Anne Rice’s Gabrielle de Lioncourt as transmasculine

Anne Rice says she never strongly identified with any gender and finds gender confusing in an interview.

Reflecting on the Anne Rice character Gabrielle, who gave birth to Lestat, and was later turned into a vampire by him. Gabrielle is a transmasculine vampire. Although the writer uses she pronouns for Gabrielle de Lioncourt, it is of note that the narrative is written from the point of view of Lestat.

Therefore, since Lestat is an unreliable narrator, this only means that he used this pronoun for his parent. Regardless of whether or not Gabrielle used she her pronouns, the character consistently wore men’s clothing. In a very vivid scene, Anne Rice describes Gabrielle’s action in cutting their hair very short. The next morning, they are horrified when they awaken to having very long hair.

One might surmise that Gabrielle had gender dysphoria. Additionally, over time, Gabrielle’s once warm and close relationship with their son becomes cold and distant. It is mentioned that Gabrielle never wears women’s clothing except for at the insistence of Lestat. One might surmise that the cool off in their relationship is coming from Lestat’s refusal to accept Gabrielle’s true gender.

It is very clear that Lestat wants Gabrielle to maintain the familiar and comforting role of mother, and Gabrielle, after becoming a vampire and traveling the world with her son, wants to be liberated from that role. Gabrielle was, because of the restrictive times that they lived in, pressure to marry very young and have many children, only three of whom survived.

The text makes it very clear that Gabrielle wants to be free of all that. So, the conflict between Lestat and Gabrielle is over Gabrielle’s tender, and also over Gabrielle’s feeling that they should be able to relinquish the task of parenting their now very much adult and immortal son.

Gabrielle is a very nuanced portrayal of a genderqueer character. Considering that The Vampire Lestat came out in 1985, it is also very progressive. Although Gabrielle is often forgotten, as a relatively minor side character to the very charismatic Lestat, for me, and for a lot of other transgender / non-binary / genderqueer/non-gender conforming fans of this literary work, Gabrielle is a very important and memorable character.

~ by Sumiko Saulson on January 3, 2022.

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