A trans actress has remembered the late author Anne Rice as the first person she came out to.
On Saturday (11 December), the legendary author passed away from complications regarding a stroke.
The 80-year-old was renowned for her immersive vampire book series that featured the popular novel Interview With The Vampire.
Her son Christopher took to Twitter with the tragic news alongside a lengthy statement.
“This is Anne’s son Christopher and it breaks my heart to inform you that earlier tonight Anne passed away due to complications resulting from a stroke,” he wrote. “Below is the statement I shared on her Facebook page moments ago.”
Shortly after the news was announced, fans were quick to share their fond memories of the author and her expansive catalogue.
One of those fans included trans actress Phaylen Fairchild, who said that Rice was the first person she came out to.
In an emotive essay for Medium, Fairchild revealed that the two met when she was 18 via a fan mail exchange.
“I met Anne in the early 2000’s, as a young, budding writer. I remember her first website, back when the internet was still new and the potential of what it would become had yet to be realized,” she said.
After reading the novel and falling in love with the lore, Fairchild said that she emailed the author with a letter detailing her dreams of becoming a writer.
“I cringe when I reminisce on my childlike naivety,” she said. “Not for a single moment did it cross my mind that I was writing to Anne Rice, an accomplished writer, a woman so highly regarded she was near royalty in the literary world.”
This is Anne’s son Christopher and it breaks my heart to inform you that earlier tonight Anne passed away due to complications resulting from a stroke. Below is the statement I shared on her Facebook page moments ago. pic.twitter.com/jIHYg6uewI
— Anne Rice (@AnneRiceAuthor) December 12, 2021
But unlike other celebrities, the actress revealed that Rice was incredibly engaging and even asked about her stories and characters.
“She was impossibly generous with her words, beyond kind, and she spoke to me, not like a stranger who had sent an unsolicited email, but like a friend. She was warm, she was gracious, and she inspired me,” she explained.
Fairchild went on to say that in terms of her own writing and ideas, Rice would give “unfiltered feedback” and encouraging advice.
Later in the piece, Fairchild revealed that Rice was the first person that she opened up to regarding her gender identity.
“At the time I was a navigating difficult territory of gender and sexuality, and she was the first person I came out to as gay,” she said.
“She gave me confidence to live authentically, telling me “Your life is a story, every day is a new page. Live a story worthy of telling again and again.”
Fairchild went on to say that Rice continued to accept her when she came out as trans and even shared historical trans figures with her.
“Anne Rice was the first person who made me feel that it was okay to be comfortable in my skin, and that my journey as a transgender woman was special- not because I was by any means odd, weird or different- but that I was worthy of celebrating because my very existence was “A remark on the magic of the complex human condition.”
Throughout Rice’s career, the bestselling author has shown support for the LGBTQ+ community.
In 2010, she took a step back from Christianity due to the amount of anti-LGBTQ+ hate the community received.
During her 2017 interview with Daily Beast, she said has always been a supporter of gay rights and loved that fans considered Interview With The Vampire as a gay allegory.
“I’ve always been very much a champion of gay rights, and art produced by gay people — whether it was the early Frankenstein movies that had such a gay sensibility to them, or any art created by gay people. I’m highly sensitive to it. I have a gay sensibility,” she said.