Top 20 LGBTQ+ Animated Characters
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: B Stevenson
These LGBTQ+ animated characters continue to inspire. For this list, we'll be looking at the best LGBTQ+ characters on television cartoons. Our countdown includes "Big Mouth," "Harley Quinn," "Steven Universe," and more!
Top 20 LGBTQ+ Animated Characters
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 LGBTQ+ Animated Characters.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the best LGBTQ+ characters on television cartoons.
Did we leave out any of your queer heroes? Let us know in the comments below!
#20: Matthew MacDell
“Big Mouth” (2017-)
This character has been an entertaining presence from the get-go, but he gains even more prominence as of Season 3. Although we were previously aware of his sexuality, Matthew finally enjoys a substantial romantic plotline in the show’s third installment. While falling for Aiden, voiced by Zachary Quinto, Matthew also interacts more and more with Maury the hormone monster. If that weren’t enough, by Season 5, Matthew has yet another love interest in the form of Jay Bilzerian, whom he had originally smooched during a sleepover game. For giving a central gay character relationships that capture the nervousness and awkwardness of adolescence, this show deserves props.
#19: Ray Gillette
This character isn’t exactly a morally upright person, but he’s an important example of LGBTQ+ representation nonetheless. Ray is a field operative and bomb specialist who is often bothered by the narcissistic protagonist Sterling Archer. Much of Ray’s plotline on later seasons of the show follows his dubious paralysis. Oddly enough, the character goes through numerous bouts of the condition, sometimes faked and sometimes real. The introduction of bionic legs that can be switched on and off only further complicates matters. Although we don’t see much of a focus on Ray’s romantic exploits, his presence and attitude are central to the show’s humor.
#18: Velma Dinkley
“Scooby-Doo” franchise (1969-)
Each of the main characters in the TV series, movies, and other works that compose this media franchise is iconic in their own way. For her part, Velma is known for her signature outfit of orange turtleneck and glasses as well as her unforgettable catchphrase “jinkies!” But this brainy young woman also has the distinction of being a confirmed queer character. One of the producers of the “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated” series has made an Instagram post about the character’s sexuality. Specifying her lesbian identity, he noted that her relationship with her old science fair rival Marcie had deliberately queer undertones. As well, James Gunn, who penned the 2002 “Scooby-Doo” film, has revealed that he originally wrote Velma as a lesbian.
#17: Howard & Harold McBride
“The Loud House” (2016-)
While we love to see LGBTQ+ kids and teens on animated shows, it’s also refreshing to see gay parents. This is the case in “The Loud House,” a Nickelodeon series about a boy named Lincoln living with his expansive immediate family. Lincoln’s best friend Clyde has two dads, and although they’re only supporting characters, they do get the spotlight now and then. In “Attention Deficit,” Lincoln marvels at the quality of life that the McBrides enjoy at home. In “Baby Steps,” meanwhile, Clyde is convinced his parents are having another baby — when in fact, they’re only adopting a kitten. Besides being a great representation of gay fathers, Howard and Harold act as the perfect foil to Lincoln’s own family.
#16: Nigel Ratburn
Although not one of this series’s main characters, Mr. Ratburn was always an integral part of Arthur the aardvark’s social life. As an elementary school teacher, he was sometimes strict but always caring towards his students. However, this minor figure on the show attracted major attention in the 2020 episode “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone.” At first, the gang believes he’s marrying an overbearing woman he parades around town. It turns out that she’s his sister, and his real spouse-to-be is local chocolatier Patrick. It’s incredible to see an iconic character finally come out to audiences, and to see the kids’ reaction to the news.
#15: Luz Noceda & Amity Blight
“The Owl House” (2020-)
This Disney Channel fantasy series follows Luz, a Dominican-American teen transported to an alternate realm filled with magic and monsters. Despite being a thoroughly non-magical human, Luz attempts to become a witch by learning from a sorceress called Eda Clawthorne. Amity, a student at Hexside School, demonstrates a distaste for the mortal Luz at first. However, they eventually strike up an increasingly close friendship. Their relationship gradually progresses into decidedly romantic territory. The duo were the second-ever LGBTQ+ pairing in an animated Disney show, and their narrative arc has been a true pleasure to watch.
