Steven Universe is well known for being one of the most queer friendly, empowering kids show on TV. And this week, we just found out a little bit more of why this show is so good at, well...getting it.
Two years ago during San Diego Comic Con, Rebecca Sugar, the creator of Steven Universe confirmed she was bisexual. This week, ahead of the annual event, she confirmed that much of the shows exploration of themes of gender explorations come from Sugar herself and her experiences as a non-binary person.
In an interview with NPR, Sugar said:
"One of the things that’s really important to me about the show is that the Gems are all non-binary women...They’re coded female which is very important. I was really excited because I felt like I had not seen this. To make a show about a young boy who was looking up to these female-coded characters—they appear to be female, but they’re a little more representative of nonbinary women.
They wouldn’t think of themselves as women, but they’re fine with being interpreted that way amongst humans. And I am also a non-binary woman which is been really great to express myself through these characters because it’s very much how I have felt throughout my life."
This is the second time Steven Universe has recently made headlines for its queer inclusion, recently becoming the first kids show to feature a lesbian proposal AND wedding. The wedding itself even inverted gender roles, with the more masculine Ruby in the lovely wedding gown, which will pose an interesting problem for countries who have coded her male in their dubs. (Especially since the wedding leads into one of the most important plot events in recent episodes—and that’s saying a lot!)
The show has carved out a reputation from the start as having an empowering and inclusive vibe. One of the many grandchildren of '90s cartoons like Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura, the show features Steven, a human/gem hybrid who is raised by a family of sentient gems stones, and follows their adventures as they save the world. It tackles complicated and layered subjects in a way to make them accessible to kids, while also heaping on a whole lot of diversity of just about every type.