Steven Universe may be the queerest kid show on TV (though some of these shows are giving it a good run for its money!). Centered around the adventures of Steven and his adopted family of female warrior aliens called the Crystal Gems, the show isn’t shy about the fact that most of the gems are queer. Steven Universe deftly touches on very complicated topics such as homophobia, anxiety and domestic violence, making them approachable for children.
The surreal, dadaist Adventure Time is always...well, an adventure! While the show started as strange shorts, it has developed into a much deeper plot as Finn and his shapechanging dog brother Jake explore the post-apocalyptic world of Ooo. While censorship laws outside the US where the show is distributed stop Adventure Time from using specific terminology, they aren’t shy about the past (and current) feelings shared between Princess Bubblegum and Marceline, nor other queer nods sprinkled throughout.
While the original adventures of this sailor-suited soldier of justice was many in the millennial generation's first brush with canon gay characters, the new Saillor Moon Crystal reboot is polished up and condensed down to a make for a more action-packed show. Now that it’s 2018, there’s no push to cover up the queer storylines, like what happened in the '90s, US dub of the first show. Keep in mind, however, that Japan has a slightly different idea of what kid-friendly is. (This show might be best for your older kiddos!)
This show about two kids stuck in their great uncle’s Mystery Spot tourist trap for the summer is the perfect show for your kids if they keep trying to stay up late to watch Twin Peaks and The X-Files with you! While it’s not the only queer nod in the show, Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland’s loving reunion in the last episode confirmed what fans had assumed for a long time about the towns dorky (but loveable) police force.
This fu, little sister show of Sailor Moon finally treats LGBT characters like they’re no big deal. Girls confess crushes on girls like it’s no different than boys, same-sex couples snog in the background at school dances, and while main character Marco Diaz is a cishet dude as far as anyone knows, he certainly has no issues challenging the stereotypical boy’s role, loving cooking and happily dressing up as a princess when needed on their many magical girl adventures.
This show, aimed at a slightly younger demographic then those before it on our list, is a brightly-colored romp through creativity. The show is centered around D.D., a child daredevil, and Phillip, a safety-oriented mutant egg. The first cartoon created by a trans woman, Shadi Petosky, the show is stuffed full of good morals and all sorts of queer characters. Most are even voiced by queer actors in this talent-filled cast, such as Stephanie Beatriz and Jasika Nicole.
This anime just premiered this month! You can read the manga sequel to the popular 90’s magical series now! If you never caught the original, Cardcaptor Sakura follows the adventure of elementary student Sakura as she tracks down a series of magical cards she accidentally released. The show is bursting with cute and doesn’t shy away from queer crushes! Whether it’s Tomoyo and Sayoran’s childish crushes, or the more mature relationship between Sakura’s older brother and his boyfriend, the show explores all levels of love.
The Loud House is a Nick show focused on the adventures of the massive Loud family. The show focuses on Lincoln, the middle child and only boy in his family of eleven. Like many of these shows, The Loud House is diverse across the board. His best friend Clyde is an adopted child of an interracial gay couple, and at least one of his sister’s crushes as easily on girls as boys.
From the same creators as Adventure Time, Clarence follows the (slightly more mundane) adventures of elementary school student Clarence and his BFFs Jeff and Sumo. The more pedestrian setting doesn’t rob the series of any charm or excitement compared to its more magical Cartoon Network peers on this list. Clarence’s buddy Jeff has two moms, and the ladies are often involved in the boy’s adventures.
The Legend of Korra, and its predecessor, Avatar: The Last Airbender, broke ground in many ways. The show tackled, both within its world and ours, subjects from sexism to the ethics of weapons of mass destruction. One of the most groundbreaking parts of it was becoming the first children’s show to star a canonly queer lead, with the last shot showing Korra and Asami gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes, confirming the long, developing love between them.