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Were Sesame Street’s Bert And Ernie Gay? The Answer Might Surprise You

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If you grew up on a staple diet of Sesame Street, you know that some of the characters were just, well, perfect. Perfect friends, perfect teachers, and sometimes, perfect grouches. And some were adorably cute aka Elmo who you basically want to smush into oblivion with tight hugs. As a kid, we all loved these characters and how they behaved with each other, delivering important messages in their own way. And through the lens of innocence, nothing was different about any of them. Heck, they were puppets and we were invested in their stories, so we can all agree we were pretty taken in.

As an adult though, when the writer of the show, in an interview to Queerty, claimed that Bert and Ernie were gay, we could see that this could be a distinct possibility. Mark Saltzman, the writer, said, ‘I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked, “Are Bert & Ernie lovers?” And that, coming from a preschooler was fun. And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them. The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie & I as “Bert & Ernie.”’

Arnie was Mark’s partner at that time and he claimed that it was possible that his relationship permeated down to his writing. The show’s account has since come out to claim that this talk about Bert and Ernie being gay isn’t true. Also, that puppets don’t have any sexual orientation.

We all went ‘aww’ when we heard about Bert and Ernie, but perhaps to the younger audience, they are just best friends and may be we should just leave it that way. At least till they’re old enough to arrive at their own conclusions.


Mansi Shah is the resident humour writer and random conversation starter. Tends to laugh manically at puns. Deeply enjoys the blunt force of sarcasm. Preys on chauvinists and people with incorrect grammar. Hoards makeup and beauty products. Attacks Nutella with vigour.

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