Three years ago, our very own Thea received a phone call from a friend. She accepted the call. She lifted the phone to her ear. Her friend said, “Piglet from Winnie the Pooh was androgynous,” and then immediately hung up.
That was it. That was the entire call.
It was a brief message, but a potent one — and, as it turns out, truer than any of us knew. In the first Winnie the Pooh film, 1966’s “Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree,” Disney chose to axe Piglet entirely. Director Wolfgang Reitherman instead chose Gopher to serve as Pooh’s sidekick, saying that Gopher represented an “all-American, grassroots image.” Like, literally: Piglet was not butch enough for Disney. They straight-up almost dumped him from the franchise for being too gay. I am not making this up.
Piglet’s entire wardrobe is pink and purple. He is very short, and very self-conscious about it — who can’t relate? He loves flowers and ladybugs and butterflies. And he is famously neurotic, a tiny little ball of anxiety who catastrophizes about everything:
‘Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?’
‘Supposing it didn’t,’ said Pooh after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.
Equally famous is his pronounced inferiority complex, his constant fear of being an outsider. The entire premise of his standalone movie is that he decides all of his friends must secretly hate him so he just wanders off to cry in the woods and sing Carly Simon songs. Like, admit it. We’ve all been there.
When I think about the fact that I was obsessed with Piglet as a kid, just bonkers about the little dude, my entire adult life starts to make sense. Like, Piglet was gay. Piglet was super, duper gay. Piglet was a different kind of boy hero, a gently pulsing beacon of hope to all the gay kids watching Saturday morning cartoons in their pajamas. Piglet threw the first brick at Stonewall. Piglet ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977 and won. Piglet authored the majority opinion in Obergefell v Hodges. We owe him so much.