It is a brilliant move to introduce the LGBTQ+ community to children without any prejudice and provide equal representation.
"Peppa Pig," the long-running children's series, has introduced its first queer characters in its 18-year history. After calls for more characters from the LGBTQIA+ community, the show aired its episode titled "Families" on Channel 5 in the U.K. on September 6, according to CNN. It is a brilliant move to introduce the LGBTQ+ community to children without any prejudice and provide equal representation.
In one of the scenes of the show, a teacher asks Peppa Pig and her classmates to draw an image of their families to be put up on the walls of their classroom. The students are also asked to describe the family member's jobs and qualities. That's when Penny Polar Bear, Peppa's classmate, talks about her two mothers and what makes each unique. She draws a picture of two polar bears in dresses and says, "I'm Penny Polar Bear. I live with my mommy and my other mommy. One mommy is a doctor and one mommy cooks spaghetti. I love spaghetti." It is a welcome attempt to redefine family structures to include queer narratives.
Really nice to see age appropriate representation of same sex couples on @peppapig with Penny & her two mummies. We are loving "One mummy is a doctor and one mummy cooks spaghetti. I love spaghetti." #PrimaryRocks #WomenEd #LesbianVisibility #DiverseEd https://t.co/EuZPdDcUDK— Safe Schools Alliance (@SafeSchools_UK) September 7, 2022
The show premiered in May 2004 and revolves around a 4-year-old piglet, her family, friends and everyday adventures. According to its production company, Entertainment One, the cartoon show has been translated into 40 languages and broadcast in more than 180 countries and territories, including the United States, reports NBC News. However, the show has faced criticism for complying with gender stereotypes as it shows a nuclear family with a working father and a stay-at-home mother.
Well what do you know? My kids saw the first same-sex couple on Peppa Pig and the world didn’t end. Penny Polar Bear said she lives with her ‘mummy and her other mummy’ and the four horsemen of the apocalypse didn’t came storming over the horizon to bring humanity to a close. pic.twitter.com/dtcHMDXJt5— Simon Harris - #LovelyBitOfSquirrel (@simonharris_mbd) September 7, 2022
A petition was started in 2019 to have the program feature queer parents. The petition states, "Children watching Peppa Pig are at an impressionable age, and excluding same-sex families will teach them that only families with either a single parent or two parents of different sexes are normal." It emphasizes that children with queer parents may be alienated from the show and might face bullying due to sheer ignorance. "Peppa Pig is not just for entertainment, children are inevitably learning from it too," the petition concludes. Over the previous few years, the petition has received approximately 25,000 signatures.
However, the episode featuring the two polar bear mothers has divided viewers. Some accepted this inclusion but others did not support this introduction.
🐷 Popular children's TV series Peppa Pig has gained its first lesbian couple.— Openly 🏳️🌈 (@Openly) September 7, 2022
👭 Aired earlier this week, the episode featured Penny Polar Bear saying "I live with my mummy and my other mummy."
✒️ It follows a petition for Peppa Pig to feature a same-sex couple. pic.twitter.com/HMC15bFWg1
Safe Schools Alliance, the British safeguarding organization, tweeted, "Really nice to see age appropriate representation of same sex couples on @peppapig with Penny & her two mummies." However, one viewer tweeted, "That’s the end of the Peppa Pig phenomenon. What a shame. Education not indoctrination." Another viewer tweeted, "Well what do you know? My kids saw the first same-sex couple on Peppa Pig and the world didn’t end. Penny Polar Bear said she lives with her ‘mummy and her other mummy’ and the four horsemen of the apocalypse didn’t came storming over the horizon to bring humanity to a close."
Stonewall's Director of Communications and External Affairs Robbie de Santos hailed seeing a queer family in the fictitious Peppatown as "fantastic." He told BBC, "Many of those who watch the show will have two mums or two dads themselves and it will mean a lot to parents and children that their experiences are being represented on such an iconic children's programme."
The inclusion on the part of an iconic show for children comes as a breath of fresh air after the LGBTQIA+ representation has faced scrutiny in other productions for children in the past months. Pixar's "Toy Story" spinoff "Lightyear" was banned from theaters due to a kiss between lesbian characters. In June, an Oklahoma theater exhibiting the film displayed a warning sign stating that workers would do "all we can" to fast-forward through the sequence. However, recently, Disney's "Baymax!" also introduced a trans person in a brief clip, according to them. This episode of "Peppa Pig" might prove revolutionary for more queer representation in productions aimed at children in the future.