Love wins on sunny Sesame Street!
The beloved children’s show—watched by millions of kids (and kids at heart) since its creation in 1969—has stood for and promoted acceptance and inclusion over the years.
To mark this year’s Pride Month, Sesame Street recently introduced a family with two gay dads.
In the episode titled “Family Day,” Nina, a Latina character played by Suki Lopez, introduces her brother (Chris Costa) and his husband (Alex Weisman) with their daughter (Olivia Perez).
“Everybody, I want you to meet my brother Dave, his husband Frank, and my sobrina Mia, my niece,” Nina told the human and Muppet characters, who welcomed the new family in town joyfully.
The introduction concluded with, “Elmo’s so happy that you’re all here!”
Alan Muraoka, who plays Alan, the current owner of Hooper’s Store, shared on Facebook the show’s milestone, “I am so honored and humbled to have co-directed this important and milestone episode. Love is love, and we are so happy to add this special family to our Sesame family. Happy Pride to all!”
In a tweet, GLAAD president and CEO Kate Ellis underscored the importance of representation of all kinds of families in media, noting of the trend of inclusion across children and family programming.
“The ‘Family Day’ episode of Sesame Street sends the simple and important message that families come in all forms and that love and acceptance are always the most important ingredients in family,” Ellis said.
The show—which some Pinoy millennials and Gen Xers credit as where they first learned the English language when they were just kids—has embraced diversity and inclusion throughout the years. It has also discussed sensitive topics like death, racism, HIV, even breastfeeding.
In 2017, Sesame Street introduced Julia, its first Muppet character with autism. According to its creators, the character, which first appeared in the show’s digital storybook series in 2015, was made to help kids understand their playmates who may have autism, and for children with autism to have a character that they can identify with.
In March this year, the show launched two African American Muppets in line with its “Coming Together” initiative that openly discusses racial differences.
Every year since 2017, Sesame Street and its non-profit educational organization, Sesame Workshop, have celebrated Pride Month across their social media pages, highlighting support to family and friends of “all shapes, sizes and colors.”
This year, Sesame Workshop posted, “We want all children in every kind of family to grow up feeling confident, empowered and safe in expressing who they are and who they love.”
The show has championed diversity and inclusivity through the years but there is still a lingering question—are Ernie and Bert really lovers?
Well, one of its writers Mark Saltzman said in an interview that he had written scripts thinking of the characters as a gay couple. But in response, Sesame Workshops maintains “Bert and Ernie are best friends.”
Nevertheless, on the sunny Sesame Street, love wins.
Banner and thumbnail images from Sesame Workshop