Cartoon Network animator fought for years to include lesbian wedding in Steven Universe
The creator of Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe has said that she fought for years to include a lesbian wedding in the show because networks bow to pressure from “bigoted countries”.
Steven Universe follows a half-human boy called Steven and his upbringing with three alien parents. Last year, the show broke new ground when it showed two feminine-presenting aliens getting married.
In an interview with Reuters, the show’s creator Rebecca Sugar revealed that getting that lesbian wedding storyline on screen took years of work.
Steven Universe creator spent years ‘fighting internally’ to depict lesbian wedding.
“We are held to standards of extremely bigoted countries,” they said.
“It took several years of fighting internally to get the wedding to happen.
“There are people who see what we’re doing as insidious and… they’re ignorant,” they continued.
The animator said that much of the discomfort around LGBT+ content in children’s television shows comes from the idea that LGBT+ people’s lives are “inherently adult”. They said this view is “entirely false”.
We are held to standards of extremely bigoted countries.
Sugar – who came out as bisexual at a Comic-Con in 2016 – generally identifies as non-binary or as gender expansive, and uses she or they pronouns.
They also said that it is “critical” that young queer people know that adults “appreciate” their existence.
“I really hope the show is a stepping stone to action and to the ability to find one another,” they said.
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Children’s television has jumped forward in leaps and bounds in LGBT+ representation in recent years – but there is still a long way to go.
While children’s television shows have generally been slow to include openly LGBT+ characters and storylines, some have made notable shifts in recent years.
Disney Channel show Andi Mack – which was recently cancelled – featured an openly gay teenage character in Cyrus Goodman. In a 2017 episode of the show, he told his friend Buffy that he liked another boy.
Meanwhile, Arthur received significant praise earlier this year when it revealed that its character Mr Ratburn is gay. He got married to a man in the first episode of season 22.
While the episode received praise from some quarters, it was later banned by Alabama Public Television, who said it would be “a violation of trust” to broadcast the episode.
The station’s director of programming Mike McKenzie told NBC News that there were possible viewer concerns to take into account. He said that parents trusted that their children could watch APT without supervision, which is why they chose not to broadcast the episode.