Is Tinky Winky Gay?
Posted by shadmia on May 30, 2007
In the latest round of “I have nothing better to do” Ewa Sowinska, ombudsman for children’s rights, in Poland, said that the purse-carrying character on the British Broadcastinhg Corp.’s “Teletubbies” children’s show could promote homosexuality. She was of course referring to Tinky Winky. In an interview with the weekly Polish magazine Wprost she commented:
“I noticed that he has a purse, but I didn’t realize he’s a boy. At first I thought that must be a bother for him,” Sowinska told the magazine in an interview her office approved before publication. “Later I learned that there could be some hidden homosexual undertones.”
“It would be good for a group of psychologists to talk to children about this. We need to examine this. If inappropriate attitudes have been promoted, we need to react,” said Ewa Sowinska.
Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po – the four chubby luminous-coloured furry figures with aerials on their heads and television sets in their bellies – appeared on BBC television for the first time in 1997. The Teletubbies have since been screened in 120 countries and translated into 45 languages.
The rightest Polish government has drawn criticism in recent years from the European Union and human rights groups for discrimination against gay people.The Education Minister, Roman Giertych, has proposed laws similar to Section 28, which would involve sacking teachers who promote “homosexual lifestyle” and banning “homo-agitation” in schools.
However it does not seem like the Polish government sees the BBC as leading a homosexual plot to subvert children and has distanced itself from Sowinska’s remarks. Parliamentary Speaker Ludwig Dorn said he had warned her against making public comments “that may turn her department into a laughing stock.”
Ewa Sowinska’s comments are reminiscent of the late Jerry Falwell who, in 1999, said that Tink Winky was “modeling the gay lifestyle”. She had also previously said she would ask her office’s psychologists to look into the allegations “and judge whether it can be shown on public television and whether the suggested problem really exists.”
It now appears that she has had a sudden bout of sanity and has backed away from her previous statements. Sowinska’s spokeswoman Wieslawa Lipinska told The Associated Press that Sowinska “hasn’t asked and won’t ask” psychologists to investigate whether “Teletubbies” promote homosexuality.
“They are fictional characters, they have nothing to do with reality, and the bag and scissors and other props the fictional characters use are there to create a fictional world that speaks to children,” Lipinska said. “We are not going to deal with this issue any more.”
In a statement, the BBC denied the allegations against the program.
“Children love to play with bags of all kinds and this fascination is reflected in Tinky Winky’s favorite thing,” the BBC said. “To suggest the series has a political agenda is simply not true.”