Watching “The Legend of Korra” nowadays is a lesson in bittersweet victories: It’s a b enchmark for how far queer representation has come and how far it still has to go.
“Life is complicated,” Underwood said. “We want our media to be as complex as we are.”
There has been a marked increase in LGBTQ+ representation in kids’ shows and notably different types of queer characters living freely onscreen. In 2018, GLAAD created a new category for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming and this year expanded the category to ten nominees in light of all the new representation. These days, it’s more than just a “very special episode.” Portrayals of queer life on kids’ TV has never encompassed quite as much of the LGBTQ+ initialism as it does now.
Legend of Korra Walked So Queer Characters on Kids’ TV Could Kiss
“The Legend of Korra” remains iconic for representation, showing young children and teens that a queer woman of color is capable of being the heroine of the story. The show should not be regarded as the end-all for queer representation but rather as a bold starting point to radical inclusion in kids media.
The Nickelodeon cartoon's legendary finale sealed the romance between Korra and Asami. We asked queer animators about the doors that moment opened for LGBTQ+ representation.
“The Legend of Korra” isn’t the reason I came out. But the finale made me feel less alone when I felt isolated from everyone around me. If it wasn’t for “Korra” and queer representation in other shows I was watching at the time I may not have grown comfortable enough with my sexuality to come out in 12th grade. And looking back, if more children’s television had included queer characters, I may never have had to come out at all.
That’s what Korra and Asami’s sweet, simple hand-holding inspired. The Legend of Korra ended on a small, quiet moment that mirrored this couple’s own journey of finding each other. But that moment made its intentions abundantly clear. As Korra and Asami turned to face each other, hand in hand, certain that they would be accepted, so too did Konietzko and DiMartino seemingly turn towards the audience, hoping for a broader acceptance of LGBTQ+ content in animation. And turns out, it worked. All of the good that mainstream cartoons like Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power have brought to the world can be traced back to Korra’s one, revolutionary grasping of hands.