Anne of Green Gables Is Obviously Bisexual

Some people will tell you Anne Shirley (of Green Gables and eventually of Avonlea) was in love with Diana Barry because Anne Shirley is a lesbian. Other people will tell you that cannot be, that Anne Shirley was in love with Gilbert Blythe because Anne Shirley is straight. Well, my friends, I am here to tell you something and it’s that Anne Shirley was in love with Diana Barry and then later she was in love with Gilbert Blythe (though she never truly forgot her first, passionate blush of awakening with her bosom friend) because Anne Shirley is very clearly bisexual.

I’m bringing this to your attention because Netflix announced today that it will remake the classic series, which Canada originally gifted to us in the year 1985. That mini-series and its sequel remain two of the gayest things to ever arrive in the United States of America from Canada, and that list includes: Ellen Page, Tegan and Sara, Lost Girl, Bomb Girls, Rookie Blue, KD Lang, Wynonna Earp, Orphan Black, all the Degrassis, and that one Olympic hockey team (I know you know what I’m talking about).

Look, obviously you know Anne was in love with Gilbert, and honestly, who wouldn’t be? He’s the dreamiest man in all of literature after Captain Frederick Wentworth. What you need to understand is that she also was just so very, very, very in love with Diana. And Diana was in love with her too.

This is the evidence. (These are real quotes from the real book written by Lucy Maud Montgomery! Not some fan fiction I found on Archive of Our Own!)


Marilla Cuthbert foretold it

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Anne tipped the vase of apple blossoms near enough to bestow a soft kiss on a pink-cupped bud, and then studied diligently for some moments longer.

“Marilla,” she demanded presently, “do you think that I shall ever have a bosom friend in Avonlea?”

“A—a what kind of friend?”

“A bosom friend—an intimate friend, you know—a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will, too. Do you think it’s possible?”

“Diana Barry lives over at Orchard Slope and she’s about your age.”


And then they met

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“Oh, Diana,” said Anne at last, clasping her hands and speaking almost in a whisper, “oh, do you think you can like me a little—enough to be my bosom friend?”

Diana laughed. Diana always laughed before she spoke.

“Why, I guess so,” she said frankly. “I’m awfully glad you’ve come to live at Green Gables. It will be jolly to have somebody to play with. There isn’t any other girl who lives near enough to play with, and I’ve no sisters big enough.”

“Will you swear to be my friend forever and ever?” demanded Anne eagerly.
Diana looked shocked.

“Why it’s dreadfully wicked to swear,” she said rebukingly.

“Oh no, not my kind of swearing. There are two kinds, you know.”

“I never heard of but one kind,” said Diana doubtfully.

“There really is another. Oh, it isn’t wicked at all. It just means vowing and promising solemnly.”

“Well, I don’t mind doing that,” agreed Diana, relieved. “How do you do it?”

“We must join hands—so,” said Anne gravely. “It ought to be over running water. We’ll just imagine this path is running water. I’ll repeat the oath first. I solemnly swear to be faithful to my bosom friend, Diana Barry, as long as the sun and moon shall endure. Now you say it and put my name in.”

Diana repeated the “oath” with a laugh fore and aft. Then she said:

“You’re a queer girl, Anne. I heard before that you were queer. But I believe I’m going to like you real well.”


This is the way they lived…

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“I can give Diana half [my chocolate], can’t I? The other half will taste twice as sweet to me if I give some to her. It’s delightful to think I have something to give her.”


… and loved.

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“I’ve a compliment for you, Anne,” said Diana….“We heard [the distinguished artist] say ‘Who is that girl on the platform with the splendid Titian hair? She has a face I should like to paint.’ There now, Anne.


Anne panicked when she accidentally got Diana drunk on currant wine (shades of Paige McCullers)

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“Oh, Mrs. Barry, please forgive me. I did not mean to—to—intoxicate Diana. How could I? Just imagine if you were a poor little orphan girl that kind people had adopted and you had just one bosom friend in all the world. Do you think you would intoxicate her on purpose? I thought it was only raspberry cordial. I was firmly convinced it was raspberry cordial. Oh, please don’t say that you won’t let Diana play with me any more. If you do you will cover my life with a dark cloud of woe.”


And then Diana’s mom made them break up!

anne-diana-6

“No; and oh, Anne, she says I’m never to play with you again. I’ve cried and cried and I told her it wasn’t your fault, but it wasn’t any use. I had ever such a time coaxing her to let me come down and say good-bye to you. She said I was only to stay ten minutes and she’s timing me by the clock.”

“Ten minutes isn’t very long to say an eternal farewell in,” said Anne tearfully. “Oh, Diana, will you promise faithfully never to forget me, the friend of your youth, no matter what dearer friends may caress thee?”

“Indeed I will,” sobbed Diana, “and I’ll never have another bosom friend—I don’t want to have. I couldn’t love anybody as I love you.”

“Oh, Diana,” cried Anne, clasping her hands, “do you love me?”

“Why, of course I do. Didn’t you know that?”

“No.” Anne drew a long breath. “I thought you liked me of course but I never hoped you loved me. Why, Diana, I didn’t think anybody could love me. Nobody ever has loved me since I can remember. Oh, this is wonderful! It’s a ray of light which will forever shine on the darkness of a path severed from thee, Diana. Oh, just say it once again.”

“I love you devotedly, Anne,” said Diana stanchly, “and I always will, you may be sure of that.”

“And I will always love thee, Diana,” said Anne, solemnly extending her hand. “In the years to come thy memory will shine like a star over my lonely life, as that last story we read together says. Diana, wilt thou give me a lock of thy jet-black tresses in parting to treasure forevermore?”


But Mrs. Barry couldn’t keep them apart!

anne-diana-8

“Diana might just have smiled at me once, I think,” she mourned to Marilla that night. But the next morning a note most fearfully and wonderfully twisted and folded, and a small parcel were passed across to Anne.

Dear Anne (ran the former)

Mother says I’m not to play with you or talk to you even in school. It isn’t my fault and don’t be cross at me, because I love you as much as ever. I miss you awfully to tell all my secrets to and I don’t like Gertie Pye one bit. I made you one of the new bookmarkers out of red tissue paper. They are awfully fashionable now and only three girls in school know how to make them. When you look at it remember

Your true friend,
Diana Barry

Anne read the note, kissed the bookmark, and dispatched a prompt reply back to the other side of the school.

My own darling Diana:—

Of course I am not cross at you because you have to obey your mother. Our spirits can commune. I shall keep your lovely present forever. Minnie Andrews is a very nice little girl—although she has no imagination—but after having been Diana’s bosom friend I cannot be Minnie’s. Please excuse mistakes because my spelling isn’t very good yet, although much improved.

Yours until death us do part,
Anne or Cordelia Shirley

P.S. I shall sleep with your letter under my pillow tonight. A. or C.S.


And then Anne saved the day, and they got back together

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“And Diana and I had a lovely afternoon. Diana showed me a new fancy crochet stitch her aunt over at Carmody taught her. Not a soul in Avonlea knows it but us, and we pledged a solemn vow never to reveal it to anyone else. Diana gave me a beautiful card with a wreath of roses on it and a verse of poetry:”

“If you love me as I love you
Nothing but death can part us two.”

“And that is true, Marilla. We’re going to ask Mr. Phillips to let us sit together in school again, and Gertie Pye can go with Minnie Andrews. We had an elegant tea. Mrs. Barry had the very best china set out, Marilla, just as if I was real company. I can’t tell you what a thrill it gave me … Then when I came home Mrs. Barry asked me to come over as often as I could and Diana stood at the window and threw kisses to me all the way down to Lover’s Lane. I assure you, Marilla, that I feel like praying tonight and I’m going to think out a special brand-new prayer in honor of the occasion.”


Case closed. Also, obviously Marilla Cuthbert and Rachel Lynde were lovers, and so. Do us right, Netflix!

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 821 articles for us.

