The award-winning Disney Junior show Doc McStuffins has just featured its first two-mom family, with the moms voiced by Actual LesbiansTM Wanda Sykes and Portia de Rossi (the former a mom herself). And the moms are named after one of the most famous lesbian couples ever!
The long-running show stars the titular Doc, a young girl who can magically inhabit a world of toys and helps to fix them when they are injured. In the episode “The Emergency Plan,” which aired this past weekend on both the Disney Channel and Disney Junior, Doc helps two doll moms reunite with each other and their two kids when a toy dragon causes an “earthquake” by jumping up and down. Doc then tells them about the importance of having an emergency plan, with an agreed-upon meeting place and an emergency preparedness kit.
The series, created and executive produced by Chris Nee (also an Actual Lesbian Mom), has become one of the highest rated programs for children aged two to five years old, and garnered praise for offering the positive role model of a young girl of color as a doctor. Now, they can add positive role models for children with same-sex parents to their list of accomplishments. The show seamlessly introduces the moms, an interracial couple, with the dragon simply saying to their son Brandon, “You can have a ride if it’s okay with your moms.” There’s not even a bit of surprise from the other toys about their family structure. (Clearly, if you live in a world where toy dragons come to life, such things as queer families won’t phase you.) I especially like that the moms hug at one point; the show isn’t afraid to depict physical affection of the sort that any parents would display in front of their kids.
The creators also get bonus points in my book for naming the moms Thea (Sykes) and Edie (de Rossi), after Thea Spyer and Edie Windsor, whose relationship was detailed in the 2009 documentary Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement. Edie, long an activist, rose to national recognition after Thea’s death, when her lawsuit to fairly claim inheritance of Thea’s money resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court Windsor decision that revoked a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
[Update, 6:20 p.m.: Creator Chris Nee confirmed to me on Twitter that Gertie and Brandon, the kids of the two moms, are named after Gertrude Stein and Brandon Teena, respectively.]
Disney Channel show Good Luck Charlie featured a two-mom family back in 2014. Kudos to them for now showing two moms on Disney Junior as well, aiming even further down the age range. Queer visibility has been a journey for the Disney empire, with not all Disney titles, even for older kids, being quite as inclusive, as I detailed a few months ago. And they have yet to show any trans characters. Still, they are miles ahead of most children’s programming, including the venerable Sesame Street.
As Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD (and a lesbian mom herself), said, “Children like mine deserve the chance to see their families reflected on TV, and this episode does just that in a beautiful and positive way.”
Let’s hope we haven’t seen the last of this family—or of queer families in general—on the show.
Watch a preview of the episode, with comments from Sykes, below. You can view the whole thing here if you have a cable provider, or here for $1.99 via YouTube Red. (It’s the first of two story arcs in the half-hour show.)