Season 2 of the original Netflix series, Anne with an E, has twisted the storyline about the orphan Anne – derived from Lucy Maude Montgomery’s century-old novel, Anne of Green Gables – to feature five LGBT characters.
Most notable in the Northwood Entertainment-produced adaptation is one of the main characters, Great Aunt Josephine Barry, who the series creator, Moira Walley-Beckett, effectively turned into a lesbian.
Converting a classic into LGBT fodder
Walley-Beckett indicated that because she deemed Barry to be a fan favorite – for understanding and encouraging the unique aspects of the orphan (Anne) who transformed lives in Avonlea – she wanted to extrapolate further on her character and spin her into a lesbian to explain the perception and empathy she acquired from her (Barry’s) personal struggles.
“Upon reading [the novel] again as an adult, I was wondering about Aunt Jo,” Walley-Beckett told IndieWire. “In the book, she’s a spinster and she’s just a bit of a curmudgeon, and that’s kind of it. So, I’m like, ‘Well, she coming to the Barrys for a month and she’s grieving’ – that’s why I decided to justify why she’s there: Who is she grieving?”
Using her imagination and LGBT-friendly thinking to answer her own question, Walley-Beckett transformed Aunt Josephine’s beloved literary character – played by Deborah Grover – into a homosexual to add an extra dimension to the drama … an idea she had since the previous season.
“That answer came in Season 1, when the wealthy Aunt Jo revealed that she was mourning the loss of the person whom young Diana Barry (Dalila Bela) thought of as Aunt Gertrude – Josephine’s partner,” IndieWire’s Hanh Nguyen explained from a pro-LGBT point of view. “Although the term didn’t exist at the time, their relationship was a ‘Boston marriage’ – the cohabitation of two women independent of financial support from a man. While the Barrys merely saw this as a friendship, Josephine and Gertrude were in truth a lesbian couple.”
Walley-Beckett eagerly decided to twist an LGBT plot into the classic series – under the commonly used guise of tolerance and understanding.
“It seemed like a perfect opportunity for me to dive into the reality of a Boston marriage that was secret – as it would have been at that time,” the show’s creator insisted. “And so, we touch on that in Season 1, and in Season 2, we get to expand upon it in a way that allows her to provide a forum of acceptance and safe haven for Cole and the other people in her community.”
Season 2’s coming-out-of-the-closet event has been interpreted into a kind of social justice movement taking place in Canada’s Edwardian period.
“One of the roles many feminist ‘new women,’ like Aunt Josephine performed in that era was to promote social and cultural causes,” Nguyen added. “For Aunt Jo, that aforementioned forum of acceptance took shape in the so-called queer soirée – a fabulous fete that Josephine and Gertrude held annually. In the season’s seventh episode, ‘Memory Has as Many Moods as The Temper,’ Josephine throws her first queer soirée since the death of her partner.”
Spreading homosexuality throughout Avonlea
It turns out that introducing Aunt Jo as a homosexual character was just the tip of the iceberg.
“Great Aunt Josephine Barry is the first of many LGBT characters in the series,” CBN News reported.
Walley-Beckett celebrated the homosexual coming-out dimension of the launch of the seventh episode on the streaming giant’s series.
“It was very exciting for me and the writers to create that,” she shared with IndieWire. “We’ve been talking about the queer soirée – which is how we refer to it – since we all first sat down together. It was just like, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to get the kids to Charlottetown to see Aunt Jo and have her reboot her annual mid-winter queer soirée?’”
LGBT-suggestive costumes and accessories were added in one scene to embrace and glamorize the creator’s homosexual theme for both sexes.
“In one of the most visually stunning … scenes in the series so far, Josephine’s stately home is transformed into a veritable bower dripping with flowers, which are then supplemented by the flower crowns that most of the guest don if they’re not already gaudily attired,” Nguyen described. “The guest list consists of people from around the globe, artists and numerous other bohemian types who aren’t explicitly labeled.”
The series creator admitted that she let her LGBT-embracing imagination take hold of the scene to paint a pro-LGBT world in the long-passed era on the eastern Canadian province.
