Facebook petition pushes for Bert and Ernie to get married — UPDATED

That sound you hear is my palm slapping my forehead.


In this horrific age of LGBT kids taking their own lives, they need to know that they ARE BEAUTIFUL and their lives are worth living. Aside from those that are committing suicide, the bullies that facilitate these tragedies need to learn that homophobia is NOT okay. They need to know that acceptance of their fellow human beings would indeed plant a seed of peace that will reverberate throughout the world. We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful. Only that they allow Bert & Ernie to marry or even add a transgender character to the show. It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different. Let Sesame Street and PBS Kids be a big part in saving many worthy lives.

The Christian Science Monitor, meantime, wonders if Sesame Street is in New York or another state with laws sanctioning this sort of thing.

UPDATE: The good people at Sesame Street have responded:

Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.

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20 responses to “Facebook petition pushes for Bert and Ernie to get married — UPDATED”

  1. Okay, I kinda understand a bit of it. Combine today’s push for LGBQT rights in most urban centers and the implication from the spoof broadway hit “Avenue Q” (all the things you wish that Sesame street would care to come out and say) that Bert and Ernie are gay and not just close roomies, and this was eventual.

    However, this is sad to me personally. Sesame street was important to my upbringing when I was a little guy, and I even learned to read ahead of most kids in my percentile at 10 months old, because of the 2-headed monster with the word “bat”.

    As Sesame Street has tried to stay relevant in today’s fast paced secular world, that is to avoid the chopping block from their newtowks, they have caved in by appealing to spoofing major adult shows (e.g. Law and Order SVU) with puppets of the main actors/characters and having major music, tv, or cinema actors on the shows. The latest controversial example was Katy Perry to do a spoof with Elmo on her song “Hot and Cold”. This never got aired on TV, but is available for viewing on YouTube. If they give into letting Bert and Ernie be gay and get married, then Sesame Street will truly have lost its original vision and once again, society will have lost what was once a pivotal point in our child’s upbringing (albeit a TV show). Is anything “sacred” anymore? Guess not. Not even our coveted secular television shows.

  2. Okay… now I am SO GLAD my daughter has never seen Sesame Street.

    I don’t see this as much as a desire to “teach tolerance of those that are different” as pandering to special interest audiences (maybe it’s the cynic in me).

    LGBT kids do need to know that they ARE BEAUTIFUL and their lives are worth living, but this is a wrong-headed approach… and they and other kids don’t need to see more LGBT characters on TV to learn that personhood and dignity are non-negotiable. I don’t need to condone the LGBT lifestyle to love and treat with dignity and love those who live it.

    Shows for kids need to raise the bar… they seem to have lost the wisdom in allowing that if they simply espoused the inherant dignity in being human, there would be no need to solve all the world’s problems through specific programming.

    The former charm of Sesame Steet, in my opinion, was not it’s ‘true to life’ programming, but it’s ability to teach and witness to values and life without getting mired in the details. So, perhaps Ernie and Bert are gay (I seriously doubt that was part of the original conceptualization of the characters over 40 years ago)… that isn’t why we love them or why they draw us into their lives, it’s because they are human and universal FIRST. he focus needs to be valuing what we all share in common, not ‘tolerance’ (I actually find the word offensive, trivializing and limiting) for the endless enumeration of things which make any one of us ‘other’ or different.

    Here’s a man who is amazingly human and unversal first… and he justhappens to be ‘gay’. I wonder what he would think of this… I’m off to ask him. I know he has a different idea about what LGBT kids need.


  3. I taught for 37 years and am no fan of Sesame Street. When I started teaching the students had the attitude that they were there to learn and that meant some work on their part.
    As I started getting the Sesame Street tutored kids it was obvious many students only wanted to learn if it was entertaining enough. Maybe that is why when I go to the library and see the books schools want their kids to read today they are almost all mindless, fluff.

  4. The beautiful thing about Bert and Ernie is that everyone knew they were a gay couple, but it went unsaid. It was one of those things that didn’t matter in the least when you were a kid because they were just “people” engaging the very sorts of everyday vanilla situations that even a child can relate to. As we got older and learned the ways of the world, it was plain enough that they have all the dynamics of a couple and have all the sorts of household spats and banter as any real-life couple, straight or gay.

    To me, the beauty of non-human characters like puppets is that one can find in them or project on them anything you want and can take meaning and humor from that without defining it for anyone else. I always got a kick out of the old Batman and Robin and R2D2/Threepio relationships which I termed the first openly gay superheroes and robots, respectively. Then there was the robot and Dr. Smith! You could re-create all of their dialogue from that series just by eavsdropping on any 50-something male couple in South Beach on a Tuesday evening! The genius of robots and puppet characters is that you can enjoy them either on a gender-less face-value sort of basis as children do, or you can anthropomorphize them and see all human foibles within them and get a whole new laugh out of it as a jaded middle aged guy like me.

    That said, if the show wants to portray ordinary gay people and couples to kids, I’d rather see them do so with human characters. I think projecting the complexities of human intimacy onto puppets will only confuse them more.

  5. It would not surprise me to see this happen. Anything on PBS should be closely monitored and that is why you need to see this station defunded. No tax dollars for PBS.

  6. Just leave Bert and Earnie alone—and I agree with ramona, they just happened to live together 40 years ago—-and were not intended to represent a “gay’ couple.

  7. I used to watch Sesame Street as a kid and the thought never crossed my mind which begs the question: Why?

    Besides, a news commentator in the Washington DC area said yesterday that this is bunk; that being the case Bert would have taken care of that unibrow long time ago.

  8. The thought never crossed my mind either but we don’t live in innocent times any longer. Why must everything be sexualized, especially for children? I’m sick of this sexual revolution. It has been a repulsive disaster.

    If Sesame Street ever did that, it would be the end of Sesame Street. I can tell you this, it would no longer be part of my son’s limited TV schedule.

  9. Oh what they don’t know is that long ago Bert joined the Marine Corps, fought in both Gulf Wars and Afghanistan, got a purple heart, converted to Catholicism and has enter seminary training.

    Ernie married one of the muppet girls and became CEO of his own Rubber Ducky manufacturing firm and became a born again Christian Pentecostal.

    Both say that “gay” meant “happy” when they entered into show biz as child puppets 40 years ago.

  10. Kenneth in #4
    You’ve got a wild imagination. I don’t think any of those teamed duos were supposed to be considered gay.

    Why don’t you just add the Skipper and Gilligan, Laverne and Shirley, Butch cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Frodo and Sam, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Beavis and Butthead, Abbott and Costello, and Laurel and Hardy. To someone looking for gay themes, you can make imagine all sorts of things.

  11. Wow…because some folks on Facebook are circulating a petition, folks are ready to storm the walls of PBS offices. *shakes head* I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. If Fox News can convince folks that we really did find Saddam’s cache of WMDs only 45 minutes from being launched, it’s no wonder folks take stuff like this as fact. After all, if it’s on the Internet, it must be true.

    I fear for our nation.

  12. Re: Rudy #11

    Hate to tell you but the term “gay” being applied to homosexual males was prevalent by 1963 — a few years before Sesame Street was created.

  13. rudy#11: Totally enjoyed your version of what happened to Bert and Ernie! Thanks for the chuckle.

  14. rudy #16
    Well, at least Ben is probably not gay, since he fathered his three sons. OTOH widowerhood seems to suit him just fine.

  15. greta,#6: Without PBS, there would be almost nothing of quality on TV. I’m all for tax dollars and personal contributions for local PBS stations.

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