#14: Sheriff Blubs & Deputy Durland
“Gravity Falls” (2012-16)
For the entire run of “Gravity Falls”’ on Disney Channel, fans wondered if Sheriff Blubs’ close friendship with Deputy Durland was actually supposed to be read as something more. The two were always a source of comedy in the show for being incredibly incompetent, yet lovable all the same. In the show’s final episode, they finally declare their love for one another, confirming the popular theory. Creator Alex Hirsch once said that he wanted to include a gay character in the series, but was doubtful that he could on a children’s program. But it looks like this small moment in the final episode allowed him to do just that.
#13: Tweek Tweak & Craig Tucker
“South Park” (1997-)
Though Garrison comes to mind when considering LGBTQ+ characters in this satirical comedy, the character tends to defy categorization. Tweek and Craig, on the other hand, experienced a truly silly, “South Park” coming out story. When the Asian girls at school started drawing the two boys in yaoi art, the town decided they were together, and so they were. Though it wasn’t initially clear that they had officially come out, the two have since been shown to have developed a sincere relationship. As it turns out, they have given the show some of its sweetest moments in recent memory.
“Bob’s Burgers” (2011-)
Marshmallow, a transgender sex worker, was initially meant to be a one-time character whom Bob briefly befriends in the first season. However, she turned out to be so popular with fans that she became a recurring participant in the misadventures of the Belcher family. She’s only sparingly used in the series, which makes her random one-off moments even funnier. The show hasn’t told us a lot about this quirky character, but one thing is for certain: if you need your back cracked, Marshmallow is the woman for the job.
#11: EJ & Sue Randell
In this Cartoon Network series, Clarence’s friend Jeff immediately stood out as an anxious foil to the titular carefree protagonist. Midway through the first season the audience met Jeff’s parents, EJ and Sue, both of whom are women. EJ is the more high-strung mother, resembling her son, while Sue is more relaxed and laid back. The show never feels the need to explain why two women are together or how their relationship is different than a straight one, which goes to great lengths in normalizing gay parents for the young viewers.
#10: Todd Chavez
“BoJack Horseman” (2014-20)
Todd spent the first few seasons of “BoJack” as a lovable and optimistic couch-hopper. However, in the third season, he reunites with his ex-girlfriend Emily, with whom he had a strange and non-sexual relationship. Meeting up with her again helps him come to terms with the facts that he is asexual, and he continues to explore this new identity throughout the following season. He’s one of the first canonically asexual characters in television, and his journey is displayed with vulnerability and heart, which contrasts his normally zany personality. It gives us just another reason to love and sympathize with the series’ sweetest character, and it was satisfying to see him find himself as well as connect with someone as the show progressed.
#9: Harley Quinn
“Harley Quinn” (2019-)
For much of its first season, this adult superhero series focuses not on Harley’s romantic feelings towards other women, but rather the fallout from her breakup with the Joker. The show follows Harley attempting to become a supervillain in her own right and take over Gotham, but this proves easier said than done. In the second installment, however, her attraction to her ally Poison Ivy becomes apparent, and the pair even gets into intimate territory shortly before the latter’s wedding to Kite Man. Suffice it to say, we were cheering when Ivy admitted to reciprocating Harley’s feelings at the end of Season 2.
#8: Princess Bubblegum
“Adventure Time” (2010-18) & “Adventure Time: Distant Lands” (2020-21)
“PB” is easily one of the most lovable characters in this fantasy series. The whip-smart and highly rational ruler of the Candy Kingdom, she is absolutely devoted to her people. Throughout “Adventure Time,” there were many hints of a complicated past relationship, and possibly persisting feelings, between Bubblegum and Marceline. Finally, the pair declare their love in an emotional moment in the series finale. In the “Distant Lands'” episode “Obsidian,” we see the duo as an actual romantic couple, and also get some insight into the original breakup that drove them apart. Whether in or out of a relationship with Marcy, Bubblegum is beloved for good reason.
