LGBTQ+ representation in animated media gets more and more visible each day. Gay cartoon characters have appeared in Gravity Falls and The Legend of Korra, to name a few. But in the same way art imitates life, potentially closeted cartoon characters also face the scrutiny of being labeled "other" or "different" by the worlds they inhabit. The animated world proves to be just as difficult to navigate as the physical one, and secretly gay cartoon characters must traverse their own unsteady paths as well. When you think about it, though, the cartoon world provides a fantastic place for potentially gay characters to be introduced, as the wonder and adventure of these worlds provide a vibrant, engaging canvas for children to learn about important topics.
The possibly gay cartoon characters below may not even really be hiding it; they might have just never confirmed it either. Some of the younger characters here likely might not even realize it yet. Not all are gay role models, but many do offer viewers the chance to see someone they identify with. And while speculating on a real person's sexuality is not something you should ever do, guessing about a fictional character may add new facets to characters you thought you knew so well.
Mr. SimmonsPhoto: Hey Arnold! / Nickelodeon
Hey Arnold! was often praised for its smartness when it was on the air, and this extended to its inclusion. Mr. Simmons, Arnold's kindly fourth-grade teacher, loved his job and encouraged healthy inquisitiveness in his pupils.
In the episode "Arnold's Thanksgiving," it became obvious that, in addition to teaching, Robert Simmons also loved an eyebrow-raising, red-wine-drinking man named Peter. Though it's never explicit in the show, their romantic relationship was confirmed by series creator Craig Bartlett.4,7041,677Agree?
- Photo: DC Comics
Harley Quinn is now canonically bisexual since making the jump to comics. But, before she freed herself from "Mistah J," she found herself stuck firmly in the closet in Batman: The Animated Series. The show featured tons of "censor decoys," and one that raised a lot of eyebrows was Harley's close bond with Poison Ivy.
Both characters are known for using their sensuality to their advantage, and this portrayal, combined with their obvious affection for one another, led many viewers to believe the pair probably enjoyed a friendship with benefits.7,0363,080Agree?
- Video: YouTube
Shego, the sultry, husky-voiced henchwoman to Kim Possible's emotionally unstable villain Doctor Drakken, often appeared capable of running the world all by herself.
But, in addition to essentially serving as Kim's shadowy counterpart, a lot of fans thought the two female characters' tussles were charged with a lot more than just animosity. And doesn't it make sense that Kim would end up with an equally badass partner rather than a bumbling klutz like Ron?
Furthermore, Shego's powers emerged after she was hit by a rainbow comet. That's pretty overt.7,0973,217Agree?
Ren And StimpyPhoto: The Ren & Stimpy Show / Nickelodeon
Arguably, this cat and dog duo never hid an openly gay lifestyle. Not only did they live together, but they slept in the same bed too. Though they weren't exactly lovey-dovey with each other like many couples, Ren and Stimpy always undercut their physical closeness with a healthy dose of weirdness.
Creator John Kricfalusi has acted a little cagey about confirming or denying the couple's relationship status in the past: "I don't know whether they're gay or not. That's their own business." His later work on Ren and Stimpy's Adult Party Cartoon, however, might suggest otherwise.4,9712,285Agree?