Cartoon Network’s show Steven Universe, long known for its inclusive, positive portrayal of gender identity and gender presentation recently, and publicly, confirmed that a major character is non-binary and intersex.
Stevonnie, the fusion of main character Steven Universe and his bestie Connie Maheswaran, was recently depicted in a Cartoon Network posted to their Instagram account as part of their partnership with Dove and the Dove Self Esteem Project. In the video, Stevonnie can be seen showing off a social media account with the tagline “I’m an experience.” They’re also described as Intersex and non-binary, and use the pronouns they/them.
Show creator Rebecca Sugar recently came out and non-binary as well. In an interview with NPR’s 1A, Sugar explained her reasoning behind the show’s inclusive depiction of gender.
“One of the things that’s really important to me about the show is that the Gems are all non-binary women. They’re very specific and they’re coming from a world where they don’t really have the frame of reference. They’re coded female which is very important. I was really excited because I felt like I had not seen this. To make a show about a young boy who was looking up to these female-coded characters—they appear to be female, but they’re a little more representative of nonbinary women.
They wouldn’t think of themselves as women, but they’re fine with being interpreted that way amongst humans. And I am also a non-binary woman which is been really great to express myself through these characters because it’s very much how I have felt throughout my life.”
The show, which has now gone through five seasons, is set to continue with a full length movie set to debut in the fall of 2019. Cartoon Network recently announced that the movie would be a musical, featuring all new songs Chance the Rapper, Estelle, Patti LuPone, Uzo Aduba, Gallant, Amiee Mann, and Rebecca Sugar.