When the beginning of 2016 brought the news that Cartoon Network UK had edited an episode of Steven Universe, "What Can I Do For You," in order to remove an intimate dance sequence between two women, it hit fans like a slap in the face. The move demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of the series, which has become one of the most influential works of our day for its proud support of LGBT equality. Despite the outcry from fans and an over 8,000-signature-strong petition to have the dance returned to the episode, CNUK remained resolute in their decision.
It has thus comes as particularly poignant news that another Steven Universe episode, "The Answer," which features the romantic love between Sapphire and Ruby, is being adapted into a children's book, and will feature the work of one of Beyond the Cartoon’s featured artists, Tiffany Ford. The official description is as follows:
"Thousands of years ago, there were two Gems called Ruby and Sapphire who lived on the faraway Gem Homeworld planet. Even though one Gem could see into the future, neither could predict that their paths would come together in such an incredible way! This is the story of Garnet, the leader of the Crystal Gems, and how she came to live on planet Earth. Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe, tells this love story with plenty of warmth and humor."
The episode, which featured in the most recent season, is told through the touching memories of Garnet and ends with a declaration that, yes, these two women are in love. It can only be assumed that the book will end similarly.
Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar has shown clear excitement about the forthcoming release:
"I was so glad to get a chance to adapt this story into such a timeless format, and to work with two of my absolute favorite artists, original Crewniverse members Elle Michalka and Tiffany Ford! I’m so in love with how this book came out, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it! It’s the classic story of how Ruby and Sapphire fell in love, but told in an entirely new way. Please check it out soon! Thank you so much!"
With childhood forming one of the most influential periods of life, and the rarity of LGBT stories in children’s short fiction, it is particularly encouraging to see this episode of Steven Universe’s that has connected with so many audience members, being adapted in this way. If more creations, studios, and general members of the public could adopt as welcoming an attitude as that of Steven Universe there is the potential to see and entire generation brought up in a world that supports sexual and gender fluidity.
"The Answer" will be released Sept 6, 2016 and is currently available for pre-order