Howdy, Pridetropicans! Earlier last week we rallied our lovely readers to join us for our second party celebrating theLGBTQ+ community, the PHB’s Pride Palooza. We had a gay ole time! 🏳️🌈
While we recognize the surrounding nuances of opinion regarding LGBTQ+ topics, here at the PHB, we are safe space and believe everyone should be shown kindness and respect no matter who they love or how they identify. That’s why we had this party and why Pride Month is celebrated all around the world.
All the attendees gathered in the Blast-Off Arcade to go head-to-head in Star Link, Balloons, and Sky Dive. I had a pretty good winning streak, myself, though I will admit I lost a couple of times.
Digital doodles and a fair amount of disconnections from switching tabs away from Poptropica also made the night eventful. It wouldn’t be a Poptropica party without the art and the server hiccups, now would it? Here are a few that didn’t make it into the recap collage:
Artwork by Ayman, BrittScarlet, Purple Paw, and Slanted Fish.
The PHC is always open for Poptropicans to talk and hang out, and we strive to be an inclusive place where everyone can have a good time. Pop in and join us anytime.
June is a month of celebration for the LGBTQ+ community, and the PHB is bringing that celebration to Poptropica. But we recognize that not everyone is familiar with what this is all about, so we wanted to make this post to explain the ABCs of LGBT in a kid-friendly way (with brief mentions of mature forms of attraction).
This post will be using the terms “LGBTQ+,” “LGBT,” and “queer” interchangeably, though it’s worth noting that “queer” has historically been used as an insult and only recently been reclaimed as a positive catch-all term. We’ll be going over some basic concepts and common LGBT identities — and tying them to the world of Poptropica!
Please remember that everyone is different, and identities are complicated, but we are all deserving of acceptance, love, and support. If you feel uneasy about the topic of LGBTQ+ identities, I encourage you to be open-minded and patient. Though you may not currently understand the perspective of a queer individual, they are important people nonetheless. And if you are LGBTQ+ and feeling misunderstood by people who don’t quite get it, I encourage you to demonstrate patience even when it is challenging, because the PHB aims to be an accepting place for all viewers. All that being said, let’s unpack this!
The party has wrapped up. Stay tuned for the recap!
It’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month, and pride parades are happening everywhere around the globe. And like before, we’re bringing one to Poptropica! With affirmation of equality for our LGBTQ+ friends and fun times for all, we invite you to the PHB’s 2021 Pride Palooza:
❤️ WHO: Everyone’s invited — you don’t have to identify as LGBTQ+. Some PHB staff will be in attendance too!
🧡 WHAT: Hanging out on Poptropica and our Discord chat server, the PHC. Though there’s a focus on LGBTQ+ pride, the conversation can be about anything. Also, we encourage you to dress up your character in rainbowcolors and fun gear just like at a real life pride parade!
💛 WHEN: Friday, June 18 @ 8 pm Eastern / 7 pm Central / 6 pm Mountain / 5 pm Pacific. If you’re in another time zone, use this converter to see what time it’ll be where you live. It may be Saturday morning, June 19, in some parts of the world. PHB parties usually go on for a couple hours, so come and go however you’re able! 😄
💚 WHERE: Meet us at the Blast-Off Arcade formerly on Home Island! 🚀 You can access it by going to the menu and clicking “Arcade.” We’ll also be on the PHC, a safe chat space where PHB staff and other Poptropicans regularly hang out (for ages 13+). If you’re under 13, you can keep the party going in the comments of this post.
💙 WHY: To celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and have fun!
For those who are unfamiliar, LGBTQ+ is an acronym that stands for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (an umbrella term) or questioning. Sadly, LGBTQ+ people are not always respected for who they are in terms of who they choose to love or what gender they present as. But not here in the Poptropica community!
As a fandom with its share of LGBTQ+ people and allies, the Poptropica community is generally a safe space for LGBTQ+ expression. With this Pride Palooza, the PHB encourages unity, particularly with those who are different, and the freedom to be your true lovable self.
Hey Poptropicans, this is a guest post by HfEvra (Mess of a Being). Enjoy!
Greetings, fellow humanoid creatures with unrealistic proportions who lack ears and noses! This is HfEvra or Mess of a Being, and I’m here today with another guest post, this time about minority representation in Poptropica — particularly on ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.
As a Middle Eastern non-binary lesbian, seeing minority representation in current children’s media brings me immense joy and makes me hopeful that the kids of today will grow up to be tolerant, well-adjusted adults. But recently, I found myself thinking: What if Poptropica also had this sort of representation? And that’s what I’m here to talk about today.
Representation in Poptropica so far
Before talking about how more diversity can be implemented into the game, I wanna go over some instances of Poptropica’s existing attempts at diversity and inclusivity — both the successes and the failures.
The first thing that comes to my mind is the removal of the gender selector from the account creation screen, clearly meant to make the game inclusive for LGBT people who don’t fall into the gender binary of male or female.
