Are Bert and Ernie gay and does it matter?


See-ming Lee

Photo by See-Ming Lee via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.

Recently there has been a conversation surrounding the beloved Sesame Street friends Bert and Ernie. The idea of Bert and Ernie being gay has been around since the show first aired in 1969, but the discussion really picked up after a writer Mark Saltzer made a comment about it in an interview.

“I don’t think I’d know how else to write them but as a loving couple,” Saltzer said.

Sesame Street made a response following the uproar after Mark Saltzers tweet.

Sesame Street responded in a tweet, “As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends.  They were created to teach preschoolers about friendship.”

The sexual orientation of the two Muppet pals is not relevant when the target audience is less than six years old.

Sesame Street finished their tweet saying, “Even though they are identified as male characters and posses many human traits and characteristics, they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”   

This response from Sesame Street had some people up in arms, claiming that plenty of muppets have sexual orientations and are in relationships.  The question being asked is, why can’t Bert and Ernie be in a relationship?

Sesame Street is not trying to offend anyone with this tweet, simply informing that the two characters are not gay. Bert and Ernie in this context seem like just another way for people to get offended.

Journalist Elizabeth Simins writing for The Verge is as going as far to say that heterosexuality is seen as neutral and harmless, while queerness of all varieties is considered obscene.  Claiming that is why Sesame Street is not willing to admit to the characters being gay. Sesame Street is merely claiming that the two are not gay; it has nothing to do with how they would be perceived.  

The relationship between the two should not be made a sexual relationship, although a writer described the two had an intimate relationship sesame street confirmed that the two are in fact just friends.