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Why the next James Bond could easily be a lesbian

Written by gaytourism

Until Daniel Craig confirmed he would play James Bond again in the new film due out in November 2019, there was speculation that this was the time that Bond might be black. Idris Elba was a hot tip to play the part.

Others suggested Bond should be female, possibly played by Gillian Anderson. This came after the world of British TV was shaken by the appointment of Jodie Whittaker in the role of Doctor Who.

Is the world ready for a gay James Bond?

So could this be the time for a gay Bond?

Chris Mandle of The Telegraph thinks the world is not ready for it. After all, when even the straight sex scenes struggle with authenticity, how could the franchise cope with a gay Bond?

This is in spite of a certain frisson between Bond and villain Silva in Skyfall. The film sent shockwaves through LGBTI fans when Silva propositioned Bond and 007 suggested this may not be his first (gay) time.

You can watch the scene here:

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Julie Bindel of The Guardian, comes from the opposite perspective. Bond should be a lesbian.

She also argues 007 could do the world a great service by promoting vegan food and human rights. A lesbian Bond would be saving the environment by replacing the old Aston Martin with a low-emission Mini.

More to the point, however: ‘If Lezzer Bond is in her 50s and came out in her youth, she would have encountered threats and bigotry on a massive scale,’ Bindel says. ‘This, I would argue, gives her the very qualities necessary to be the best ever Bond.’

She has a fair point.

Pussy Galore gets bored with Bond, and steals one of his love interests

But gay women do exist, albeit in minor roles, throughout the Bond franchise.

The explicitly queer subtext of films such as Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever, Octopussy, and Die Another Day, displays a countercultural deep layer to Bond’s superficial gender conservativism.

The most outrageously named characters are the ones who have most inflamed certain feminist criticism. But those characters also provide us with a smarter feminist re-reading of the Bond films.

Honor Blackman and Sean Connery as Pussy and James in Goldfinger. | Photo: MGM

A great example is American gangster Pussy Galore who has a one night-stand with Bond at the end of Goldfinger – both novel and film. People tend to incorrectly read this night of sex as her irreversibly disavowing her homosexuality. In fact, it is an endorsement of her fluidly queer sexuality.

Significantly, when Pussy Galore returns in Anthony Horowitz’s sequel to Goldfinger, Trigger Mortis (2015), it’s not to marry James Bond and have his babies. Instead, she competes with him. Pussy soon gets bored with Bond, and steals one of his female love interests.

I dont like cock fights

Thumper and Bambi in Diamonds Are Forever

Thumper and Bambi beat up Bond in Diamonds Are Forever. | Photo: MGM

Lesbian duo Bambi and Thumper – the first black Bond girl played by Trina Parks – have great fun at Bond’s expense in the film adaptation of Diamonds Are Forever. The same film depicts Bond’s arch-enemy Blofeld in drag, while assassins Mr Wint and Mr Kidd are openly gay.

Octopussy and Magda are the ‘femme/butch’ leaders of an all-girls criminal organisation. And at the end of Octopussy, there are serious doubts about Bond (Roger Moore)’s ability to perform his statutory boudoir duties in full-body cast.

Maud Adams as Octopussy.

Maud Adams playing Octopussy. | Photo: MGM

Queer icon Madonna makes a cameo appearance in Die Another Day, as the leather-corseted Verity, villain Gustav Graves’s fencing instructor.

Openly lesbian, and with a sharp weapon of her own, Verity is in love with double-agent Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike). In the most famous lesbian one-liner of the franchise, she dismisses Bond and Graves’s alpha-male fight saying she doesn’t ‘like cock fights’.

Watch that scene here:

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‘He’s the Bond Girl, not me’

You could say that these are blatant examples of the franchise’s latent homophobia and clichéd approaches to gender and sexuality. Or we could read these as the most extreme manifestations of the queer sexuality that Bond, perhaps, has always represented.

His penchant for champagne drinking, tailored clothes, and refined foods may suggest that Bond is indeed ‘a bit of a girl himself’.

In fact, lesbian author, Jeanette Winterson claimed in 2002: ‘His legendary prowess in bed gives us a clue, because of course, only girls can really keep it up all night long.’

Daniel Craig walks out of the sea.

Daniel Craig paying homage to Ursula Andress in Casino Royale. | Photo: Casino Royale

Bond took the joke further when Daniel Craig entered the franchise with Casino Royale in 2006. He re-enacted the legendary scene from the first Bond movie, Dr No, where Ursula Andress walks out of the sea on onto the beach. But this time, Bond was the one in the swimming costume, not the Bond girl. It prompted Eva Green, who played Vesper Green alongside Craig, to claim a role-reversal had taken place: ‘He’s the Bond Girl, not me’.

Of course, sexual and gender stereotypes are the basis for much of this. But, those aside, since the beginning of the film franchise, Bond has put a strong emphasis on sexual desire and pleasure, rather than straight marriage and family. And all that suggests that even when 007 is engaged in heterosexual relationships, these do not follow conservative conventions, but gesture, instead, to queer sexuality.

Monica Germanà is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Westminster.

Also on Gay Star News

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Watch the music video that imagines James Bond and his arch foe as a gay couple

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