#7: Takashi “Shiro” Shirogane
“Voltron: Legendary Defender” (2016-18)
This mecha streaming series centers around Voltron, a giant robot powerful enough to combat the evil Galra Empire. The legendary warrior must be piloted by five Paladins, and at the beginning of this series, Shiro is among those who become the next generation of Voltron pilots. In the seventh-season episode “A Little Adventure,” we learn of Shiro’s ill-fated relationship with fellow Galaxy Garrison cadet Adam. Thankfully, despite the heartache he previously endured, our hero gets a happy ending to his romantic storyline. In a flash-forward at the end of the series, we see Shiro marrying IGF-Atlas crew member Curtis.
#6: Marceline the Vampire Queen
“Adventure Time” (2010-18) & “Adventure Time: Distant Lands” (2020-21)
Before the series finale, Marceline’s sexual identity was never explicitly addressed within the series itself - though, as mentioned earlier, it was hinted at. Olivia Olson, the voice of Marceline, as well as a couple behind the scenes crew members, subsequently confirmed that she had a relationship with Princess Bubblegum prior to the events of the show. Before it was made canon, many fans had suspected this, based on the friendly rivalry that the two share. In addition to being bisexual, she’s also a rocker, a trickster, and a vampire...obviously. She’s easily one of the coolest characters in all of Ooo, and her personality isn’t limited to what’s revealed within the series.
#5: Luna Loud
“The Loud House” (2016-)
The third eldest of the eleven children in the Loud family, Luna is an effervescent teenager with an affinity for music. When the family scrambles to figure out who received a love letter, Luna is revealed to have a crush on a girl at her school, implying that she is bisexual. She’s one of the sweetest and most eccentric kids in the family, identified by her love of all things rock, particularly her idol, Mick Swagger. After briefly touching on her sexuality the series continued to develop her love life when she and Sam began dating.
#4: Waylon Smithers
“The Simpsons” (1989-)
Smithers probably spent more time in the closet than any other character in TV history, not officially coming out until the twenty-seventh season of “The Simpsons.” Up until that point, it had been heavily hinted (and “hinted” is a generous way of putting it) that he was in love with his unscrupulous boss, Mr. Burns. He tends to act as a punching bag, which suits him well, particularly as a foil to the lazy Homer. Marge’s sister, Patty, was the first recurring character to come out on the show, with the reveal taking place in the sixteenth season, but she just can’t compare to this lovable sad sack.
#3: Adora / She-Ra
“She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” (2018-20)
This action-adventure series has many LGBTQ+ characters to choose from, but we’d be remiss to not mention the protagonist Adora. She grows up as part of the Horde, but after her capture by the Rebellion, her worldview drastically changes. She realizes that much of her upbringing was based on lies, and devotes herself to fighting the Horde as her alter-ego She-Ra. While LGBTQ+ representation is important in many forms, it’s refreshing to see a lesbian character truly take up the spotlight. Although we love Adora, the series also wouldn’t be what it is without Catra, her enemy-turned-love-interest.
#2: Garnet / Ruby & Sapphire
“Steven Universe” (2013-19)
Garnet is one of the most badass characters on television… period. She is the result of a fusion of two gems named Ruby and Sapphire, who fall in love despite their circumstances. Learning this backstory makes Garnet more than just an unshakeable warrior, but a complex and vulnerable character. The core of her power is the love between these two characters, who care so much for one another that they spend nearly all of their time joined together as one being. She’s far from the only LGBTQ+ character on this particularly inclusive show, with Pearl being another standout, but it’s hard to top Garnet’s beautiful representation of love.
“The Legend of Korra” (2012-14)
Korra was an instant hit with audiences, as the star of the continuation of the universe from “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” She’s the next Avatar after Aang, allowing her to bend water, fire, earth, and air. Though she can be a hothead, she’s strictly loyal and more than a capable bender. Throughout the show, she’s shown to be close to Asami, but in the final moments of the series, they share a romantic moment, confirming that they are, at least by the end of the episode, a couple. It’s a moment that forces us to recontextualize the series and these characters that we’ve grown to love, and it’s a twist we’re totally on board for.