Created by Frank Oz and Jim Henson in 1969, the puppet characters of Bert and Ernie have been two of the most enduring ambassadors of the cultural phenomenon that is Sesame Street.
The cohabiting couple have widely been assumed to represent two men in a relationship, an assumption that was given further credence recently by writer Mark Saltzman who told media outlets that he wrote scenes for the characters on the basis that they were a couple.
Responding to Saltzman's assertions, the company behind Sesame Street said that Bert and Ernie are not gay, they're just best friends. The company went on to say that Bert and Ernie are puppets, and puppets don't have a sexual orientation.
Does it matter?
It's easy to argue that it doesn't matter whether or not Bert and Ernie are gay. They're lovable characters that have been entertaining children for decades. If they're just best friends, then that's cool.
However, it would be fantastic if Sesame Street was open to the idea of allowing Bert and Ernie to be gay. Even if they weren't originally conceived as a gay couple, imagine how powerful it would be if young queer kids could see two male characters living together in a happy - if slightly dysfunctional - relationship.
Representation matters. Visibility matters. Love matters. Puppets matter.
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