259 LGBTQ characters in cartoons that bust the myth that kids can't handle inclusion by Insider

Although there's been other databases that have tracked LGBTQ characters on TV, Insider produced a first-of-its-kind database to track the historical presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, and other sexual- and gender-minority characters with confirmation in animated children’s television in the US.

Insider’s methodology first identified whether a character was implicit or explicit — a yardstick for how directly an LGBTQ character or themes could be understood by a young audience. This measure was informed by interviews with experts in child development, gender, and sexuality who helped detail what kids about 12 and under might recognize about LGBTQ culture and identities.

Second was assessing a show’s narrative techniques. This included viewing footage to analyze dialogue and character interactions and researching comments in interviews and on social media. Characters’ sexual orientation, gender identity, race, and ability were confirmed via the show, or the studio, or the creative team’s social-media posts, or directly with creators in interviews.

In cases where Insider was unable to get creator or studio confirmation — or for characters whose creators didn’t share certain details — entries were labeled unknown. If a show’s creative team had not clarified an aspect of a character’s identity during the show’s production, that character was labeled undetermined.

The result of this extensive data gathering is an in-depth analysis of 70 shows and hundreds of characters organized in a sortable and searchable database, as well as a series of data visualizations depicting our biggest findings and trends.