27 X-Files Monsters of the Week, Ranked by Gayness

We’ve discussed the arguably gay women of The X-Files, and obviously Dana Scully at length. But it’s time to answer a different pressing question: how gay are the monsters of the week*?

*Although a monster-of-the-week episode comprises anything that isn’t germane to the overarching alien mythology plot, we are today focusing on actual monsters. For the purposes of this list, things that are not monsters: evil humans, humans with special powers, humans who have undergone some terrible transformation to give them powers like werewolves or vampires, aliens, religious entities like angels or the actual literal devil, possessed or reincarnated people. Ghosts count though, and also demons and computers.

27. Vele Demon, “Terms of Endearment”

He lies to, cheats on and manipulates multiple women while attempting to control their reproductive choices and losing it when he can’t. He’s literally just a regular dude who happens to also be a demon.

26. Slug cult leader, “Roadrunner”

We can all agree that this gross sentient slug parasite that has gained a cult following willing to trap innocent passersby for it is a lot! Lot going on here. This sentient slug does not respect bodily autonomy and is also very gross.

25. Golem, “Kaddish”

The golem’s mission in this case is pretty admirable, avenging antisemitism after being tragically separated from his love by death, but it isn’t gay.

24. Greg Pincus/Shapeshifting soul-sucking monster, “Folie a Deux”

Greg Pincus’s reign of terror and psychological torture is, for good reason, deeply linked to corporate America and his outer shell as an amiable straight white man as a cover for his inner shell as an enormous insect monster that somehow turns people into zombies. Not gay!

23. Ghosts, “Elegy”

These seem like very nice girls! They’re not gay, though, even a little bit.

22. Silicon based parasite, “Firewalker”

If this were a silicone-based parasite there would be a joke in here about the girl you dated in college who gave you your first strap-on and moved into your dorm room after two weeks, but alas.

21. Tachistoscopic images, “Wetwired”

This episode was super messed up! I refuse to believe that anyone gay would do this to Dana Scully.

20. Flukeman, “The Host”

Hard to say what this one is into other than hanging out in sewers, being gross and creepy. Tough to read. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are sort of middle-of-the-road mildly gay.

19. Parasitic Ice Worms, “Ice”

Points out the gate for the baseline of bitterness and staying power that it takes to survive in subterranean ice for millions of years, as staying in inhospitable and miserable situations for an unnecessarily long time just to make a point is part of gay culture, but unfortunately any gay resemblance stops there.

18. Poltergeists, “Excelsis Dei”

These guys are just dicks, honestly! We do not want them in the draft.

17. Jersey Devil, “Jersey Devil”

Lesbians are always talking about wanting to go live in the forest with their wife and leave human society behind, but also who doesn’t want that at this point, it’s arguably a universal human experience.

16. Forest people, “Detour”

See: Jersey Devil entry, although the forest people in Detour rank slightly higher because of their anti-colonialist critique.

15. Marcus Aurelius Belt possessed by a Martian entity, “Space”

There’s something admirable about the weird Martian space ghost’s commitment — hanging out in space all alone for eternity, but also following its target back to Earth? Do straight people have that kind of dedication to a task? Not convinced they do.

14. Wood mites, “Darkness Falls”

They’re very efficient and have clearly read The Monkey Wrench Gang; they will also absolutely break up with you for not taking the composting system in the apartment seriously.

13. Central Operating System in the Eurisko Corporation’s headquarters, “Ghost in the Machine”

The inevitable upshot of so many depictions of computers and artificially intelligent entities as female personalities that their male creators are half in love/lust with is that it’s impossible not to see violent AIs gone rogue as striking back and getting revenge on their creepy inventors. Skynet was like the digital Amy Dunne, when you think about it.

12. Betty, “Never Again”

The thing about Betty, the haunted talking tattoo with a lot of internalized misogyny, is that she really hates other women. BUT once in a blue moon that tendency betrays a sort of doth-protesting-too-much, like how Regina George pings kind of gay sometimes. Also she was voiced by Jodie Foster, which means she registers as gay against your will on a cellular level.

11. Mysterious fear entity, “X-Cops”

The level of deeply intuitive emotional manipulation required for a monster who kills you by turning into your worst fear is harrowing!

10. Sea Monster, “Agua Mala”

Sea monsters have vengeful gay energy in general, because of Ursula and the larger tradition of misandrist female sea monsters, like sirens, Scylla, Gorgons, the list goes on. This particular sea monster also tries to strangle Mulder to death, which is relatable.

9. Human bat, “Patience”

A human-bat hybrid with “cold hearted human vengeance” that will kill anyone with the scent of its target on them. This bat is a Scorpio.

8. Chinga, “Chinga”

She’s from New England with a prickly attitude and a poor disposition towards men, which, same!

7. Big Blue, “Quagmire”

Much like Nessie, Big Blue feels very gay in the degree to which people refuse to believe she exists while simultaneously monetizing her story.

6. Hallucinogenic Mushroom Organism, “Field Trip”

A mindless monster that entraps you by spinning you fantasies of your fears and hopes while slowly eating you alive; insert joke about your ex-girlfriend here!

5. Succubus, “Avatar”

An elderly hag who may or may not be real and ruins your life and haunts your sleep but also wants to protect you, and is inextricably linked to horrible trauma. Love her! She means well.

4. Medusa, “Medusa”

This glowing parasitic organism lives in the Boston subway system and just wants to be left alone, will painfully kill any man who tries to disturb that mission, which is also true of many Boston-area lesbians who live on the red line.

3. Jenn the Jinn, “Je Souhaite”

She’s so competent, and so tired, and it’s been ten thousand years and men keep asking her for stupid things! Like, such incredibly stupid things. She just wants to be left alone to drink her coffee in peace!

2. Maitreya, “First-Person Shooter”

The backstory of Maitreya’s creation — a female game designer wanted an outlet from her frustrating male-dominated workplace, and so she did a full body scan of a super hot stripper and used her as the basis for a female gunslinger in her own game — is something an actual queer woman is almost certainly doing at this exact moment somewhere in Seattle.

1. Lyda, “The Ghosts Who Stole Christmas”

Aside from the technicality of her character having a husband, Maurice, Lily Tomlin, an actual lesbian, has brought such strong mischievious lesbian energy to this role that she comes across as far more notably gay than the canonical living lesbians written into “all things.” The level of delight this chill ghost takes in pranking the strange female FBI agent who has barged into the house she’s haunting is… not heterosexual. Also for your consideration, this exchange.

Lyda: Oh, you poor child. You must have an awful small life. Spending your Christmas Eve with him… Running around chasing things you don’t even believe in.

Scully: Don’t come any closer.

Lyda: (coming closer) I can see it in your face… The fear… The conflicted yearnings… A subconscious desire to find fulfillment through another. Intimacy through co-dependency.

Scully: What?

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. I’m astonished that there hasn’t been more controversy over the low-ish ranking of Jodie-Foster-As-A-Tattoo !

    Does Eugene Tooms warrant inclusion for ability to squeeze into tight holes?

  2. Autostraddle is the greatest website on the internet. This is the content I crave.

    I definitely expected Tattoo Betty to rank higher but I can’t argue with the reasoning! What a great list.

  3. I need to rewatch the X-Files. I don’t even remember the haunted tattoo. Out of a sense of state pride though, I think the Jersey Devil should’ve ranked higher.

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