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Top Cartoons with LGBTQ+ Characters

by Judy Bokao

Representation of LGBTQ+ people on TV has been making huge progress in the recent past. However, not long ago, the onscreen queerness was considered controversial, a risk, or even career-ending. Shows like “Will & Grace,” “Queer as Folk,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the “The L Word” have been of great help in breaking down boundaries and introducing audiences to engaging storytelling. It allows for characters that are non-straight to shine on the most recent stories like the “Orange is the New Black,” “Pose,” and “Glee.”

But what about shows for a much younger audience? In this article, we have rounded up the favorite LGBTQ+ cartoon characters.

Scooby-Doo! Incorporated Mystery

Despite the show being complete as it ran from 2010 to 2013, back in July 2020, Scooby-Doo, Incorporated Mystery co-creator Tony Cervone did confirm on his Instagram account that Velma was canonically meant to be a lesbian.

“Velma in the Incorporated Mystery is not bi — rather she is gay,” Tony Cervone wrote. “We have always been planning on Velma acting slightly off and completely out of character as she was dating Shaggy, since the relationship was not good for her and she had a completely unspoken difficulty with the why. I doubt Velma and Marcie had time to act on their feelings in the main timeline. However, post-reset, they are partners.”

SpongeBob SquarePants

In the Pride Month 2020, Nickelodeon did tweet a series of rainbow-colored portraits of the network’s LGBTQ+ characters. It was with characters and actors that included Korra from The Legend of Korra, Michael D.Cohen, transactor from Henry Danger, and the square yellow sea-sponge himself, all confirming SpongeBob SquarePants’ status as gay.

She-Ra and Princesses of Power

Although there are lots of great badass queers in Netflix’s She-Ra and Princess of Power, it was discovered that Bow, one of Adora’s best friends, had two dads! We were already aware that She-Ra was queer AF. Despite seeing the two loving and open gay parents on the popular animated show, their hearts were made to swell. Speaking of She-Ra and how great LGBTQ inclusive animated series is, the fifth and final season of the show, Adora, together with her best friend, did turn enemy turned friend again, and girlfriend Catra confirmed did make a confirmation on their queerness when they confessed their love for each other.

Steven Universe

This is one of the queerest kid shows available on TV, although several other shows give it a good run. It is centered on Steven adventures and his adopted female warrior aliens’ family called Crystal Gems. However, the show is not short of facts that most of the gems are queer. Steven Universe defies all the touches on complicated topics like domestic violence, anxiety, and homophobia, making it perfect for kids.

Adventure Time

The Dadaist, surreal Adventure Time, is always an adventure — ha! Although the show did start as strange shorts, it quickly developed into a deeper plot as Finn and the shape-changing dog brother Jake explore the post-apocalyptic Ooo world. Despite the censorship laws outside the United States where the show has been distributed, it still prevents Adventure Time from using particular terminologies. They are never shy about the present, and past feelings shared between the Marceline and Princess Bubblegum.

Sailor Moon Crystal

Although the initial adventures of this sailor were in the millennial generation’s first brush with the gay canon characters, the new Sailor Moon Crystal reboot did polish up and condense down to make up for the more action-packed show. Since it is modern-day, they’re in no rush to cover up the queer storylines, unlike what took place in the ’90s. One needs to keep in mind that Japan has a slightly different idea of what is friendly to a child, so that was likely the reason why gay themes weren’t present in the original.

Hopefully as the years pass by, more and more storylines for LGBTQ+ characters in cartoons can be written and included in shows. This will help kids understand that it is okay to be themselves and is a good conversation starter between the parents and the kids on sexuality.

About the Author:

Judy Bokao is 20 years old and was born in Ethiopia but relocated to Nairobi two years ago. She is passionate about everyone having equal rights and is also big on conservation and speaking up for our planet. Judy loves reading and photography and is just a free-spirited young lady trying to grow into a woman her mom can be proud of.

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