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Ernie and Bert are not gay. They're puppets. They don't even have legs.

In one of the great low points in western civilisation, the Children's Television Workshop actually found themselves having to issue a press release saying this in the early 90s in response to a rising protest that Sesame Street was promoting an immoral gay lifestyle. Not that the CTW was trying to condemn homosexuality, or anything, it was just that it was an issue that they didn't particularly want to take a stand on, and that they were baffled that anyone could garner moral outrage from a closed-minded condemnation of a wholly imagined subtext in a misinterpretation of a children's TV show.

When the San Francisco Bay Guardian (a free weekly in San Francisco) asked the Children's Television Workshop the response was:

Bert and Ernie do not portray a gay couple and there are no plans for them to do so in the future. They are puppets, not humans.

(bold is mine.)

I once had dinner with a puppeteer from New York who knew people who worked on Sesame Street and he said that every year at the Sesame Street Christmas Party, everyone would get drunk and sometimes Wild Muppet Orgies would be acted out to entertain and amuse.

This frightens me, but I guess that's what happens when you mix creative people who have to completely supress their sexuality at work and alcohol.

Back to the Sesame Street Project

The Sesame Street trivia game at CTW.org says, about Bert, "Ernie is like a brother to him" (in addition to his real brother, Bart.)

Originally, Ernie was going to be a kid while Bert was an adult, sort of his legal guardian, however, because Ernie always tricks Bert, they decided to make them just best friends.

While in Germany last summer I purchased a postcard, with Ernie dressed up as a princess and holding a mirror. The words on the postcard loosely translated into “Hello my beautiful Prince.” The mirror is held so that Bert’s reflection is visible, suggesting Ernie is talking to him. Clearly, the Germans seem to think that they are not only a gay couple, but that Ernie also enjoys cross-dressing.

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