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 Ashley Jones is a senior journalism major from Augusta, Georgia. 

Mark Saltzman, curator of the popular kids show, Sesame Street, recently outed characters, Bert and Ernie, as being a gay couple.

For years now I have speculated that the duo was a gay couple. However, years after rumors surfaced about the couple being gay, The Children's Television Workshop along with representatives from The Sesame Street show, made statements negating the gay rumors.

Saltzman Confirms Rumors

During his interview with The Queerty, an online magazine that covers gay-oriented lifestyle and news, Saltzman, admitted that while writing for the show, he actually modeled the couple after his own romantic relationship with film editor, Arnold Glassman who Saltzman referred to as "Arnie" hence the character "Ernie".

Even after Saltzman's interview with Queerty, the network released a statement on their Twitter saying that the two were just friends and nothing more.

The statement went on to say that "Even though the characters identify as males and possess human traits, they are just puppets and do not have a sexual orientation."

The Couple Makes their Debut

According to Saltzman, these puppets had a sexual orientation. If you've ever seen Sesame Street, then you remember the two were usually taking baths together, singing together and even sleeping in the same bed. That's not to say that if a person does any of these activities with their same-sex friend it would mean they're unquestionably gay, but these actions would call for speculation.

The show first aired in 1969. Now back then I could definitely understand why the company would shut down any gay speculations. If the show would have actually approved of the gay relationship, then that would've called for too negative attention and controversy which might've caused the show to be canceled early on.

Change in Media

With that being said, it's 2018. If anything this should be seen as a positive. It's something that's teaching kids about being open-minded and it'll make them more accepting or even feel accepted if they do ever decide to come out as gay.

This isn't the first time a well-known character was outed as being gay. J.K. Rowling recently disclosed that Dumbledore from the "Harry Potter" series is gay and the list doesn't stop there. So many popular shows and dramas are featuring gay couples and I feel like the thought is being more accepted within this generation. I am a true believer that a child isn't born hating something that they don't know about. Just like a child isn't born a racist, it's something that's taught and the same thing goes for homophobia.

There have been more commercials featuring interracial couples and non-traditional households. Even though this has brought much controversy throughout the world, this is honestly a step forward for our nation. We have to become more open-minded and show kids, it's okay to be different and non-traditional. Exposing kids to gay couples on television could potentially reduce violence in schools as well as bullying, which could result in bullycide. So why deny the truth behind Bert and Ernie being a gay couple? Sesame Street should embrace this and even teach a segment on the topic and touch on some other touchy subjects like race. Television and media can potentially raise a whole generation, because of its influence.

Ashley Jones, The George-Anne Opinions Writer, gaspecial@georgiasouthern.edu

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