Dear Nickelodeon, Thank You For Your Depiction Of LGBTQ Parents
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Recently, you aired an episode of “The Loud House” that featured married, gay, interracial parents. And you did it in a way that totally screamed “NBD.”
Because, quite frankly, it didn’t need to be a big deal. Research suggests there could be up to 14 million children in the United States who have a gay parent. There are LGBTQ people everywhere. We can get married just like everyone else. And guess what: We can have children and build families, too!
Sure, as you can see in this clip, the character Lincoln Loud does announce that it’s “time to make history” before opening the door, behind which wait his friend Clyde and Clyde’s parents Harold and Howard (voiced by Wayne Brady and Michael McDonald).
The history-making moment, though, is the way the parents are presented.
There’s no joke or mention of the fact that Clyde has two dads. Instead, the humor comes from how over-protective the dads are.
Remember Clyde, no nuts, no gluten, no sugar, and be careful with orange juice! You know how you get with pulp.
Get it? They’re just like any other modern parents.
I’d like to personally thank Nickelodeon for making this episode, and portraying gay parents as absolutely, totally, 100% normal.
Nothing to see here, just two loving, caring adults, raising a child together.
I think it’s incredible that I’m fortunate enough to live in an age in which children’s cartoons show realistic LGBTQ families. Having gay parents doesn’t need to define a child any more than being gay defines an individual.
I’m a writer, I’m a husband, I was raised by caring parents, and I just happen to be gay. My pride in being a member of the LGBTQ community is definitely part of me, but it doesn’t define me.
My husband and I plan to adopt one day, and I often worry about how it might be different for our child to have two dads. I worry that kids might pick on, tease, or bully our child about having gay parents.
Seeing clips from children’s shows where being gay is presented as a totally normal thing gives me hope.
Granted, Nickelodeon isn’t the first children’s network to include members of the LGBTQ community. And hopefully it won’t be the last, but this particular episode of “The Loud House” really struck me.
Because after opening his front door, Lincoln says, “Hi, Mr. McBride. Hi, Mr. McBride.”
No, my name isn’t Mr. McBride. But I am a Mr. Jedeikin, and it’s a last name I share with my husband. Part of the reason I changed my name when I got married was so that my family, including our future child, could all share the same last name.
It warms my heart imagining that one day, my husband and I will be dropping off our future child at a friend’s sleepover, and upon opening the door, the friend will say, “Hi, Mr. Jedeikin. Hi, Mr. Jedeikin.”
Unfortunately, although marriage equality is law of the land, it doesn’t appear that everyone in this country shares my appreciation for this particular episode.
While scrolling through tweets that mention the episode, I was surprised by how many negative reactions I saw. “My child is no longer allowed to watch Nickelodeon,” “stop corrupting our youth,” or “I don’t want to have to have a conversation with my child about gay people.”
The thing is, the way the couple is presented, unless someone draws attention to the fact that the parents are both men, it’s unlikely a small child would even notice.
The truth is that parents won’t be forced to have any conversation with their child about LGBTQ rights or diversity, because the kid most likely won’t think anything of the momentary appearance of an interracial, gay married couple in their cartoon show. They’ll think that Clyde and his parents are just another regular family.
Perhaps, a decade or two from now, it will be those children having conversations with their parents about how the world has evolved beyond racism and bigotry.
Thank you, Nickelodeon, for contributing to progress.
I’m sure you’re probably being flooded with complaints from people who want us LGBTQ families to disappear, but I, for one, appreciate what you’ve done.
I haven’t watched a show on your network for years, and to be honest, I hadn’t heard of “The Loud House” before this week. But I’ll remember it, because it’s the type of children’s programming I’ll watch with David’s and my child one day.