Cartoons have been an integral part of our childhoods, regardless of the generation you belong to. Ofcourse, initially, cartoons were more careful with the content they put out. They were reflections of the society they cater to, they had characters portraying mainstream personalities and facing issues of that era.
But, there were a few cartoons that took it upon themselves to slyly indicate the various sexualities that we now so openly speak about. These days cartoons are more accepting and open, but we take a look back at the history of LGBTQ+:
1940’s Bugs Bunny:
Bugs Bunny has become the first-ever animation of a drag queen. We notice that the Lil bunny takes up any opportunity to dress up as a woman. Often slipping into yellow slinky lingerie like in “The Wabbit Who Came To Supper” in 1942. Another appearance in a sultry geisha-get up in “Bugs Bunny Nips The Nip in 1994.
Sure, some would say that Bugs is just wearing a disguise to escape his enemy Elmar Fudd and his gun. But with that many women’s clothes, we really think that this Bunny perhaps used it more than just his business.
Bambi was an ever-popular little deer, with his two friends Thumper, a rabbit, and Flower, a skunk. Bambi nuzzles into the skunk and decides he is a flower. Thumper however immediately reacts saying “He’s not a flower!”. This is follow up with “That’s alright, he can call me a flower if he wants to. I don’t mind” says Flower, while fluttering his eyelashes as if completely enticed by Bambi.
Sure, later on, the friendly skunk falls in love with Bluebelle, a female skunk. But we can’t possibly disregard the small moment that the two share.
Things did get a little quiet following these years. This was, perhaps, due to McCarthyism. This forced the industry to take a couple of steps back, just managing to tip-toe around these topics. Here are possible closet- characters from the times:
Velma is and shall always be the reason that the group didn’t head straight into the dustbin with their quests. Known as the brain of the team, and accurately so considering she works for the NASA. Velma was our typical geeky girl with her short bob hair and orange outfit, she was quite the catch. We watch her occasional attempts at romance with Shaggy, after the kiss they share in “Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster”. But Velma confirms that there’s no chemistry whatsoever.
Why is Velma on this list then? Because there indeed was chemistry. But between her and the shapely Daphne. Perhaps that explains why she spends time with the whacky group.
When a fan brought up this chemistry, James Gunn, screenwriter of the film’s reaction was all but known. Here’s what he says.
I don't know if I'd call it romantic, but Velma was gay in the original script, yes. https://t.co/nBQj8CGdF6
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) November 1, 2015
1983’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe:
He-Man, also known as Prince Adam, was never really out as gay. But there have been mighty speculation that the show was “the gayest show ever”. People talk about the spandex outfits, the harness and the AIDS epidemic at the time. But of course, this was never really confirmed.
However, through the comics, the 80’s TV show, the full-length feature film and the 2002 series we see one thing. Adam never ever shows any interest in anyone romantically. Perhaps he’s entirely asexual?
1992’s Sailor Moon:
If you ever watched the 90’s dub of Sailor Moon, you probably know that the Americans made changes to the show. Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus are in fact, lesbians. Making the lesbian couple a pair of “cousins” probably wasn’t a smart move. But back then, you’d rather have a couple of incestual cousins than two females in love.
What makes matters worse is that the American version cut an entire season of the show. This was because they couldn’t figure out a way to censor the gender changes that occur during transformations amongst the Sailor Scouts.
1997’s South Park:
This list would be a joke if South Park wasn’t on it. And this with enough reasoning. They have been representing the LGBTQ+ community much before it became mainstream to do so. And they weren’t shy about it. In a very early episode, Big Gay AI helps in the promotion of gay acceptance in society.
Later on, in “Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boat Ride”, Big Gay Al is seen taking homosexual animals and bringing them into a shelter. He also teaches a character, Stan, that accepting his gay dog is the right thing to do. He shows him how changing the dog would be wrong, and instead of understanding the pet’s sexual preference is better. Stan should love his dog for who he is. If we actually had to list down the number of LGBTQ+ moments, this list would never end. Thank you, South Park, for being perhaps the greatest show ever.
1998’s Power Puff Girls:
If you watched the Power Puff Girls as much as I did, you probably remember this villain. He was so terrifying that his name couldn’t be said aloud. “The only safe way to refer to this King of Darkness is…HIM.” This demon, though named HIM, was quite different from what you may perceive. Not a macho-man, that’s for sure. HIM wore high-heeled boots, a jacket with pink faux fur and always had his blush on. His voice was particularly shrill, and he emanates a sense of feminity.
The real question is, was HIM the scariest villain of the show because he was a cross-dresser?. Was this just a form of transphobia?. Or, from a different perspective, did the show embrace the idea of camp culture, helping HIM gain the exposure that was then in need by the community?. Well, we surely need our answers on this one.
2010’s Adventure Time:
Adventure Time is a super progressive show, regardless of it being a cartoon. It speaks about a wide spectrum of gender and sexuality. We see Beemo, the talking video console who is genderless. What makes it better are the other characters who seem completely supportive of the same, referring to BMO using all three pronouns throughout the show (male, female and neutral).
In the episode “Princess Potluck,” though the character Jake identifies as male, he wears makeup to a party, explaining his reasons as “My make up looks pretty. I look pretty!”.
In 2014, Olivia Olson, the voice of Marceline the Vampire Queen, confirmed that Princess Bubblegum and the Vampire Queen have such an awkward tension as they are ex-girlfriends. Years later, in the series finale in 2018, the two are seen sharing an embrace followed by a kiss. And fans? they went wild for it.
2013’s Steven’s Universe:
In the episode “Alone Together,” Steven and his pal Connie accidentally fuse into Stevonnie. Stevonnie is a character who opts for neutral they/them pronouns (rather than he/she) and who is shown to attract both males and females.
Honestly, this video is all you need in life:
Basically, LGBTQ+ characters have existed for years on end. Regardless of if they were rather sly, or just outright gay. And we couldn’t be more proud.
Also, read: Marvel At These LGBTQ+ Comics Characters!
Source Courtesy: thehighsnobeity.com