James Gottry on Is Sesame Street Still Safe for Our Children?

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If you have kids, or if you ever were a kid, you know about the television show Sesame Street. It’s been around for more than 50 years and it’s been appropriately described as an American institution, with lovable characters, entertaining stories, and unique music. It was the first television show to base its content on educational goals and a curriculum, and for so many children (and their parents), it made learning fun.

Indeed, if there’s one street that always felt safe for children, it was Sesame Street. And why not? It features a plethora of friendly puppets, an 8-foot tall yellow bird with no teeth, and a character named Mr. Snuffleupagus. Does any of this sound the least bit alarming? The show teaches concepts such as numbers and letters, and values including kindness, sharing, cooperation, and respect.

Of course, the show hasn’t been immune to criticism during its 50-year run. Google “Sesame Street controversy” and you will find plenty of examples. That shouldn’t be surprising, because like most media and entertainment, Sesame Street has long been located near the intersection of culture and progressive ideology.

But now, as culture becomes evermore polarized, and “progressive ideology” becomes increasingly “progressive,” parents need to ask themselves a serious question: Is Sesame Street still a “safe place” for my children?

For many, recent headlines have thrust this question to the foreground.

Sesame Street recently announced it will feature Billy Porter on an upcoming episode. Who is Billy Porter? He’s an actor and entertainer, and he’s been described as a “gay icon.” Billy stars in Pose, a television show about New York City’s LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming ballroom culture scene. In 2013, he won a Tony Award for his portrayal of “drag queen” Lola in the Broadway musical Kinky Boots. And last year, he made waves when he donned a black velvet tuxedo gown to the 2019 Oscars.

In case you’re wondering, Billy brought that dress to Sesame Street.

Not surprisingly, Sesame Street’s announcement generated quite the stir. Nearly 60,000 people have signed a LifeSite petition, asking HBO and its parent company, AT&T, to drop the episode. Billy responded, “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it,” and further told critics to “[s]tay out of my bedroom.”

Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, countered, “Leave the bedroom out of our children’s shows, and it won’t be our business.” He also noted that it appears Sesame Street is focused on teaching the letters “L-G-B-T.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, James Gottry