Seasons greetings, queer tricksters! I have news for you: ghosts — all ghosts — are gay. Casper? Gay. Bloody Mary? Gay. The Ghost of Christmas Past? Well, go ahead and give that androgynous lil’ ghostie some chapstick and a Tracy Chapman record, ‘cause that wisp of Christmas spirit is GAY.
I should clarify that when I say “gay,” I don’t mean “gay” in terms of orientation (although some ghosts swing in that direction). I mean culturally gay, the way some people are culturally Jewish or culturally okay with the concept of ambrosia salad. Ghosts carry the most critical markers of queer community, from the quirks that fill us with pride to the ones that aren’t so flattering.
Here are ten indisputable reasons why all ghosts are gay. If you’re not convinced by the end, I’ll homosexually haunt you when my time has come.
1. Ghosts are sentimental.
Ghost express sentimentality towards places (see #2), people (see #3) and even objects. They attach their souls to dolls (remember Annabelle?), cars and clothing the same way you attach your soul to your ex’s love notes or that shirt your crush let you borrow that you never ever plan to give back. Yep, sentimentality is gay, and ghosts high acheivers in nostalgia.
2. Haunting is just long-term U-Hauling.
Ah, U-Hauling — the great lesbian tradition of packing all your belongings in your Subaru Outback and joining households with the barista you met thirteen minutes ago! Considering that ghosts tend to shack up with past lovers and occasionally follow them around (see #3), haunting is the ultimate way to U-Haul — it’s immediate, it’s intense and it definitely saves on rent.
3. Ghosts follow their former lovers around.
Gays have a rich tradition of living with our exes, liking all of our exes’ thirst traps on Instagram, dating our exes’ friends and our exes’ exes and sharing custody of dogs that we adopted with former partners. Some of us, of course, employ some boundary-setting, but the truth remains that queers are swirling in communities filled with folks who used to co-own our dildos. For us, being around our exes is inevitable, and for ghosts, being around their exes is either a punishment (being stuck in the same house you died in where your former wife is currently banging a new, living boo) or a choice (see: the entire plot of Ghost or The L Word, Season 4, episode 12, when the ghost of Dana Fairbanks tells Alice to go to Tasha’s going away party).
4. They love making a grand entrance.
From that one extra terrifying jumpscare in The Haunting of Hill House to Samara crawling out of the TV in The Ring, ghosts love to make a big entrance… just like gays! Consider the majestic entrances of every contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race or the way your local butch DJ pauses to survey the club upon their arrival. Gays love making a show of showing up, especially when our outfits are on point. Speaking of accessorizing…
5. Ghosts have an affinity for fancy hats.
Anne Lister rocked a top hat at the turn of the 19th century. Fedoras had their moment in dyke communities of the early aughts. Lil Nas X recently popularized the cowboy hat, Janelle Monae has donned every headpiece known to humankind, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a lesbian bar that isn’t a sea of beanies. Many (but not all) ghosts are equally committed to their hat game. Just look at the Hat Man from The Haunting of Hill House or the famously gay Babadook!
6. Their best friends are witches.
What queer person doesn’t have a BFF who reads tarot and operates a side business selling herbal sachets on Etsy? Just like the gays, ghosts appreciate witches, who are skilled at communicating with the dead. Consider how Moaning Myrtle befriended multiple witches and wizards in the Harry Potter series or how Wendy (played by a young Hilary Duff) buddied up with Casper in Casper Meets Wendy. Ghosts need witches to stay in touch with the living the same way gays need witches to do our partners’ astrological charts.
7. Ghosts love the nightlife.
Across fiction and real life sightings, ghosts nearly always go bump in the night. Nightlife culture has been essential to queer communities for decades, and we still love to bump on the dance floor (even during a pandemic).
8. They’re often associated with cats.
Multiple ancient religions believed that cats were shape-shifting spirits, and some modern cat-lovers believe that our feline friends can see dead people. Then, of course, there’s the ghost-as-cat Thackery Binx in Hocus Pocus. The link between ghosts and cats is reminiscent of the most enduring lesbian cliche. In short, ghosts are cat ladies. Gay ladies are cat ladies. Therefore, ghosts are gay.
9. Ghosts like watching you sleep.
Almost every haunted house story begins with a “presence” in the middle of the night or the feeling of an invisible body sitting at the edge of the bed. It’s clear that ghosts love watching you sleep the way your quarantine girlfriends loves watching you sleep via Zoom when you both leave your Macbooks on overnight.
10. They love a dramatic exit.
Just when you think you’ll catch them, ghosts evaporate into thin air, just like the queer you’ve been chatting with on Tinder.
I remember years ago I went to a friend’s birthday party(queer of course) & a seance was done to see who the ghost haunting the place was done. Needless to say, the ghost who haunted the apartment died in eighties as a teen & was really into The Smiths, specifically Morrissey. His favorite song being This Charming Man(I think, he requested a lot of Smith songs), which is a pretty queer song.
This is an amazing piece of research. Thank you for your dedication & hard work!
The Ghost of Christmas Present seems pretty gay to me, too 😉
You’ve convinced me… but I’m totally up for a homosexual haunting if that’s still on offer.