Nina and Blue

How the Blues Clues Pride Song Validates My Queer Adult Self

Families marching so proudly!

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When I decided to come out I expected to have to add homophobic slurs to my ongoing list of ways folks could hate on me (I already had racism, sexism, and fat-shaming on my mental bingo card). I honestly think a lot of us do this. We preemptively try and prepare ourselves for hate, whether it’s because we’ve witnessed it in person, or because we’ve seen a lifetime’s worth of gay-bashing in the media—both fictional and real-life “politicians keep passing discriminatory bills” moments.

What I wasn’t quite ready for was the variety of hate that gets tossed at the queer community. It’s not always a slur or an obvious attempt to set us back several decades, sometimes it’s said under the guise of concern.

One example of that concern? “Won’t somebody think of the children?”

It turns out Blues Clues & You DID think of the children, but as I watched the families marching one by one I realized that this song is very much for me, too.

The parade, hosted by Drag Race alum Nina West, features ten different families participating in a Pride parade. The song is a play on the classic, “The Ants Go Marching,” and celebrates a variety of queer families (and allies) waving around flags and wearing their corresponding colors via clothing and accessories. The parade, as others on Twitter noticed, added incredible details to highlight different identities within the community.

The parade also shows love to other marginalized groups within the queer community.

As many have pointed out, this three-and-a-half-minute segment has provided the most quest representation we’ve seen in a long while – if ever!

So why is this such a big deal to my entirely grown self?

The truth is (as I’m sure the downvotes and comments I won’t read on YouTube indicate) there are people who feel that someone having two mommies or two daddies is too difficult to explain to children. Children are too young to understand it because family dynamics are now the second coming of Calculus. Even the language that’s used to express those worries is needlessly hurtful. Expose? As if a kid seeing a loving household is exposing them to a virus.

We often talk about how this “press R to pearl clutch” mentality is harmful to kids. The kid you’re trying to “protect” might, in fact, be queer, but even if they aren’t queer, they will, 1000%, cross paths with a gay person at some point in their life. Teaching tolerance toward someone who’s different than you is always a positive, and the earlier you spread that message, the better.

You know who else this “avert your eyes, child, because a gay is coming” mentality hurts?

Me and the rest of the adults in this community.

The kind of intolerance that makes people fear my existence because “children are watching” ends up nurturing bigoted adults. Hate like that isn’t something you’re born with, it’s taught, and passed down from generation to generation.

Furthermore, it really makes you question yourself. Like, am I really a danger to kids because I’m gay?

Should I stay away from them?

Should I lie when they ask me who the lady with the matching ring on her finger is? Even if I’ve been with that lady for almost twenty years?

As a Black queer woman who cosplays as characters like Princess Tiana, attends geek conventions, and who does panels on wanting more representation in the media, I don’t think I was prepared for the outright fear some adults have in regards to children being, ugh, exposed to the queer community. I remember it coming up in a Disney fan panel when someone mentioned wanting a queer Disney princess.

“How do I explain that to my kids?”

“Kids don’t need to see something so adult.”

As much as I preach the message of living your truth, the idea that my life, and my work, are too adult for kids stuck with me. As ridiculous as the notion sounded to me, it actually, for a while, WORKED on me. For a while, I didn’t think I could label my literary work as an indie author “young adult” because my characters are queer. I got over it eventually, but that mentality of “queer” automatically meaning “adult” convinces you that your entire lifestyle isn’t for kids, even if that lifestyle is “I’m a writer with a wife and three butthead cats.”

So when I see a children’s program taking the time to have a fun, brightly colored Pride celebration with several identities represented, it shows me that my life isn’t as threatening to younger generations as folks have made it out to be. Sometimes, people are queer, and those people just want to be treated with the same respect that everyone else gets.

Hurrah!

Thanks, Blue.

(Image: Nickelodeon)

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Author
Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)