Were Teletubbies, with televisions on their bellies, always gay icons? Read below to find out more!!!
Teletubbies is an extremely famous British television series aired in the 1990s. The wildly popular tubbies with television sets on their stomachs were all time favourites for kids all around the world. The series features four characters- Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Po. These colourful characters were shown traipsing happily around Tubbyland.
But recently these playful little creatures have created a buzz around the internet when they tagged the rapper, Lil Nas X, in a tweet asking for a feature in his next video, to which he humorously replied, “ alright bet! me and tinky winky on the hook, dipsy & po on the verses and we’ll let laa laa do the outro”.
alright bet! me and tinky winky on the hook, dipsy & po on the verses and we’ll let laa laa do the outro https://t.co/Luqx2t25Jx
— MONTERO ? (@LilNasX) September 17, 2021
Now it must be noted that the flamboyant Lil Nas X is openly Gay and is a supporter and representative of the LGBTQ+ community. And while Teletubbies interaction with him got them labelled ‘ little gay demons’ by the popular TV host Lauren Witzske, the speculation regarding their homosexuality is not new.
The accusations began back in 1999, shortly after the series began to air. The accusations were made by Jerry Falwell, who was a pastor and a televangelist. In the February edition of the National Libert Journal, he accused Tinky of being gay, his reason being that Tinky had a ‘boy’s voice’, and yet he carried a red purse. The magic bag carried by the purple character was red and apparently looked like a woman’s purse.
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He also backed his argument with the fact that Tinky had a triangle antenna on his head. Back then a triangle antenna was a sign of Gay Pride. The ‘good ’[mind the sarcasm] pastor warned parents to be careful of what their children consume on the TV.
Although at the time the spokesperson of Teletubbies, Steve Rice denied the accusations, he also raised an important concern of there not being enough gay role models on TV.
Rice also reprimanded Falwell for his accusation stating,
“ The fact that he carries a magic bag doesn’t make him gay. It’s a children’s show, folks. To think we would be putting sexual innuendo in a children’s show is kind of outlandish.”
From then on Tinky Winky unintentionally became a symbol of gay pride. From Tinky leading gay pride parades to places of business calling themselves ‘TINKY- WINKY FRIENDLY’, it was clear to all that Pastor Falwell’s agenda had effectively backfired.
An old newspaper clipping reporting the backfiring of Falwell’s plan also mentioned a cafe serving ‘Tinky Winky Ravioli’, which was a cheese-filled purple triangle pasta ‘purses’.
In 1999, the same year when Tinky was ‘apparently outed’, Micheal Musto, an American journalist spoke to Entertainment Weekly about this instance and said,
“ Tinky winky is out and proud. It’s a great message to kids: not only that it’s okay to be gay, but the importance of being well-accessorized.”
After Falwell, unnecessarily labelled Tinky as gay, several conservative governments decided to properly investigate the matter. For example, the Polish government ordered a probe to look into this matter.
It is yet to be proved however if the Teletubbies are homosexual or not. Although, all this fuss does lead us to question that does it matter if Tinky is actually gay? Why is it such an issue if he is? Is it not smart to teach the children equality and inclusivity rather than turning them into homophobic people?
Note: Views and opinions expressed are of the writer
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