A spinoff of the popular cartoon series Paw Patrol has introduced a new "non-binary" character to its programming.
Lindz Amer, a writer for the spinoff series Rubble & Crew, broke the news of the non-binary character in a post on Instagram earlier this month.
"They brought me on to consult on the first nonbinary character—meet River!!—for the PP universe and write their episode, talk about a bucket list item," Amer, who uses the pronouns "they/them," wrote of the character.
"I wanted to write a nonbinary character that was aspirational and incredibly cool, someone for the pups (and kids at home) to look up to. They found an awesome non-binary actor (@cihang_ma) to voice River and I'm so so happy about how it turned out," the writer added.
According to The Christian Post, Amer's post also included a screenshot from one episode of River's socks and sneakers, which are pink, white and blue, the colors of the transgender pride flag. According to IMDb, the episode, titled "The Crew Builds an Observatory," aired on Aug. 22. It follows the main characters working to "build an observatory to help their friend River get a cool picture of a shooting star."
This is not the first time a children's show has featured LGBTQ characters. In June, recognized as LGBTQ Pride Month, the Cartoon Network children's program We Baby Bears featured two characters that used "they/them" pronouns.
Cartoon Network also featured non-binary characters in four comic strips released in 2020 in collaboration with the National Black Justice Coalition. In April 2022, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) CEO Sara Kate Ellis shared her desire to see more LGBT storylines in children's programming as well as her intention to "convene the biggest brands, agencies, studios and streamers together" for the purpose of "improving the quantity, quality and diversity of LGBTQ images, especially in kids and family programming."
In 2021, a reboot of the popular Nickelodeon show Rugrats on Paramount Plus featured a lesbian single mom, while Disney Plus announced that a reboot of the series The Proud Family would feature two parents in a same-sex relationship.
In 2019, GLAAD called for 20 percent of all TV characters to be LGBT by 2025.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Eugene Gologursky/Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.
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