20 Things You’d Find In A Real Lesbian Haunted House

Jenny Clownface 2

When word spread about Toronto artists Allyson Mitchell’s mostly awesome lesbian feminist haunted house, “Kill Joy’s Kastle”, everyone here at Autostraddle was pretty psyched.

Read this description and tell me you don’t want to go here immediately:

Wrapping this American Gothic Hell House tradition with yard upon illustrated, elaborately decorated yard of spirited craft aesthetic, Mitchell mobilizes her “deep lez” commitment to radical queer world-making potential. Through it, she conjures new kinds of representations of feminist sexuality and queer concepts of community and activism.

Rug-hooked, crocheted, and paper maché’d constructions are womb-like wonders for visitations of the undead lesbian community, who are hell-bent on remaining nightmarishly non-assimilated. Casting the spells of freaky feminist skill sharing and paranormal consciousness raising together with ghouls, bio-engineered monsters, indoctrinators, and avengers, this hell house is designed to pervert, not convert.”

Paper mache’d wombs and emasculation stations are great and all, but what if there were a haunted house that was just filled with a FUCKTON of things lesbians are terrified of?

Here’s our list of things you’d find in an actual, real-as-it-gets lesbian haunted house.

1. Stereo that only plays “True Affection” and “Parenthesis” by The Blow non-stop.

2. A soundproof room showing nothing but Two & A Half Men on one side and The Real L Word on the other, on several televisions stacked on top of one another.

3. Nothing but that one grainy hummus you hate.

4. Not even pita chips or carrots. Just that hummus.

5. Girls chasing you around with leases and a pen (that’s been gnawed on, because anxiety).

6. Jenny Schecter chasing you with a knife.

7. Jenny Schecter chasing you with more circus-based short fiction.

8. The sound, smell, and hair of dogs/cats, but no actual dogs/cats.

9. A room full of family members watching TV and saying homophobic things that you have to navigate your way through. You cannot go around.

10. Ilene Chaiken popping up everywhere and screaming, “I’M ILENE CHAIKEN, PRODUCER AND CREATOR OF SHOWTIMES’ HIT SERIES THE L WORD!!!”

11. The ghost of Dana Fairbanks.

12. And no sign of Mr. Piddles; the mystery remaining unsolved.

13. A room where everything is completely silent for hours, punctuated only briefly by the hopeful sound of an incoming G-Chat. But it’s not her. The G-Chat. It’s never her.

14. Actual bodies covered in the words of Jeanette Winterson from Written On The Body.

15. Gendered bathrooms and gendered bathrooms only.

16. Every mirror you look in instantly superimposing a photo of your ex next to you.

17. A room full of really, really long fingernails.

18. The Glee version of “Take Me Or Leave Me” playing on repeat through a dark tunnel of doom.

19. A hallway where Diva Cups are dumped on your head while “Closer To Fine” plays on a loop.

20. In order to get out of the house, you have to get past a frat boy standing in front of the door who will only move out of the way if you explain how lesbians have sex.

Have others to add to the list? We know you do. Comment away, friends.

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  1. 21. A fake College Entrance plastered with Greek life memorabilia and a poster stating “No Women and Gender Studies Courses available. Ever.”

    • Shelby you should’ve been in the room when we were writing this. I’m sure you would’ve come up with another 20 of these, easy. <3

  2. Well, they’ve certainly got the transmisogyny and cissexism down, what with the “don’t trip over the severed penises” sign.

    I’m all for queer feminist haunted houses, but was it really necessary to include that sign? It seems to go against the idea of being a “lesbian-feminist, queer-fear-fighting celebration.”

        • Wow, disgusting. I was actually excited for this project but it seems to be another example of “feminist” transmisogyny. >:(

        • Nooo!! It isnt transphobic, I think thats the point!! The horror is the terrible radfem monsters the house is mocking / unpacking. The event opens with Valarie Solanas :P The artists statement makes it clear for me this is the point and not to celebrate this mindset. She is unpacking and examining the ghosts of some very problematic aspects of lesbian feminism. I was skittish at first too when I saw.

          Oh and one room actually includes the words “Trans Women Belong Here” according to the writeup on Bitch.

          “I crawled into a fabric-tunnel and lounged between two lovers grasping at each other from behind the walls and whispering sweet things such as “trans-women belong here” into my ears.”

          Seriously, I think this is good stuff :)

          “The project mixes contemporary ideas with nostalgia for queer and feminist pasts that are vital and legendary, but ultimately full of exclusionary and outdated politics. “I see it as a bit of a funeral for lesbian-feminist ideas that need to die or be buried,” says Mitchell. “But like anything that’s dead, it continues to haunt us. It never really goes away. It still exists in our imagination. I mean that’s part of the Deep Lez project. You can’t shake that history. You can distance yourself from it but it’s still there. It’s a way of figuring out how to live with those spirits.” ”

    • I’m guessing she’s more in the radfem realm of thinking. The way the word radical gets used in the queer community can either refer to radfems or to someone who just has rad politics and does radical stuff.

