An online petition to have Bert and Ernie to tie the knot on Sesame Street has sparked discussion on when children should be taught about sexual orientation.
For the uninitiated, Bert and Ernie are two of the more recognizable puppets who appear on the PBS children’s program “Sesame Street.” The pair has been a staple on the program since it first aired in 1969.
Change.org is a website that describes itself as “an online activism platform for social change that raises awareness about important causes and connects people to opportunities for powerful action.” It is utilized primarily, though not exclusively, by liberal causes. There are a variety of problems with Lair’s petition, which has more than 7,500 signatures.
First of all, it assumes Bert and Ernie were created and/or intended to project or promote homosexuality, an assumption Sesame Street strongly denies. In a statement on its Facebook site, Sesame Street insisted its puppets are not intended to have a sexual orientation.
“Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have sexual orientation,” the Sesame Street statement read. The assumptions we make, the conclusions to which we jump, reveal much about our perspective on life, or if you will, the hammers we haul around.
People who sit around and contemplate the sexuality of puppets have way too much time on their hands.