212 Comments

  1. I don’t know how to feel about this. Not the Anne being bisexual part; that’s obviously true. I mean the remake.

    Also, as I do every time you and I discuss this, I present the option that Anne could have been very happy with Katherine-spelled-with-a-K Brooks. 😉

  2. As much as it would be nice to have such a powerful piece of literature have it’s main character be bisexual I would have to disagree whole heartedly. These novels were written in 1908, a time when words like “Queer” just meant “odd” or “strange”. Anne was a dreamer who never had a friend or anyone close to her until she moved to Avonlea. Her tendency to “Romance” everything came from her avid reading of fantasy novels.
    I am a great fan of the novels and the mini-series. I am looking forward to how Netflix will do this beautiful work to life.

    • You must be new here 🙂 As women who love women, we love to speculate wildly about the sexuality of characters that stirred our imaginations, particularly since there has been a dearth of explicitly queer woman characters prior to the last twenty years (or, really, the last five). Anne and her bosom friend are hardly alone in being canonically straight but subtextually queer. We like to celebrate the subtext

    • I have to agree 100%. Verbage was much different then. “Bosom friend” just meant best friend. And “queer” meant odd. Speech was much more eloquent and peotic in the early 20th century. It was considered brass and poor form to use abbreviations, slang like, “my goodness”…

      • It’s pretty common knowledge that “queer” meant odd and “bosom friend” referred to an intense but socially acceptable sort of best friendship. However, get a bunch of queer people in a room and have them talk about their childhoods, and that quasi-romantic approach to best friendship is going to come up a lot, because that’s what people do when they like their friends romantically but aren’t aware that you can like someone who isn’t the opposite binary gender that way. There’s nothing wrong with finding that relatable and speculating.

      • @blanche Here, have some feelings barf:

        Margaret Atwood has an essay in which she says, among other things, that “the most moving declaration of love in the book has nothing to do with Gilbert Blythe: it is Marilla’s wrenching confession in the penultimate chapter. […] Only when she has recovered–painfully enough, awkwardly enough–her capacity to feel and express can she become what Anne herself has lost long ago, and truly wants: a mother.”

        She goes on to talk about how Marilla represents our adult fears and concerns: being joyless, trapped, hopeless, unloved. Marilla had once expected to marry John Blythe, but instead she’s lived a self-sufficient life on her own terms; whether you read her as queer or not (and I do, but it’s mostly a personal choice), she has the isolated, lonely, loveless life that I learned to expect as a religious teen would befall any woman who didn’t marry a dude and start making babies.

        But she has a life with her brother–she makes a beautiful queer survival household with Rachel Lynde and Dora and Davy after Matthew and Thomas die–she and Anne create a family, and love each other, and she willingly gives up some of her authoritative power over her household to partake in the shared power of a family of choice. She raises three children without ever having a husband, or being pregnant, or giving birth.

        Basically the early Anne books (before she gets devoured by marriage, TELL ME that LMM thought hetero marriage was happy and healthy, there is no evidence in her books or her journals) are a series of chosen families headed by women, and I wanted them all. Marilla and Anne and Matthew; Miss Stacy’s study group; Marilla and Rachel and the twins; Miss Lavender’s very feminine world; the Patty’s Place crew. And Marilla–the stubbornest, plainest, least romantic, most-like-me-est one of them all–gets to be so loved and so happy while maintaining her independence and never once marrying a man.

    • Why are you spazzing AS? I meant: Gonna have to Neville up on this one. (“It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends.”) Diana and Anne have a wonderful, deep friendship, which seems romantic due to Anne’s dramatic expression in the first book. But Diana’s not Anne’s soulmate. She’s too everyday and practical, and they grow apart for good reasons over the course of the books. Sometimes it’s time to step away from the subtext and celebrate platonic female friendship!

      Not about Marilla and Rachel though. They’re totally doing it.

      • Also YES. Anne is hella queer, but she finds so many more soulmatey soulmates after Diana.

        And it’s only now that I realise how much these books shaped my understanding of alternatives to compulsory heterosexuality via Marilla and her choices.

        • After I posted, I realized I don’t necessarily disagree with the article. I think I’ve seen articles here arguing that Anne and Diana should end up together here before and I got confused?

          Anyhoo, I don’t think sexuality per se really exists in Anne of Green Gables, like, I just can’t really imagine Anne wanting to get into anyone’s pants. But she’s definitely bi-romantic! She has deep, emotional, romantic connections to people of both genders. Diana is like her first crush, which is super passionate and intense, but them you realize later that you really just want to be friends and not build a life together.

  3. Wow…. Just wow. I just finished reading Anne of Green Gables and the following four books in the series. And it takes real wishful thinking to believe what this article blatantly promotes. Why can’t Anne just be who she was written to be- a sweet, desperate little orphan girl who found a loving family and community at Green Gables. Trust me, she doesn’t need more to break any stereotypes. From being an orphan, going to college, running a girls highschool/college, and finding happiness as a wife, as a mother and knowing just what to say to the social climbers and snobs of her day- she already breaks most molds and social constructs. No need to do any other labeling- she’s wonderful just as she was originally written by L.M. Montgomery.

      • Just an FYI, this article showed up on my FB feed, and I clicked on it, because I found it interesting. I wasn’t even aware of this website before I clicked on the article, so I’m thinking more than a few people who are disagreeing here (of which I am one) did the same. Btw, before you accuse me of being a cis-white heterosexual female, know that yeah, I’m a female, I’m white, and I’m cigs, but I’m definitely heteroflexible and have absolutely no issues with correct literary interpretations of characters, gay, straight, poly, bi, and everything in between. However, Lucy Maud Montgomery was virulently anti-gay/lesbian. She had an admirer in the 1930s who acted much like Anne did and her reaction was to say that the “curse of the lesbian” nauseated her. So, definitely don’t let it diminish anything that you thought when you were younger, but just know that Anne and Diana were really just friends, and I have a feeling that LM Montgomery may have voted for Trump. It sucks, but it is what it is.

    • I’m guessing you don’t know how to close read and haven’t looked into understanding the context in which the book was written. And we aren’t “labelling”…we’re close reading direct text taken from the novels. That’s how interpretation works. No one would say anything if there wasn’t evidence to back it up at least a little bit. People assume female affection is always just friendship, but women who have desire towards women know what it sounds like and feels like. So it’s pretty easy for use to be able to see what you may not be able to see.

    • Nothing about the “Anne is bi” theory contradicts who she was written to be, and it says more about you that you think she couldn’t be.

      The way people label themselves is absolutely shaped by what their societies say is possible. The real-life women from that time who married men and had intense, quasi-romantic friendships with other women wouldn’t have thought of themselves as lesbian, bisexual, or queer, but they also didn’t live in a world where you could be a normal person and want romantic relationships with women. If you took the same people and raised them in the present day, some would identify as heterosexual women, but some wouldn’t. Some would still categorize their intense relationships with other women as platonic, but some wouldn’t. Hell, some wouldn’t want to be romantic with men at all, and some wouldn’t consider themselves women at all. It’s not that people in the past were straighter than people today, but that people in the past didn’t have the freedom that people in the present do. Queer people always existed.

    • I think the most beautiful thing about Anne Shirley is that she can easily be read as pretty much any sexuality you like, and somewhere, the text will probably support it. I mean personally I never read her as anything other than straight when I was younger, but as I get older I think you can see aspects of her relationships with several of the women and girls in her life (it was never just Diana) that lend themselves to the possibility that Anne might be attracted to women. Plus I kind of feel like you think Anne being anything other than straight would somehow ruin her? Straight is a label. Every sexuality has a label.

  4. The amount of biphobia and lesbophobia in the comments here and on Facebook.

    Seriously, whether you can see Anne’s romantic love for Diana or not, and I certainly can, it’s no excuse to be biphobic and lesbophobia and insist that it’s a ridiculous notion. So negative and rude.

