The depiction of LGBTQ+ characters on television has made quite some progress over the years. As mentioned in one of my previous posts, the organization GLAAD releases a Network Responsibility Index(NRI). The NRI grades television networks based on how much LGBTQ+ content is aired on television. For example, television networks like FOX have been graded an “A” in terms of how much LGBT content is shown. FOX,however, was known to receive a failing grade over the last two years since there was a minimal amount of LGBT content being broadcasted. Even though television networks are broadcasting story arcs that center around LGBTQ+ characters, opposition towards certain television networks has become apparent.
Some may argue that the censorship of LGBTQ+ content is appropriate due to the “fact” that LGBTQ+ content is unsuitable for children. An article written by author Lianne Laurence titled “Warning to Parents: Pro-Gay Cartoons On the Rise,” illustrates the kind of opposition that LGBTQ+ inclusivity meets. The article claims that children are not “equipped to handle these adult themes.” Laurence carries a very ignorant tone throughout the article, referencing television shows like Legend of Korra, Clarence, or Steven Universe as examples of shows depicting “adult themes.” Laurence firmly believes that preventing children from watching television shows with LGBTQ+ content will somehow taint their mentality. Laurence uses Jeff Johnston, an issues analyst for Focus on the Family, as a witness to further emphasize her point. She quotes Johnston himself and states:
“Someone who himself struggled as a young Christian man with same-sex attraction and sex addiction before experiencing healing, Johnston emphasized that ‘television shows…introduce children to falsehoods and immorality…Children are not equipped to handle these adult themes.'”
Unfortunately, some television viewers have the same mindset, and thus, encourage others to boycott or even censor certain television broadcasts.
An incident occurred in the UK in which an episode of popular television show Steven Universe was briefly censored. In the episode titled “We Need to Talk” an intimate moment between Gems Rose Quartz and Pearl–two Gems with female attributes and pronouns– was censored because the content shown was supposedly inappropriate. In a statement released by Cartoon Network UK, a spokesperson claimed that the content was censored in order to produce content that is a “slightly edited version [that] is more comfortable for local kids and their parents.”