Image via Rubble & Crew / YouTube (screenshot)
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A spin-off series for the popular children's show "Paw Patrol" has added a non-binary character after consulting with a gender activist to develop the character.
The animated series is called "Rubble & Crew," a show first airing in 2023 about lovable construction animals repairing buildings and building new ones while contending with a rival character.
A side character named "River," according to the show's Wikipedia page, "is a non-binary skateboarder who moved to Builder Cove with their family. They are an expert photographer who takes pictures with their camera phone."
The character is introduced in episode 19, titled "The Crew Builds an Observatory," in which the animated dogs indeed build an observatory and help the non-binary character procure a photograph of a shooting star.
The gender-confused child is voiced by a "non-binary Chinese-Canadian actor" named Cihang Ma who uses "they/them" pronouns.
The character was reportedly developed in partnership with a gender activist named Lindsay Amer, who also wrote the episode.
"They brought me on to consult on the first nonbinary character—meet River!!—for the PAW Patrol universe and write their episode, talk about a bucket list item," Amer wrote on Instagram, according to Metro. "I wanted to write a nonbinary character that was aspirational and incredibly cool, someone for the pups (and kids at home) to look up to."
"They found an awesome non-binary actor to voice River and I’m so so happy about how it turned out," Amer added.
Amer also runs a YouTube channel disturbingly titled "Queer Kid Stuff," which includes her dressing androgynously while talking about sexuality, hosting drag queens, or even discussing the 2016 election results.
In the latter video, Amer says that not only is President Trump "mean," but so are his voters, and they always will be.
"The last week has been hard for a lot of grown-ups. I'm sure it's been hard for you too," Amer began, notably only using the term "grown-up" in the video, avoiding words like parent, mother, or father.
"I know you're sad and scared and confused. Your grown-up probably is too. It's okay to feel those things. I have also been sad and scared and confused, even angry," she went on. "I want to tell you the truth. That Donald Trump can be a mean person. The grown-ups who voted for him, they can be mean too. And the truth is that they probably will not stop being mean any time soon," she claimed.
Amer also hosted a Ted Talk in 2016 titled, "Why kids need to learn about gender and sexuality."
She sang a song that began with the lyrics "It's OK to be gay, we are different in many ways. Doesn't matter if you're a boy, girl, or somewhere in between."
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