Turns out, the wokest channel on TV just happens to be one for kids. The Disney Channel aired its first same-sex kiss in a cartoon. As Mashable pointed out, the animated Disney XD show Star vs. the Forces of Evil, a comedy that looks at the misadventures of dimension-hopping monster-fighting princess Star Butterfly and her human best friend Marco, aired an episode called "Just Friends" that featured Star Marco at a concert for the boy band Love Sentence. As so often happens at these kinds of concerts, people started kissing, but the people who are seen kissing in this scene will make your heart skip a beat. Look close, and you'll see two men sharing a smooch, not to mention what looks like two women also making out in the crowd.
Often, firsts like this are part of special episodes, but this was just a kid's show quietly making the point that there's nothing wrong or groundbreaking about loving who you love regardless of gender. The creators of Star vs. The Forces Of Evil weren't looking for a pat on the back; they were looking to normalize relationships of all different kinds. That's clear from the diverse couples they featured in the scene. There are same-sex couples and interracial couples; young and older couples. No one couple looks the same in the real world, and that's also the case in this episode.
It's a heartening message to send kids in the Trump era that there is no wrong way to love. Even better, that there's nothing unusual about it; it's just how the world is because, hello, it's 2017. This kiss wasn't even part of the plot; it was just a background shot for those who bothered to take notice.
Star vs. The Forces Of Evil has been low-key progressive since it premiered last year, allowing for LGBTQ+ friendly storylines for kids. Marco has dressed as a princess on the show, even admitting he likes the way the dress looks on him and that he'd like to keep it. The Trans Characters Tumblr has even chosen to define Marco as a trans woman. The show has not explicitly defined Marco as such, but the Tumblr offers examples that led to this conclusion including Marco's discomfort with his body that could be described as gender dysphoria and a reoccurring dream where he's buried in a suit and is more concerned with the suit than being dead.
Star has shown kids a world filled with people who are complex, and, more often than not, much different. This isn't seen as a bad thing, but something common. It's also something the Disney Channel has been quietly doing in recent years. Last year, the animated series Gravity Falls revealed that its two male cops are a couple, something fans had thought for awhile but assumed would never be revealed. Especially after the show's creator Alex Hirsch told Reddit he wanted to include LGBT+ characters on the show, but wasn't sure it would be allowed. “I would love to but I doubt they’d ever let me do it in kids TV," Hirsch said. "But man I would if I could." Then he did.
In 2014, Good Luck Charlie became the first Disney show to feature a lesbian couple. When it was announced the Disney Channel released a statement explaining.
"This particular storyline was developed under the consultancy of child development experts and community advisors. Like all Disney Channel programming, it was developed to be relevant to kids and families around the world and to reflect themes of diversity and inclusiveness."
These are themes that are important for children to see on their favorite shows but they're also important for adults to see, too. These shows for kids are taking chances that not even a lot of adult shows are willing to take. Even better, Star vs. The Forces Of Evil was willing to be inclusive without using it as a means for glory or to get a pat on the back. The show just wanted to display the kind of inclusive world every child, even a teen princess, should grow up in.