Chicago musician and gay rights activist Lair Scott uploaded a petition on Change.org the other day, suggesting beloved Sesame Street regulars Bert and Ernie should come out as gay. That’s it.
He didn’t demand they get married. (“We would like PBS and Sesame Street to allow them to live as a gay couple and maybe eventually, marry.”)
He wasn’t representing HRC or Equality Illinois—and certainly not the larger the LGBT community on any official scale. The petition is not endorsed by… well, anyone.
Scott didn’t even spellcheck the darn thing.
So why did Time, ABC news, CBS Miami, New York Daily News, Huffington Post, Good Day New York, Queerty (yea, we’ll call ourselves out) and dozens of other major news outlets report the crap out of this non-story? And why did Sesame Workshop feel the need to send out a press release statement clarifying Bert and Ernie as “best friends” with “no sexual orientation.”
Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress writes, “I think it’s actively unhelpful to gay and straight men alike to perpetuate the idea that all same-sex roommates, be they puppet or human, must necessarily be a gay couple… Having close, affectionate friendships with another man doesn’t mean that you two are sleeping together.”
Wow, you are thinking into this waaay too much.
Maybe it’s been a slow news week (not really) or maybe this nugget fit too perfectly with the many real marriage-equality stories. Or maybe the media just wants to scare parents (always good for circulation).
But with about 1,300 signatures as of August 12th at 2:55 EST, the petition isn’t exactly reaching critical mass. Children are hardly in danger of being entranced in a mirror ball haze of homosexuality the way the mainstream outlets would have you believe. (Then again, ABC News claimed yesterday that it was at 1,600 signatures. Liars.) And of course the anti-gay cronies are jumping all over this as a prime example of the ever-threatening gay agenda. (The Christian Post inflates the number to 4,000 signatures—won’t somebody think of the children?!?)
The point is, this is a non-story. Maybe Scott was foolish or wrongheaded to make such a suggestion—but are we going to censor ourselves for fear the religious right might jump on our every musing?
Every additional word we write about this story makes us feel like hypocrites, so we’ll end it with this:
Don’t we have better things to squawk about?