“Everything that we dreamed up, they accomplished,” said Walley-Beckett. “I wanted one of the partygoers to be wearing a birdcage as a hat, and we wove it into her green hair and hung a bird in there. And they made all these flower crowns out of paper and doilies, and only things that would have existed at the time, which is how we always roll.”
It was claimed that Canadians during the Edwardian period embraced a burgeoning homosexual lifestyle imported from Europe.
“One of the artists featured in the soirée is the show’s take on the real-life pianist and composer Cécile Chaminade (Nathalie Torie) – who shakes up Diana’s worldview as an example of a woman who thrives in an international lifestyle pursuing her art without a husband,” Nguyen noted.
Walley-Beckett asserted that the character’s homosexual lifestyle was flaunted and celebrated back in the day.
“Cécile Chaminade is really torn from the pages of history – we didn’t invent anything about her, really,” she insisted. “The actress that we cast, we rigged her to look like Cécile, we played one of her compositions, we hired a real pianist actually in the role. She was a feminist and a gay icon, and a composer, and she travels the world playing piano. So that’s how Jo would know her.”
Twisting both genders
Walley-Beckett could not keep herself from turning one of Anne’s male friends into a homosexual, as well.
“One of Anne’s good friends this season is Cole (Cory Gruter-Andrew} – a budding artist who is constantly harassed at school by Billy Andrews (Christian Martyn) and even worse, by their teacher Mr. Phillips (Stephen Tracey),” Nguyen pointed out. “Cole would like nothing better than to be left alone to draw, but the once-abused Anne recognizes that loneliness and befriends him.”
The Anne with an E creator admitted that it was her desire to have one of Anne’s close friends be queer in order to get audiences to empathize with and support today’s LGBT agenda in Canada and beyond.
“It would only make sense that there would be somebody in the class who was struggling with identity,” Walley-Beckett contended. “It was just unimaginably difficult to do so, especially during that timeframe where it was illegal to be a homosexual, punishable by imprisonment and a death sentence – and punishable in Canada until . I was very keen to include a storyline like that.”
While she was at it, she decided to make another influential male in Anne’s life – her teacher – homosexual, as well.
“Also, in my mind, their teacher, Mr. Phillips, has always been an unidentified closeted homosexual,” the show’s creator continued. “He just has no idea that he was. I thought it would be fascinating to use Cole as a mirror for discovery on his part and see the two different journeys of those characters.”
Spurring discussion on gender issues?
Walley-Beckett said she wanted to present both sides of the homosexual debate in the series.
“But backing up to dissenting points of view, it is very difficult for Diana confronted with this sudden circumstance about her two aunts, basically,” she stressed. “I felt like to balance things, it was great to have the kids have a conversation about it and have conflicting points of view because those are the points of views that are within the families who are watching the show.”
It was then divulged that the series’ homosexual agenda has spurred people to celebrate the crises in their lives that resulted in gender confusion.
“In that same vein, Walley-Beckett hopes that like Cole, viewers at home will watch the queer soirée and find a community,” Nguyen noted. “In fact, one of the key creative people working on Anne With an E came out to Walley-Beckett as a result of working on that sequence.”
This LGBT-friendly shift in the show working toward the normalization of homosexual behavior was celebrated by the Netflix series creator, who admitted to pushing children toward embracing a homosexual lifestyle.
“I am just so proud to be a part of something that can offer this to people, and I hope all the kids, too, who are struggling with their gender [and sexual] identity, who may not have the empathy or understanding around them that they need – that they see that it’s possible to have it if they find the community, they see that it’s possible to find safe haven,” Walley-Beckett expressed.
She even went as far as trying to depict how individuals in the show evolved from straight to homosexual.
“Making their own transformations are Anne’s adoptive parents, siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert (Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson),” Nguyen explained. “While Matthew becomes less shy – as seen when he performs in the Christmas pantomime – confronts his old flame, and later speaks up at the town hall, Marilla takes a path to evolve her concept of what a woman’s role can be. Whether she’s trying a new hairstyle to catch the eye of the lodger Nate (Taras Lavren) or defending the revolutionary new schoolteacher Miss Stacy (Joanna Douglas), Marilla seems to have awakened from stasis and is changing with the world around her.”
