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A Question of Puppets

It’s all over assorted news outlets right now – people urging Bert and Ernie to claim the rainbow flag and get married (since Sesame St. is ostensibly in New York, they have the legal right to do so…if they want to). Statements have been issued about how they are puppets, not people, and as such they do not have romantic/sexual orientation. That’s all well and good, but it begs the question of Miss Piggy and Kermit’s romantic entanglements in various Muppet movies…

I’ll come out right now, just to save everyone the trouble. I’m in a hetero-normative marriage, with two kids, and some decidedly accepting views when it comes to other peoples lives and choices. Namely, if it’s not hurting anyone, what is the issue? In my ramblings here I in no way intend to offend, exclude, or otherwise hurt anyone’s feelings. These are my thoughts. Take them as such or click away.

Upon personal contemplation and lively discussion, I have decided that while I love the visual idea of Bert and Ernie getting married… Well, I like them better the way they are. Mostly undefined.

Bert and Ernie are two individual who love each other, who struggle with their differences, and share an apartment on Sesame St. Maybe they are friends. Maybe they are sweethearts. When I was little I assumed they were brothers.

Maybe the decisions that two individuals make in their home aren’t really my business (as long as they aren’t hurting anyone, right?).

Here’s the thing. As long as they are undefined, parents can add their level of comfort in their definitions. Bert and Ernie can fit into so many places, becoming possible lessons.

Having trouble sharing a room with your sibling? Look at Bert and Ernie! They squabble sometimes, but they share a room and learn to work together.

Two siblings that look wildly different (maybe a family of adoption)? Look at Bert and Ernie! They may look different, but they sure act like siblings much of the time…

In a single-parent family, in a living situation that involves a roommate? Look at Bert and Ernie! Roommates can be a lot of fun, and sometimes a challenge.

In a family with two parents of the same gender? Look at Bert and Ernie! Two individuals of the same gender living together. Some people get married and some don’t regardless of their orientation, but there are two guys living together in a supportive way – just because they are undefined doesn’t mean a parent can’t give them a little more definition if necessary. Any family could buy a couple of Bert and Ernie dolls and have a wedding. What you do in your home is your business.

And let’s remember this. As long as Bert and Ernie can live together in platonic puppet-hood, everyone can watch Sesame St. All the pre-schoolers out there can be positively exposed to the picture of two males living together in (mostly) peaceful ways, supporting one another. I don’t care who is oriented how, this is a message that needs to get out there. The minute that Bert and Ernie are outed by their creators, there will be a huge group of young people from conservative homes who will no longer be allowed to watch Sesame St. Who will not be exposed to the positive message that two males can live together and show one another they care, regardless of who they fall in love with.

I don’t know what Brother-Bug thinks about Bert and Ernie. If I know much about kids, or remember anything from my childhood, it’s not as interesting a question as we grown-ups seem to think it is.

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I realize that this is a potentially inflammatory post. I welcome any comments that are made in the spirit of respectful discussion, be they agreement or disagreement. But please keep it respectful. You would want people to treat you with respect, so honor that Golden Rule, please.

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