Should Bert and Ernie come out as gay? | The Tylt

Should Bert and Ernie come out as gay?

It's been speculated for years that Bert and Ernie from "Sesame Street" are a gay couple. Former writer Mark Saltzman seemed to argue the roommates are more than friends in an interview with film editor Arnold Glassman. He later said his comments were misinterpreted. "Sesame Street" insits Bert and Ernie are just best friends. But some believe "Sesame Street" should allow the two to come out and teach kids about positive LGBTQ relationships. So, should Bert and Ernie come out?

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Frank Oz, the creator of the characters, pushed back on fans calling Bert and Ernie a gay couple. He didn't create them to be gay, so he says they are not. But he received backlash from Twitter fans for taking ownership over the characters whom Mark Saltzman wrote for years. 

Oz's critics also argued the importance of diversity and representation of gay characters in children's programming, proclaiming that fans have viewed Bert and Ernie as a gay couple for a long time. The Advocate's Daniel Reynolds wrote about why Bert and Ernie should come out:

Yet as lovers of film history and Vito Russo's The Celluloid Closet know, there were no characters "created queer" in Hollywood for decades, thanks to the Production Code's antigay censorship guidelines. Their identities were coded — and not always confirmed after-the-fact by the actors who portrayed them. For example, actor Charlton Heston denied there was a gay subtext in Ben-Hur, despite critical interpretation to the contrary. Likewise, The Odd Couple's Oscar and Felix — a precursor to Bert and Ernie — may never have marched hand-in-hand in a Pride parade, yet they were notable for their queer subtext in the closeted '70s era.
Children's entertainment is arguably still in a hangover from the Production Code era. The absence of any clearly gay characters in the Disney canon is a testament to how studios are still reluctant to introduce obviously LGBTQ characters to young viewers — even though new research indicates a "sizable" number of children who identify as queer long before reaching adolescence. However, Disney films are also filled with gender-nonconforming characters who have been interpreted as queer by critics and internet memes alike, and some have seen an allegory for the AIDS crisis in Beauty and the Beast.
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But not only has Oz confirmed they are not gay, but the show also argues they are just best friends. Some critics argue that straight, or asexual, characters should not be retroactively be labeled gay. New gay characters should just be created. The show's statement is below:

"They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves," the statement said. "Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits, and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets and do not have a sexual orientation."
FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Should Bert and Ernie come out as gay?
#BeProudBertAndErnie
A festive crown for the winner
#OnlyBestFriends