Bert and Ernie may not be a same-sex couple, but the long-running children’s franchise Sesame Street is about to get an infusion of LGBT “vibes” with an upcoming guest appearance by actor and LGBT activist Billy Porter.
Porter, best known as Pray Tell in the FX’s LGBT ballroom drama Pose and for wearing extravagant dresses, will appear during the 51st season of the beloved children’s show, according to Sesame Street’s official Facebook page.
“Billy Porter bringing those fierce vibes to Sesame Street,” the post declares, accompanied by photos of Porter on the classic set, wearing a tuxedo gown.
Comments on the post were largely positive, though some readers expressed concern.
“That is pushing [too] much at little children, it makes no sense, kids have [too] much on their little plates as it is,” one said. “Why add more?”
“Sesame Street is for children. And diversity should be taught at a child appropriate level. A man in a dress is not child appropriate, in fact, it can be confusing,” another argued. “While striving to teach to ‘be yourself’ you're teaching boys who are masculine that it's not ok for them to be masculine.”
“As though our children are not confused enough. What is your agenda?” another asked. “Unbelievable. So disappointing.”
Sesame Street is proud to support families of all shapes, sizes, and colors. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/H3uzD5XwUu— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) June 23, 2017
This isn’t the first time Sesame Street has promoted LGBT themes. In 2017, it tweeted a “rainbow” of multicolored Muppets for Pride Month with the declaration, “Sesame Street is proud to support families of all shapes, sizes, and colors.” Later that year, its song “Anyone Can Play” purported to smash gender norms for children’s toys and costumes, including the lyrics “some boys like to play dolls” while the male character Grover is seen in a purple dress.
Last year, Porter prefaced President Donald Trump’s annual State of the Union Address with his own “LGBT State of the Union,” during which he claimed “our rights are under threat and the sanctity of identities is in peril.”