As far as politics and social agendas go, I tend to keep my two cents to myself. The people in charge seem to be doing mighty fine job of mucking everything up and there’s a long of line of others waiting for their shot to “fix” things. So when word that a petition on change.org to “Let Bert & Ernie Get Married On Sesame Street,” my mind instantly ran across all of the jokes I’ve heard – and told – about the lifelong friends. Afterward, I began to ponder if Bert & Ernie are even gay on the show. Given the day and age we live in, I wasn’t about to rule it out, but the closest I’ve come to seeing Sesame Street lately are the mash-ups that surface here periodically. After checking Wikipedia, it seems that Bert & Ernie officially are just friends and roommates.
So where did this all come from?
The petition, started by Lair Scott from Illinois, reasons the following statements:
In this horrific age of LGBT kids taking their own lives, they need to know that they ARE BEAUTIFUL and their lives are worth living. Aside from those that are committing suicide, the bullies that facilitate these tragedies need to learn that homophobia is NOT okay. They need to know that acceptance of their fellow human beings would indeed plant a seed of peace that will reverberate throughout the world. We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful. Only that they allow Bert & Ernie to marry or even add a transgender character to the show. It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different. Let Sesame Street and PBS Kids be a big part in saving many worthy lives.
Death under any circumstances other than natural causes is unfortunate and bullying is a problem all around, but this isn’t the way to address these problems. It may be the best way to garner media attention, seeing how large the Sesame Street name is.
As far as effectiveness goes, it remains to be seen how this would help. I’m not a child psychologist or an educator yet is seems as if the target audience of Sesame Street viewers is too young to be introduced to the concept of being homosexual or transgender. Teach them to treat everyone equally and that everyone has to right make their own choices. After they master the broad concepts, the specifics can be learned later on. Kids grow up fast enough these days and there’s no reason to speed up the process anymore.