    • I don’t see it. She just really likes her best friend. It’s not “phobia,” but it’s people calling others out for reading into something that isn’t there. I mean, she’s a little orphan girl who doesn’t have any friends, because she’s a little odd, and finally one other girl becomes her friend. It’s a theme that goes through all of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books. The flowery language is very common in books from that era, and I see a lot of the same themes and attitudes repeated again and again, especially the love for your friends. I doubt every single one of the married women who wrote during that era had that type of idea at all. And if they did, they probably wouldn’t insert it into a children’s book. It just wasn’t the correct time in our history.

      • Why do you care so much though? Why do you need to “call people out” for interpreting literal words in a different way than you? Like, why is so important that we understand how wrong we supposedly are.

        This is a queer, feminist, women oriented website. Let us, the readers, have this conversation over here. If you don’t agree it’s your prerogative, just don’t come over here to tell people off? It’s really not that difficult to understand.

      • The flowery language is very common in books from that era, and I see a lot of the same themes and attitudes repeated again and again, especially the love for your friends. I doubt every single one of the married women who wrote during that era had that type of idea at all. And if they did, they probably wouldn’t insert it into a children’s book. It just wasn’t the correct time in our history.

        They might not have been familiar with the concept of queerness, or with the concept of being both queer and an ordinary person. The concept of having a sexual orientation had barely been invented – the first print mention of heterosexuality was in 1892, and though there had been words for people who engaged in homosexual acts, a person who engaged in homosexual acts was generally a very, very abnormal type of person to be. Heterosexuality was so much the only way to be normal that there wasn’t even a word for it until relatively recent history! The fact that writing love letters to other women and waxing poetic about wanting to kiss them didn’t make you gay… well, it says less about the orientations of the individual people doing that, and more about how unthinkable it was for a normal, respectable woman to be anything but straight. It’s not that none of these people were queer, it’s that it was thought so impossible for them to be queer that they could do all of these things and still seem straight, because what else could they be?

        Without the knowledge that it was possible, they may not have categorized intense feelings for women that they wanted to be intimate with as potentially the same sort of thing as intense feelings for men that they wanted to be intimate with. But you see the same sort of thing in the present day with LGBTQ people who grew up in communities where that sort of thing wasn’t heard of, or was only heard of as a thing that deviants did. Lots of older queer women who came out later in life thought they were just being very intense about friendship at the time (and in the case of many of the lesbians, not particularly excited for romance, which they’d have seen as man/woman only.) Yes, straight women who get excited about friendship still exist and have always existed, so not all of them were queer, but when you look at people who lived in a time where seeing yourself as gay, bi, or queer was basically unheard of, and where quasi-romantic friendship was the one socially approved way to act on romantic feelings for other women, it’s impossible to tell who’s marrying men and having quasi-romantic relationships with women because they want to, and who’s marrying men and having quasi-romantic relationships with women because that’s the closest they can get to what they want – especially because they likely wouldn’t have the tools to figure out what they really wanted, either.

        The more it becomes socially acceptable to be queer, and the less being queer is stigmatized, the more people identify as queer. You can see that effect today, even – there was a study about it and 1/3 of American millennials identify as something other than completely straight, while only less than 15% of baby boomers and seniors identified as something other than completely straight. If you asked the same baby boomers and seniors thirty years ago, they’d very likely report themselves as even straighter. The point is, social attitudes toward queerness absolutely do impact how people see themselves. Nobody is arguing that Anne would’ve identified as bi, because… as you said, it wasn’t the time for that, but it’s reasonable to assume that she (and possibly her author, given some of the other comments) might’ve had the same qualities that some modern-day people see within themselves and call “bisexuality”.

        • Thanks for taking the time with this brilliant explanation Alice. Even if the dogmatically straight defenders don’t consider it, it resonated a lot with me. So thanks again.

          • How are people categorizing me as straight because I don’t agree with the assessment? I’m actually pansexual. I was even discussing this last night with my (lesbian) neighbor, who after she read the article, thought it was one of the dumber assumptions she’s heard in a while. And as I have explained before, I definitely know there were some (closeted) lesbian and bisexual characters in YA literature of the time, but this just wasn’t one of them. She was a little girl who really loved her friend platonically. I had the same types of friendships, but there’s a huge difference between platonic love and the love you feel for a person you’re passionate about. As in, I would jump in front of a moving train for my friends. It doesn’t mean I’m in love with them.

            That being said, it’s amazing to me that anyone on this site who doesn’t agree with the article is immediately branded as non-LGBTQ and intolerant. It’s fine to fantasize about how a character may or may not be, but to argue and tell someone they’re being intolerant because they don’t agree is ridiculous.

          • Perhaps I should have said “defenders of the characters being emphatically straight, with no possibility of anything else”, because that is what I meant.

            Apologies if my comment was unclear, I should have phrased it better. I try not to make assumptions about anyone’s orientation.

        • Also, the people complaining about additions of lgbt characters to teen/kids TV shows as “pandering to the liberal agenda” and “not appropriate for children” are the same people that say stuff like “[newborn baby boy] can’t get enough of my boobs. He’s going to be a real ladies man when he grows up”

          Actual things that have been said to me in real life, by the same person.

        • Alice, thank you for putting those into words.

          The first time I came across the word homosexuality was when I was 17 and that was in a science textbook and was a line about how those who practice homosexuality got AIDS. I didn’t know what it was then and I asked around (because I was a science geek) and nobody knew. And it slipped my mind.
          So, I didn’t have a frame of reference for being a girl who loved girls.
          But I have always been not interested in relationships with guys and I liked girls enough to think I’d like to be a guy so that I can marry a girl–some of the girls I had crushes in school and college over the years– and shoot arrows (every hero I read about was a guy) not because I was actually interested in being a guy, but because I actually was interested in being with a girl.

          It also why girls boarding school stories or girl school stories were my favorites.

          So, isn’t it natural for someone from that era to feel that exact same way? The fact that Anne has a very good friendship with Gilbert and loves him is clear enough. But, so is that fact that she loves her girlfriends. And who knows, if she lived in the now, she may end up with Priscilla or Katherine or even Diana herself.

          Doesn’t mean that love between two women has only to be sexual or romantic. Or that it is any less if it is not so. Just that it is a possibility.

          What is wrong with believing in possibilities?

    • There is a reason to say it’s a ridiculous notion: because it is. And I say this as a pansexual woman who came out at 12 years old in the 90s, so if you’re looking for someone who is “biphobic,” it ain’t me.
      There is no textual evidence of this. None. There’s nothing in their relationship that shows that there’s anything between them more than the intense, intimate, borderline obsessive passion of adolescent girl friendships. It’s just not there.

      Now, Aunt Josephine’s companion is clearly her lover. So there is that.

  5. This is exactly perfectly up my alley. Anne Shirley was the queer hero I didn’t recognize I had growing up, and even though it pains me to imagine the movies any other way I’m so happy there will be more. (And nothing can be more hilaribad than those sequel movies involving Anne chasing Gilbert across Europe during the war, occasionally dressed as a nun with a baby.)

    I so look forward to all the affectionate dissection of Anne’s many lovers over the years, because you know she had so many more than just Diana and Gilbert, even if those were the most intense.

    • Also I’m going to have to argue that Diana’s aunt (Josephine? or am I mashing things up with another beloved definitely queer literary hero?) was totes a lesbian who recognized Anne’s queer heart and took kindly to her because of it. No question.

      • Aunt Josephine! Anne & Diana accidentally jumped on her in the spare room bed, and after Anne took the blame she told Anne she’d put the girls up in her “sparest of spare room beds” because she amused her.

        I’ve read the series about 8 billion times and watched the movies about 9 billion (only the first two… the war one just seemed ridic).

  6. Ok can I tell you I’ve seen very little of the series? I know, I know. But I spent a year of elementary school reading the first book. I’m not sure how it took me so long to get through it, but it is now burned into the fiber of my being.

