What’s better than Pokémon? Well…gay Pokémon. Thanks to 27-year-old London-based artist Martin Lathbury, who goes by @pixel.punkz on Instagram, you no longer have to wonder what Pokémon would look like with a rainbow aesthetic.
Here is a very Pride-ready Jynx.
And a leather daddy Machoke!
And, of course, Jigglypuff, the original stunt queen.
INTO spoke with Lathbury about his art and why Pokémon is such a perennial queer fave.
What gave you the idea to give these Pokémon a pride makeover?
What’s great about Pokémon to me is that there is something for everyone. It doesn’t exclude, and it’s had some small effect on a lot of queer people growing up. There is a really strong community of gay gamers out there who unite over Pokémon, and what Nintendo created. The designs were my love letter to my fellow LGBT+ gamers, and to Nintendo.
Have you felt like there was always something queer about Pokémon?
I have. A lot of people may say no, but to me I think Pokémon is very queer. As a kid, I was always drawn to Team Rocket. I loved how ‘extra’ they were. I didn’t think at the time it was anything to do with being queer (I was only 7), but looking back I think I identified with them the most because they were kind of outsiders, and unashamedly fabulous!
Which Pokémon do you think is the most queer and why?
Oooh that’s tough. There’s lots of them that represent different queer traits, but I think the obvious one would have to be Jynx - total drag queen. Although Machoke may have been partly responsible for my sexual awakening *blushes*.
What is your favorite Pokémon?
Eevee hands down! Eevee is cute AF and isn’t tied to just one evolution path, which I like.
Is there a reason you think Pokémon is so popular among queer people?
I think it's partly because as kids, everyone is forced by society into gender boxes almost straight away, from the colour of your clothes to the toys you play with. There's always boys and girls. But Pokémon was for everyone. It didn't matter what your gender or your sexual identity was, all that mattered was that you liked Pokémon. It's always been a really welcoming world that is open to anyone and everyone to explore.
Any plans to queer any other classic animes?
One that a few people have told me they would like to see is Guts and Griffith from “Berserk.” So I think I will try to do that one soon. I'm also open so any and all suggestions are welcome. I just love creating and hope people get some enjoyment from them.
Check out the rest of his Pokémon creations on his Instagram page.
And if you need even more of a reminder why Pokémon is queer, check out INTO’s own video on the subject.