Updated on December 10, 2021
LGBTQ characters have appeared in adult-oriented Western TV cartoons for some years now, largely dating back to the 90s and characters like Smithers in “The Simpsons.” However, the 2010s saw a number of LGBTQ characters start to appear in cartoons aimed at kids.
Below’s a list of some such characters. Note the examples here are fewer versus kids’ comics—it’s still early days for kids’ TV.
I’m limiting this list to Western animation. Examples also must be clearly depicted on-screen as openly LGBTQ characters (not: stated as such after the show’s cancellation; vague references or innuendo; stereotypes; etc.).
A season 22 episode that aired in 2019 revealed that A) the kids’ teacher Mr. Ratburn is gay, and B) he’s marrying another man. See my previous post about this episode.
Cartoon Network, 2010-2018
Similar to “Korra” below, the show finally confirmed two of the characters’ sexualities (Marcella the Vampire Queen and Princess Bubblegum) in its series finale. Fortunately, the show has its own comic spin-off.
“The Legend of Korra”
“Korra” ran on Nickelodeon as a sequel to 2000s series “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” Similar to “Adventure Time,” the show’s series finale finally allowed its star to openly show her affection toward another female character. Fortunately, this is followed up on in the currently-published comics based on the show.
Disney Junior, 2012-present
A fourth season “Doc McStuffins” episode, “Emergency Plan,” taught viewers about how to prepare a household for an emergency (such as a fire or earthquake). The household here is a dollhouse, in which live the Doll family—two women, Thea and Edie, and their two children.
Disney XD, 2012-2016
In yet another series finale revelation (hmm…), “Gravity Falls” confirmed two supporting characters, Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland, were in love with each other.
Cartoon Network, 2013-present
“Steven Universe” has featured same-sex relationships. The most prominent one is Garnet, the permanent fusion of two Gems named Ruby and Sapphire who’re in love with each other.
Cartoon Network, 2014-2018
Clarence‘s friend Jeff has two Moms, named EJ and Sue.
“The Loud House”
Lincoln Loud‘s best friend, Clyde, has two Dads, Howard and Harold McBride. There’s also Lincoln’s sister Luna, who’s shown attraction to boys and girls. Luna’s interest in the latter formed the focus of a whole episode, about an ambiguously worded love letter.
“Danger & Eggs”
Amazon Video, 2017
“Danger & Eggs” is a series released in 2017 on Amazon Video about two best friends, adventurous Danger and a cautious, anthropomorphic egg named Phillip. The season finale is set at a Pride festival.
“She-Ra and the Princess of Power”
In the Netflix reboot of the classic “She-Ra” series, we get to meet Bo’s Dads late in season two. It’s made hilariously clear where Bo gets some of his personality from.
“The Bravest Knight”
“The Bravest Knight” is a spin-off of the book and animated short “The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived.” The series features the adventures of Sir Cedric, a former pumpkin farmer-turned-knight who meets and eventually marries Prince Andrew.
The series features the couple raising a daughter, Nia, who’s also in training to become a knight. Cedric teaches Nia various moral lessons by telling stories about his childhood (seen via most-of-the-episode flashbacks). This reminds me of the set-up for the earlier seasons of Nelvana’s “Babar” series.
“Rainbow Flag” by nathanmac87 is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Flickr / cropped from original)