Just as many have suspected all along, Bert and Ernie, longtime entertainers on the show Sesame Street, officially came out as a gay couple this week. While rumors have swirled for years about the true nature of the pair’s relationship, it became official when they made the decision to formally support same sex marriage. An upcoming cover of The New Yorker Magazine caught them in a candid moment as they cuddled while watching the Supreme Court hand down the decision, Ernie’s head lying poignantly on Bert’s comforting shoulder. Coming out to the world wasn’t easy, they say, but ever since 2011, when a petition was circulated urging them to marry, making an official proclamation has been on their minds.
“We just thought ‘hey, you know what? It’s time’” said Bert. “We’ve been hiding for long enough. Let’s show the world how we really feel about each other.”
They met in 1969 while filming the pilot for Sesame Street and it was love at first sight. But since then, they’ve insisted that they were only “best friends.” Citing network pressures, Ernie wiped away a tear as he spoke of how difficult it has been to hide his true feelings. “There’s a lot of expectation to tow the party line and keep up the façade of mere friendship,” he said. “We are puppets, and as such, are not anatomically correct. Nonetheless, what we feel for each other goes way beyond friendship. It’s love; and love is love, plain and simple.” Bert agreed, saying “Puppets have their own ways of expressing their affection for each other, but that doesn’t mean our love is any less real. Two years ago, the network said that we don’t even have an orientation, and that really hurt.”
Besides dealing with the pressures of keeping their love a secret, finally coming out has been difficult for the couple.
“Shooting the New Yorker cover was exhausting” said Ernie. “We were watching live as it happened, and weren’t sure what the outcome would be. I was so nervous.” Longtime partner Bert agreed. “As we watched the decision being handed down, I had nothing else on my mind- not even pigeons.” Ernie joked- “and you know when Bert stops thinking about pigeons, he’s really serious.”
Social media has been very active, with Bert and Ernie trending on Twitter and bloggers taking to the internet to express their displeasure. Journalist Tyler Coates called the New York Times cover “infantilizing and offensive” and said it was homophobic. “There’s also nothing breezy about having one’s emotions manipulated or infantilized by a national publication whose primary goal is to sell copies of a magazine,” he writes.
When asked to comment on Coates’ remarks, Bert said “We approached the New Yorker, not the other way around. Tyler sounds like he needs some oatmeal. He could come over and have some oatmeal with us. He might have low blood sugar. I’ll show him my paperclip collection. He’ll feel better.”
When asked about any potential upcoming nuptials, they said that while marriage is a possibility, they have more mundane concerns to attend to first. “Same sex marriage is very important,” said Bert, “but really, we just can’t wait to get a new bed. Sleeping on those singles for so long has not been kind to my back. We’re looking forward to going shopping.” The couple revealed that the little twin beds that sit side by side in their modest bedroom will now be replaced by a custom king sized memory foam mattress. Ernie looked wistfully at the room. “I can’t wait to sit my rubber duckie on the pillows,” he said.
Whatever the future holds for this charming couple, we wish Bert and Ernie the very best as they begin a new journey that allows them to finally live authentically.
By: Rebecca Savastio
Source: Flavor wire