Picture: Twitter / NYTOpinion
Picture: Twitter / NYTOpinion

It only takes a glance at the placards brandished at last week’s anti-Trump protest to see that people love to mock the US president.

From jokes about his appearance to endless comments on the size of his hands ­– we get it, they’re small – it seems that nobody can resist taking a dig at Donald Trump.

And it’s not like there aren’t valid reasons for critique; from cruel immigration policies which separate families at borders to the ongoing accusations of Russian collusion, there’s plenty to say about the president’s policies.

But earlier this week, a slew of online users felt The New York Times took things too far with an animated short depicting Trump and Putin as gay lovers.

The minute-long clip – part of a three-part series entitled 'Trump Bites' – opens with the president in his bedroom, spraying his mouth with breath freshener and straightening up his bow-tie before heading downstairs to meet his date for the night – a topless, ultra-muscular Putin.

What follows is seemingly love at first sight.

Together, they slide into a car and link hands; again, Trump's famous tiny hands make an appearance, depicted in stark contrast to Putin's gargantuan, hairy knuckles. Within seconds, their ride has transformed into a flying unicorn. Triumphant, they make out vigorously, their tongues swirling and finally joining together in unison.

But there’s a problem, one which should be obvious – if your joke uses homosexuality as a punchline, your joke is homophobic.

The cartoon reinforces plenty of myths about gay couples, namely that they need to be comprised of one 'feminine' party and one 'masculine' party. Unsurprisingly, Trump – who portrays himself often as an ultra-masculine powerhouse – is portrayed as girlish and giddy, infatuated with his hulking Russian partner.

Femininity and homosexuality aren't synonymous, nor are femininity and weakness; the cartoon clumsily implies these links in order to undermine Trump as a joke.

Unsurprisingly, plenty of social media users weren't laughing; many took to Twitter to air their frustrations and underscore the cartoon's homophobia.

This isn't the first time 'gay jokes' have been made about politicians - a sketch of Piers Morgan rimming Donald Trump went viral earlier this year, and was later broadcast by the BBC, much to Morgan's annoyance.

Again, the argument applies: homosexuality isn't a punchline.

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