The makers of Cartoon Network’s animated series Stephen Universe turned a new leaf in the representation of queer characters in children’s animated programming on July 4. In the show’s Wednesday episode The Question, a female character Ruby proposed marriage to another female character, Sapphire.
In the series, Ruby and Sapphire are two Gems – a magical, humanoid species around whom the series revolves. In The Question, Ruby came to terms with her love for Sapphire and asked for her hand in marriage. “This way we can be together even when we’re apart,” Ruby reasoned.
Currently in its fifth season, Stephen Universe, created by Rebecca Sugar, has been praised for its LGBTQ themes. The same-sex marriage proposal in the series’ latest episode was a step forward for the makers who have always attempted to make space for queer representation and handle gender in mature, non-traditional ways.
In the past, animated cartoon shows such as Disney XD’s Star vs the Forces of Evil or Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra have paved the way for The Question. In 2017, Just Friends, an episode from Star vs the Forces of Evil featured a gay kiss. In 2014, the finale of The Legend of Korra hinted at a same-sex relationship between the female characters Korra and Asami.