Is Wishbone the Literature-Loving Dog the Secret Gay Icon We Never Knew We Needed?

Is Wishbone the Literature-Loving Dog the Secret Gay Icon We Never Knew We Needed?

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Wishbone was live-action kids TV show starring a Jack Russell Terrier named Wishbone who daydreamed about playing the lead character in tales of classic literature. The show ran from 1995 to 1998, but one Twitter user is making fans of the show feel nostalgic with his Wishbone gay icon theory.

On Twitter, San Francisco based actor and gaymer Sal Mattos wrote:

Wishbone is a gay icon. Feeling stifled and ignored, he retreated to the worlds of classic literature and theatre. He would fully immerse himself in these elaborate fantasies and was always committed to the lewk.

Mattos also added several pictures of Wishbone in various costumes to prove his point about being “committed to the lewk.”


Here is Mattos’ Wishbone gay icon tweet:

Is Wishbone really “a gay icon”?

Even though Wishbone occasionally cross-dressed to play female, there’s no evidence in the show that Wishbone was attracted to dogs or humans of the same-sex. But the gay community doesn’t expect its icons to be gay: Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler and Cher aren’t gay, just fiercely talented, strongly feminine and gay-friendly.

Rather, gay icons are just supposed to have qualities admirable to the gay community — this usually includes some sort of outsider status and life trajectories relatable to gay people.

While many sensitive, creative and literary gay people can relate to escapist fantasies and theatrical self-expression, Mattos’ tweet is honest yet tongue-in-cheek, somewhat similar to folks who have declared the horror movie villains the Babadook and Pennywise the clown from It as “gay icons.”

RELATED | Did ‘Animaniacs’ Have Surprising Queer Elements Hiding in Plain Sight All This Time?

While the Babadook and Pennywise are both villainous outsiders — and one can make the argument that as male-presenting bachelors they terrorize and nearly overturn traditional heteronormative households — their taking up as “gay icons” has mostly been playful and only half-serious.

Perhaps that gets to the quandary about gay icons altogether: If a gay icon isn’t gay and doesn’t necessarily represent or inspire gay men everywhere, then what makes anyone a “gay icon” and who gets to decide?


Featured image courtesy of PBS

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