Cartoon Network’s “Steven Universe” (from the same brilliant minds behind “Adventure Time”) has been celebrated for its depiction of LGBT characters — including a loving lesbian couple (who create a badass warrior when fused together because cartoons).
However, the show’s fans are not at all happy with Cartoon Network U.K.’s decision to alter a scene in their broadcasts by “censoring queer content.” So, they created a petition to try and change the network’s mind.
In the original broadcast, the scene shows two characters (Pearl and Rose Quartz) who are, for all intents and purposes both female, sharing an intimate and, dare we say it, romantic dance together. Without going too much into different interpretations of canon, it’s been widely interpreted as a moment that confirms a queer attraction (albeit an unrequited one) between the two.
Yet, the U.K broadcast replaces that dance with a few zoomed in frames of another character’s face — although other friendly (if a lil bit amorous) dance moves did make the cut. The writers of the Change.org petition argue that removing this warm (and totally age-appropriate) display of affection between lady characters sends a harmful message to the countless LGBT youth who would benefit from seeing even an echo of representation.
“I didn’t feel comfortable coming out as bisexual until I was 30 years old,” one comment under the petition reads. “…And a big reason I waited so long was because I spent my entire childhood in a world where representation of anything other than the heteronormative didn’t exist. ’Steven Universe’ gave me the courage to embrace who I really am and it’s the type of media I wish I had access to growing up. Queer kids DESERVE representation. This. Is. IMPORTANT.”
Citing a successful french petition against censoring a LGBT couple on the show, the writers ask that the network have a change of heart for the sake of those kids: “I know you don’t want to be seen as saying it’s wrong or dirty to be queer. When viewers raised concerns about homophobic censorship in the French translation of ’Stronger Than You’, CN France listened and changed it,” the petition reads. “Please ask CN U.K. to stop censoring queer content in ’Steven Universe’, and to restore Pearl and Rose’s dance in future broadcasts in the UK and Europe.”