Is SpongeBob SquarePants gay? Nickelodeon’s Pride Month tweet sparks debate

The close bond between SpongeBob and Patrick has made some fans believe that the Bikini Bottom duo are gay

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SpongeBob SquarePants’ sexuality has long been debated among fans, so when Nickelodeon shared a tweet on Saturday celebrating the Pride Month, which included a photo of the anthropomorphic sea sponge, some people quickly took it as the character’s coming out.

“Celebrating #Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month,” reads the network tweet along with the images of SpongeBob, Korra from Avatar: The Legend of Korra, and Michael D. Cohen’s Schwoz Schwartz from Henry Danger.

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Since Korra is bisexual and Cohen is transgender, SpongeBob’s appearance on the tweet has convinced many people that the Stephen Hillenburg-created character is gay. Though the network didn’t really specify whether SpongeBob was a member of the LGBTQ+ community or simply an ally, the phrase “SpongeBob Gay” became one of top trending topics on the social networking site, as people debated on it and shared supposed evidence of the character’s true sexuality.

Others folks, meanwhile, pointed out that SpongeBob was actually asexual, as stated by Hillenburg back in 2005 after some conservative groups claimed that SpongeBob’s relationship with his starfish best friend, Patrick, was promoting homosexuality. “We never intended them to be gay,” Hillenburg said of the Bikini Bottom duo. “I consider them to be almost asexual.”

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But since asexuals are part of the LGBTQ+ community, SpongeBob is still a member of the community whether he’s gay or not.

Nickelodeon has yet to clarify SpongeBob’s inclusion in the much-talked-about tweet, but a lot of fans felt that changing the character’s sexuality following Hillenburg’s death would be a disrespect to the creator.