Instead of a player’s choice of gender affecting whether or not their Poptropican has eyelashes, the player simply gets to choose whether or not they want eyelashes without having to go into the nitty-gritty of gender identity. In addition, it was also made so that both masculine and feminine clothing could be seen at the same time in the (now removed) New You building on Home Island.
In terms of representing persons of color (POC), however, Poptropica is a mixed bag. On one hand, we have C.J., the brilliant young girl scientist from Shrink Ray Island as well as Dr. Rachel Salerno, the courageous astronaut woman from Lunar Colony Island. On the other hand, we have Ringmaster Raven, the horribly mistreated and tragic villain from Monster Carnival Island. (Yes, it does seem that I am incapable of making anything that doesn’t end up referencing him.)
There is also the fact that Poptropica is guilty of whitewashing — the act of taking a character who isn’t white (or white-coded) and altering them to be white, or at the least, white-passing. Crusher from Super Power Island and DJ Saturday Nite from Zomberry Island, who were both dark-skinned when they were first introduced, had their skin tones lightened in subsequent appearances in the game years later — quite a problematic move considering that people of color are already lacking representation as is. Here’s the before-and-after of the DJ:
And as for Crusher…
That being said, there are ways that Poptropica could add diversity to the game and make things more inclusive without falling into problematic implications. Let’s discuss a few of those ways, shall we?
What else can be done?
In the PHB’sQ&A with Poptropica’s CEOfrom last November, it was mentioned that Poptropica doesn’t currently have any characters whose sexual orientation or gender identity plays an important part in the story, but that it is something that should be considered for future islands. However, there is actually more that can be done in regards to representation than having islands revolve around the minority identities in question.
(Some players read Hazel and Beatrice from Crisis Caverns as a couple. Had it been confirmed in the island itself, this could’ve been an interesting representation of not only gay and/or biracial couples, but also older LGBT couples, who don’t get as much representation as younger ones.)
One of the more subtle ways to establish a character as LGBT is to integrate it into their appearance or environment. Maybe a character could have a pride flag color scheme, or wear something like a pin that has the pride colors on it! Maybe we enter a character’s house as part of the story and we find a pride flag tapestry on the wall! Maybe the character has framed pictures of them alongside their same-sex parents! There’s practically an infinite amount of ways to add LGBT content to Poptropica without being in-your-face about it.
Of course, that isn’t to say that all LGBT content has to be shunted out of the frame by being restricted to subtle design choices and/or background characters. One aspect of representation to remember is that a character’s minority trait shouldn’t be their entire personality, but if the LGBT characters in the game are restricted exclusively to background characters, that’s not fully representative either.
Luckily, Poptropica islands have more moving parts than just “player” and “background NPCs” — they also have a ton of secondary characters who play a part in the islands’ stories! In the future, there could be an island where a sidekick character is explicitly shown to be gay, trans, etc. Perhaps they have a romantic partner of the same gender who’s mentioned or seen alongside them during the story, or perhaps they’re a non-binary person who uses gender neutral pronouns! It’s not a hard thing to add to the story — simply referring to the character in question with non-binary pronouns like “they/them” or “xe/xem” (hey look, those are my pronouns as well!) would help normalize non-conventional pronouns to the game’s audience of kids.
Since the Poptropica Creators advertised 2021 as “the year of stories,” perhaps their current priorities are the Dream Island contest winners, so we likely won’t be seeing this sort of representation anytime soon. But hey, a gay can hope!
Poptropica is promoting the LGBTQ spirit with their latest Instagram post, featuring a Pride-themed fan art piece made with Poptropica’s drawing easel.
In fact, they were so impressed by the fan drawing of the happy Poptropican at a rainbow parade that they’re promising to move the easel to Home Island for easier access. Comments on their post indicate that they’re considering adding a save button to the easel as well.
Right now, the drawing easel can only be accessed on Counterfeit Island, in front of the Moldy Baguette Inn on Main Street. But based on Poptropica’s post, it seems that’s about to change!
The artist, who’s also known as CraftyPoptropican elsewhere in the Poptropica fandom, has created other great pieces of fan art as well. We featured his work with a Pop Fan Artist Spotlight last year on the PHB, and you can also find more of his stuff on DeviantArt and Instagram.
In fact, here’s another piece from Crafty on Instagram, also made with the drawing easel! This one’s a parody of the 18th-century rococo painting The Swing, featuring Poptropica villain Binary Bard.
In addition to all of this, our theme for Community Creations this month here on the PHB is “Pride”! Hopefully this inspires you to create something—and maybe you could give it a try on Poptropica’s drawing easel! Ours isn’t just about sexual orientation, though. You’re welcome to share anything you’re proud of… more details here.
That’s all for this post! Share your thoughts in the comments, and as always, stay popping, Poptropicans. May your pride shine in the right places. 🌈