Was Mr. Rogers bisexual? After citing a biography about the tv legend behind Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Twitter sure thinks so.
A few days ago, YouTuber Cece Ewing posted to twitter a conversation between herself and her grandmother. The grandmother had watched the Won’t You Be My Neighbor documentary about Fred Rogers and then read the Mr. Rogers biography book.
What shocked Ewing was that the a paragraph in the biography insisted that Fred Rogers, was attracted to men and women.
The tweet, and page from “The Good Neighbor” biography, then started to trend on Twitter. Many raved the idea of Rogers being a bisexual icon.
It’s important to note that there is some legitimacy issues here. A friend saying after Rogers’ death to a biographer that Rogers admitted to being attracted to both men and women is a fickle story.
That said, it’s a wonderful idea. Plus, knowing this factor of his life gives us a better image of the man and his legacy. It especially gives an even more heartening message to his kindness towards François Clemmons.
Last year, we wrote about how Clemmons, who played an officer for years on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, was treated kindly by Fred Rogers. It was Rogers that hired Clemmons after hearing his singing voice.
Then, for years, the two cultivated a close friendship and coworker relationship. But most importantly, Clemmons was helped by Rogers to love himself and his sexuality.
“In my relationship with Fred, when I was in the studio and he was doing the ending that he does to the show, he often invited me. He’d say, ‘Come by the studio, François, and be with us. Be in this atmosphere,’” Clemmons explained. “I didn’t realize how healing it was until later ― just to be around him. He said one day in his ending, ‘I like you just the way you are. And you know what? You make every day a special day just by being you, yourself.’ And he walked off the set. When he came around, the whole time his eyes were holding my eyes in like a hypnotic trance and I said, ‘Fred, were you talking to me?’ And he said, ‘Yes. I’ve been talking to you for two years, but you heard me today.’”
There’s also evidence of Fred Rogers acknowledging trans people, or at the very least the struggle against gender norms, on his show.
While Twitter has a tendency to get carried away with “queer icon” statuses, we can all appreciate Fred Rogers for his legacy of kindness.
And if he was truly attracted to men and women, that gives us more reason to love the man who wanted the world to smile.