FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: What Cartoon Turned You Gay?

Hey furries and closeted furries! It’s Friday and I’m back for the open thread! I spent last weekend in Las Vegas at ClexaCon, this gay nerd convention for queer women in movies, and I had a lot of fun! What have y’all been up to? I found out that I actually am completely earnestly in love with Las Vegas at night, which was a very surprising thing to learn about myself. Have you had any big revelations recently? Or heck, any small revelations? How do you feel about Las Vegas?

I went to a panel where Erica Luttrell, the voice actor behind Sapphire on Steven Universe said that as a kid she was obsessed with Cheetara from the Thundercats. She also said that she and her girlfriend coincidentally have a dog named Blue and a cat named Scarlet, which is perfect for one half of Sapphire and Ruby, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, that got me thinking about the cartoon characters I was obsessed with as a kid, and more specifically, which ones I had crushes on. Cartoons are where queerness first comes to light for a lot of kids because it’s often one of the first forms of media we’re allowed to consume. So, basically what I’m saying is that cartoons turned me gay.

When I think back on it, I definitely look to Batgirl from Batman: The Animated Series, Kim Possible, Jun from G-Force and, come on, obviously Lola Bunny from the seminal film Space Jam. Nowadays I’m more of a Judy Hopps kinda girl, but these four original cartoon crushes still hold a huge space in my heart. I didn’t really exactly understand what was going on, but I knew that I wanted to be just like them (although I would never tell anyone) and I also knew I wanted to be best friends with them. Like, the kind of best friends who spend all their time together and say “I love you” all the time and cuddle and hold hands and eventually buy a one bedroom house to share. Just normal friend stuff.

So, I’m here asking you today, what cartoons turned you gay? Or, what cartoon characters were formative in you figuring out your identity? Maybe Disney’s Robin Hood made you realize you were trans masc. Maybe Cats Don’t Dance turned you bisexual and into a furry. I don’t know your story. But I want to know it! So tell me, what cartoons made you into the person you are today?


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Mey Valdivia Rude is a bisexual Latina trans woman living in Los Angeles. She's a writer, comic consultant and a trans activist. She's a bruja, a femme, a pop princess and she loves comic books, witches, dinosaurs and crying. She has a cat named Sawyer and a very successful twitter.

Mey has written 575 articles for us.

157 Comments

  1. I’m never gonna shut up about the Last Unicorn (she’d rather be immortal and sad than date the knight!!) and that’s a Fact but also, recently, while examining parts of my self that I’d put in a box and hid beneath the floorboards, parts that were removed from the Narrative when my family moved and I was the weird kid with no friends and had to Fit In and that meant shopping at Abercrombie and being “preppy” (read: a Girl)

    I remembered my absolute OBSESSION, as a toddler, with Pinnochio

    1. Blue Fairy was a babe
    2. the cricket had a cool outfit
    3. Pinnochio was a REAL BOY

  2. “So, basically what I’m saying is that cartoons turned me gay.” i love everything you write tbh mey

    daphne from scooby doo was a big one but moreso the hex girls from that one movie and penny’s mom & lacienaga’s mom from the proud family and also obviously jasmine from aladdin and a crush on mulan as well as wanting to be mulan !

  3. When I started school aged 4 or 5 I was always Cheetara when we were playing games as imaginary Thundercats. But I wasn’t into her per se, it was just what you had to do when you wanted to play along with the boys, and I wasn’t gonna be fucking Wily Kit, was I?

    My first legit cartoon girl crush I’m fairly certain was Linka from Captain Planet.

  4. Uh, all I can tell you about kids tv is I hated being called Andy Pandy as a five/six year old, because Andy Pandy is a boy. Which is wholly ironic now, considering I go by Andi online and would identify as more masculine than feminine on measures of queerness.

    So I don’t know if that influenced who I am or not. Mostly I loved the Clangers and Bagpuss, which were both stop motion, rather than cartoons.

