In the rare event that an LGBT+ character is added into a show, game, or movie, it is inevitable that controversy will arise. Naysayers are quick to question how appropriate it may be that children are exposed to a gay or lesbian individual, or why “everything must be gay now”.
There is an answer to their questions, one that they aren’t quick to acknowledge or even realize.
Picture this. You’re a young child, around six to nine years old. Everyone is starting to like the opposite sex, and all of the children gossip about their crushes in the schoolyard every day. However, you happen to like a student of the same gender. In your eyes, they’re the cutest person you’ve ever seen and your little heart flutters whenever you see them.
Unfortunately, your parents aren’t so accepting. Your mother and father never cease to “dis” the community when they appear on the news, and glare at the gay couple they see at a restaurant. It hurts to know how your parents feel about who you love, who you are.
Lucky for you, there is a new cartoon airing on TV. Everything is perfect, and the characters always get a happy ending. Most importantly, there is a lesbian couple that appears in the show. When they first appear, your heart swells! No one shames either of the girls for their lifestyle. Before long, this show becomes your only way to find solace in your everyday life.
This has been the life of many children all over the world. In this day and age, people are still obsessed with judging how others live their lives. For some, it is internalized, while others choose to be so critical. The one thing they all have in common, though, is that they have a very strong opinion about something so insignificant. Homophobia is more harmful than most would think, especially to young, impressionable children.
Before you make a comment on how celebrities should stay in the closet or how every fictional character should be straight, please consider how your opinion may affect the kids around you. Children need role models they can relate to, and this isn’t possible when those who oppose complain incessantly.