    [nb: I’ve never seen Rookie Blue, but with this context, I now understand why “that one girl on Rookie Blue” is one of my “Has anyone ever told you you look like…?” celebrities. I don’t actually look a thing like her, but I guess it’s the gay that’s pinging for the few people who mention her to me every month.]

  7. I love Anne! I always related to her “queerness” so this just makes it even better. There was also an animated series that I thought was the best thing to ever happen and I would sneak into my parents room to watch it on TVO

  8. For folks who think Lucy Maude would never have dreamed of a bisexual Anne, consider the periodic academic debates about the author’s own possible queerness. At the very least she refused multiple proposals, said she only got married (in her late 30s!) to survive, and described kissing men as “nauseating” while writing love letters to her female friends wishing to kiss them. No one has evidence she actually knew what lesbians were, which breaks my heart, but she sure did understand loving women and having no time for men.

    • This is the explanation I was looking for! I commented below about how it was so easy to erase women affections as something other than real desire because we were already assumed to not enjoy sex and be more emotional than men. (more so then, than now, but the assumptions are still pretty bad today) I haven’t done much research into Montgomery, but I’ve done enough on Women’s lit in general to know that loving women was a huge overarching theme for so many female writers throughout history. Clearly Montgomery is included in that circle.

    • Maud DID know what lesbians were, but possibly not until she was much older and most of her books had been long written and published, and well after she left PEI for Ontario.

      From around 1930 until, in all likelihood, her death, LMM corresponded and interacted with a woman named Isobel, who was a former school teacher and fan (of sorts) of Maud’s. Maud initially found her letters delightful but found her company dull (both women visited each other on occasion), loathed the fact Isobel sent her very expensive presents, and she long suspected Isobel was in love with her.

      In one of her journal entries, Maud referred to Isobel as “a pervert” (using medical textbooks for reference) after receiving a letter in which Isobel said she wanted to sleep with Maud. Maud also said she was “frightened” and “disgusted” by the letter. After that she didn’t want much to do with Isobel. While her comments are definitely lesboantagonistic, as we would understand them today, for her time she was much more open-minded. (Let’s remember Oscar Wilde was jailed for his sexual orientation, plus various books featuring same-sex/same-gender relationships were banned.)

      In another entry, Maud writes that a fellow minister’s wife told her that Isobel “has always been queer” and fell in love with a minister that came before the then-current one, which led Maud to conclude that sex/gender didn’t matter to Isobel with regards to falling in love. In yet another entry Maud mentions Isobel’s lesbianism and Isobel’s lack of awareness in regards to it. There’s nothing referencing how Isobel herself identified, and — of course — she would have had limited terminology for her sexual orientation in the 1930s anyway.

      Isobel features throughout The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Volumes 4 and 5.

  9. I adore this reading of Anne as bi! There is definitely a queerness woven into the character of Anne, into her otherness, the intensity of her feelings for Diana and her feminism, which I think is why I so eagerly devoured all the books as a child/dormant baby lesbian.
    However Anne and Gilbert make the (very short) list of Strong-Fictional-Heroines-I-love-where-I-actually-believe-their-male-lover-makes-them-happy/satisfied. (any suggestions for a more concise title?) Really, the list is pretty much them Darcy & Lizzie and Leslie Knope & Ben Wyatt.

    Article I’d love to see next: “Do I want to be her or fuck her? An Analysis of my complicated feelings for the Heroines of my Youth”

      • Actually, I am now remembering an essay in the book Bitchfest (it’s a collection of essays from Bitch Magazine! Highly recommend!) called “Hot for Teacher: On the Erotics of Pedagogy.” It hit uncomfortably close to home. Though it was much more heterosexual than I will ever be, so. Honestly I kinda appreciated the heteronormativity – if that essay had been particularly queer it would’ve been much too like reading a psychoanalysis of myself. Instead it was like reading a psychoanalysis of Straight Jessica, and I can write her off as delusional anyway 😉

          • ooooh yes, def enough material for a series! As a femme who likes older women on the soft butch – femme spectrum I feel like it is a constant struggle!
            I suppose there is some narcissistic crossover ground between the two categories.

    • Yes! Glad to hear other people feel this way! I also love Leslie and Ben and Anne and Gil. Maybe it’s that Anne and Gil work so hard to build a life together, maybe it’s their slow courtship, maybe it’s how he really gets her, or knows that there’s times when he should back off and wait for her to come to him…or maybe it’s the fact that Roy Gardner was an complete and total drip. Regardless, I love Anne and Gil.

  10. I’m always exhausted by comments on these kinds of articles/general opinions so, for the record, for everyone that says feeling this way is wrong:

    everyone is queer. every character. they’re all queer. and there’s nothing MORE sexual or adult or inappropriate about a same-gender relationship than a heterosexual one, irl or in fiction. they’re all queer and it’s beautiful and it doesn’t ruin the character or the book. isn’t it wonderful

  11. Honestly I never really got into Anne of Green Gables (read the books, never reread them, I did like Emily of New Moon though) but thank you for this great list of gay things to come from Canada, now I feel all this national pride I did not know I had. (Double entendre fully intended.)

  12. To people who believe that there’s no way they could be bi or wlw, educate yourself on the history of women literature! Marriage (even when it was considered more for love than a trade of goods) was something every women thought that she must do and because women pleasure was something that no one thought existed, no one would think anything different of someone who wasn’t attracted to their husband or enjoyed sex. Their homosexual desires were put on hold but for their close and loving female friendships with other housewives. It was actually much more normal to see women give each other something as simple as a kiss on the lips than it is currently or the past 30-ish years.

    They brought their female friendships and fantasies to life through their writing, and while I’m not straight up saying LM Montgomery was a lesbian or bi or anything, (I have no proof of that) it doesn’t mean that the way the characters speak doesn’t reflect her life, or women she knew.

    Female love has always existed, and because men thought we were simple minded emotional hysterics, it was easy to get away with giving extra affection to your women friends without anyone thinking anything of it. And I don’t think the author was implying they used queer as a descriptor for gay in this, I think anyone would think that’s a stretch considering the time period. I think the rest of that entire extremely long quote was what she was getting at, the queer thing was just a funny coincidence to add in at the bottom.

    Anyway, women wrote about their love of other women all the time, they just knew how to hide it because people forget that homosexual people exist. It’s called erasure. It’s really easy to make something affectionate and people be like NO WAY THEY’RE JUST BEST FRIENDS, because women typically truly love their best friends and are open about it.

    • One day I’m going to see a comment section I know is gonna piss me off and just click out of the page, instead of reading every comment and getting progressively angrier. But there’s something satisfying about seeing jerks in the comments getting told off so…

      Anyway: all fictional characters are queer and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

  13. Does anyone know of a way to get the audio books read by Megan Follows digitally? Preferably outside of Audible? I have played my Anne of Avonlea into the ground and I miss her.

  14. Um, NO. The writer has absolutely no understanding of historical context or if the writing style of the time period. Women had much closer attachments to other women because of the much stricter segregation between the sexes. Women did not have boys who were friends after childhood. They did not “date.” Courtships were formal and chaperoned. Until an engagement, confidences were not shared.
    Women shared their physical affection with other women. And yes, they shared beds–in many case, out of necessity.
    NONE of this means women were either lesbian or bisexual.
    Before you throw around ridiculous theories, do some research

    • O thank you for coming here to straightsplain the 1800s to us uncultivated philistines. We forgot for a moment that we need ABSOLUTE AND CLEAR DOUBLE-BLIND RESEARCHED PROOF that a woman is queer before daring to suggest so, and that of course nothing can ever hint that a woman in history might have been lesbian or bisexual because same-sex attraction only sprang spontaneously into existence sometime around 1972. What a very logical and astute perspective to bring to our ignorant minds, thank you thank you thank you.

      • “Straightsplain?” Really? The thing that’s irritating me the most about these threads is the fact that people are assuming that others posting are either a) straight or b) intolerant because they’re disagreeing. Even if they were straight, it doesn’t mean that they can’t contribute to the conversation. Don’t be rude.

