• prism mag

Should've Been Queer Part 1: Cartoon Characters

Updated: May 27

Queer voices, stories, and characters have been historically muted, underrepresented, and misrepresented in the media. Even if writers or directors imagined their characters as queer, identities that were not cisgender, heterosexual, and heteronormative were (and still are, oftentimes) stifled and rejected by both production companies and the American public at large. As a result, the LGBTQ+ community has had to search for "clues" and subtext in these stories to imagine characters in a new, queer light. Whether it's their wardrobe, their mannerisms, or their personalities, we can often see bits of ourselves in these queer-coded characters of our childhoods. So, without further ado, here's a list of some huge missed queer-portunities for female characters in childhood shows and movies. Let's see if you agree!



15. Charlotte from Rugrats (Angelica's mom)



A total feminist and definitely a power lez.


14. Terk from Tarzan



She was the coolest! And she was literally voiced by none other than Rosie O'Donnell. Hello??

13. Elsa from Frozen



We all know she was meant to be gay--the entire storyline and songs pointed to it! No explanation needed. Disney disappoints again!

12. Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame



The gypsy of our childhood that gave off some powerful witchy queer vibes.

11. Princess Kida, Audrey, and Helga from Atlantis: The Lost Empire



Who remembers this cinematic gem? Basically all the women were queer in this movie--no discussion.

10. Meg from Hercules



Who didn't have a crush on her growing up?? Apparently there's a bunch of fan fiction online about her and Esmeralda together, and I can totally ship it.

9. Velma from Scooby Doo



The archetypical "Lesbian Librarian." If you're going to commit to such a raging stereotype, then why not go all the way and make her gay??


8. Betty (Phil and Lil's mom) from Rugrats



I mean, c'mon! Just look at her!

7. Miss Grotke from Recess



The meditating, no-leg-shaving, frick-the-patriarchy feminist fourth grade teacher that enlightened our little queer minds.


6. Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus



The quirky, queer teacher we all wanted. An OG!

5. Debbie from The Wild Thornberrys



Flannel alert!! Need I say more?

4. Reggie from Rocket Power



A total feminist, killer athlete, and definitely queer! A purple-haired icon! Woogity woogity!

3. Shego from Kim Possible



She was BAD in more ways than one. Did she actually hate Kim or was she really just in love with her??

2. Spinelli from Recess



There is just no heterosexual explanation for Spinelli's outfit and absolutely NO way she was straight and in love with T.J. In what universe?? I object!

1. Buttercup from The Powerpuff Girls


The ULTIMATE bad@$$, crime-fighting, princess of darkness queer. Try to tell me otherwise. I dare you.

Liked our list? Come up with your own and send it to us! Email submissions to Prism@Hopeloft.com.