‘Sesame Street’ Goes All-In for Pride Month: ‘Happy Pride! Elmo Loves You’

@SesameStreet/Twitter, Edit: BNN

The iconic children’s TV series Sesame Street is all-in for “Pride Month” this June, with a series of social media posts encouraging its audience to celebrate LGBTQQIAAP2S+ identities.

The first “pride” post from Thursday featured queer actress Ariana DeBose, who won an Oscar for her role in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake, in a video in which she explained the show’s annual liturgy.

“Hi! Elmo and I wanted to share that everyone is always welcome on Sesame Street,” DeBose said. “This month and every month, we want to uplift and celebrate our LGBTQIA+ family, friends, and communities.” Elmo added, “From our Sesame Street family to yours, happy pride. Elmo loves you.”

The caption read, “Everyone is always welcome on Sesame Street. Let’s celebrate LGBTQIA+ people in our communities this Pride and every day! Happy #PrideMonth.”

The show’s choice of the “LGBTQIA+” acronym excludes several Pride identities. The presence of only one “Q” and “A” can mean Sesame Street neglected either “queer” or “questioning” people — or “allies” or “asexual” people, respectively. Further, the lack of “P” for pansexuals and “2S” for two-spirit identities could be seen as problematic among the identitarian left; the omission of “2S” particularly could be seen as an act of Indigenous erasure.

The LGBTQQIAAP2S+ tributes was not done yet, either, as on Friday, Sesame Street added a second “pride” post, reading “This #PrideMonth, let’s celebrate diversity and unity and spread love and acceptance. Together, we can make the world a kinder place for all.”

The Sesame Street series has generally been targeted at children aged three to five years. This is not the first time it paid tribute to the Pride gods. In June 2021, the series made a point to introduce a gay couple for “family day.”

Sesame Street has always been a welcoming place of diversity and inclusion,” series host Alan Muraok — who is gay — wrote at the time. “So I’m so excited to introduce Nina’s Brother Dave, his husband Frank, and their daughter Mia to our sunny street. Our Family Day episode drops today on HBOMax and on YouTube.”

In 2018, Mark Saltzman, a longtime writer for the hit children’s television show, claimed that the characters Bert and Ernie were “always” written as a gay “loving couple.” However, the series later walked back the writer’s proclamations.

The cultural juggernaut has taken up LGBTQQIAAP2S+ “representation” outside of “Pride” month, as well. For instance, the series also welcomed cross-dressing actor Billy Porter to the show wearing his Oscars tuxedo dress in 2020.

That same year, the series also put on a half-hour show teaching kids how to be “antiracist.” The special urged children to call out others who they suspect of being racist.

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