        • Yeah, except I’m not reading this post as “Anne of Green Gables was definitively bisexual and here are all of the fool-proof reasons why”. I’m reading the post as, “Hey, Anne of Green Gables *could* have been bisexual! There is subtext here suggesting so! Let’s have some fun with this!”. People chiming in to argue that Anne of Green Gables was straight and saying “OMG STOP READING INTO THINGS” really ruins the fun.

        • Are you seriously telling me not to be rude to someone who flounces into a forum for queer women and insults our intelligence by suggesting that the author and readership of this piece are uneducated and “ridiculous”? Go fuck yourself, darling.

          • Yes, I am telling you not to be rude. How do you know I’m not bisexual myself? Again, you’re assuming that anyone who doesn’t agree with the article is straight and intolerant, but most of the comments I’ve noticed are respectful of the fact that the author has her opinions, but in this case, they don’t seem to be validated. But can we all just chill out for a second, and accept that if someone wants to read into Anne being bi, they can?

          • Em, go look up tone policing and then stop doing it. Also stop assuming that I’m assuming anything about anyone’s orientation, because you are mistaken and it’s getting really tiresome.

          • i think you’re confused about what respectful means. calling someone’s idea “ridiculous” doesn’t really fit the bill to me, nor does it suggest anyone willing to “chill” or accept a different reading of a story than their own. it’s these rando commenters who are being distinctly unchill marching in here insisting that there’s no way a fictional character could be anything but 1000% straight.

        • Eh, except if you are straight and coming to a queer website to straightsplain everything, you are actually being uninvited as of right now to ever contribute again to this conversation. Get it?

          • Just so those of us with differing opinions are clear.
            1) Opinions which disagree with a lesbian/bisexual interpretation of Anne of Green Gables are wrong
            2) Anyone who is not part of the LGBTQ community, no matter what that person’s viewpoint, is unwelcome
            3) It is acceptable to deride, belittle, curse at and otherwise be rude to those who disagree

            You do realise that this thread came across the general FB feed of anyone who ever showed an interest in Anne of Green Gables. Unless someone chose to click on the source, there is no indication whatsoever of the audience for this blog site.

          • 1) no. opinions which rudely insist that any interpretation of anne as lesbian or bi is “ridiculous” are, however, uncalled for and unwelcome.
            2) see above about rudeness. you didn’t come here for dialogue; you came to hand down your opinion from on high and proclaim that anyone with a differing opinion was foolish. there’s the problem. it would have been very easy for you to state why you didn’t agree with viewing the books through a queer lens without being a jerk about it, and you didn’t do that.
            3) nah. but people acting superior and trying to pretend as if they aren’t rude themselves do try one’s patience at times.

            i have a hard time believing that the article popped up without its headline which makes it pretty clear that it’s for a queer audience. plus, you *did* click the source.

          • 1) Opinions which disagree with a lesbian/bisexual interpretation of Anne of Green Gables are wrong

            Nope, but opinions which disagree with anyone else’s right to interpret Anne that way, especially when that disagreement comes in the form of homophobia – and assuming that people from the past were all straight or acting like friendships between girls are more pure and wholesome than romances between girls is homophobia – are not welcome here.

            2) Anyone who is not part of the LGBTQ community, no matter what that person’s viewpoint, is unwelcome

            This is a site for LGBTQ people about LGBTQ news. Straight people are allowed here, but it isn’t for them. If their opinions are “stop making everything gay”, then no, they’re not welcome. Look at it this way: I don’t have or want children, so if I showed up at a forum for parents, I’d probably be technically allowed to be there but it wouldn’t really be for me, and if I started criticizing people there for making everything about parenting, they would probably not be very welcoming. And that would be fine, because it’s their space and if I’m making a nuisance of myself, it’s their right to make it clear that they want me to stop.

            3) It is acceptable to deride, belittle, curse at and otherwise be rude to those who disagree

            Notice how nobody here is saying “I always read Anne as straight and I still like that interpretation best for myself, but yeah, there’s a pretty good case for her being bi.” That sort of person would likely not be met with rudeness. Similarly, people who think she’s straight but don’t really have anything to say to people who like reading her as something else wouldn’t comment, and wouldn’t be treated rudely. Telling people their subjective interpretation is wrong is already rude, and rudeness in response to rudeness is 1) something you’re clearly comfortable with yourself, and 2) not the same as starting it.

        • It actually IS pretty intolerant to come into the comments of an article on a queer news site and tell a bunch of queer people that a queer interpretation of a fictional character from a time where people couldn’t be publicly queer (and likely wouldn’t even know they were queer) is stupid and wrong because everybody was straight back then. Whether or not these people are straight, they’re being rude.

      • My, my, aren’t we nasty. Did it ever occur to you that there are lenses other than queer theory? Have you studied the cultural mores of this time period (I have). Have you studied the literature of this time–both gay and straight, both young adult and others? I have–it is my research area. Have you studied the history of the time period and the place of women in society?
        Oh, and sarcasm and name calling are the weakest forms of argument and indicate you have no solid counter arguments to make.
        Should you have documentable proof that this was L.M. Montgomery’s intent–diaries, letters, notes, etc., I would appreciate a reference.
        Otherwise, you might want to read Amy Tan’s essay “In the Canon–For All the Wrong Reasons” in which she points out the fact that readers often read meanings into works of fiction which simply are not there. They construct what they want to see, when there is actually nothing there. I have heard that from multiple authors of my acquaintance.

        • yo but whooooo caaaaaaares what montgomery’s intent was that literally does not matter at all

          also: okay, so people related differently at different points in history. yes, that’s true. great. you say it as if that means same sex attraction is right off the table because of it. that’s not how that works.

          no one is trying to tell you that you have to be convinced that anne is bi, but you don’t have to be so dismissive and snobby about the fact that other people have read her that way. just because your nastiness isn’t overt doesn’t mean that no one can see it.

        • In order: Yes you are; no shit; yes, yes and yes. Any more questions?

          When I want to engage a thoughtful commenter in scholarly debate, I do so. When I want to flick a dead fly off my plate of cookies, I snark. You seem to have mistaken the latter for the former.

          • Well, bless your heart.
            Let me let you in on a little secret. Your snarky, rude, scatalogical comments are ridiculous. You sound like a petulant child stamping her feet because her mommy won’t give her a cookie.
            If you really want to be effective, you need to be more subtle and sophisticated. It takes practice, but in a decade or so, I’m sure you can get the hang of it.
            Now, you go have a lovely time with your friends. I’m going to go write the paper I was invited to give by the organiser of our local pride event, who, by the way, was written up in the New York Times for her work.

          • Whereas you, Dr. V. E. McLure, have now firmly planted yourself in asshole territory. Cut the condescending crap and get out.

          • And you sound like an overstuffed tweed suit with a fragile ego and a slight musk of sour sweat. This has been so much fun! I am genuinely going to miss you. Please do come back and share your thoughts when the article on Nancy Drew’s polyamorous triad with Ned and Bess goes up.

        • I really feel like you aren’t getting the main point of all of this, you are on a QUEER website telling people not to have queer theories about a book because it hurts your little feelings.

          Please leave?

        • You are the first person who came to a space where you don’t belong to to belittle those who dare to think or imagine something different than you. So to make that clear, you’re not the victim of anything other than having entered an argument that – again – nobody invited you too and not having the support you wrongly expected. That’s about it.

        • You do realise that this thread came across the general FB feed of anyone who ever showed an interest in Anne of Green Gables. Unless someone chose to click on the source, there is no indication whatsoever of the audience for this blog site.

          Um, NO. The commentator has absolutely no understanding of community context or of (at least I’m assuming that you meant “of” instead of “if” in your original comment) the writing style of the blog.

          Before you post a ridiculous comment on a blog post, do some research.

