Cartoon Network took a big leap forward when it comes to LGBTQ representation in children’s cartoon programming with the most recent episode of “Steven Universe.” The animated series’ July 4 episode, “The Question,” included a same-sex marriage proposal between two female characters, Ruby and Sapphire.
“Steven Universe” creator Rebecca Sugar had teased the groundbreaking episode before it aired on Twitter, writing, “The all new ‘Steven Universe’ episodes this week were years in the making, please, PLEASE do not miss these!”
The episode, the 21st installment of the show’s fifth season, included a storyline in which Ruby realized her love for Sapphire. Ruby ended up asking for Sapphire’s hand in marriage. “This way we can be together even when we’re apart,” Ruby said.
The same-sex marriage proposal is one of the more groundbreaking moments for LGBTQ representation in children’s cartoon programming. Shows such as Disney XD’s “Star vs. the Forces of Evil” have depicted a gay kiss in the past, while Nickelodeon’s “The Legend of Korra” has teased its lead character’s relationship with another female character, but a marriage proposal is an entirely different level for LGBTQ visibility.
Sugar is well known for using “Steven Universe” as a platform for inclusive storytelling. The show, which kicked off its run on Cartoon Network in 2013, also made headlines in Season 5 for when the character Pearl performed a dance about her emotions for a female character named Rose.
“Steven Universe” airs new episodes tonight and tomorrow, July 6, on Cartoon Network.