Nickelodeon has closed the debate once and for all as they confirmed that SpongeBob SquarePants is part of the LGBTQ+ community.
In homage to Pride Month, on June 13th, 2020, the network decided to give shoutouts to some of their most well-known “gay icons.” Of course, not all of them are actually gay per se, including SpongeBob, who identifies and has always identified, as asexual, but they are still part of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Celebrating #Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month,” they wrote on Twitter, and it didn’t take long for debates across the platform to begin.
Some people were extremely unhappy that a cartoon sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea (SpongeBob SquarePants!) “came out” as asexual but hunny, if he didn’t already give you rainbow vibes, you clearly haven’t been paying attention!
The cartoon character’s sexuality has long been debated ever since fans noticed his extremely frivolous, borderline camp, relationship with his best friend, Patrick Star. But then the creator, Stephen Hillenburg, squashed those rumors as early as 2005 stating: “We never intended them to be gay. I consider them to be almost asexual.”
For those of you that might not be aware, to identify as asexual means you’re not sexually attracted to anyone. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word slightly more poignantly, stating that the label means a person does “not [involve] sexual activity, feelings, or associations; non-sexual.” And just to be clear, one can identify as gay and asexual but the 2 are not mutually exclusive.
The post also paid tribute to Henry Danger‘s Michael D. Cohen and Avatar Korra from The Legend of Korra. Two years ago, Cohen opened up about transitioning, telling Time Magazine this: “I was misgendered at birth. I identify as male, and I am proud that I have had a transgender experience — a transgender journey.” And Korra has long been celebrated as a bisexual icon.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community have been celebrating SpongeBob’s queerness and it’s a goddamn beautiful thing, especially because asexuality is not something seen often in the mainstream media. This is why representation matters and if it takes a well-loved cartoon sponge to create that space in the mainstream, well then so be it.
Happy Pride, girls, and gays!