Arthur teacher comes out in children's cartoon series

By Sherie Ryder
BBC UGC hub and Social News

Image source, © 2019 WGBH & PBS KIDS
Image caption,
Some thought Patty (first left) was the bride-to-be, until Mr Ratburn and Patrick appeared

Animation plays a big part in both children's and adults' lives these days - just look at the popularity of online games, TV series such as Paddington, and recent box office hits such as Detective Pikachu.

So when long-running US cartoon series Arthur introduced its first gay wedding, it gained huge traction on social media.

Now on its 22nd series, Arthur is produced by American public-service broadcaster PBS, known for its educational children's broadcasts, and is currently broadcast on CBBC daily at 0700.

In this episode, Arthur, an eight-year-old aardvark, attends his teacher's wedding, along with friends and other teachers, where they anticipate Mr Ratburn's marriage to Patty, a female rat.

The first surprise is that Patty is his sister, and the second, when he walks down the aisle, is that he's with his groom.

In New York, one Twitter user's post highlighting Mr Ratburn's gay marriage, was "liked" more than 112,000 times in 21 hours.

Image source, Twitter

Gamers, animators and fans have shared their congratulations, with comments including: "Love conquers hate," "Welcome out," and "Arthur says, 'Gay rights.'''

While one Twitter user asked why no-one was talking about the fact Patty was also "clearly" gay.

Another Twitter user, an actor, writer and "gay internet person", was clearly happy with the coming out, calling it his "Game of Thrones finale".

Image source, Twitter

One fan of drawing and watching cartoons joined in with a '"Woo-hoo" for featuring gay teachers in children's cartoons.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

But not everyone was impressed with the broadcast. One Twitter user questioned PBS Kids's agenda. And someone on Facebook called it "grooming kids and wrong".

It's not the first time a gay character has been introduced to children's cartoons.

Variety Magazine reported that children's TV network Nickelodeon had featured a "bi-racial" gay couple in its series Loud House in 2016.

And what about the timing of the event? It comes not long after Teacher Appreciation Week in the US, when Arthur PBS tweeted a form encouraging pupils to nominate their favourite teacher, giving its own example of Mr Ratburn.

Image source, @arthurpbs

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