  5. Um Kim Possible in cartoon and human form (Ren on Even Stevens) made me capital-G gay.

    Though looking back, I knew there was a reason why I loved Pepper Ann, Spinelli on Recess, As Told By Ginger, Reggie on Rocket Power…

  6. Where the heck was I when all this great cartoon gayness was going on ?? Velma, ohh my !

    I can’t say that he made me gay, per se, but Bugs Bunny definitely made me queer. The drag, the shameless flirting, kissing everyone on the lips with gay abandon, yup! Queer for Bugs.

    It did cause a few misunderstandings when I got into the real world and realized with a shock that people just don’t behave that way (see previous paragraph for sample behaviour).

    Now I can’t stop laughing. Talk about a role model !

  7. I definitely didn’t understand what I was feeling as a kid and ignored it, but the first cartoon character I simultaneously wanted to be and be with was Poison Ivy from Batman the Animated Series.

    See also Jasmine from Aladdin, Crysta from Ferngully, and Jane AND Trent and Daria.

    Childhood was a weird and confusing time! 😛

  8. I don’t think I have a cartoon that turned me. Storm, and Phoenix from the X-men cartoons might be the closest thing, but that’s about it. Something about Phoenix and her power was soo cool. Then again Phil, & Lil from the Rugrats did teach me about gender fluidity in a kid friendly way(they would keep switching bows and dressed the same, plus the Betty is the bi/pan equiv of butch).

    How’s everyone’s week going? I got to spend Saturday night with the woman I am seeing just eating, drinking, and being queer in her neighborhood for her birthday. It was delightful, and fun. Then Monday we went to a byob Mexican restaurant near me and had small batch bourbon with tacos. I may have drank to fast and not eaten a lot, but seriously she looks like a cute, charming, nerdy-ish Jew, and I am really queer for her. Kind of can’t keep my mind of her. Showed my sister a picture of her, and she was like who cares what our parents say as long you are happy and not being used. I am still learning how to date a polyam person, but trying to take it day by day & not be jealous/envious. More than anything.

    I’ve discovered that I can be seen as a queer babe by someone who I actually like and likes me back. Given me a bit of confidence I need. I’ve also thinking about just sticking to non-grain and potato based alcohol like wine, sake, tequila(agave), and the like. Was speaking to a relative who is a trainer and really into healthier living and food and said non-grain is much better for the stomach acid & for weight. I’m starting to believe it.

    Sunday spent the day in the mountains and beach just enjoying the weather it was really nice. Even got to sit down at a secluded public beach that looks private(the entrance is a bit hidden, but has a sign that says public beach). May be in nature again Sunday, not sure tho.
    Sky was beautiful the whole day.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

  9. April O’Neil from the original TMNT cartoon. First big crush (and judging by Google Image results, I’m not the only one). Looking back now, I guess I also know why I have a thing for low-cut collared tops and over-the-calf boots.

  10. Pocahontas and John Smith were formative in realising I was bisexual before I even heard of that word because other kids crushed one or the other not both. Honestly that movie was a formative thing for my whole life and how I view the world.

    Who decides what’s correct? How did they decide that? What do they have to gain from it? What will be the impact?

    I mean my experience with my shitty Kindergarten teacher broke what ever trust you’d expect a Southern white child to have in authority figures/structures but that movie probably encouraged me to become considerate person than I might of been.

    There’s a level of fucked up in romanticising the story of Matoaka that can’t be explained away tho and I do look it in the eye.

    While playing Gargoyles on the playground I’d always be Goliath. I remember once someone was all “but he’s a boy and you’re a girl” and I responded something like “So what? And besides I’m bigger than you” Or “we’re playing pretend”. All I’m sure of is I didn’t care, didn’t see how it mattered as it was GARGOYLES, and I threatened someone. This was the first memory I can recall being bossy and deeply satisfied in getting my way.

    So we have my non-binary and dom tendancies, also Elisa was my first cartoon crush and probably set the closest thing I have to an actual type-type not just a vague “cute”.

    My week was weird (in not fun way) but I found this

    Yali Yali – Todd Terje edit

    as well as Googoosh who is described as the Persian Barbra Streisand, I can’t verify the truth of that statement being not Iranian and all.

    Also Monday I made ganache frosting, it was good.

