Movie Reviews

2 Real Pirates Can Perfect Our Flag Means Death's LGBTQ+ Rep

Our Flag Means Death already boasts prominent LGBTQ+ representation, but the show can perfect this by adding two more real pirates to its roster, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. While the cast of characters includes such real-life names as Stede Bonnet and Edward Teach, a.k.a. “Blackbeard,” the Golden Age of Piracy is full of potential historical figures who could be portrayed on the show, such as “Black Sam” Bellamy and “Captain Kidd,” as well as Anne Bonny and Mary Read, both infamous figures who could bolster the show’s LGBTQ+ cred.

Season 1 of Our Flag Means Death features multiple gay couples residing on Bonnet’s ship, the Revenge. The first and foremost of these relationships is between Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) and Blackbeard (Taika Waititi), while another LGBTQ+ coupling pairs the characters Lucius Spriggs (Nathan Foad) and Black Pete (Matthew Maher). Additionally, Calico Jack (Will Arnett), is shown to be an old flame of Blackbeard’s, and Jim Jiminez (Vico Ortiz), formerly Bonifacia, is a non-binary pirate among the Revenge’s crew.

Related: Why LGBTQ+ Representation Is So Important In Media

But while the show excels at specifically gay representation, Our Flag Means Death could also include lesbians among its LGBTQ+ representation with the story of two real pirates from history. Anne Bonny and Mary Read were active in the early 18th century, during the time of the show’s setting, and eventually met as crew members on the same ship. While not much is known of their personal lives, it’s rumored that the two women became lovers. This is said to have happened after Read, who’d been disguising herself as male, revealed that she was female when Bonny expressed a romantic interest in her.

Jim on Our Flag Means Death is based on these notorious women pirates, but Anne Bonny and Mary Read also have a direct connection to the characters of the show through their real-life partnership with Calico Jack, a.k.a. John Rackham. In 1719, Bonny left her sailor husband to be Rackham’s lover and partner aboard their stolen vessel, the William. A year later, after Read joined the crew in her guise as a man, the two women allegedly became so close that Bonny had to out Read as a woman to Rackham when he began to grow jealous of their intimacy.

With such a ripe couple available to the show, it’s hard to imagine that Anne Bonny and Mary Read won’t be in future episodes of Our Flag Means Death. This isn’t to discount the gay couples already on the show, nor to ignore Jim’s contribution in any way. There are benefits to seeing them joined on-screen by an ever-expanded cast of characters reflecting the true diversity of the audience. With Bonny and Read’s addition, audiences would further see the normalization and representation of the entirety of the LGBTQ+ experience beyond largely male participants.

Next: Our Flag Means Death Theory Says Lucius Is Season 2’s Perfect Villain

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