A trans story on 'Bridgerton'? We have a historical idea for how to make that happen

Bridgerton cast netflix show Chevalier dEon diplomat soldier spy crossdresser
Bridgerton cast netflix show Chevalier dEon diplomat soldier spy crossdresser

Everybody say love, Regency style!

The latest season of Bridgerton, the hit Netflix show, has finally given us the queer romance we yearned for. And while I won't give out spoilers - you can read that here - the latest season has given the girls and gays a storyline much needed.

The series has painted a more inclusive Regency period while reimagining some historical figures, most notably the head of London’s ton, Queen Charlotte, played by the amazing Golda Rosheuvel. But is it now time for the series to give us the 'T' in LGBTQ?

And not only a trans character but one ripped from the pages of history?

Just imagine sweeping ballrooms, clandestine affairs, whispered secrets, and the enigmatic figure of the Chevalier d'Eon among the glittering ton. Born in 1728, Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée d'Eon de Beaumont, known simply as the Chevalier d'Eon, is a historical figure so fascinating that their life seems tailor-made for the Bridgerton treatment.

The Chevalier d'Eon was not just another noble playing the court's dangerous game; they were a diplomat, soldier, and a spy, with a life being a kaleidoscope of adventure and intrigue. Born into a minor noble family in France, d'Eon showed intelligence and talent from an early age. In the mid-1750s, d'Eon joined Secret du Roi, or the King's Secret, a spy agency answerable only to King Louis XV and organized outside of the government's bureaucracy. At the height of the rivalry between England and France, d'Éon was sent on a mission to Russia to sway then Empress Elizabeth of Russia. On this mission, d'Éon was disguised as a woman named Lia de Beaumont and infiltrated the Russian court. This was no simple mission or masquerade; d'Eon lived and thrived as Lia for several years, navigating the perilous waters of espionage with skill and, perhaps, even taking part in the Russian court's own gender-bending balls at the imperial palace.

The Chevalier’s time in Russia was just the beginning.

Upon returning to France, they continued to serve the French crown in various capacities, from a soldier in the Seven Years' War to a stint as a diplomat and spy in England. In London, d'Eon's life took an even more extraordinary turn. In the 1770s, d'Eon openly began to live and dress as a woman, claiming to have been assigned female at birth but forced to live as a man for most of their life.

In London's high society, d'Eon was both celebrated and scrutinized. They became a cause celebre, with their gender the subjects of gossip, intrigue, and bets — including a pool on the London Stock Exchange. Yet, despite the prying eyes and ceaseless chatter, d'Eon maintained poise and dignity, embodying the resilience and complexity of gender identity in an era that had no framework for understanding it.

For Bridgerton, the inclusion of d'Eon would be a bold step. Just imagine the Chevalier d'Eon, or a character based on them, gliding through the ballrooms, exchanging witty repartee with Lady Danbury and Queen Charlotte, and entangling themselves in an intricate plot as a maternal-like figure in the queer storylines for next season. Their presence would enrich the narrative and provide a robust, nuanced portrayal of a trans figure whose life story challenges and expands our understanding of gender.

But beyond the glitter and gossip, including a character like d'Eon would serve a deeper purpose. It would celebrate trans history, a reminder that we have always existed, even in times and places where our stories were seldom told. (Though, fortunately, d'Eon left us a legacy of writings, including a memoir.) It would bring visibility to a community that has been marginalized in the past and, sadly, in parts of the present, offering a powerful statement about inclusion and representation.

The Chevalier d'Eon's story is a testament to the complexity of human identity, the fluidity of gender and sexuality throughout our shared history, and the courage it takes to live one's truth. It offers inspiration and validation to those who navigate similar journeys today.

D'Eon's life reminds us of the beauty and strength of defying expectations and embracing one's true self.

So, dear gentle readers, as we revel in the romantic escapades of Bridgerton's latest season, let us also dream of a future where the Chevalier graces our screens, celebrating the full spectrum of human experience and paving the way for an inclusive future that honors the past. After all, isn't Bridgerton all about finding love, belonging, and self in the most unexpected places?

Marie-Adélina de la Ferrière is the Community Editor at equalpride, publisher of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, Plus, and Pride.com. A first-generation Haitian-American trans woman with a robust history of independent work as a communications and social media expert, she has tirelessly championed LGBTQ+ artists and performers, creating a vibrant community engagement approach that infuses each project with a dynamic and innovative perspective. Like and follow her on social: @ageofadelina.

Voices is dedicated to featuring a wide range of inspiring personal stories and impactful opinions from the LGBTQ+ and Allied community. Visit pride.com/submit to learn more about submission guidelines. We welcome your thoughts and feedback on any of our stories. Email us at voices@equalpride.com. Views expressed in Voices stories are those of the guest writers, columnists and editors, and do not directly represent the views of PRIDE.com or our parent company, equalpride.