The “My Little Pony” franchise is selling more than plastic toys to little girls.
A cartoon series based on the Hasbro company’s popular figurines aired an episode in which a same-sex female pony couple take charge of a school-aged pony named Scootaloo. Previously released in Europe, “The Last Crusade” was broadcast Saturday on the Discovery Channel.
In an interview with Buzzfeed News, writer-producer Michael Vogel said he and co-writer Nicole Dubuc were delighted to introduce a same-sex couple, “Aunt Holiday” and “Auntie Lofty,” to the children’s show.
They had the full permission of the company that owns the “My Little Pony” franchise.
“Nicole and I thought this was a great opportunity to organically introduce an LGBTQ couple in the series, and we asked Hasbro and they approved it,” Vogel said.
He voiced his belief that “diversity and representation are important for kids for so many reasons” and said it is his “first priority on everything” he works on.
Although airing the episode in June, known to LGBT activists as “Pride Month,” wasn’t intentional, Vogel told a fan on Twitter that “it’s a coincidence that seems like it was meant to be.”
In another tweet, he celebrated the introduction of same-sex attracted ponies to the equine cartoon by writing: “Hey hey!!! @NicoleDubuc, @joshhaber and I doin what we can to bring more EQuality to EQuestria!! #PrideMonth.”
The lesbian characters previously appeared in a “My Little Pony” book published in 2017.
The “My Little Pony” toys were first released on the market in the 1980s, and its sales were assisted by a cartoon series based on the toy. In 2010, the brand was rejuvenated when the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series introduced the toy to a new generation of little girls.
The show also attracted a fan following among adult men, who created a subculture based on their shared love for the My Little Pony cartoon and its merchandise. Called “Bronies,” the subculture has been featured in two documentaries, “Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony” (2012) and A Brony Tale (2014). According to the latter film, “My Little Pony” was originally aimed at children ages 2-11.