Top 10 Openly Gay Characters of Childhood Fiction (that we never noticed were gay)

You ever notice as a kid that there were some characters who were a little off?  You noticed little things about them that made you think that they were different.  Then, as you get older you look back and you realize – I get it!  Not all of these character decisions were intentional.  I doubt that we will ever know which ones are and which ones aren’t.  Some of these characters are old, some are new.  This is all interpretation, and you may see my interpretation as wrong.  Feel free to argue with me, if you are of a mind to.  I would welcome the debate.  These are the top 10 characters who, with all the character I saw in them, said one thing to me – they are SO gay!

Prince John10. Prince John
Robin Hood
Before you say that the fact that this guy is an effeminate character does not make him gay – I know!  I am not going after him just because he is a flaming queen.  I am going after him because he is a flaming queen and he’s SO married to his sidekick, Hiss.  Listen to the dialogue between those two and they such a married couple!  It’s almost funny how they sound like a middle-aged and constantly arguing husband and wife, with Prince John as the beaten-down husband and Hiss as the nagging wife who is constantly belittling him for his actions.  Their fights seem like they are married, their dialogue sounds like something two married couples have and aside from the fact that they almost never seem to have any resolution, they get on like a middle-aged couple.  So yeah, these two are married, plain and simple.

Pinky and the Brain9. Brain and Pinky
Pinky and the Brain
Remember all the reasons I listed for why Prince John and Hiss are a married couple?  Well, double that for these two.  Just like them, Brain and Pinky have the dynamic of an older married couple.  There is one crucial difference – there is affection between them.  There are times when Brain actually hurts Pinky’s feelings and goes out of his way to make up for it.  Granted, he also treats him like nothing more than a pain in his ass sometimes, but he still does try and do right by his mate.  It’s not cool enough for it to be friendship.  They have little report in that area.  But it does feel real in respect to what married couples do.  Also, there is emotional intimacy between them.  Pinky feels for Brain constantly and consistently wishes to make him happy, even to his own detriment.  It’s the level of compassion from his would-be husband that makes Pinky wish to be a kinder partner to him.

Ingrid Third8. Ingrid Third
Much like someone much higher on the list, this character and her orientation became clear to me once I actually thought about it.  First, Ingrid is consistently the outcast in her school.  They make it out to be the fact that she wears all black and seems to do her own thing.  However, there are a lot of little subtle clues that that isn’t what it is about.  First, whereas you see Filmore and many other characters who have romantic attachments to various other characters, Ingrid never seems to do that.  In fact, she is very detached from other students, romantically.  One could argue that she has a thing for Filmore, but I don’t think so.  The first sign of attraction is in the episode where she goes undercover in the club the Red Robins.  The leader of the organization becomes a mentor to her, and you do see the two of them emotionally bond.  There are points where it almost feels romantic.  It’s written all over Ingrid’s face that she has feelings for someone that she knows she has to betray.  So yeah, I doubt that it was intentional on the part of the people who made the show, but there it is.

Princess Bubblegum and Marceline7. Princess Bubblegum and Marceline
Adventure Time
Now, this is a somewhat controversial choice, given all the argument that has been made about it.  For my own part, I watched the episodes that people believe hinted at these two characters having a deeper connection than just friends, and I gotta say – there is a definite argument to be made.  Much like the rest of the show, it isn’t shoved in your face what you should believe.  This series is known for letting viewers come to their own conclusion about what all the madness means, and the relationship between these two was no exception.  If you disagree, I understand.  For a show that seems to be about madness and a lack of logic, this make just as much sense as the rest.  Still, I agree with those who say that there was something between these two.

Season 2 - Bubble buddy 007 (15)6. Squidward
Spongebob Square Pants
This was a hard choice.  I could have just as easily gone with Spongebob and Patrick.  Cthulhu knows that they certainly do look and act like a couple.  However, the one who I believe was openly gay was Squidward.  There is probably no more miserable character in children’s television, with the exception of Eeyore.  Squidward hates pretty much everybody and doesn’t have any desire to get outside of his little world.  This implies that something has crawled up his ass pretty far.  I think it is him having to live in something of a closet.  He wants to be as open as his neighbor and his life-partner, but can’t.  He isn’t brave enough to face who he really is.  It doesn’t help that he is also stuck in a job he hates and has a neighbor who is an insane lunatic from the asylum.  So yeah, lot of stuff going on up in that head.  Gotta wonder how he keeps it together.

