Madagascar spin-off to introduce non-binary okapi in ‘beautiful’ Pride-themed episode
The animated children’s TV series Madagascar: A Little Wild will feature its first non-binary character, Odee the okapi, in a Pride-themed episode.
The third episode of the TV show’s third season, titled “Whatever Floats Your Float”, sees the animals at Central Park Zoo prepare for the big Animal Pride Parade.
But when Odee the okapi is introduced, zebra Marty can’t figure out which float they should ride on as they look like both a giraffe and a zebra.
Eventually, Odee explains: “It doesn’t matter what we are as long as we’re proud of who we are.”
Odee is voiced by non-binary Broadway star Ezra Menas, of Jagged Little Pill, and will be the actor’s first voice-over role.
They told Entertainment Weekly: “We’re so indoctrinated with the gender binary and gender stereotypes. If you’re a man, this is your path. If you’re a woman, this is your path.
“I think seeing Odee and the care from Odee’s friends would have made me not feel so isolated. At times, I felt so isolated in my experience. I didn’t know I was non-binary as a kid. I didn’t even have that language as a kid.”
Menas added: “If I would have seen this when I was a kid, I don’t even know what I would’ve done.
“This kind of acceptance and love and celebration, I think, is the biggest takeaway from this episode. It’s just a beautiful thing. Makes me cry.”
GLAAD consulted on the script for the episode, which was partly written by queer writers, which reassured Menas that Madagascar: A Little Wild could portray a non-binary character well.
“That gave me the confidence, just knowing that these people care about the stories that they’re telling,” they said.
“They care about the authenticity. They care about how it’s going to impact not only non-binary youth, but people who are not non-binary learning about non-binary identities and accepting people for who they are.”
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