  3. Wait but #14 actually sounds like the stuff of my dreams.
    (Unless those bodies are dead bodies of really attractive queers. That would move this into the realm of nightmares.)

  4. 22. A gaggle of cisgender, heterosexual female acquaintances determined to convince you that “they totally know what it’s like to come out ’cause they tell guys in clubs that they’re gay all the time so they stop flirting”.

    • Ahh!!!! Or like that time they told their parents that they were friends with you and you’re a lesbian and that doesn’t mean that they’re gay and they should oh my god they should totally stop being so close minded, it’s so embarrassing. But that was really difficult for me so like, I totes know what you’re going through babes.

    • You know, I’ve actually had men say to me, in response to stating that I am a lesbian (in said scenarios at bars or whatever), that “I didn’t have to lie, I could have just said I wasn’t interested instead of making up an excuse.” And then have them get angry at me.


      And I thought to myself, 1) why would I lie about that? and 2) do straight women really use that? Damn.

      • Yep, some straight women do use that, and then – by my experience – often totally fail to understand why that fact might upset the people whose identities they’re appropriating.

  5. 22. The “girl police” have an interrogation room. At least two of them will discuss your clothes, pronouns, self-identification and most importantly your hair ad nauseam while they decide whether to charge you with being too gay or not gay enough.

    • I envision the interrogation room decorated with posters declaring ‘YOU CAN’T BE A IF B/ C/ D’ and ‘HOW TO PROVE SOMEBODY’S X/ Y/ Z’ -’cause it’s imperative that the “girl police” know exactly what everybody’s doing with who and what and how. And the posters would all be written in C

  6. 7. Jenny Schecter chasing you with more circus-based short fiction.


    That’ll do AS, that’ll do. Take the rest of the afternoon off.

  7. 23. Tila Tequila saying “I’m a bisexual!” over and over again. I know that’s an old reference but it still haunts my dreams…

  8. 25. A parade of male suitors led by a well meaning relative that is certain you “just haven’t met the right guy”

    You walk down a corridor hearing an endless loop of “Remember Mark from down the street? He’s got an MBA. He drives a Lexus. He’s so charming.”

  9. i couldn’t care less for the semi-hipstery, belated PR efforts of the cult in question. Even if said ideology actually stimulates me in an artistic way (it is probably my single greatest inspiration to pick up creativity and crafts, specifically engraving – copyright Brother Proteus from Ultramarines), i don’t think that much of it in one place is good. Believe me, there really is such a thing as too much inspiration.

    AS take on it though – pure, hilarious win. Made more hilarious by myself being guilty of a few horrors on the list, like 2 1/2 Men and L word – and having suffered the existential despair brought upon me by others, like hummus.

  10. 26. Getting trapped in a room with only trans* characters created by IFC and Ryan Murphy, then
    27. Getting sucked into IFC’s plot hole vortex and
    28. Re-emerging into a dimension in which the change.org petition does not get 500 signatures

  11. I’ve gotta say, #1 doesn’t sound that bad to me. I love those songs haha. But other than that this list is pretty amazing/horrifying.

    • I love them too! But so many people I know equate them with an ex or some other heartbreak, so I figured they probs weren’t the only ones who did. Should maybe edit to add “(replace with any songs that remind you of your shattered pathetic heart)”

  12. 29. You meet a group of cissexist and trasphobic lesbian who try make you admit that you don’t exist.
    30. A group of really attractive, but fake bisexuals at the club just making real bisexuals and queer people look like a fake.

  13. 31. A Pleasantville-looking couple eerily waving in the window. They’ve brought you a casserole, they call your girlfriend your roommate and say they hope you don’t fall out over who gets the bigger bedroom. Two gorgeous girls like us, we must have the boys lining up to take us out on the town. Mr and Mrs Pleasantville think its good for us to be having our independence for a few years before settling down.

    • *shudder* If one more relative tells me they want to meet my “friend” Margaret, I think I will implode.

  14. Cackling loudly at 10.
    32. Dan Savage shouting “IT GETS BETTER” whilst intermittently hurling transphobic and racist remarks wildly

  15. A room filled with all your old relatives asking about your dating life while your mother gives you uncomfortable looks.

  16. 35. A room filled with all your parents friends and family members asking why you don’t have a boyfriend. Someone brings up homosexuality which leads to a scripture filled rant on why THE GAYS are ruining the world by existing and going on and on about why gay marriage is wrong.

    God, that freaked me out by just typing it.

    • As someone who lives in Kansas and has seen multiple WBC protests-my town is socially liberal and therefore godless and evil in their view-I have to say, the WBC in person are way underwhelming, to the point of being laughable. The “protests” I’ve seen are generally like a half dozen people, and no one pays them any mind.

