The Benefits of LGBTQ+ Themes in Cartoons
November 3, 2016
In recent years, the presence of LGBTQ+ themes in cartoons have become more prominent. Major cartoon channels like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network have taken big strides towards including more representation in their cartoons. When Nickelodeon ended The Legend of Korra in 2014, it did so with their two main female characters ending up together. Another of Nickelodeon’s recent cartoons, The Loud House, featured a same sex married couple.
Meanwhile Cartoon Network has had some major LGBTQ+ representation having moments in multiple cartoons. The Amazing World of Gumball featured a video explaining romantic attraction and then had it end with people of the same gender romantically involved. One of the main characters of the show Clarence has two moms, and they have other minor moments of representation sprinkled in. In Steven Universe, there is major LGBTQ+ representation within the main characters’ sexualities and gender identities. The effects of having representation in cartoons like this positively affects society as a whole.
Having represented LGBTQ+ characters in major media outlets can be important to those possibly questioning their sexuality or gender identity. Especially when showing those characters having a promising future and happy life, which can be something that even shows aimed toward older audiences have trouble with. For young people who are questioning their sexual identity, shows like these that explore the concept can be a breath of fresh air.
It’s also good for viewers to see how to treat others with respect and kindness, especially at young ages when they are still developing those skills. Audiences watching these shows are typically at an age where the media they’re consuming is shifting away from teaching the basics of counting or being polite, and moving towards more compelling story lines about problems or themes they may face later in life. So having representation that isn’t just used for a joke can be relieving for some and eye-opening for others.
When LGBTQ+ representation is put into cartoons it can help younger audiences learn more about the outside world and how it works, while also helping and accepting those who are possibly still learning about themselves. Being able to view people who exist like this in a story that they enjoy helps them be more knowledgeable about how this is a common thing in the real world and they deserve to know that; overall it’s a benefit to everyone.