      • Yes, really. Family name and spelled correctly.
        Gee, pardon moi for reading something that came across my Facebook feed.
        Pardon me, as a scholar, for finding opinions based on extracted text taken out of context and not placed in historical context misleading.

        By the way, the rude, nasty responses really are uncalled for.

        • Look hon,
          I hate to break it to you:
          Your research does not qualify you for any position of superiority or authority on this topic of discussion.
          You assume it anyway, which makes you preposterous and is more of an embarrassment to yourself than anything.
          Allow me to give you some scholarly advice.

          To sum this up:
          Hypothesis: The character is bisexual.
          Arguments for the hypothesis: Various well researched text excerpts.
          Your counterargument:You’re all delusional, because I know better.
          Your credentials:I’m a scholar. I’m invited to hold a speech by someone mentioned in a newspaper. I studied the time period. I’m smarter and more well informed than y’all, obviously.

          Now, for the advice:
          Hypothesis:Character is bisexual.
          Proof:Various text excerpts (from the book)
          Counterhypothesis(your point): Various text excerpts (from the book).
          OR, less ideally, direct quotes and text excerpts by the author, WITH the source. Like letters by the author pertaining exactly to the subject,etc.

          Anything else, paraphrasing and your opinion, especially: Not valid options.

          Your qualifications: Member of…society, paper on…, published in…, research..exact topic.

          Holding a speech at a pride rally:Yay,you! But as for Scientific Street cred: 0

          Now, as a scholar, the one and only thing you should become more and more aware of as you delve deeper into studying and research should be the amount of things you don’t know. This leads to a yet greater thirst for knowledge, which is the great engine of all science, and maybe even to a constant, nagging amount of self doubt, which cannot be anything other but the basis of great humility.

    • It also doesn’t mean they were heterosexual.

      Just as they didn’t have the opportunity to have intimate romantic relationships with men before marriage, they didn’t have the opportunity to marry women. They often didn’t even have the opportunity to not marry men. If not being able to have boyfriends doesn’t mean they weren’t attracted to men, then not being able to have wives doesn’t mean they weren’t attracted to women. If situational homosexuality (men in prison, girls being kept away from boys) doesn’t really count, then situational heterosexuality shouldn’t really count, either. It’s bad social science to assume that people in times with stricter compulsory heterosexuality must have been actually straighter.

      Behavior and identity ARE affected by the constraints of one’s society, and the way we talk about orientation (“lesbian”, “bi”, “gay”, “straight”, “queer”, etc) is socially constructed, but the inner mechanics of orientation – what causes humans to be attracted to different kinds of humans than other humans would be – most likely exist across time.

      • I’m assuming some conservative people are also excited about the new Anne of Green Gables adaptation and wandered in here trying to find new information. Anne of Green Gables is one of the overtly religious, Sunday school friendly properties that’s still alive and kicking, and I’m sure some conservative people cling to it just like we cling to queer stuff.

        But yes, also some trolls.

  15. Sorry – not bisexual. Just written at a time when it was okay to ‘love’ your very dear friends without sex being an issue. Marilla is not gay either. She is just a small town girl who lost the love of her life by being a bit shy when the opportunity presented itself. Then nobody else arrived in her very small community to ‘woo’ her when she was ‘of a certain age’. At that time, if you were not married by mid-twenties, you were considered a spinster and also a bit of a failure. Some things have changed for the better.

  16. OMG, whoever wrote this article is an IDIOT and has obviously never studied literature or languages/idioms. I think the article mainly points out that the writer has weird sexual tendencies and should get a different job. Don’t ruin great old stories by being a jerk about them!

    • Weird sexual tendencies? I agree she should get a different job. She is too amazing! You are too angry about her not being able to explore her tendencies with literature and so am I! But just because she hasn’t written anymore about Anne’s steamy romance, doesn’t mean she is ruining your fun. I am sure she didn’t mean to be a jerk. I know you are looking forward to a part two of the article. 😀

    • Interpreting a character as bisexual is not ruining a great old story, or being a jerk. In fact, interpreting old stories through the lens that the characters aren’t necessarily straight is a really positive thing for queer adults. It can be a way to connect with those stories again and have those stories feel relevant to your life.

      Saying that someone “has weird sexual tendencies” for interpreting a character as bisexual is being a jerk, especially if you’re saying that because you’re presuming that the author is bisexual, and it’s the bisexuality itself that you’re calling weird. Please do not call people names for presumably being bisexual. I’m sorry that nobody ever taught you that wasn’t okay, but it really, really is not.

    • Agreed, Jo March was queer as hell. I’m pretty sure, in retrospect, that that’s why I always thought of her as this sort of weirdly sexless character in Little Men despite the fact that she was married with two kids at that point.

  17. 1. The author (of the book series) came of age at a time when homoromanticism was acceptable, but overt homosexuality was not.

    2. This is a (fun) close reading of the book with that in mind.

    3. On a website for LGBTQ+ women/nb folks

    4. If you’re neither LGBTQ+ nor an open-minded lifelong student of literature…maybe…please go away?

  18. What is even happening? Are y’all really coming into our cool positive queer space and suggesting that the reading of a beloved character as potentially bisexual “ruins” her? Did you take a wrong turn somewhere?
    Ugh. Get off my lawn.

  19. After reading all of these comments-both troll and informative-I feel more enlightened about a wonderful show I used to love watching with my Mom when I was a kid. I think I tried to read one of the books in 6th grade but never got into. Now that I’m an Adult Bisexual Person who LOVES reading characters as bi/queer, I want to try reading the books again with my *new* Adult Bisexual Person identity.
    It’s also super laughable that queer women couldn’t have existed in the 1800s, as has been addressed above. Clearly some people need to get their heads out of their asses.

  20. It’s a sad state of affairs in our society that we cannot conceive of two people who share a deep abiding friendship love that is not sexual, but then EVERYTHING is sexual in our society, isn’t it.

    • Amen–said the person giving a paper on a subject very close to this at a gay pride event this weekend.
      When the sexes were much more segregated than they are now, very deep same-sex attachments were quite common, and they had absolutely nothing to do with sexuality.
      Of course there were lesbian/gay/bi-sexual people. But, to infer every close, same sex relationship, in literature or life, was homosexual, is unreasonable.

    • Most people, queer people included, can think of plenty of fictional relationships they prefer as platonic friendships. Sometimes they even prefer to reinterpret relationships that were romantic in the text as platonic friendships – I’m not really into most romantic girl/boy stuff, and I enjoy much of it quite a bit more when they’re just friends. Wanting some characters to not be straight isn’t the same as being anti-friendship, or pro-making-everything-sexual. Queer people aren’t more sexual than straight people just by virtue of being queer.

  21. I wish there was this much trolling whenever queer characters are made to be straight or “bisexual”. Seriously. Get over it. This is exploring a possibility in the story. The people that have a problem with the queerness of the remake and this article need to shower in a rainbow and think of this like one of those alternate universe DC/ Marvel comic. Open your minds and use your critical thinking skills.

    *sigh*If this many people have an issue, they might try to kill off the gayness of the show :/

    Chill. Lets all just chill. If not, I will make it my life mission to remake all straight shows and stories and just make them all flaming hardcore gay/ lesbian!

      • That wasn’t my implication at all! 😀

        I just don’t like it when bisexual is just a tool to get more viewers/ readers and not upset anyone. Or when a character is bisexual but it is like they have interest in one gender or it was just a “phase”. I know bisexuality can just hardcore too! I think I just got too frustrated when I was writing 🙂

  22. I’m getting really worry with this crap. So the trolls/reddit invasion continues?

    For every fucker/Scalia lover out there, who thinks that a book only has one meaning, every single art form is open to interpretation.

    So for all those people out there with advanced knowledge of literature, please explore a little thing called “hermeneutics” because I’m sure that even if the bible is open to interpretation, I, and everybody around the world, can do the same with Montgomery’s book.

    All of you motherfuckers are also trolling every single place dedicated to fanfiction? Spamming the mail accounts of every author? Maybe you should because those places are clearly an offense to your delicate sensibilities.

