Sesame Street sent an adorable message of love and acceptance for LGBT+ Pride Month on Thursday night (June 11).
And in doing so, the children’s PBS show has done more to openly support the queer community than US president Donald Trump has done this year.
Taking to social media, Sesame Street posted a short but sweet line of solidarity to the LGBT+ people, paired alongside an illustration of its colourful characters holding hands, recreating the famous six-striped Pride flag.
“On our street, we accept all, we love all, and we respect all,” it wrote. “Happy #PrideMonth!”
Tallying more than 97,000 likes on Instagram, thousands of users praisedSesame Street for showing its support. “That’s it, I’m moving to Sesame Street,” one user remarked.
Another added: “THIS! It’s no wonder this programming has withstood the test of time. 50+ years of inclusivity and education through love.”
“Thank you Sesame Street for teaching me how to learn and how to treat everyone with love and respect,” a user reflected.
“I can’t forget the times I was a kid, I’ve watched this show every day at my grandmother’s house. You guys never changed or never hated.”
Sesame Street executives have long wrestled with the idea that Bett and Ernie are gay.
However, as the Advocate reported, not all responses to the US series’ Pride post were positive.
“My daughter is six” a Facebook user commented. “The fact is she will not see a family like hers in the show before she outgrows it” referring to the show’s long-documented lack of LGBT+ representation.
“That may be just a ‘waiting period’ for the show — but it is her childhood and it will never happen. So many of the other kids get to see families like theirs represented.
“Her friends at school who don’t think a kid ‘can have two mommies’ don’t see it either.”
Indeed, while Sesame Street has gingerly begun to increase its inclusivity, having the likes of Billy Porter and Lil Nas X on the show, showrunners have long-denied that characters Bert and Ernie are queer.
Fan speculation has simmered for decades that the roommates are in a relationship, seeing them emerge as queer icons. But executives have consistently denied that they are queer, with executive vice president of Sesame Workshop, the non-profit which created Sesame Street tepidly saying that they are if the viewer thinks they are.
“People can think whatever they want [about Bert and Ernie].” Brown Johnson said in 2019.
“You want to think they’re gay? Okay. You want to think they’re not gay? They’re not gay,”