Notes & Queeries: The Allure of the Lesbian Vampire

So is there really any use in reviving this archetypal character? Wouldn’t we be better off with creating well-rounded, human lesbian or bisexual characters?

Recently, several friends and I were discussing the global popularity of Twilight, particularly the devotion that many girls and women have to the character of Edward Cullen, the vampire boyfriend of the book’s main character, teenager Bella Swan.

Edward’s story is all about self-control: He struggles to rein in his vampiric urges, which could be fatal to Bella, who yearns to bond with him in the most intimate of ways. When they finally consummate their relationship later in the series, he nearly destroys her.

Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) in Twilight

One of my friends said that she couldn’t understand why anyone would want to fall in love with someone who could kill her. And then another friend pointed out that this kind of tale is the ultimate consummation — it’s about being utterly consumed by your lover.

It’s about being desired so fully, so completely, that you are totally devoured by that desire.

As fantasies go, this one can be understood, I think, by almost everyone who has felt the intensity of first love. In fact, I believe that LGBT people might experience their first queer love especially intensely.

Not only does it involve the basic hormonal rush of falling in love — which is intoxicating enough on its own — it also involves turning one’s entire worldview around to embrace a desire that many people judge as queer. I think that this can’t help but make first love an even more delirious experience.

A woman is seduced by a 500-year-old vampire in Eternal

The first girl you fell in love with was most likely not a lesbian vampire, but perhaps you remember the feeling of being in a daze after a first kiss, as though your entire body were surrounded by a kind of hot, pulsing fog — or as if your body were turning into that fog itself, a vaporous, shifting creature drawn irresistibly toward that one person.

It’s hard to see clearly — to think at all — in the midst of that swarm of desire.

I think there is only a thin line separating the powerful intoxication of first love from the darker, more damaging emotions that can turn into hungry obsession.

If I were to write a story about a lesbian vampire, this is the kind of feeling I would draw on to shape her. Because I think she is the embodiment of all the unchecked feelings that we learn, as adults, to channel into healthier — and less dramatic — directions.

Queer women have just as much right as straight people to explore the seamy underside of our desires.

Certainly, there aren’t enough positive representations of lesbians and bisexual women on television or in the movies. But I think there is also a place for camp, and for some good old-fashioned unholy passion.

Willow meets her kinda gay Vampire alter ego on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

A quick search for the term “lesbian vampire” on Amazon.com shows that plenty of queer writers have already tackled the topic in all its erotic, fun-filled glory. We are already reappropriating the lesbian vampire for our own needs.

I’m looking forward to seeing if the Lesbian Vampire Queen of Louisiana in True Blood follows suit.

Disclosure: Malinda Lo’s forthcoming novel is also published by Stephenie Meyer’s publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

For more on Malinda Lo, visit her website

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