Steven Universe is the story of a boy that helps protect the universe with his gem powers alongside his three female sister/mother role models and superheroes Garnet, Amethyst and Pearl.
The show – which has already won praise for including a number of strong, female characters in a comparatively male-dominated genre – confirmed last year that characters Ruby and Sapphire are a lesbian couple, who are so in love they can’t bare to separate. The two female-presenting also combine to create the super-powered kickass warrior Garnet.
The show is now playing in the UK, but cartoon is being censored, which has angered many fans.
The show has been edited to alter a scene that previously showed the two female-presenting characters dancing together. The UK broadcast replaced this intimate moment with frames of a male character’s face.
Sadly, Cartoon Network UK is taking much-needed role models away from vulnerable kids,’ a petition reads, which has already been signed by over 2,000 people so far.
Steven Universe is a beloved series acclaimed for its ground-breaking portrayal of queer characters. I’ve heard many young people say it changed their lives. In the UK and Europe, CN UK have censored a romantic dance between two female characters, Pearl and Rose Quartz. Queer youngsters treasure and cling to this moment. The same episode (“We Need to Talk”) has plenty of hetero dancing and kissing, so it looks like they’re censoring this because it’s two women.”
Ruby and Sapphire not the only characters, with a queer feel. There is also on there are Pearl’s (seemingly non-platonic feelings) for Rose, Amethyst and Peridot’s crushes on each other and the fact that Steven and his best friend Connie joined together (fused) to become ‘Stevonnie’, a character of colour who uses ‘they’ pronouns.
When Cartoon Network in France did something similar, there was also outrage. The channel listened and let the original broadcast go out in future airings.
Cartoon Network UK has yet to respond to the petition.