Here’s Why Mr. Ratburn’s Gay Wedding on ‘Arthur’ Is Important

I feel like my entire generation grew up watching Arthur on PBS.

The show featured a bespectacled aardvark named Arthur, who faced many of the same challenges we all did at the time. He was worried about being made fun of for having glasses. He dealt with school bullies. He had to navigate fights with his friends and family. It was a very relatable show that, for us kids, seemed to clearly reflect the world we lived in.

Well, it mostly reflected the world we lived in.

As we grew older, we probably stopped watchingArthur and instead started wrestling with questions of who we were and what our place in the world was.

And for many of us who realized we were gay, it felt scary at a young age because we had few models of what that actually looked like.

That’s why it’s so important that in a recent episode ofArthur (which I am amazed is still running!), a key character quietly came out as a gay.

The episode was called “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone.” It focused on Arthur and his friends trying to get intel on whom school teacher Mr. Ratburn was marrying and how it would impact them. At one point, they worried it was a critical woman they saw Mr. Ratburn lunching with, and the gang plotted to break up the two of them. In the end, Mr. Ratburn ended up marrying a local chocolatier named Patrick.

Arthur creator Marc Brown explained his decision to CBC News to make Mr. Ratburn gay and show the wedding in this groundbreaking episode:

“Millions of families around the world [...] have people that we love who are gay,” Brown said. “It makes me really sad that these young families are not really well represented, or hardly represented at all, in our media.”

Brown said he hopes parents use the show as a teaching moment to have conversations with their children about diversity in the world.

“The more we [writers] talked about it, the more we saw it as an opportunity for a learning experience,” he said. “Just a great way to represent another part of life that seldom gets portrayed on television.”

Speaking personally, I know my coming out experience would’ve been much easier if I had grown up seeing gay people portrayed in normal settings on the television shows I watched. I hope this episode of Arthur and many other positive changes in pop culture and entertainment expose younger generations to an inclusive world where there is a place for absolutely everyone.

Photo credit: Arthur/PBS

27 comments

Lizzy Q
Lizzy Qyesterday

wicked cool love it!

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Lizzy Q
Lizzy Qyesterday

many thanks

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Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha Calvin12 days ago

If nothing else it shows kids that there's no one way to be a family

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Ingrid A
Isabel A13 days ago

I love it

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Winn A
Winn A18 days ago

Petition already signed

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Ingo Schreiner
Ingo Schreiner19 days ago

thank you

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William T
William T19 days ago

TY

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Doris F
Doris F20 days ago

@C2...what happens with C2 ?????
All actions are break down ! hmmmpfff :-(

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silja salonen
silja s20 days ago

we were delighted ... all of us have enjoyed Arthur and his friends. so when we heard that Mr Rathburn was getting married ... we all tuned in. all of us are now older, university aged, and last year of high school and one in middle school. still we adore the kindness of Arthur. Mazel Tov Mr Rathburn ( kind of always thought he was rainbow)

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Christine V
Christine V21 days ago

Yay for PBS being inclusive.

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