Top Gun, Anne of Green Gables quite gay

As a boy, I didn’t read Anne of Green Gables much. I confess I never could make sense of all the attention given to Lucy Maud’s work. Anne is, without question, cute and precocious, but not enough to carry the story. Granted, I never did understand the intimacy between those P.E.I. schoolgirls. I, too, had close friends when I was a boy, but not like Anne.

Finally, at a conference in Edmonton last month, Dr. Laura Robinson of The Royal Military College threw back the curtain. It turns out that Anne is a blossoming young lesbian, ripe with desire. This works for me. As Dr. Robinson points out, notice the way Anne gushes for Diana, "I love Diana so, Marilla, I cannot live without her, but I know very well when we grow up that Diana will get married and go away and leave me."

And then there’s Anne’s saucy relationship with Katherine Brook, the schoolmistress. Again, in Anne’s words, "Katherine Brook, whether you know it or not, what you want is a good spanking." Ouch. It turns out that I just wasn’t ready for Anne, but I’m ready now.

Some fans hurried to Anne’s honour. In the National Post, Ian Hunter cited the fact that Anne married Gilbert and had seven children. In the Globe and Mail, Mary Rubio noted that Anne was just doing what little girls did, "which is hold hands, gang up against the boys and profess undying friendship for each other."

Holding hands, no boys, emotional commitments–a budding lesbian relationship would be right at home here. And when Dr. Robinson’s critics quickly deny this possibility they employ a confidence that hasn’t been earned. Try this on for size: some girls are sexually attracted to other girls. The same goes for some boys. Better still, barring extraordinary clues, it can be hard to distinguish mere friends from those who secretly ache for each other.

Consider the confusion enjoyed by many with that other homoerotic classic, Top Gun. I know it’s a buddy movie and sometimes a pat on the ass is just a pat on the ass, but Top Gun drips with sexual innuendo.

Remember the nicknames? To Maverick’s rear in the cockpit is his partner "Goose." To Iceman’s rear is "Slider." These names only make sense from the rear. We also shouldn’t forget Maverick’s love interest in the movie–Charlie.

And they love talking about asses. There are plenty of tame references:

Jester: Get your butts above the hard deck. Return to base immediately.

But who can ignore the more aggressive passages:

Slider: Why Goose, whose butt did you kiss to get here?

Goose: The list is long, but distinguished.

Slider: So’s my Johnson.

The moral is that Dr. Robinson’s critics need a dose of playfulness. At best, it is boring to ignore such details. At worst, it’s narrow-minded. Anne and Top Gun can jar us from the smugness that congeals when we assume heterosexuality, and a measure of sexual skepticism keeps things interesting.

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