So What If Bert and Ernie Are Gay?
For decades, all of us have turned to Sesame Street to not just laugh, but also learn. And naturally, almost all of us would be familiar with Bert and Ernie. Bert is the neat serious one out of the two while Ernie is mostly the joker. But for years now, people have speculated the relationship between these two characters on the children’s series. What are they really? Friends or a couple? And we have had countless jokes and controversies on their status despite Sesame Street‘s official claims. However, recently Sesame Street clarified their stance on Bert and Ernie’s profile. But why is it so significant whether they are gay or not?
Are Bert and Ernie Gay?
Sesame Street has always insisted that despite Bert and Ernie living together, they are definitely not a couple. However, it has always remained a big discussion attracting countless jokes since Bert and Ernie share a bedroom. And in fact, sometimes take baths together. But then again, the two do not share a bed. Despite whatever rumors that have circulated for years, Bert and Ernie are not gay. And that has been confirmed by Sesame Street is their official statement which came out on Tuesday. As per it, Bert and Ernie have human traits, remain puppets but do not have any sexual orientations.
This statement was released right after one Sesame Street writer gave out an interview related to this. Mark Saltzman revealed that without any agenda, when writing Bert and Ernie, he felt that they were a gay couple. And he had no other way to contextualize them. During his tenure of 15 years with the show, Mark likened Bert and Ernie with his own relationship with the late Arnold Glassman. However, soon Sesame Street denied this saying that Bert and Ernie were definitely not a romantic couple. It also implied that puppets could not be given any sexual orientation for that matter.
Does It Really Matter?
Probably not. Bert and Ernie have been entertainment characters for very long. And whatever their relationship or sexual orientation might be is irrelevant here. But Sesame Street‘s denial and defense of them being gay is outright ridiculous. Not just that, but previously Sesame Street’s puppets have had sexual orientations. So basically, as long as they are straight, that’s fine. But if they are gay, that’s a problem and probably the right time to deny them having any orientation at all.
Due to the controversial statement released by the company, some controversy was created. Apparently, and very justly the tweet hurt the sentiments of the LGBT community. And therefore, they had to delete it and then upload a wiser statement that removed all such mentions of puppets not having any sexual orientations. Finally, queerness is being accepted into media and especially children’s television. With series like Steven Universe and Adventure Times, the LGBT community and gay relationships are getting acceptance and representation there. And this might greatly benefit the previously ignored queer children. This is one great way of telling these children that they too belong in this world. And maybe, Sesame Street needs to get some perspective with their Bert and Ernie.
What one might fail to understand is that Bert and Ernie being gay is not much of an issue. So what’s with the statement? Is it really necessary to classify people as gay or straight? And is that the only thing that matters? Moreover, this lack of comfort with homosexuality that is displayed with this message is more problematic. If Sesame Street would not have blatantly denied the idea that Bert and Ernie are gay, it could be a good way to talk about different families, representation and also, diversity. Which by the way remain some of the essential concepts of the show ever since it debuted in 1969. So, why not let it remain that way?