Many of us grew up watching SpongeBob Squarepants — the beloved, yellow sea sponge who lived in a pineapple under the sea. (Even if you didn't, you're likely familiar with the popular Nickelodeon series.) The shenanigans SpongeBob got himself into alongside his BFFs, Patrick Star, Sandy Cheeks, and Gary the snail (mostly while annoying Squidward) are still quote-worthy today.
Although fans have long suspected the often flamboyant and highly sensitive SpongeBob is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, this theory has seemingly been confirmed via social media. And it's just in time for Pride month.
Is SpongeBob Gay?
SpongeBob — who is absorbent, yellow, and porous — is also evidently gay and proud. Or at least that's what a tweet from Nickelodeon seems to suggest.
"Celebrating #Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month," the official Nickelodeon Twitter account captioned a set of three images on June 13. These images included: rainbow art of SpongeBob, Korra from The Legend of Korra (she's bisexual,) and Michael D. Cohen (who is transgender) from Henry Danger.
Twitter was obsessed with SpongeBob's coming out.
Although a fair amount of Twitter users outright rejected the idea of SpongeBob being a member of the LGTBQ+ community, hoards of people tweeted their support and enthusiasm for the cartoon character's coming out.
Some even pushed for Squidward to have his own coming out. (He is getting his own spinoff, so who knows? It could still eventually happen for our tentacled, grumpy, friend.)
It has long been a theory that SpongeBob is gay.
From pretty much the beginning, fans of SpongeBob Squarepants have wondered if/assumed the titular character was gay. A 2002 episode called "Rock-a-Bye-Bivalve" featured SpongeBob and Patrick raising an abandoned baby scallop as if they were a married couple, for example.
On top of this "evidence," fans have noted that SpongeBob doesn't fit the mold of typical male characters. He's highly sensitive, isn't what is generally considered as "masculine," and sometimes dresses in traditionally female clothing.
In other words, news that SpongeBob is indeed a member of the LGBTQ+ wasn't so much shocking as it was validating for many fans who took note of the "signs" all along.
The show's creator previously labeled SpongeBob "asexual."
In 2005, Stephen Hillenburg — creator of the popular Nickelodeon series — responded to Christian activist groups who accused the show of using SpongeBob and Patrick to promote the acceptance of homosexuality.
"It doesn't have anything to do with what we're trying to do," Stephen said at the time. "We never intended them to be gay. I consider them to be almost asexual. We're just trying to be funny and this has got nothing to do with the show."
Still, Stephen had also acknowledged that he understood the reasons SpongeBob might have attracted the gay community. "I do think that the attitude of the show is about tolerance," he said. "Everybody is different, and the show embraces that. No one is shut out."
Plenty of Twitter users have pointed out that even if SpongeBob is asexual and not gay, he's still considered "queer" — and he's still very much part of the LGBTQ+ community.
One person tweeted, "A lot of people are saying 'Spongebob is asexual according to Stephen Hillenburg' and I just wanna point out that would still make him queer, aces are queer, he can be a gay ace, he’s allowed to wear the rainbow too guys."
Perhaps SpongeBob wasn't initially intended to be gay — but it certainly seems Nickelodeon is suggesting the beloved cartoon character could be, after all. Unfortunately, Stephen can't weigh in on this new development, as he died in 2018.
At the very least, we can now confidently say that SpongeBob Squarepants is an LGBTQ+ ally. And we would expect nothing less from our favorite sponge.