This was purposeful transformation was corroborated by Walley-Beckett.
“She’s like a Russian doll to me, and I find her the most fascinating of all the characters because there’s so much inside her that hasn’t ever had an opportunity to come out,” she explained further. “So, I peel the layers away and reveal each little doll very carefully, and very incrementally, much to Geraldine James’ chagrin, because she’s a masterful thespian who can be incredibly emotional.”
Feminist agenda unleashed, too
An aversion to feminine roles in life is also touched on in the series.
“All the notes with her is, ‘Nope, nope. Shut it down, shut it down. We’ll keep a very tight rein on Marilla,’” Walley-Beckett continued. “So, this season we have some lovely the opportunities to let Marilla unfurl a little bit as she moves into learning how to be a mother. Having this handsome virile young man in the house is very disconcerting. Something that I found really charming is that we are always exactly who we are on the inside, and she’s still young Marilla on the inside. I really liked that she is still flummoxed in the presence of this man that it sort of starts to permeate her thinking until that situation disappears.”
She considers denying one’s natural sexual disposition as a growing experience that should be celebrated.
“And like the Tin Man with the oil, that allows for a little bit of growth for the character over the course of the season,” Walley-Beckett insisted. “Because of their relationship with Anne, and being confronted by all things Anne, an ‘Anne-ness,’ they have to grow, and they have to explore themselves… It also afforded Marilla an opportunity to examine, ‘What other possibilities are there?’ And ultimately the overarching theme of the season, which is, ‘Different isn’t bad; it’s just not the same.’ That’s what Anne says.”
Pro-family condemnation of Anne with an E
Pro-family movie critics condemn the series for deceitfully using a literary classic from 1908 to promote the homosexual agenda by insisting that the author’s intention was to bring alternative lifestyles out of the closet.
“The creators of the series have carefully manipulated the classic story with an agenda that fits their worldview,” Movieguide reported. “They do so by twisting Aunt Josephine’s annual gathering in the episode titled ‘Memory Has as Many Moods as The Temper.’”
The Netflix original adapted series is not the only program that celebrates and justifies the LGBT lifestyle.
“Many current TV series, such as The Fosters, Transparent and Orange Is the New Black, have pushed the homosexuality envelope on TV,” Movieguide contributing writer Tess Farrand noted. “Anne with an E’s attempt to also push LGBT in programming that would normally attract more faith-based audiences is utterly unnecessary. Moreover, focusing attention on the sexuality subplot of the series detracts from the moral redemptive nature of the story. Obviously, the minds behind the series are jumping onto the ideological bandwagon that already has concerned parents even more worried.”
Pushing the homosexual lifestyle on kids as being something that is new and exciting is believed to be the greatest danger behind the controversial series.
“The creators and writers behind Anne with an E want to influence young audiences to believe that homosexuality is an acceptable path for anyone who might be ‘questioning,’” Farrand emphasized. “The discussion of gender and sexuality are in fact discussed ad nauseam. People in 2018 don’t need or want to see political/social debates take place on ‘family’ TV shows, they see enough of it on social media or see it on the 5 ‘o clock news. Rather, we should be turning to the ultimate resource for clarification on these pressing topics – the Bible.”
She used New Testament Scripture from one of the epistles of Paul – who addressed and condemned rampant homosexuality in many cities throughout modern-day Greece, Turkey and Italy – to remind viewers about such programming that God warns about focusing on ungodly behavior and encourages believers to embrace things that exude purity and good character.
“The apostle Paul urged the church in Philippi to dwell on matters that edify the Lord, ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things,’ (Phil 4:8 NIV),” Farrand added.
She went on to stress that audiences are not powerless and encouraged TV viewers to take action.
“Altering the context of these classic characters in order to adhere to some person’s views of acceptability is totally unacceptable,” Farrand impressed. “This is a crucial time for believers to pray over the entertainment industry and maintain a healthy awareness of the evils that pollute popular culture.”
Again, she appealed to Paul to make her final case against those who deceive society into embracing sin.
“Like Paul says, discernment will be the key to staying above reproach; ‘I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of naive people,’ (Romans 16:17-18)” Farrand explained.
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