Did Mister Rogers Come Out of the Closet As Bisexual And We Missed It?
It seems just like Fred Rogers — better known for his role as Mister Rogers, everybody’s friendliest youth neighbor — is getting something of a resurgence as a result of Morgan Neville’s award-winning Won’t You Be My Neighbor and the forthcoming biopic which will star Tom Hanks as the former minister turned TV host.
However, as you might have discovered, his name appears to be all over social media websites this week since people are coming to understand that Mister Rogers may have really identified as a portion of the LGBTQ community.
Unsurprisingly, Mister Rogers never referred to himself explicitly as “bisexual,” but language aside, Twitter appears to have discovered a interview where he stated that he identified right in the center of the sexual spectrum, viewing both women and men of equal attraction and beauty.
The discovery followed from a dialogue between a queer YouTuber along with her grandmother.
It turned out to be a major Twitter thread which spurred about the discovery of Mister Rogers’ bisexuality. YouTuber Cece Ewing posted on a recent conversation she had with her grandma, where the grandma was the one to break the information.
“Wildest thing that’s happened to me lately is when I went to talk to my grandmother and she was like, ‘Did you know Mr. Rogers was bisexual?'” Cece’s thread began. “And my gay ass, gay of the family, Miss Family Homosexual had to be like ‘he was WHAT?'”
“After she watched the new documentary, she read the Mr. Rogers’ biography,” Cece continued. “Apparently he never used the word but in an interview where he was asked if he was gay, he said something like ‘I’m not gay, but I suppose if you look at attraction as a kind of line … I would probably be somewhere in the middle’ and like. WHAT.’
It’s well known to fans of Mister Roger’s (and who isn’t a fan?!) that he was incredibly tolerant and open-minded with his thinking, so much so that many of his views were considered groundbreaking at the time.
If you happened to catch Won’t You Be My Neighbor, you’ll remember Officer François Clemmons, one of the first African-Americans with a recurring role on a kids’ TV show, first appeared in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhoodback in 1968. Together, François and Mister Rogers made a bold statement by sharing a foot bath at the height of desegregation.
Mister Rogers celebrated people for their differences and lived by the motto of liking people for being “just the way they are.” He taught audiences that a person cannot be defined by merely one quality and according to director Morgan Neville, “What I think was really unique about what Mister Rogers was doing is that he embraced people’s uniqueness.”
“He had people on who you didn’t see on TV. Not just racial diversity, but … special needs children, which [he had on] all the time,” he told ABC News. “He celebrated people for their differences.”
Here’s what Mister Rogers said about his sexuality.
Because of his sensitivity and dedication to children, in addition probably to the way he didn’t subscribe to the mainstream presentations of masculinity in this age, Mister Rogers was often labeled as “homosexual” or a”sissy.” He also told the New York Times back in 1975 that since he is “not John Wayne,” people have trouble seeing him as “the model for the man in the house.”
But what he did concede was that sexuality was more of a spectrum, and in a conversation with the openly gay Dr. William Hirsch, the two discussed something like the Kinsey Scale (or Heterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale). Mister Rogers was quoted as saying: “Well, you know, I must be right smack in the middle. Because I have found women attractive, and I have found men attractive.”
The internet is ecstatic they’ve found a bisexual icon in Mister Rogers.
As you can probably imagine, queers, bisexuals, and really all of the other letters that make up the LGBTQ community were proud to discover Mister Rogers was actually a bisexual icon. “I can’t believe Mr. Rogers is actually the Saint of Bisexuals,” tweeted one person, “the kindest bisexual, the bisexual we all aspire to be as kind and loving as.”
Another wrote, “That sound you hear across Twitter is the shrieking of a thousand bisexual adults delighted to find out a childhood hero, Mr. Rogers, is one of our own.”
“MR ROGERS IS THE BISEXUAL ICON THAT WE NEED IN 2019!!!!!” added someone else. This Pride, let’s not forget to celebrate everyone’s favorite neighbor.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is streaming for free on Hulu.