  23. Can someone confirm that Anne was written as being the best math student in her class? I remember that being her being good at math was really important to me as a young reader, as so few young female characters had this trait.

  24. I’ve never read the books or watched the series, but all of the great commenters on here, who’ve suddenly popped onto this site to valiantly defend their childhood(?) heroine(s)? unquestionable and beautiful absolute straightness give me life.
    I bet you fifty bucks half of them have “no problems with the gays” or would even describe themselves as “open and tolerant”, yet, there is that particular trill of that certain note of desperation running through those comments, that suggest that their world would not really be that ok, that it would be somewhat upended by any kind of interpretation of this fictional book character as something other than absolutely and undeniably straight.
    It’s almost as though the memory of the series would be “tainted”.
    Dirty.
    As if the “other” had infiltrated a space familiar and safe.
    Ruined it.
    They’re angry now! And absolutely in the right, because what if? What if…
    The beauty of this is, that the interpretation of a fictional character either way is totally legit.
    Because that’s what it is.
    Interpretation of a book, a thesis, with arguments and citations backing it.
    There’s a pro and con.
    And who is “right”?
    We will never know!
    It’s like discussing Xena’s straightness.
    Arguments and clues and wishful thinking.
    So, yes, please go ahead, stomp your hooves, chew at the bit, spit out your lame insults, but you can’t take this from us.
    Because there is no right and wrong, there’s only your tiny, small minded, uneducated, very unimportant opinion, being all over the place.
    And the reason I’m enjoying this so immensly is, that this desperation, the dipping into personal insults, only shows how these uncouth ignorants will never be able to not see the gay in the show and books anymore.Even if they don’t want to, there will always be that ounce of doubt.
    Al-ways.

    P.S.:
    Also Lovers: Sherlock Holmes and Watson.

  25. I hope y’all straight historians also recognise that heterosexuality was just how things were done back then like just cause a fictional woman gets married or shares a bed with a man or has a kid with him doesn’t mean she doesn’t also harbour big lesbo love for her queer as fuck bosom buddy amiright. i mean, for the sake of HISTORICAL ACCURACY.

      • Exactly. Deborah? Lesbian. Also bad-ass feminist and warrior. Jonathan and David? Bi. Sarah? Transgender (the real reason she laughed at the notion of getting pregnant). Joseph? Gay. Vashti? Bi. Also bad-ass feminist and social activist.

        Ruth and Naomi? Clearly a queer lady couple.

        “Do not urge me to leave you, to turn back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus and more if anything but death parts me from you.” – Ruth 1:16-17

        Who talks to their mother-in-law like that unless there was more to the relationship? If I was talking to my current or ex mother-in-laws it would be, “May death expediently part us… preferably yours.”

        There’s so much material for a queer examination of the Hebrew Bible. Heck, if you want Heather, I’ll write it and submit it to AS myself. XD

  26. No no no. Its possible to love your best friend with your heart and soul, I mean just love her with every bone in your body. It doesnt mean anything but that.

  27. I know it upsets some people and that’s not great, but I hope you’re getting a lot more ad revenue from these trolls. Maybe running regular articles on how people’s beloved characters were queer could be a new revenue stream?

    honestly I enjoy reading the comments, too. Besides the weird “dr” who thinks no one here knows anything about the 1800s, i do think people coming to a site they never would have otherwise ended up in to read this (and get angry about it) is Chipping away at their heterosexism. And I love the eloquent, impassioned defenses of taking subtext seriously.

    • Ah the sweet, lucrative taste of homophobic outrage.

      I agree with anyone that suggested doing a regular series about queer subtext in beloved literature.

      This time next year we could all be millionaires!

    • Also, though, I would just LOVE to see more readings of potentially-queer (sub)text in classic books. This article is a gem, and I also really enjoyed the one from a while back about YA books that future queer women enjoyed (what was it called? I remember it mentioned Little Women and Harriet the Spy, among other titles).

  28. So I’m not really sure about the details regarding tv/film distribution rights, but technically the book series is in the public domain.

    Hypothetically speaking, would it be legal to make a re-imagined series of Dianna and Anne’s queer adventures?

  29. Aw, dude, I saw this had 140 comments and I knew I was in for a treat. A+ content, A+ comments, A+ Straddler take-downs of the folks who are VERY CONFUSED about where they are and what we get up to here. This is even better than the shitshow on the Article-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named because at least these people are just confused and for the most part it seems not deliberately trolling.

    Ditto the poster who hopes you’re getting some sweet, sweet ad revenue from these poor babies.

  30. So I started reading Anne of Green Gables again because of this article…how did you skip the section where Anne bursts into tears because someday Diana is going to get married and leave her? Sooooo gaaaaaay!

  31. LGBTQ+ person: “Anne of Green Gables was queer.”

    Straight person: “Stop sexualizing children.”

    Also straight person: “OMG look at your baby boy look at him flirting with the nurse look at his big eyes he’s SUCH A FLIRT.”

    (Baby boy: Is 24 hours old, has no control of motor functions

    Anne of Green Gables: Was age 11 when the first novel started and a legal adult when it ended)

  32. I was active in AofGG/Avonlea fandom for many years. I’ve read the same arrogant, heterosupremacist comments several times whenever someone has shared links to pieces about a queer reading of Anne or suggestions of her not being straight. (When I didn’t know better, and before I started questioning my own sexuality, I probably thought similarly, too. *glares at past!self*) AofGG fandom in general has a very, very, very conservative wing who don’t welcome any suggestions of their beloved characters being anything other than cisgender and heterosexual. Because wholesomeness or some such. *eye roll*

  33. Usually I like seeing this sort of reading, but in this case it’s way off. Maybe Anne could be read as queer (personally, I don’t really see it), but her and Diana’s friendship couldn’t possibly be more lackluster and platonic. Anne is just self-centered and enjoys having someone’s rapt attention, and Diana is written as one of the dimmer, duller sidekicks in kids’ lit history, so that Anne could look all the brighter and all the more special standing next to her. On another note, re-reading LMM’s works was a miserable experience, not only because of the quality or the disappointment that is adult Anne, but also the discovery of LMM’s racism, a lot of it especially virulent even for her time.

  34. By the way, I searched (really a bit too hard) for the illustrious Dr V E McLure, and I can’t find them. If the name is real, the academic standing is not. Which is a shame, because I wanted to read their papers and lol at them. Dr, Dr, if you’re you’re still lurking, please throw us a citation!

    • Unfortunately, they are real, and unless they’re borrowing someone’s identity (I don’t think so), they are exactly who they say they are. I’m sad to say I share an academic field with them. I found their public Facebook page (complete with rainbow flag profile pictures!) and their university of employment. I contemplated forwarding screencaps of their charming comments here to their department chair, whom I suspect would be interested. I can’t decide whether I think that’s the right thing to do or not.

      • Oh dear, poor you! As for whether or not it’s the right thing to do… hm. If they wanted to remain anonymous while bothering queer women on the internet, it was foolish of them to deliberately use their real name and title. At the same time, being obnoxious online isn’t really a disciplinary matter is it?–That’s a genuine question; I don’t know if this does breach some code of conduct–if it does, then you should absolutely send the screenshots. If not, then the head might well not do much about it, and my only actual concern then would be for your reputation with the head, and whether they might think you were being petty? But McLure has certainly behaved like an ass, really quite publicly. … Maybe this would be a good question for Mallory Ortberg’s Dear Prudie column?

        • Heh, I should clarify – we are just in the same field of study, not at the same university or even in the same specialty. Thankfully. And they’re a prof and I’m just a grad student. But academia is a small world, so there is always a chance we could run into each other!

