Rubble & Crew, a spinoff of the popular animated series Paw Patrol, has found itself embroiled in a controversy labeled as “woke” by conservatives due to its introduction of a non-binary character in one of its episodes.
“Queer Kid Stuff”
Lindz Amer, a non-binary author, and LGBTQ+ activist, is the creator behind this character named River, and they have faced criticism from American right-wing critics.
Lindz Amer is widely known as the founder of the LGBTQ+ web series titled “Queer Kid Stuff,” which they established in 2016.
This educational web series has gained significant traction, amassing around 4 million views, and aims to spread awareness about the LGBTQ+ community among children while also striving to bring queer media into mainstream family entertainment.
In addition to their web series, Lindz Amer has authored a book titled “Rainbow Parenting: Raising Queer Kids and Their Allies” and hosts the podcast “Rainbow Parenting.”
“Hooray for She, He, Ze, and They!”
Furthermore, Lindz Amer is set to make their debut in the world of picture books with “Hooray for She, He, Ze, and They!” scheduled for publication by Simon & Schuster in February of the coming year.
Their work and advocacy have earned recognition in major publications such as Kidscreen, Teen Vogue, Shondaland, NBCOut, Parents Magazine, and Good Morning America.
Notably, Lindz Amer’s web series “Queer Kid Stuff” has been commended as a groundbreaking educational resource on YouTube, particularly during the height of the #MeToo movement when they discussed topics like consent, as acknowledged by Teen Vogue.
Paw Patrol’s spinoff show, Rubble & Crew, first aired on February 3, 2023. It introduced the character River in its episode titled “Builds An Observatory,” which aired on August 21.
River is portrayed as a skateboarder with a strong passion for photography and becomes a new resident of Builder Cove.
Throughout the episode, River joins Rubble and the gang in various building projects, with their ultimate goal being to capture a shooting star that is expected to appear in the sky that evening.
While the episode does not explicitly mention River’s gender identity as “non-binary” or specify their preferred pronouns, there is a subtle hint in their attire, which includes trainers and socks featuring the colors pink, white, and blue, representing the trans-Pride flag.
Aspirational Cool Character
Lindz Amer took to Instagram on September 2 to share their involvement in writing an episode for the Paw Patrol franchise’s spinoff series, saying they were consulted regarding the show’s first non-binary character.
They expressed their intention to create a non-binary character that serves as an aspirational role model for children by showing the character’s coolness for young audiences to admire.
River’s voice was provided by a non-binary voice actor, Cihang Ma, and Lindz Amer expressed their happiness with the overall outcome.
“Indoctrinating” Trans Ideologies
However, the introduction of a non-binary character in Rubble & Crew quickly drew the attention of right-wing critics, who accused Lindz Amer and the entertainment industry of “indoctrinating” trans ideologies into children.
Robby Starbuck, a former music video director turned conservative pundit, took to social media to voice his concerns. He described it as Paw Patrol going “woke” and urging parents to limit their children’s exposure to mainstream TV shows and the internet without adult supervision.
The far-right anti-LGBT organization known as Gays Against Groomers also joined the discourse, dismissing River as merely a tomboy and framing the character’s inclusion as an attempt to transition and recruit children into the LGBTQ+ ideology.
Labeled as an Extremist
Another right-wing pundit, Matt Walsh, labeled Lindz Amer as an extremist activist within the LGBTQ+ community. He criticized the introduction of a non-binary character in a children’s show as an effort to “indoctrinate” young viewers.
Paw Patrol, originally premiered in 2013, is an animated series featuring a squad of police officer pups or dogs.
The show has consistently received high ratings on Nickelodeon in the United States and even inspired a successful film titled “PAW Patrol: The Movie,” released in 2021.
A sequel, “PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie,” is scheduled for release on September 29.
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