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Sorry, Boosie Badazz — Cartoons Aren't Turning Kids Gay

Sorry, Boosie Badazz — Cartoons Aren't Turning Kids Gay

Boosie Badazz
Boosie Badazz

But having visible LGBT animated characters may help save the lives of LGBT youth.  

"Gay panic" hysteria over LGBT-inclusive children's programming is usually the purview of the falsely named One Million Moms, but rapper Boosie Badazz recently brought those fears into the mainstream when he told VladTV that cartoons are making kids gay.

The Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based rapper told DJ Vlad last month that television in general is "trying to make everybody fucking gay."

"They're putting it everywhere," he continued. "Gay stuff is everywhere. ... You got cartoons that have gays. On cartoons! These are kids. Let kids make their own decision if they wanna go that way. Six- and seven-year-old, five-year-old, shouldn't be turned onto gay cartoons when their mind not even developed yet. What if they like how that cartoon talk? Now, you're forcing them to be gay. Every TV show has gays. They're kissing each other. It's out of hand."

Badazz went on to say that he's always freely spoken his mind, and the changes he's seen in popular culture since he was young simply can't be ignored. The rapper, whose given name is Torrence Hatch, has made similar comments before about the gay characters on shows like VH1's Love and Hip Hop and Fox's Empire.

"Everywhere you go, they're forcing this gay stuff," he said. "It wasn't like that when I was coming up. The Ninja Turtles wasn't kissing. You know what I'm saying? It wasn't like that. The Flintstones wasn't -- they didn't have two men on The Flintstones kissing, you know. The Jetsons wasn't kissing. Everywhere you go they trying to do that, and they doing it for monetary gain. They not doing it cause they love the gays."

Of course, Leonardo and Donatello haven't been seen making out recently, and there's no evidence that Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble are in a "Boston marriage," but there are more LGBT animated characters than ever before in television and movies.

This summer, Hulu debuted Rosaline, a feature-length animated fairy tale featuring a love story between two girls. Cartoon Network's Steven Universe featured the first lesbian animated couple in a leading role, and a character that presents as two genders called SheZow ran on the Hub Network for one season.

Animated movies are also slowly becoming more inclusive, but according to GLAAD, it's not happening fast enough. The LGBT media watchdog group called animated works "slow to reflect the diversity of the real world" in its 2015 "Where We Are on TV" report, while also recognizing recent gains. For films, 1 in 15 family movies (both live-action and animated) included an LGBT character, according to GLAAD's latest Studio Responsibility Index.

As GLAAD and other LGBT advocacy organizations have pointed out, what youth see on television and in movies is important, and more positive images of LGBT youth could help minimize the risk they face in their communities.

LGBT youth are more likely than straight, cisgender youth to experience physical, mental, and psychological abuse or bullying, attempt suicide, and report more depression, in addition to abusing drugs or alcohol at an early age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But those sobering statistics appear to be lost on Badazz, who concluded his rant on VladTV by promising that if his child was gay,"I would probably slap his ass back straight."

"I'm gonna kick his ass," the rapper continued. "Maybe he'll realize he's not gay. But if I can't stop him from being gay, I'm not gonna ban my son from my life. I'll just have to find some crazy ass way to deal with it."

Later during the same interview with VladTV, Badazz, a father of seven, said that he was looking for women with whom he could have three more children, so that he could make good on a promise he made to his grandmother to give her 10 great-grandchildren.

Though Badazz says he "doesn't hate gay people at all," it's no secret that hostile attitudes like those the rapper is espousing contribute to the perception that LGBT lives, sexualities, and gender identities are deviant and inherently not kid-friendly.

But the reality is that LGBT people are just as good at being parents as non-LGBT folks, and more youth are discovering themselves earlier -- and have less binary views of gender and sexuality. Particularly when it comes to trans and queer youth of color, family acceptance is arguably the largest predictor of that young person's ability to thrive.

Conversely, family rejection is the driving reason that many LGBT young people end up living on the street -- a staggering 40 percent of homeless youth are estimated to be LGBT.

So while Badazz tries to "find some crazy ass way to deal with" a child who might be LGBT, advocates will keep pushing for greater inclusion and visibility in entertainment, television, and even rap music.

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