Are Frogs the Queer Mascot?

Frank Winkler/Pixabay

Nathan Nayor/Staff Writer

There is a rising trend in the queer community where owning a frog or representations of frogs is considered an indicator of queerness, and are sometimes even called the “choice pet” and “mascot” of the LGBTQIA+ community.  There are grounds for this with a deeper look into the biology of frogs and their history in the media, along with other representations used in the past.

Many recall the jokes surrounding Alex Jones’ tirade on “the chemicals in the water that turn the frickin’ frogs gay,” and this may just be one of the most notable earlier connections between frogs and the LGBTQIA+ in popular media.  His insistence for frogs being part of the alt-right aside, many in the queer community began to look into frogs afterwards, and rushing into a niche culture of frog owning.  The chemicals that Jones referred to were pesticides and herbicides with synthetic estrogens that triggered a mechanism in male frogs to turn into female frogs, but further research has suggested that this is a natural phenomenon in the species.  With this appealing to the trans community, the purchases and adoptions of frogs increased heavily over the years.  

The heavy presence of queer frog owners is especially notable in platforms like Tiktok and Instagram, where many share images and videos of their frogs doing cute stuff and drawings of frogs with different pride flags.  The heaviest validation for the fondness for frogs, however, may also come from the famous children’s book series Frog and Toad.  The author, a gay man, confirmed that the title characters are an exploration of gay relationships at the time.  While the author has been dead for decades now, the adoption of frogs as the unofficial queer mascot has brought this knowledge back to the present as a celebration and validation of their identities.  

There may also be religious roots for the frog takeover.  Many in the community have had to deal with bigotry, especially from family, with religious “justifications”.  Frogs are also deemed as bad in the Bible, from their appearance as the second plague in Exodus 8:6 to the disguises of demons in Revelation 16:13.  Frogs have also been notoriously linked with witches in popular media, a demographic also commonly scorned by followers of Abrahamic religions and now populated with queer practitioners.  Those who have dealt with the infamous “Catholic Guilt” and similar religious shaming for their identities may identify with these adorable creatures for their common demonization.  

Frogs are not the first animal symbol of the community, though it is perhaps the most unifying.  Unicorns are historically colorful with ever-changing descriptions, and their mythical status was found to be relatable by those in the community who often felt erased, such as those on the asexual and multiple-attraction spectrums, along with nonbinary people.  But the hyperfeminization from a previously masculine symbol was found to be unappealing by many transgender and homosexual men.  Butterflies appealed to the trans community as the species transforms from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly, but cisgender members of the LGBIA+ community could only relate to this in the context of coming out of the closet.  Bears, needless to say, only appeals to a very specific population in gay males.

Many proverbs and other texts describe the funny little amphibians in relatable and inspiring ways.  The poem What A Queer Bird describes frogs in the perspective of a bird and has the dead giveaway of its appeal in the name. There is also an American proverb that can be used to describe anyone in times of trouble, especially with the rise of awareness in racial prejudice: “You can’t tell by looking at a frog how high he will jump.”  I can strongly relate to the proverb, as someone who was once a hopeless teenager now in comfortable conditions I’d never thought I could have.  I hope the proverb inspires those of you right now dealing with unaccepting households or any other oppressive conditions to hold out, and to know that it does get better and that we are all frogs about to jump into our successful lives. 


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo by Frank Winkler on Pixabay

1 Comment on "Are Frogs the Queer Mascot?"

  1. Thanks for the explanation. I’ve always loved frogs. They metamorphose like butterflies and dragonflies. They are adorable. I was the kid at summer camp always playing with the frogs in the pond. I confess to putting a tiny ceramic frog in the holy water at my old church.

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