SVA Alumnus Rebecca Sugar's 'Steven Universe' Makes History at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards
April 2, 2019
by Danielle Peters
Created by SVA alumnus Rebecca Sugar (BFA 2009 Animation), Cartoon Networks' Steven Universe has been a huge, critically-acclaimed animation hit for years and become a forerunner in the world of LGBTQ-positive representation on television. Now, the adored series has been recognized for its sensitive visibility and portrayal of LGBTQ characters and become the first animated series ever to win the GLAAD Kids & Family Award. Celebrating the fair and accurate portrayal of LGBTQ in media, GLAAD first introduced the Kids & Family Programming Award in 2018, making Steven Universe the second winner in this category. Making history as not only the first animated show to win the award, it is also the first program from Cartoon Network’s lineup to win in any category.
Based around the perspective of Steven, the youngest member of the Crystal Gems—a team of magical guardians sworn to protect the Earth–the Steven Universe story follows his adventures as he helps his friends and saves the world. The show, one of the most progressive of its time, depicts LGBTQ characters and their relationships and delves into topics such as gender neutrality and abuse. While driving all of these topics home, the show emphasizes the idea that LGBTQ relationships, like any other relationships, are normal. The characters fight and make up, and show affection to one another without worry of backlash. A recent same-sex wedding episode last summer made history and headlines around the world. The episode marked the first time a same-sex proposal had been seen on a mainstream children's show.
"Steven Universe won a GLAAD award tonight," Sugar wrote on Instagram last weekend. This is unbelievable...the first animated show in history to win a GLAAD award... I am so thankful and honored #GLAADawards
Other nominees in the Kids & Family Programming category include Adventure Time, Andi Mack, Anne with an E, and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Congratulations to Rebecca Sugar! To read more about Steven Universe’s big win, check out Gizmodo's io9 story on the award-winners.