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LGBTQ+ Representation in Children’s Media: A Brief Guide

Updated: Feb 12

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When children see characters like themselves reflected on screen, it helps them feel accepted, valued, and comfortable with who they are. Having LGBTQ+ characters appear in children's stories living normal lives—falling in love, having fun adventures, and experiencing ups and downs—shows kids that all people deserve respect and equality.


Recent years have brought more queer representation to kids' TV shows and movies. By weaving queer characters organically into stories in ways both big and small, these shows are validating LGBTQ+ identities and experiences for young viewers.


Examples of Queer Representation


Nimona (Netflix)

This animated film based on Noelle Stevenson's comic features a genderfluid shapeshifter as the protagonist. Nimona's fluidity is treated as normal and not called out specifically. The story explores themes of found family and being true to yourself.



The Owl House (Disney)

This animated fantasy series has a bisexual main character, Luz, who shows interest in male and female characters throughout the show. The series also includes gay supporting characters and same-sex couples.



The Bravest Knight (Hulu)

Based on Daniel Errico's children's book, this series follows the story of Sir Cedric marrying Prince Andrew. Together, they raise their adopted daughter, Violet, teaching her lessons about confronting stereotypes, overcoming obstacles, and being true to herself.


Power Rangers Dino Fury (Nickelodeon/Netflix)

The long-running live-action TV franchise featured its first gay Black Power Ranger in 2022. Keeper's identity is revealed casually, reinforcing themes of inclusion and accepting yourself and others.


Doc McStuffins (Disney Junior)

This award-winning preschool show featured a family with two moms in an episode in 2014, which was groundbreaking LGBTQ representation for young kids at the time.


Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts (Netflix)

The lead character, Kipo, is gay, and her relationship with another female character is treated as perfectly normal through the post-apocalyptic fantasy series. The show features a racially diverse cast as well.



Other Notable examples include Steven Universe (Cartoon Network), Danger & Eggs (Amazon Prime), Adventure Time: Distant Lands (HBO Max), and The Baby-Sitters Club (Netflix).


Seeing this representation is a change from even a decade ago. And while there's more progress to be made, this wave of inclusivity in children's programming says to kids everywhere: no matter who you are or who you love, you deserve to feel accepted for your true self.


 

Discussing with your family

Discussing representation in thoughtful ways can help kids build empathy, think critically, and appreciate diversity. Here are some conversation starters for families:


  • What did you like about [character]? What do you have in common?

  • Do you think [character] was treated fairly? Why or why not?

  • Did this show challenge any assumptions you had about [identity]? What surprised you?


What other kinds of people would you like to see represented in movies and TV? Keep the conversation age appropriate. With younger kids, focus on relatability and fair treatment. With teens, dig deeper into assumptions, stereotypes, and pushing for change.


Exposing kids to diverse stories and perspectives helps build a more just, compassionate world. By engaging critically with the media together, we can raise socially conscious children proud of who they are.


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