Sailor Moon Comforted Me While In The Closet
It took me 23 years to come out as pansexual. For much of that time, I was in denial, trying to push down my Gay Feelings™ and telling people left and right that I was a cool straight person (seriously – I would claim to be straight without even being prompted). However, my all-time favorite television show should have clued me into the fact that I was very, very queer.
If you grew up in the 90s, you’ve at least heard of Sailor Moon, the magical-girl anime that taught us about the power of love and friendship. Sailor Moon was really progressive for its time; the show featured a same-sex couple and characters that expressed gender fluidity by transforming from men into women and back again. Additionally, throw in the fact that the sailor scouts all had very close friendships with one another, a deep love for their moon princess, Sailor Moon herself having a crush on Sailor Uranus for time, and you have one big pile of gay vibes.
The best part was it was no big deal. The show didn’t draw attention to any of it – but maybe that was because queerness wasn’t as strange as the main character being a moon princess who had been reincarnated and would later rule earth with her best friends forever.
I can’t pretend it was all goodness and light when the anime came to the USA. The show was censored considerably. In the English dub of the series, the Best Lesbians Ever™ were rewritten to be cousins, and the season that included the gender-switching never aired in the States.
To say I merely liked Sailor Moon would be an understatement. My cousin and I would watch it every single day after school and then spend the remainder of the afternoon playing in the backyard, pretending to be sailor scouts, cleansing the world of evil with the power of love. I collected the DVDs, the trading cards, had stickers of the characters on my mirror, and even drew the Scouts all over my notebooks in school. I had a lot of favorite characters, but I definitely loved the sailor scouts from the outer planets the most – this is no coincidence, since Sailors Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, and Pluto are the queerest of the bunch.
Neptune and Uranus were beautiful, strong, and very obviously in love with one another (and NOT cousins). I was always transfixed when they were on the television screen and it never felt weird that they were two girls acting in such an intimate way. That should have been my first clue I was queer af. Further, Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto all raise the reincarnated Sailor Saturn. They are three women, raising a child like it’s no big deal, and baby Sailor Saturn even refers to Sailor Uranus as “Papa”. This deviates from 1990s western cultural norms, but once again, the show did not treat it like it was an after-school special on alternative parenting. To a kid who didn’t know who she was and lived a life in denial, it was a comfort.
I would never say that Sailor Moon made me queer, because that’s not how any of this works. I’ve always been queer. However, I will admit that Sailor Moon made me feel seen as a young and confused kid trying to make sense out of her world and her feelings, and honestly, there is nothing more valuable than that.
Now please excuse me as I go binge-watch Steven Universe.