Neil Gaiman has always been good to our quirky little Good Omens fandom. He’s seemed to welcome shippers in particular, when many content creators tend to shy away from us. But now he’s referred to it as a “love story”, and there’s no denying the queer overtones to the protagonists.
The conversation transpired as someone engaged with Neil Gaiman about the avoidance of the use of labels for Crowley’s and Aziraphale’s sexuality and romantic interactions. This is a valid criticism, and it’s one that I’ve leveled at many content creators in the past. I even said in my most recent piece that it’d be nice to have things more clearly defined as queer.
However, for some reason the subtextual nature of their relationship never bothered me to the extent that it has with so many other reasons. Neil Gaiman’s recent tweet on the matter may explain why.
I wouldn’t exclude the ideas that they are ace, or aromantic, or trans. They are an angel and a demon, not as make humans, per the book. Occult/Ethereal beings don’t have sexes, something we tried to reflect in the casting. Whatever Crowley and Aziraphale are, it’s a love story.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) June 8, 2019
Sexuality is a tricky thing. Even us queer folk get criticisms for how we choose to portray it or what we deem “good” representation (and even me embracing the word ‘queer’ as a label for myself can get dicey at times).
The above comment, despite clearly stating that they love each other, has also received criticism. But you know what? My demisexual panromantic self is thrilled with this.
Neil Gaiman acknowledged that the ace spectrum exists, which is incredibly rare for content creators to acknowledge. He doesn’t want to take away from our reading of them as such by placing a label on them. He also doesn’t want to take away trans or nonbinary readings of them, either, and has given people room to assign a non cisgender reading of them.
At the same time, those who want to label them as gay are not being excluded, either. In fact, interpreting Aziraphale as flat out gay even made it into the books:
“Many people, meeting Aziraphale for the first time, formed three impressions: that he was English, that he was intelligent, and that he was gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide.”
All queer readings of these characters are valid. And whatever queer reading you attach to them, Neil has confirmed without a doubt that it’s a love story. So call them trans gay men. Call them nonbinary partners. Call them agender ethereal beings involved in a deep queer romance with each other. Call them cisgender bisexuals if you want to. Call them whatever, because whatever they are, they’re in love and that’s canon.
People still longing for clear labels on them are justified. It’s a fight I’m familiar with, and I don’t begrudge them for wanting explicit labels for characters. But those of us who are ecstatic that our readings have been acknowledged by the creator as a possibility and feel that it’s a cause for celebration are also justified.
All queer readings are canonically valid, including ours. It’s a good moment for a lot of people.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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