  11. So I’m gonna be totally off topic, bc I’m in a really bad place right now.

    My girlfriend told me she had a crush on another girl. I flipped out, and it was really, really bad. My BPD reared its ugly head, and I was horrible. The next day, she told me, while crying, that she needed a break. I lost it.

    On Wednesday, I saw stuff that made me panic. I messaged her a ton. She told me she needs time, and will talk when she’s ready. She’s still hurt and upset, and wants to be calm when we talk . She told me she loves me “so very much”, but that this wasn’t healthy. She blocked me on fb and IG, and probably also fetlife (which is how we met). She hasn’t defriended my friends, nor have I defriended hers.

    Im in so much pain right now. My anxiety is so bad that my heart rate is elevated all the time. I miss her so much. I miss wearing my engagement ring and knowing I was hers. Im terrified that her friends are telling her to leave me, and that she’ll agree with them. Im trying to tell the anxiety, fear, and worry that they aren’t serving me, but they keep coming back. My stomach is constantly upset.

    I want to fight for this relationship. And I know that right now, that means giving her space, and working on myself. But I’m so scared and upset. I miss her, and I’m scared. I don’t know what to do.

    • I don’t know what to say or if I anything I could say would be helpful.

      “Get your mind off it, try to focus on something else” would make me scream but that might be because distraction is my automatic tactic and it would be like someone asking if I tried turning some appliance on and off when thing is was on fire and the on/off button melted.

      Do you have anyone you can talk to that’s a neutral party or would be at least calm and supportive towards you? Like a therapist or even a crisis hotline.

    • I’m so sorry that you’re hurting. Sometimes, when I’m in a situation that’s causing me a lot of anxiety, but I can’t take action to resolve the problem right away, and I know I need to wait, one thing I do is to try to do little nice things for myself. Sometimes that means something as simple as putting on chapstick because it smells good. Or sometimes I’ll listen to a funny podcast. Doing these little things doesn’t make my anxiety go away, but it can help bring it down a notch or two. Are there any small, kind things you can do for yourself?
      Thinking of you and sending supportive energy <3

    • First off, I’m so sorry. I have been there, and it sucks. You say you miss wearing your ring … did she take it back, or is it just that you feel like you can’t/shouldn’t? If the former, then it sucks even more; if the latter … everybody fucks up. People with attitudinal disorders (ie: BPD) even worse. But you can still love her. You can still be hers, even if she’s not yours, you know? Not like, in a stalking way, but just in a … if you were married, and your wife died, would you take off your wedding ring right away, or keep wearing it for the closeness? It’s like that. Whatever was said and done, all you can do is acknowledge it, and try to do better in the future. You say you want to fight; then fight. Fight the demons, the anxiety, the fear, the … all those things that tell you you don’t deserve to be loved. Fight them. Don’t give in. Know that there are people out there who believe you *DO* deserve to be loved. And know that … (and yeah, I know this sounds like just trite bullshit, and I’m sorry) … if she doesn’t come back/take you back, that just means it wasn’t to be. It sucks, but sometimes all you can do is … take the lesson, and try to find someone else.

  12. Because my parents Didn’t Believe in cable, I didn’t really get to watch a lot of cartoons as a kid (other than PBS or like The Simpsons on Fox or depending on the weather and what the antenna could pick up, whatever fever dream cartoons the Canadian channel had on. Or hockey night in Canada. Those seemed like the only things on that channel for some reason.
    Canadian TV: still don’t understand it but kind of miss the antenna days when we could pick it up sometimes though.)

    I guess like Mulan maybe? But less gay and more aspirational bc….uh yeah to say I did not conform to the standards of femininity would be understating things quite a bit.

    Instead of cartoons, I watched a loooooot of Xena as a kid. And uh. Yeah. That def made me queer.

  13. I didn’t watch that many cartoons growing up, but I did read the Sunday comics, which means I always shipped Marcy and Peppermint Patty. Get a girl who call you Sir, you know?

