Because it’s not. Especially for kids. Every single child I know, takes me and my wife “as is”. They don’t think it’s weird or different. They just go, “okay, great, what’s for dinner”. When they get older they may think it’s interesting or cool. But other than that, kids [that grow up with straight parents] don’t really think about this stuff. It’s the grownups that turn it into this Big Thing.
However, having said that, my daughter will grow up seeing programs and reading books portraying traditional families. It is inevitable a thought will unconsciously settle in her mind at some point: “having a mom and dad is the norm, normal”. Followed by “my situation is different, maybe not normal”. And maybe even: “I’m not normal”.
But. What if Mrs. Rabbit finds a bit of time – between being a fireman, working at the recycling plant, flying a helicopter, managing the library and owning a china shop – to fall in love? And what if that happened to be another girl?
Again. It doesn’t have to be obvious. I’d even prefer it if it wasn’t. It should be casual. One of Monty’s friends has two moms. It doesn’t have to get addressed in a thousand words: it’s just as it is. Or Sofia the First helps Baileywick find his way back to his true love, a woodsman from another kingdom.
If kids, that grow up with gay parents, see their families represented in their favorite programs, just like they see it in real life, they won’t be confronted with the incorrect assumption that being gay isn’t normal. The fact is that millions of kids around the world are growing up with gay parents. It’s only fair their families get a place in the programs they watch every day.