          I had much the same thought process that you did. On one hand, this person did not use slurs or do much more than be obnoxious or unprofessional. On the other hand, they are responsible for teaching students, some of whom are almost definitely queer. If I were the department chair, I would feel that the attitude displayed here affects this person’s ability to do their job ethically and responsibly. I would at least want to meet with them to discuss what they’ve said here and how they will make sure to be respectful of their queer students in the future. Also, frankly, they demonstrate an embarrassing lack of knowledge and understanding of their academic field, which could reflect pretty poorly on the university.

          I wouldn’t want to get anyone fired, but I doubt I could get the good doctor in much trouble because tenure. A talking-to is the likeliest consequence, I suspect.

          Good suggestion about Dear Prudie! I’m still really agonizing over what to do here!

          • I just hope that the attitude showed here doesn’t reflect their teaching abilities and the capacity to relate to their students even in just a professional manner

          • Ha! If they had responded to my last comment I was going to reply that based on their behaviour, we’d have to conclude that they were a fraud unless they could provide documented proof of their current scholarly credentials. I was a bit disappointed when the opportunity didn’t arise, so I’m gratified to learn you have this power within your grasp and am totally on #teamdragem. #trollingthetrolls

          • Argh, they’re a prof?? I was hoping they were just an unemployed post grad with battered self esteem and too much time on their hands, desperate to use their title whenever possible to help with the lack of any actual status (not that I would know about that from intimate personal experience, nope!). My mom works at a college, so I’ll ask her to take a look and see what she thinks. I think she might be able to offer a really helpful perspective.

      • I found a LinkedIn page (I wasn’t going to do anything with it, but I also was curious to see if they were a legitimate human being or just having weirdo fake credentials on the internet in order to validate their posturing), and if they are who they say they are, then they retired from university a few years ago?

        So I would imagine contacting any department heads would possibly make you look a little over-involved, and have no impact on them.

        (It is also possible someone is having their identity stolen for weird, nefarious reasons. I can’t imagine *why*, but, y’know, still.)

        • Oh darn, it looks like you’re right! I found their Facebook profile back and their RateMyProfessor page (they do have a lot of negative reviews, in case anyone is wondering, but not for being a bigot). Yeah, there’s obviously no point in contacting anyone if they don’t work there anymore.

          Eli – My mom also works at a college, and I also asked her! She was stumped, for once. We talked about it for a while and sort of decided that in situations like this, it’s often better to let it go and make a conscious effort to do good somewhere else.

          • Yay for academic families! Yeah, my mom reckoned that if there were problems with his attitude, it would become evident in his teaching–which it sounds like it has! If not for the reasons we might hope… At least he’s retired and not bothering students or coworkers anymore.

  35. Ok, I loved this (bonkers comments notwithstanding), so excuse me linking to my stuff. Fully admit that, unlike the good doctor upthread, this isn’t my academic area, but I still buy the idea that you can read Anne as very much un-straight – and, come on, you missed the best bit! The bit in the film where Marilla *literally* responds to the discovery that Anne is a girl not a boy by declaring “There must be some queer mistake”.

    Anyway, more here: https://readingmedievalbooks.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/there-seems-to-be-some-queer-mistake-the-film-of-anne-of-green-gables/

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  37. I am so sorry that your personal life and your close relationships have been so limited that you cannot imagine a deep, loving bond that does not hinge upon romantic attachment. At the time the book was written, this type of non-sexual closeness between those of the same gender was not uncommon. Suggesting that Anne’s love for Diana Barry was based on sexual attraction rather than a deep need to feel truly connected with someone in a true sisterhood is shallow, indeed.

  38. What utter rubbish. I find it sad that some people have to sexualise and twist everything. What they had was a pure and deep friendship. She was not bisexual at all. People taking something innocent and pure and polluting it make me sick.

    • Ugh what utter rubbish I’m not innocent human being, I’m impure and polluted.
      That’s what you’re saying.

      Also that you have no sense of humor or fun and some time to waste because you went and adding an icon, not just a comment

  39. I don’t think I agree that Anne is bisexual, although someone reading it that way does not bother me either. I didn’t feel the article did an adequate job of “proving” that point.

    But I have to speak against Natasha’s comment that reading Anne as bisexual is “polluting” something “innocent and pure.” Not every disagreement that bisexuality is in evidence is biphobic/lesbophobic, but that clearly is.

    Heterosexuality (as presented throughout the book” is pure and innocent, but bisexuality is not? That comment makes ME sick.

  40. I can see why critics think Anne = in love with Diana. But there’s a quotation in the penultimate chapter which proves she isn’t: Diana kindly offers, “Anne dear, would you like to have me sleep with you tonight?” Anne refuses. I know Diana’s not making a pass at Anne; just offering comforting companionship following Matthew’s death. But if Anne DID have her eye on Diana, surely she wouldn’t turn down such a golden opportunity?

    So, Anne does love Di, but only as a friend!

  41. Back then being more affectionate was considered the norm among girls especially close friends. Anne acts like that because she a desperately lonely child who wants a close friend. Nothing more to see from that really. Imagining she is Bi sexual is fine. But she really isn’t. Because there isn’t anything to suggest that she is. She acts like she is attracted to Gilbert but avoids it because she is scared of commitment to marriage because despite everything she still doesn’t feel worthy of love.

  42. I don’t mean to assume Anne’s, a fictional character, sexual identity here or there, but, I do have to point out a few things. One, a tween girl’s female relationships are often more dramatic and deep than the ones we have when we’re older so that from an outside observation may appear to be romantic in nature. I can remember my bosom friend from my youth when we were around the age of Anne when she met Diana and I can’t tell you how many times we were holed up somewhere sharing secrets, sleeping cuddled together in the same bed on overnight stays or passing secret notes in school. Neither of us had romantic notions towards the other we were just extremely close friends. It is not uncommon for girls that age to stick solely with only one friend enough so that they may seem like a couple. Two; in the era in which Anne of Green Gables is placed it was not out of the norm for female friends, especially best female friends of a tender age to express their devotion and admiration of each other by saying they loved each other. Sometimes it may have been intended as a declaration of amourous intent but more often than not it was merely the deep affection they felt for their friendship, which, as I’ve mentioned, is often much deeper and more dramatic between young girls than it is between grown women. All this isn’t to say that the beloved literatary character couldn’t have been bisexual or a lesbian I’m just pointing out that she could easily have been straight with a very close girl friend and using the language and ways of expression that were common at the time; i.e. telling someone you weren’t related to that you loved them dearly or would be extremely unhappy without them often meant just that no more and no less. Remember young girls’ friendships tend towards the overly dramatic especially when something interferes with said friendship.

  43. I don’t care one bit about if whom is what, or where. Just thinking, maybe, she is not? Everyone is not lesbian or bi, please, accept it. Not every love is the love you want it to be, just to justify your love or sexuality. Or whatever. Her being bi or lesbian, just sound like a conspiracy theory. All the lesbians are intolerant, and they criticize everything that doesn’t seem to be what they want it to be.. PLEASE LET IT BE, STOP MAKING EVERYTHING ABOUT SEXUALITY.

  44. I realise I’m late to the party but I have one more piece of evidence to add to the Anne is queer argument and that is, not once in any of the seven ‘Anne’ books does Anne tell Gilbert she loves him. Not once. Never says, “I love you, Gilbert,” though he often confesses his love for her. Contrast this with the fact that Anne tells Diana she loves her all the time. Constantly.

    Montgomery subverts the cultural norms in Anne of Green Gables and makes Diana the object of Anne’s passionate love. Together they fulfill all the elements of High Romance (love at first sight, swearing oaths, being parted/ united, Anne disliking Diana’s love-rival.)

    In contrast Gilbert is cast as the academic rival or chum (non-romantic). Even when Anne begins to feel something more than friendship for Gilbert, Montgomery writes that Anne’s realisation did not hit her like Cupid’s arrow ‘with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down, (but as) creeping to one’s side like an old friend…’

    I know ‘gay’ meant something different back then, but I can’t help adoring the fact that the ‘gay knight’ in this case was Diana Barry.

    We see what you’re doing, Maud. Nice one.

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