Wednesday, August 10, 2011

No, Bert And Ernie Aren't Gay. Get Over It.

There's a petition circling the blogosphere asking Sesame Street to give up the ghost and finally hitch Bert and Ernie, a pair of puppets that have had gay pundits asking for years if they were lovers.  The pair have been roommates since the show's inception, providing comic relief in an educational setting for millions of toddlers over the years.

Yes, I love this.  No, they're still not gay.

The petition, started by Lair Scott of and promoted by the incomparable David Badash of the New Civil Rights Movement, reads as follows:

"It’s important for our children to be educated that it’s okay to be gay. For over 40 years, our beloved Sesame St. characters, Bert and Ernie, have been living as ‘roomates’ and we would like PBS and Sesame St. to allow them to live as a gay couple and maybe eventually, marry. It would show children and their parents that not only is it acceptable but also teach children that homophobia is wrong, bullying is wrong and that Sesame street should recognize that there are LGBT relationships, families, and include them in their show.

"We’re not here to debate our mission but we are here to educate. Please share our link with other friendly walls and join us in our quest to bring Bert and Ernie to the forefront of educating our children, to say "Gay is okay" !!  "

The Sesame Workshop first addressed this terribly important issue back in the early 90s with a firm denial of the homosexuality of the characters:

"'Bert and Ernie, who’ve been on Sesame Street for 25 years, do not portray a gay couple, and there are no plans for them to do so in the future,' stated Sesame Workshop back in 1993. 'They are puppets, not humans. Like all the Muppets created for Sesame Street, they were designed to help educate preschoolers. Bert and Ernie are characters who help demonstrate to children that despite their differences, they can be good friends.'"

There you have it.  Not.  Gay. 

I feel it's necessary to add a little something myself: One of the first lessons any young LGBT person needs to realize is that certain situations aren't necessarily gay.  Just because two men have a close relationship it does not necessarily mean that they are secret lovers.  Is this a case of Sesame Street oppressing two puppet's love?  No.  I think this is a case of "Everyone-is-gay-itis," which is simply just not true.

Yes.  Two men can be longtime friends and roommates without bumping felted uglies, so to speak.  Can we move on?

Perhaps a more worthwhile petition to sign, however, is this petition asking Sesame Street to end its business relationship with an anti-gay referral service, the Christian Values Network:
Did you know that dozens of major brands, including Target, Macy’s, USA Today, Netflix, Apple, Dell, and even Sesame Street are supporting known hate groups through the link referral service know as the Christian Values Network (CVN)? 
According to CVN, there are more than 170,000 charities that benefit from the CVN’s service by receiving donations through purchases made through the site. For example, someone could buy airline tickets from Delta, and the airline would make a donation to the charity of the customer’s choice through CVN. 
Unfortunately, there are several organizations included on CVN’s service that support discrimination. In addition to Focus on the Family's anti-gay agenda, the Southern Poverty Law Center has declared organizations like the Family Research Council and Abiding Truth Ministries as known “hate groups,” for their blatant and repeated homophobic lies about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. These organizations receive donations through CVN when customers buy products through CVN stores. 
Sesame Street, a trusted children's program, is allowing its brand to be used to raise money for organizations whose major focus of work is hurting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. This has to stop. Call on Sesame Street to insist CVN stop using their brand to raise money for hate.
See?  Stop trying to make everyone gay and instead have an impact on negative business practices.

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