    Also, in personal news, I went to a Hayley Kiyoko concert this week!! It was AMAZING, as expected. I went with a friend and we were just older queer kids watching younger queer kids joyfully screaming for their pop icon. I felt so hopefu about the future. Then the next day I got to talk about it with a few of my students who had been there. So basically all hail Our Lady of 20gayteen for whom I no longer have any chill.

  14. I really couldn’t think of an answer for awhile but I’m going to say April from The Ninja Turtles cartoon. Also, probably Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Both were from around 5-ish. I think when I was a bit older my brother was way more passionate about cartoons and usually commandeered the TV during cartoon time. I didn’t like his superhero cartoons but I did have a crush on The Pink Ranger (who isn’t a cartoon but it feels relevant).

  15. Ahh I love this question! I think about this so much. Mine were absolutely Will from WITCH (at the time I just thought the classic ‘I want to be like her’ but also hated her boyfriend and told my mum she was too good for him), and May from Pokemon.

    This week I went to see Love, Simon with my friends (amazing!) and dyed my hair pink. Also in last week’s post I promised a photo of my scooter and didn’t follow up so here’s a picture of me pulling a kind of weird face on it today:

    (hopefully that link works!)

  16. The Phoenix saga from X-Men pretty much turned me ultimate Nerd Gay.
    Nico from Galaxy Rangers.
    And I didn’t realize just how much of a torch I held for the Gargoyle’s Elisa until this fanfic:
    https://m.fanfiction.net/s/1242155/1/I-Have-Something-To-Tell-You
    So let’s talk about the complicated gender fluid feelings inspired by Brave Star and Captain Planet and the X-Men and…anyone else who always wanted to be Beast and found themselves strangely succeeding?
    😉
    Have a good weekend!

  17. I had such a crush on Terra on Teen Titans. I remember feeling very invested and sad in the episodes where she gets with Beast Boy and then ends up betraying him, and at the time was like “wow how sad for BB” but now it’s quite clear I was sad that she liked him instead of me.

    Also I shipped Starfire and Raven hard. They were definitely the original Brittana.

    When I was like 7 I had a lil’ crush on bowl-cut kid Gohan, who very much looked like a lesbian.


    (lesbian slouch)

  18. I definitley had a slow burn crush on Shego from Kim Possible…but i would say the first cartoon girl i remember being flat out obsessed with was Ember from Danny Phantom. I can still sing her entire song 🙂

  19. There are a few that stick out in my mind as being really formative for me:

    As a small kid, I *loved* Penny in Inspector Gadget:
    https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/poohadventures/images/a/a1/Penny_%28Inspector_Gadget%29.png/revision/latest?cb=20130329033738

    As a bit older, the one I wanted to be/wanted to date:

    http://www.writeups.org/wp-content/uploads/Sailor-Jupiter-Sailor-Moon-h.jpg

    And the one that cracked my egg completely:

    http://classicgamesparadise.com/anime/images/Ranma_ep5_piggyback2.jpg

  20. This isn’t cartoon-related, but I just got tickets to see Hayley Kiyoko in a couple of weeks, and I. cannot. wait.

    Also, y’all, I just started dating, and the dating app world is something else… But also I’ve met some really cool women, so that part is great!

    The Hayley Kiyoko concert seems like a super-awesome date idea, right?

  21. There are a few that stick out in my mind as being really formative for me:

    As a small kid, I *loved* Penny in Inspector Gadget:

    As a bit older, the one I wanted to be/wanted to date:

    And the one that cracked my egg completely:

  22. Oh my god, so many. Sailor Jupiter, obvs, and Anastasia, and Tzipporah from Prince of Egypt, and Esmeralda, and Kida from Atlantis, and Katara, and also this specific bit of The Little Mermaid:

    Disney has a lot to answer for.

  23. I can’t remember any cartoons that I can credit for helping me realize my attraction to other women, but the “celebrity” crush I had as a teen which I can credit was Lyta Alexander from Babylon 5.

    Now, if you want a cartoon I can credit for kind of pushing me towards realizing my transgender identity, that I can definitely do. Ranma 1/2, without question.