      (Which isn’t to say that their rhetoric, their protesting of funerals, etc isn’t despicable because it totally is.)

  17. 37. Your mother comes to visit, lets herself in unannounced and walks in, seeing your bedroom at it’s post sex best – curtains drawn at midday, tangled sheets, dildo, harness, lube and any other sexcessories you would rather gnaw off your own foot than allow your mother to see are all scattered around the room, impossible to miss.

    You watch this unfold through a false mirror, unable to stop what is happening!

    I think I just gave myself nightmares.

    • Last week I totally forgot that I left my (giant, ice-blue)(no, seriously, it’s massive I call it the Vagina Destroyer) dildo out to dry on the bathroom shelf after washing/sanitizing. AND MY MOTHER CAME OVER.
      Luckily for both of us, she’s gotten really good at pretending not to see things she doesn’t want to see.

    • Happened with my father and an ex-roommate’s “accessories.” Before I was out to him. Seeing one’s parent waving a dildo and harness in the air is a memory that no amount of vodka or dementia will ever erase, so I choose to remember it as funny as all hell.

  18. 33. No vegan option on the menu if you are vegan, and stale tofu with month old broccoli, with bread and no meat, if you eat meat.

  19. I admit, I’d go a bit darker with an exhibit like that:

    -The closeted high school teacher who avoids you like the plague when she figures out that you’re queer too.

    -Photos of the nieces and nephews you’ve never met, and videos of the family events you’ve haven’t been invited to.

    -The secretaries at the doctors’ offices who insist on entering your relationship with your partner as “friend”.

    -The office party that you attend eerily alone because your job might be in jeopardy if they see who you’re actually dating.

    -The thugs who throw bottles and shout “DYKE!” out the car window while you’re waiting for the bus.

    -The closet that isn’t safe to leave.

    Yep, I’d put darker things in my Lesbian Haunted House. But I’ve always been bad that way.

  20. A laptop open to OKC with endless messages from dudebros who could totally turn you straight with their magic dick and couples who want to make you their third.

    • I’ve recently discovered that you can make your profile visible only to other queer people. Which is beautiful, beautiful witchcraft.

  21. 39. A room full of all the luxury vibrators you’ve been dying to try, but their batteries are all at 0% and their is no way to charge them.

  22. 40. you’re trapped in a room with straight people who follow every thing you say with a statement along the likes of “Of course you’d say that, you’re a lesbian!”
    sr8 guy: “Pizza Hutt is he best!!!”
    lesbian: “Actually, I prefer Papa John’s.”
    sr8 peeps: “Duh! Of Course you’d say that. Everyone knows lesbians loooooove Papa John’s”
    lesbian: “*Face Palm*”

    • Once I lived in a house (full of male queers), with a cishet male in the attached granny flat. Once he found out i was queer (which initially blew his mind, I am ‘femme’), he said he should’ve known “because I have a leopard print bedspread”. I actually had pictures of suicide girls, & lesbian chic fashion ads etc up on my walls, but that is apparently what should’ve tipped him off ;).

      • People have the oddest ideas about signifiers – I once got told I must be vegetarian because of my hair… I mean, it’s long and swishy, so maybe a bit hippy…but still odd.

  23. 41. A line of really attractive girls who flirt with you for a minute until their boyfriends appear and start making out with them.

  24. 42. A dinner party with Michele Bachmann, John Boehner, Anita Bryant and Paul Ryan, where you’re not allowed to leave until dessert is over.

  25. 43. A row of televisions playing an endless stream of Orange is the New Black edited so you can only watch the parts that include Larry.

  26. 44. Joss Whedon announces that all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer really was just the delusion of a disturbed girl in a psychiatric hospital

  27. Honorable mentions:

    -misogynistic gay men grabbing your boobs and going “don’t worry I don’t want to sleep wit you”

    -drunk cishet white men in numbers that go “i’m a lesbian too, I love women”

    -those claw-like nails girls have been wearing lately


    -a ghost that follows you and your girlfriend that constantly says “Which one is the guy?”

    -white lesbians jumping in front of me and saying that they have to go through first in order for me to get my turn

  28. 46. a room full of entitled allies who have gone through the same struggles defending gay rights as you have

    • 48. Signs that say, “Photos of Naya Rivera, this way!” and then you follow them and find some guy listening to nickelback in an empty room and he starts asking you, “If you like women how come you date women who look like men?” and most horribly, there are NO PHOTOS OF NAYA RIVERA ANYWHERE!

  29. You get invited to a Tegan and Sarah concert where they are making out with their girlfriends, while Laura Pepon is dancing near you, but you’re temporarily become deaf, and blind.

  30. You have to listen to a shirtless Robert Patteson talk about all the things he did with Kristen Stewart.

  31. 47. A glass case filled with delicious-looking baked goods … and not a single one of them is gluten free

  32. 48. The only lesbian party in the world and when you get there it’s all cis white lesbians ignoring you

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