Sulu5. Sulu
Star Trek
Now, before I talk about this, let me say that this is NOT because the actor George Takei is gay.  Not at all!  This has nothing to do with real-life connection.  What it does have to do with is the fact that this guy is such a flaming queen in the series.  I mean, for real, WHO can watch the scene where he is fencing without a shirt on and not think – wow is that guy gay!  Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with it.  But still, totally blatant.  Not to mention – in a series that was all about talking about culturally harsh issues, like when Kirk kisses a black woman on national television (which was a HUGE thing back in the day).  Maybe they were quietly talking about gayness as well.  Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised, but that’s just me.

Luna Lovegood4. Luna Lovegood
Harry Potter
Much like Ingrid Third, this is a character who I came to realize what was her business when I really thought about it.  And it is rather complicated.  Much like the girl herself, nothing is simple.  Part of the reason that I like her character so much.  But think about this – Luna is perpetually bullied by almost the entirety of the student body.  Her stuff is consistently stolen and she is ostracized by the student body at large.  The books say that this is because she is kind of odd, but does it make sense to you that she would get as much abuse as she does simply because she’s different?  Doesn’t make much sense to me.  Then some of the blanks started filling in.  First – she shows absolutely no interest in guys.  She gets excited when Harry asks her to Slughorn’s party, but that is simply because a friend has never asked her to do anything.  Ever.  She has almost no friends, except those she made in Dumbledore’s Army.  She also forms a close bond with Neville (who I also suspect of being gay, which could make sense why they are friends – both of them get each other).  What’s more, Hogwart’s education is terrible.  They are being taught a 15th century form of education.  Who’s to say that they don’t have that mentality as well?  I mean, how many kids are openly gay there anyway?  It makes sense when you think about it critically.  Say that I’m over-analyzing, but I think I’m on to something here.  Of course, I am only talking about the novel versions of this character.  The films totally effed her up!

Shang3. Shang
When I posed this idea to people, I got a surprising amount of negative feedback.  Maybe it’s because it’s a Disney film and people don’t want the primary love interest to not work out.  But come on, people!  First, Shang was starting to form a romantic attachment to Ping.  He had no idea that it was Mulan posing as him.  Sure, as far as guys go, he’s an effeminate guy, but Shang still saw her as a man.  And he was becoming romantically drawn to him.  It really isn’t a stretch to believe that part of the reason that he became when he found out that she is a woman is because he now was incredibly confused.  If he already knew he was gay, then he is left to wonder what his orientation really is.  If he didn’t, then he is still equally confused, but with a self-loathing side that might now be blaming himself for wanting a man.  Either way, this isn’t me pulling at strings.  It’s all right there.

Dumbledore2. Albus Dumbledore
Harry Potter (series)
This one seems like a given, right?  On the one hand, JK Rowling said that he was gay, so we could just take her word for it.  But let’s look a little deeper than that.  In-text, it is pretty clear that he is totally gay.  For starters, he has never had a wife, and shows no interest in getting one.  And if you think about what I said in respect to Luna, if my theory is correct and the LGBT community hasn’t gained large-scale acceptance within the wizarding community, he may have faced just as much persecution because of it.  Were it not for his contributions to the community and his status among them, he might not have gotten anywhere near as far as he did.  Plus, when you see him bond with Harry, especially when he’s older, and Dumbledore can see some of himself in Harry.  Did you ever notice how he never, and I do mean never, asks Harry about his love life?  The two talk about relationships between random characters, but often Dumbledore seems like an outsider to it, like the loves that other characters have are a mystery to him.  Always in mysteries, Dumbledore kept even his romances close.

And the top character(s) who we all never noticed was gay is…

Bert and Ernie1. Bert and Ernie
Sesame Street
These two are the oldest gay couple on television.  That is a fact!  I don’t suppose I have to go into what makes them a gay couple.  I mean, you’ve seen Prince John and Hiss, Brain and Pinky.  Just like them, these two are like two married couple who is well into middle age.  Ernie is much more youthful than Bert.  You can almost see the two of them having a much wilder history that at some point Bert grew out of, yet Ernie retained.  Despite the overwhelming differences between them, their love stays strong mostly due to the level of dedication that both of them put into the relationship.  While Ernie is the more outgoing of the two, Bert still has his romantic moments where he tries to be kind to his husband.  Say what you will, but it’s hard to deny the fact that these two are a gay couple, and have been for a LONG time.

So, any other openly gay characters you grew up with who you didn’t notice until you got older?  Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time, a quote,

“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”  -Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Peace out,