Official Nickelodeon has hinted that the beloved children’s character, SpongeBob, is gay in a tweet celebrating Pride month in the US.
“Celebrating #Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month,” the kids’ network tweeted.
Official Nickelodeon posted one rainbow-embossed picture of the popular sea sponge, along with Korra from “The Legend of Korra,” who is known to be bisexual, and the actor Michael D. Cohen from “Henry Danger.” who is transgender.
It shouldn’t be that surprising, fans of the iconic cartoon, have long-questioned Spongebob’s sexuality, and they actually had theories that suggest Spongebob be gay. Now, this confirms the fan’s long-held theory that he is a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Spongebob Squarepants began airing in 1999, and In one 2002 episode called “Rock-a-Bye Bivalve,” SpongeBob and his best friend Patrick acted like a married couple when they parented an abandoned scallop.
Gary Susman has an interesting words in Entertainment Weekly:
Consider: SpongeBob lives in a pineapple in an undersea locale called Bikini Bottom. His best buddy is an ebullient pink starfish named Patrick. Another friend is a finicky squid named Squidward who enjoys bubble baths and classical music and talks like Paul Lynde. SpongeBob and Patrick are occasionally seen holding hands and enjoy watching a superhero TV show called ”The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.” As an article on the Gay Financial Network’s website puts it,
”You do the math, folks.”
The internet quickly embraced Spongebob and many fans were quick to respond praising the newly-out character.
YouTuber Tyler Oakley tweeted: “Asexual SpongeBob is a queer icon.”
While journalist Brittany Bailey wrote: “SpongeBob has been a gay icon for years! I literally had conversations about this with members of the LGBTQ+ community nearly 20 years ago!”
“Spongebob gay? I mean he literally had a baby with Patrick,” replied @hoe_vid_19.
“Oh, queer icon Spongebob Squarepants? Yes, we stan!!!!!,” wrote @KalhanR.
“Announcing Spongebob being gay then turning comments off cause it ain’t no debate,” tweeted @Drebae_
Another fan added: “Did they just confirm SpongeBob as gay and then turn off the replies. If so I love this for him.”
However, during his life, the creator of the iconic sponge, Stephen Hillenburg, who died from ALS in 2018, had denied the theories of Spongebob being gay and maintained that SpongeBob was a member of the LGBTQ+ community by being asexual, not gay.
“We never intended them to be gay. I consider them to be almost asexual. We’re just trying to be funny and this has got nothing to do with the show,” he said in 2005, according to People.
“I always think of [the characters] as being somewhat asexual. I do think that the attitude of the show is about tolerance. Everybody is different, and the show embraces that. No one is shut out.” Said Stephen Hillenburg to EW.
But we should know that Hillenburg’s statements were made two decades ago and the series had only been running for three years and attitudes were very different.
For example, a 2005 music video showing SpongeBob and other popular characters to promote diversity and tolerance were viciously attacked for being a “vehicle for pro-gay propaganda.”
There’s a claim that the group singled out SpongeBob in particular because he’s popular among gay men.
Then it’s possible that both Hillenburg and the studio would be reluctant to say anything that can have an impact on the burgeoning franchise.
“The show’s creator Stephen Hillenburg said in 2000 that Spongebob is asexual, a group which forms part of the queer community. So just because Spongebob might be LGBTQ+ it’s important to note that he’s not necessarily gay. Asexual identities are valid and shouldn’t be erased!” Louis Staples explained to The Independent
Straight, asexual, or even gay, does it even matter? We can still enjoy the iconic cartoon, and we’ll always love Spongebob just as we did as kids.