The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Netflix will soon be releasing a new version of the beloved and oft adapted novel “Anne of Green Gables”. This morning the queer women oriented magazine Autostraddle published a desire for this version to finally explore the lady-loving potential between bosom friends Anne and Diana.
Immediately a bunch of heterosexual women descended on the post and Facebook page to defend the heterosexual purity of their literary heroine. We queers with our head cannons were simply ruining their childhood fave. One even went so far as to call it ” sexualizing young girls” to suggest a romance between the characters.
Like every busy body in a moral panic before them, they framed their interventions as being “for the children”, to protect them from our perversion, at least until they’re older. This idea that queer love is explicitly and overly sexual, while heterosexual pairings somehow are not, harms children. Because here’s the thing they don’t want to admit: some children are queer.
There are trans babies in this world, and bi toddlers, and lesbian L.M.Montgomery fans in the third grade. They all need positive, healthy examples of who they already are. I watched the 1985 miniseries over and over again as a lesbian child, and seeing Anne’s love for Diana was important for me. How much more it could have meant if romance had been decidedly included.
This new version is unlikely to play up the love they share, and we will likely get yet another rendition of them as “gal pals”. (If you’re heterosexual and didn’t get that, ” gal pals” is what heterosexuals think lesbian couples are. You’re actually really bad at spotting queerness.)
Queer women will keep wishing for and demanding the gayification of popular media, especially child and family friendly fare. We understand what children really need. It’s not shelter from knowledge, or the over sexualizing and shunning of queer love. It’s age appropriate, positive, innocent love. The love heterosexuals have long taken for granted kids like them could see praised and included. We want the same for queer youth.