Technology has changed the work of the journalist. Shrinking attention spans and the instant availability of press releases, tweets and statements mean the modern reporter often writes short articles without ever picking up the phone or doing any investigative work of their own. But those investigative skills aren’t dead. They’ve simply been put to… other uses.
Like compiling the world’s first comprehensive database of “LGBTQ characters in kids’ cartoons.” That’s not a joke. Insider, an outlet that normally churns out throwaway articles on pop culture and current affairs, pulled out all the stops this week to give readers the lowdown on which beloved cartoon characters bat for the other team.
It’s actually a serious piece of investigative reporting. The team at Insider trawled through every single line of dialog in every episode of 70 cartoon series, and identified 259 “LGBTQ” or “Gender minority” characters. These characters were rated as either explicitly or implicitly LGBTQ, after child psychologists determined “what kids about 12 and under might recognize about LGBTQ culture and identities.”
The reporters then confirmed the characters’ sexualities, or lack thereof, with the shows’ creators and studios, and built a searchable database that lets curious readers filter the characters by 12 genders, eight disabilities (included in an LGBT database for some unknown reason), and 11 sexual orientations. For peak SJW value, the characters were sorted into two racial categories too: “White” and “POC.”
Did you know that ‘Puck’ from ‘Gargoyles’ is genderfluid and polysexual? Or that ‘Entrapta’ from ‘She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’ is an autistic, pansexual POC? Well, you do now. Thanks to the team at Insider, you’ll never forget that ‘Steven Universe’ is explicitly gender nonconforming, or that ‘Tory Raynes’ from ‘Superman: the Animated Series’ has no set sexual orientation, but is somehow still LGBT.