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Why the She-Ra and Catra Kiss Matters for Queer Youth

WARNING: The following contains a spoiler for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 5, now streaming on Netflix.

The kiss heard around the world, or well the queer animated one at least.

It’s been a long time coming, five seasons to be exact, but in the two-part series finale, “Heart Part 1” and “Heart Part 2”, of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power queer hearts all over the world exploded when Catadora finally shared a passionate and loving kiss along with some “I love yous” and a happily ever after. In my mind, “Kiss Me” by Six Pence None The Richer was definitely playing in the background as this all went down. Yes, I know I just aged myself.

Catra and Adora in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power  (Photo Credit: DreamWorks / Netflix)

A Natural Conclusion to She-Ra’s Arc

And not only that, but their kiss was integral to the plot and not just some fan-fare payoff. In an interview with Gizmodo, the creator of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Noelle Stevenson said:

The show’s not a romance show. It is about a lot of things. It’s about choice, destiny, fighting, tyrants, you know, all of these other things. I grew up with so many stories—like sci-fi and fantasy—that I was so passionate about. And it would be considered no big deal to have the hero get the girl and to have a kiss at the end, without it suddenly becoming a romance or ‘Oh, the shippers got what they wanted.’ It was just a part of the story. And to actually see it be a central part of the plot and to fulfill the arcs of the characters in a way that felt satisfying. I really want to take it beyond ‘Oh, the shippers got what they want.’ Like, it’s not just a ship for me. It is a plot point. It is the necessary conclusion of each character’s arc, separate and together. —Noelle Stevenson, creator She-Ra and the Princesses of Power 

Seeing Ourselves in These Stories

As a queer Indian woman, LGBTQ+ representation has always been important to me.

Yes, shows like Steven Universe have done right by LGBTQ+ representation, but for too long, we’ve been the sidekick and never the lead. Or we’ve been strung along in the never-ending “bury your gays” narrative brought on by shows like The 100. Or some sort of bait-and-switch where the queer subtext doesn’t even make it past the first act.

Coming Out as a Queer South Asian

It’s refreshing to finally see queer lead characters fully embrace their love, especially in a children’s cartoon. Something little Sim would have loved to have seen growing up.

For the majority of my life, I’ve struggled with my queer identity. I’m in my early thirties now, but I didn’t come out of the closet until I was 24.

When I first came out, I was immediately hit with a myriad of questions. The biggest being, “when did you first know?”

Honestly, I can’t tell you when I first realized I was gay. I definitely remember my first girl crush, a woman who worked at the car wash my parent’s owned. I was six or seven at the time.

Chickenpox laid me out from school one day. And that day at home, I fell in love with the girl from my parent’s car wash.

But beyond that early unrequited love, I’ve just always known. I guess I excelled at repressing it for far too long.

For the Honor of Yourself…

I dated guys in college, but then it’d end up in the same old routine. Home for the holidays, watching The L Word alone in my room. Getting a glimpse of my queer identity, trapped in a box somewhere in the back of my mind. Then, go back to school and push it all down again.

Rinse. Cycle. Repeat.

For far too long, I was terrified of saying out loud, “I like girls.”

You can feel it, when you’re not in alignment. When your soul has spent so much time wrestling with your insecurities. Your doubts about who you really are.

It wasn’t until after college, despite knowing not everyone would except me, I finally found the courage to fully embrace every aspect of myself, rainbow and all. Thanks in part to my fairy gay mother AKA my childhood friend, Desiree, more on her another time, and of course, The L Word.

“I Am She-Ra…”

Now some 10 years later, this seemingly small moment in a children’s animated series meant the world to me. I felt seen, validated, empowered.

I know that there’s still work to be done in terms of queer representation, but I’m grateful for shows like She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and the work it’s doing to push the conversation forward.

Hopefully, what The L Word did for me, Catadora and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power can do for others struggling to make sense of their identity.

Now that the series is over, what was your favorite moment of season 5?

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As a queer South Asian writer, director and producer, Sim has always had an affinity to create stories that are beautifully diverse. Constantly on the hunt to find the best tools to aid in her quest, she believes media can be used to tell a story. Through her experience working in development and production at Super Deluxe, Cartoon Network and Netflix , she has discovered animation to be the definitive tool to accomplish this task. She hopes to make the world’s stories come alive through the world of animation.

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Sci-fi and Fantasy from South Asia and Southeast Asia.