’90s Cartoon Characters You Had No Idea Were Gay

Your Saturday morning cartoons went a little deeper than you thought. More


’90s Cartoons

Ah, remember the ’90s? Just mentioning that time period opens a floodgate of nostalgia for so many of us. It was a golden age for many things, perhaps none of which greater and more fondly remembered than the cartoons. How many legendary characters entertained you as a child and shaped who you are today as a person? As much as you think you remember them, you were only a child, however, and there were some things you may not have picked up on. You might be surprised to learn that some of these ‘90s cartoon characters were actually gay.


Lexington – ‘Gargoyles’

No one expected the small tech expert from Manhattan’s turned-to-stone winged heroes to be a part of the LGBT scene. Not even the people that brought him to life. However, the creators of Disney’s Gargoyles have confirmed that Lexington is, in fact, gay – it just didn’t start out that way. They said that over time as they learned more about their characters they realized he was gay, but he just didn’t know he was.


Maggie Sawyer – ‘Superman: The Animated Series’

She didn’t appear in a lot of episodes (only eight in total) but this member of the Metropolis police department was seen with two people. The first was her work partner in the Special Crimes Unit, Dan Turpin. The other is her life partner Toby Raynes, who was even by her side in the hospital after the battle with Darkseid and at Turpin’s funeral service. It makes so much sense looking back on it now.


Mr. Simmons – ‘Hey Arnold!’

The cartoon had a clear streak of progressive themes that weren’t obvious to their young audience. But our parents would have picked up on this immediately if they were watching along with us. The fourth-grade teacher to Arnold’s class is a kind man who show a clear love for his job. But in a Thanksgiving episode, he showed that he has another love  – for Peter, a man drinking wine and with a bit of an attitude.


Sailor Neptune – ‘Sailor Moon’

The original series showed a clear lesbian relationship between Sailors Neptune and Uranus. American television networks, the prudes that they are, did not allow this side of the girls to be seen. They were portrayed as “cousins” in the US release of the anime. Which if you think about it, is much, much worse, given the connotations. Sometimes trying to make things more “appropriate for children,” You end up making it way more complicated and weird.


Spinelli – ‘Recess’

The tough-as-nails tomboy in the orange beanie became a queer icon of sorts to everyone that grew up with her feeling the same way, and she did it without even trying. She had a complete disregard for gender stereotypes that lead to her even shedding her first name as a way to stay away from the other Ashleys at school. This is plenty evidence that even as a middle-schooler she was well on her way to a pretty butch high school experience.


Ursula – ‘The Little Mermaid’

This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone, if you know the backstory on the character’s creation. What needs to be addressed is the inspiration for the tentacled villainess of the deep? For those not in the know, Ursula is based on one of the most well know drag queens of all time – Divine. If she is based on a queer icon, there’s no leg (har har) for a straight offense to stand on.


Timon & Pumbaa – ‘The Lion King’

You had to see this one coming. Even as kids, it was pretty obvious, wasn’t it? Let’s take a look at all the evidence presented. Here we have two life partners who become surrogate parents to a young child. They have no issues dressing and singing in drag, or acting as “husband and wife” for Simba as he grows up. And as an added bonus, one of them is voiced by legendary gay icon Nathan Lane.


Patty Bouvier – ‘The Simpsons’

While Mr. Smithers was the only “apparent” gay character in The Simpsons, there was always another one, it was just hidden under lots and lots of cigarette smoke. Patty (pictured on the left for those that might get confused. She’s a twin, after all) went through a tough romantic love life before finally coming to terms with her sexuality. Which is unfortunate, because that meant she had to marry the homicidal Sideshow Bob at one point.


Ren & Stimpy – ‘Ren & Stimpy’

This one has been on many people’s mind for years and years and years, and that’s not the least bit surprising. The original run was a very twisted take on old-school cartoons that bucked every rule of animation. But when it was given another release years later, it got a lot crazier, including the interactions between the two characters (like in this very wild clip). It went from being hinted at to just outright stated.


HIM – ‘Powerpuff Girls’

There is just absolutely no way you can look at this flamboyant, somewhat cross-dressing Powerpuff villain now as an adult and not immediately question HIM’s…well, absolutely everything, really. HIM’s Creator Craig McCracken pulled off some forward-thinking moves in his girl-power show, but none so outrageous as a genderfluid character as this one. Conservatives were up in arms, as they’re wont to do in situations like these, but no one could deny that the devil looked fierce.


Spongebob – ‘Spongebob Squarepants’

Yes, it’s true. Quit kidding yourself. If you want solid proof that good ol’ Spongebob could be considered part of LGBT culture, look no further than the Ukraine. Why look in the Ukraine? Because that’s where you’ll find the truth.  He was banned there for promoting homosexuality. The show’s creators consider him asexual, but as a guy that holds hands with his best friend all the time, it might be seen as a bit suspicious.


Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy – ‘Batman: The Animated Series’

The biggest creation that came out of one of the most popular ’90s cartoons of all time was the Joker’s lovable lunatic sidekick. And even though she didn’t officially come out, we know what she was up to. When she went solo and found a kindred spirit in eco-terrorist Poison Ivy, there came the signs of a sapphic connection. Depending if it’s been in animation or comics, the level of relationship has been varied, but there’s always been something there between the two villains.


Scar – ‘The Lion King’

Scar is what many people in the LGBTQ community call a “coded gay.” Actually, he’s a perfect example of why so many Disney villains seem gay – a posh British accent, queer mannerisms that veer on effeminate, etc. Even as a male lion he could have his pick of any of the lionesses in the pride but sticks to dallying with other animals. Between Scar, Timon and Pumbaa, this film might be the most LGBT-representative Disney flick of all time.


Silver Spooner – ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’

You might have only seen this character once as a kid for two reasons. The first, he was only a part of a mini-story from a Dexter’s Laboratory episode, so it’s not something that’ll get a lot of play. The second – It’s banned everywhere for just how blatantly offensive this openly gay Silver Surfer rip-off was portrayed. If you’re going to have a gay character, make them a character, not a caricature. It’s not that difficult.