The Powerpuff Girls Tackles Transgender Issues And Fails

The Powerpuff Girls was rebooted earlier this month on April 4, 2016, and already, it is trying to tackle huge LGBT issues within the first few weeks of airing. The recently aired episode, “Horn Sweet Horn,” has a transgender horse transitioning to be a unicorn.

Donny the Unicorn tells it how many transgender individuals can relate, “I may not have a horn, but I do have a heart, and in that heart I know I’m a beautiful unicorn!”

Nick Jennings, the Executive Producer of the series, told the LA Times, “I don’t think you can be too young to start talking about those issues and thinking about those things and just presenting an attitude, and a voice that is going to resonate with people.”

Powerpuff Girls "Horn Sweet Horn"

At the beginning of the episode, I had some pretty high hopes that this would finally be an episode that could tackle the intricate issues facing trans* youth. After watching the episode, I had some mixed feelings regarding how it portrayed transgender issues.

Having cisgender friends who have good intentions, like Bubbles, who don’t understand the process of “coming out” or “transitioning” can confuse LGBT youth, especially when they aren’t ready or prepared to take a huge step as Donny did.

As Bubbles convinces Donny to undergo the “transmogrifying” procedure to become a unicorn, and he is transformed into a monster. Regretting undergoing the procedure he lashes out at Bubbles saying: “Look at me! I’m a freak!” The fact that Donny transforms into a monster could traumatize or misrepresent the transgender community. Undergoing sex reassignment surgery shouldn’t make anyone a monster. There may be some “monstrous” obstacles to overcome, and the show did portray the caution and enormous legal barriers (the paperwork Donny signs before starting the procedure), one person needs to complete before they can even start.

With the help of the “Unicorn Coalition Alliance Brigade Headquarters,” Donny discovers he was always a unicorn and can revert to his former self.

I know what they were trying to do, saying that others shouldn’t try to make Donny change to fit the standards imposed by him based on what we think a Unicorn should look like,but they missed a huge opportunity with this confusing episode. Even for mature adults it can be misunderstood. But this show is still aimed for the younger youth as Nick Jennings said. While it is good that they’re bringing visibility to trans* issues, they could have totally done without Donny becoming a monster and still got their message across.

Despite this disappointing go at tackling a trans* issue, I’ll still be watching The Powerpuff Girls to see if they can make up for this very upsetting episode.

What did you all think of the episode? Leave some comments below.

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