Should children's shows feature same-sex couples?

Peppa Pig Official

Fact Box

  • Children’s shows such as Peppa Pig, The Loud House, Arthur, Steven Universe, and Adventure Time, amongst others, have featured same-sex couples. 
  • Same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in the US on June 26, 2015.
  • GLAAD’s Where We Are on TV report revealed that in 2021-2022, over 11% of “series regular characters scheduled to appear on scripted broadcast primetime programming” were LGBTQ. 
  • The PEN America Index of School Book Bans found that from 2021-2022, 41% of books banned from US schools included LGBTQ content.

Maha (Yes)

In the fall of 2022, worldwide TV sensation Peppa Pig featured a same-sex couple, after two years and 24,000 signatures demanding the addition of a same-sex parent family to the program. And it's about time other children's shows follow its lead. 

Currently, approximately 200,000 children in the US are raised by same-sex couples, which is 0.27% of the child population. Seeing their family dynamics represented in the media ensures the inclusion of these children and adds to their visibility. 

Moreover, showing same-sex couples in children's shows doesn't only impact LGBTQ families. Building an accepting world and offering it to children allows them to understand that their orientation isn't the only important thing about them. 

In the words of Gloria Calderón Kellett, co-creator, co-showrunner, and director of the TV series One Day at a Time, 'Seeing positive portrayal, seeing families come around, seeing friendships form, and then also seeing that they're not completely defined by their identity, by their sexual preference, is so important.'

In the future, this helps straight children exhibit kindness, love, and acceptance. Meanwhile, it allows queer children to feel less lonely and far from invisible. 

Another important reason to include same-sex couples in children's media is to normalize this kind of love. This is important to combat the belief that LGBTQ+ issues are inherently sexual--a growing concern in light of the Parental Rights in Education Act, aka 'Don't Say Gay' bill. 

So, rather than hiding the existence of same-sex parents, it's time to showcase them. That way, children won't be misled by so-called truths on social media and other unregulated digital platforms. 

Luke (No)

To begin with, it is important to understand the motivation behind the inclusion of same-sex couples in children's shows. Is it for entertainment or education? One must ask what children gain from knowing about the sexual preferences of adults. 

In the United States, about 70% of the population approves of gay marriage, which is a clear majority. However, even while most Americans accept homosexual marriage, this does not imply that most parents, and certainly not all, are interested in their children being introduced to homosexual themes at an early age. 

As is well known, children are highly impressionable, and because of this, they should not be the target of cultural propaganda. As a society, we should recognize that homosexuality is a deviant sexual behavior that less than 4% of American adults engage in. Now, while some hetero-romantic themes appear in children's shows, the reality is that hetero-romance is the societal norm and is the ultimate cause of having children in the first place. 

In the end, parents--not Hollywood, Netflix, or Disney executives--should decide when to introduce their children to adult-level topics. As some have lamented, children's content, such as that found on Cartoon Network, has become politicized and is no longer 'politically agnostic, more aimed at entertaining than moralizing.' Instead, children are exposed to 'woke' content that they must process without guidance from their own parents. As children are highly impressionable and sexual preference is an adult-level theme best left to family discussions, children's shows should not feature same-sex couples.

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