Insider is really working overtime to promote LGBTQ representation in shows for young children. The database, which was released in 2021, analyzes 259 characters in shows rated TV-PG and below.
The database is obviously very pro-indoctrination, but it can actually be pretty helpful for parents who are interested in seeing exactly what's out there.
From early Bugs Bunny to Disney villains like Ursula in "The Little Mermaid," queer culture and gender transgression have always been present in animation.
Am I the only person that missed the memo that Ursula is a drag queen? Yeah, apparently that's a thing. I'm not sure why LGBTQ advocates would want to claim an evil sea witch for their mascot, but sure, we'll go with that.
The list of characters is not all-inclusive and had some very specific requirements, but it's still extremely informative.
Insider outlined their methods for creating the database saying,
Characters had to debut or be confirmed by December 31, 2020. They must be credited, voiced, and named, with a handful of exceptions, including characters who were related to, were in a partnership with, or showed romantic interest in a credited and voiced character.
Once again, the database is coming from a very pro-LGBTQ stance, but their findings are really interesting for those on both sides of the issue. Check out this graph on the increase in LGBTQ characters over time.
They went from basically non-existent to skyrocketing in "inclusion" in the past 20 years.
The database of characters includes info about each LGBTQetc character, including their gender, race, sexual orientation, and whether their representation is explicit or implicit, among other things.
Here's one example from the innocuous show Clifford the Big Red Dog:
Examples of what qualifies as an explicit confirmation of the character's identity are "including dialogue that identified a character's gender or orientation; on-screen kisses, marriages, or same-gender parenting."
One obvious example of "explicit confirmation" is that of Mr. Ratburn who may have had the first gay wedding in any children's show. But sadly, I'm sure his won't be the last.
Implicit confirmation of characters' sexuality were things like,
idioms about a character's identity, or romantic behaviors such as blushing — offers subtextual, coded, or developmentally complex illustrations of LGBTQ identities. Voice casting, social-media posts, companion material such as comics, and interviews years after a show ended also fall under this category.
So yes, some of the implicit confirmations are those things like people re-writing history to pretend like characters were gay who really never was, such as Velma from Scooby-Doo.
Another analysis that is worth your attention is this chart showing inclusive shows by platform - keep in mind this data stops at the end of 2020, so the exact numbers have more than likely changed since then.
Cartoon Network is the channel with the most shows containing LGBTQ characters, but considering Disney had 4 different channels on the list they're the real winner here - or loser depending on how you look at things.
The data by Insider isn't all-encompassing, but it's definitely a good place to start when you're monitoring your children's entertainment. If nothing else I hope it makes you think twice before giving your children unrestricted access to "children's" television.
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