  24. Oh, Sailor Moon, for sure. I was so obsessed with Haruka’s androgynous look, and was deeply disappointed when it became clear I was not going to be tall like her when I grew up. (Did get the haircut, though. 💯)

    Also Mulan, because she spends 80% of the movie in drag, and everything crossdressing-related filled my preteen enby heart with fascination and joy.

    • Haruka Tenoh made me realize I was gay, and it was Toonami, so she was Amara, so i could even pretend it was like “Oh I just think she’s….rly cool” because she was NOT cool, she had all the excitement of being on horse tranquilizers, but I didn’t even know there were girls like her in the world and all of a sudden there was a rush of “oh noooooooooooooooo I want her to take me on a date, and i want her to kiss me”

      Anyway, flash forward nearly 20 years, and I’m married to a butch woman quelle surprise and still writing fanfiction about Haruka and Michiru touching each other gently and me and the wife even went as them for Halloween.

      • Omg adorbs! I love Haruka/Michiru cosplay.

        Do you mean that Amara was her name in the English dub? I only read the manga, so I missed all the name changes and “they’re toooooootally cousins” shenanigans.

  25. I didn’t grow up with cable, so I missed those shows, but I loved watching Saturday morning cartoons with my brother. When I was in 4th grade, Yu-Gi-Oh was super popular. Serenity, Joey’s sister, was introduced later in the story, and I was fascinated by her. I wanted to be her, and I thought she was so cool. I would get worried about her when she was upset. A lot of the shows I watched didn’t have a lot of female characters, but she really stood out to me!

  26. Danny Phantom had a lot of really cool (and goth) female characters. I remember these ones the most clearly because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be them or be with them. (as for the last 2 pictures, the princess turns into that dragon, which I thought was the coolest thing ever when I was like 9)

  27. When I first read this I thought I’ve never had a crush on a cartoon character but then I thought there were a few cartoon characters I was obsessed with, which is basically the same thing. As a toddler it was Alice (in Wonderland) as a kid it was Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls as a teenager it was Quinn from Daria, I know, I know I liked Daria for her sarcasm but I ‘liked’ Quinn more.

  28. My true root is not a cartoon—it’s Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. There was some side boob in the first episode that really stuck with me, even though it took me like another 15 years to figure that shit out.

    But I had a huge thing for Belle from Beauty and the Beast. That’s probably my cartoon root.

  29. Unrelated. I was teaching about sexuality in my class this afternoon, and answered a question by referencing “the Lesbian Internet.”

    At the end of class, I asked if the students had any other questions, and that I would answer based on what I’d read on Lesbian Internet. This is what happened next:

    About 6 male students: What’s the Lesbian Internet?

    Me: The part of the Internet that’s for lesbians. I don’t understand how that is confusing.

    Male student 1: Does it still end with “dot com,” or is it like a different thing?

    Me: Yeah. Still dot com.

    Male student 2: Is it like a search engine?

    Me: Is it a search engine? (laughs for 30 seconds). Class dismissed. Have a good and safe weekend.

  30. I was just talking about this with my sister and this is what I came up with:

    Jane from Daria, Foxxy Love from Drawn Together, Meg from Hercules, Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, that scene in Aladdin when Jasmine is dressed in the red outfit when Jafar has her as his slave (omggg), Leila from Futurama, and THE BIGGEST was Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop …. 😍

  31. omfgggg i recently posted an instagram story asking how many other queers had Lola Bunny as a root. Because I sure as fuck did.
    defintley Sailor Moon (the show, not the character), specifically Sailor Jupiter. When I was a bb and I would play Sailor Moon with my sister and two best friends I was always Sailor Jupiter. She literally beats up a dude in the first episode shes introduced in, I mean come ON. Also Queen Beryl and the Ayakashi Sisters from Sailor Moon lollll.
    Also: Meg from Hercules, Princess Jasmine, Esmeralda, Jessica Rabbit, Daphne from Scooby Do…. the list goes on.

  32. …Videl cut her hair all short in Dragon Ball Z and then suddenly I was Very Interested. And then low-key devastated when I found out she grew it out again and was also barely in future series oops.

    Also, in retrospect? Hawkgirl from Justice League.

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