Popular British children’s show ‘Peppa Pig’ has featured its first same-sex couple – two lesbian polar bears – after years of calls for more LGBTQ characters on the show.
In an episode airing on Channel 5 in the UK on Tuesday, Penny the polar bear tells main character Peppa Pig that she has “two mummies” and draws a picture of herself holding hands with them.
“I live with my mom and my other mom,” Penny says in the episode titled “Families.” She adds that one of her mothers is a doctor.
The cartoon, which centers on a 4-year-old piglet and his family, has been translated into 40 languages and released in more than 180 countries and territories, including the United States, according to its production company, Entertainment One. This has been called a “global phenomenon”, although it has also been criticized for reinforcing gender stereotypes by presenting a nuclear family structure with a working father and a stay-at-home mother.
A petition first aired in 2019 calling on the show, which has been on the air for nearly two decades and has won three BAFTA awards, to feature same-sex parents. The application has garnered nearly 25,000 signatures over the past few years.
“Children who watch Peppa Pig are at an impressionable age, and the exclusion of same-sex families will teach them that only families with one parent or two parents of different sexes are normal,” the petition states. “Peppa Pig isn’t just for entertainment, kids inevitably learn from it.”
The new storyline comes amid scrutiny in recent months of LGBTQ representation in other children’s productions. This summer, a number of Muslim-majority countries banned Pixar’s “Toy Story” spin-off “Lightyear” from theaters for a lesbian character kiss. An Oklahoma theater that was showing the film also posted a warning sign in June saying employees would do “everything we can” to move quickly through the scene. On Tuesday, Arab Gulf countries asked Netflix to remove any “offensive content”, appearing to refer to programs with LGBTQ characters.
A representative for Entertainment One could not be reached for comment, and License to PR, the public relations firm listed for “Peppa Pig,” did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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