Would It Matter To You If They Were?

The week would not be complete if we did not address the madness that has been the subject of Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street. The subject of the puppets’ sexuality has everyone talking and a few folks arguing over whether it would matter if the beloved characters were homosexuals.

All of the talk surrounding Bert and Ernie goes back to a candid conversation that Mark Saltzman, who wrote several storylines for the puppets during the 80s and 90s, has with Queerty. The creator revealed that much of his inspiration for the subjects came from the notion of Bert and Ernie being more than just pals.


“I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked ‘are Bert and Ernie lovers,'” Saltzman explained. “I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert and Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them.”

Of course, the notion of Sesame Street promoting homosexuality did not sit well with some groups. Such may be the reason why Sesame Workshop quickly released a statement that clarified Bert and Ernie’s relationship as nothing more than good friends.

“Bert and Ernie are best friends,” the statement read. “They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male and possess many human traits and characteristics, they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Sesame Street drama regarding Bert and Ernie, aside from Sesame Workshop quickly releasing a statement that firmly regarded the puppets as friends only, is the fact that Mark Saltzman never said that the characters were in a same-sex relationship. The creator simply said that Bert and Ernie were lovers. The term, “lover” can be defined in many ways. The mere fact that the majority of society immediately went to the aspect of sexuality upon getting wind of Mark writing Bert and Ernie as lovers, or close partners, is quite interesting.

BCK Asks: What do you think? Would it matter if Bert and Ernie were an item instead of just best friends? Do you think that Sesame Workshop is missing a teachable moment?



Sarie is a writer and editor for BCK's Los Angeles division. She also shares stories on Medium that are meant to encourage thought and discussion. You can catch her outside enjoying nature and classical literature. Pop culture is pretty fun, too!

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