Kate McKinnon’s 10 Gayest “Ghostbusters” Gay Moments of Gay

By Kayla and Audrey

Ghostbusters is super gay. Well, it’s subtextually super gay, because Hollywood remains resistant to the mere notion of a queer summer blockbuster. But at least Kate McKinnon is here and queer and ready to destroy us with her sex appeal that reaches near-paranormal levels of intensity in the movie. Real Life Queer McKinnon stars as the gunslinging—and gun-licking—engineer Jillian Holtzmann, whose queerness cannot be confirmed nor denied by Paul Feig thanks to studio bullshit, but it’s pretty obvious throughout the film that Holtzmann is the queer action hero we all deserve.

Here are the 10 gayest things McKinnon does in Ghostbusters that had us melting in our seats.

1. Is incredibly sexy while appealing Not At All to the male gaze

Can we get Kate to come to camp and teach a workshop on How To Gay? Holtzmann is fully aware of her sex appeal, and she leverages it first and foremost for her own pure delight, and secondly to make Erin (Kristen Wiig) question her sexuality. This is an inspiring and moving portrait for me as a bisexual (hi, this is Audrey) who would strongly prefer that no man ever speak to me unless I give him permission to approach.

2. Stares with fascination every time Erin flirts with Kevin (Chris Hemsworth)


3. Wears clothes, specifically:

3a. A crop top + overalls + motorcycle jacket ALL AT ONCE
3b. This silk floral vest and tie combo

3c. The jumpsuit. Y’all. Jumpsuits are gay.

4. Dances with power tools

Holtzmann loves her tools. She’ll even concisely explain the importance of carrying a Swiss Army Knife at all times to you, because she cares about your safety and also about tools. At one point, she quite literally starts dancing with her tools to DeBarge’s “Rhythm Of The Night,” and Erin, like any sensible human, can’t look away.

5. The Wink

This wink has been haunting us ever since the trailer dropped.

6. Uses safety goggles as a fashion accessory

McKinnon wears at least three (3) different pairs of goggles throughout Ghostbusters, which begs the question: Does Holtzmann have an entire closet just for goggles? The goggles are for safety, but they’re also occasionally for pushing her perfectly coiffed hair out of her eyes so that she can stare directly into your soul. (“I now identify as a Goggles Lesbian” – Kayla)

7. Possesses an impossible amount of swagger every time she’s on screen



Jillian Holtzmann’s swagger could level a city. The only thing more powerful than her many ghostbustin’ gadgets is the way she makes you feel whilst merely leaning against something. McKinnon makes it damn near impossible to focus on anyone else when she’s in the frame.

8. Gives a tearful toast to how much she loves the other Ghostbusters

It’s just very important that her friends know how much she loves them. And is it just us or does she extra love Patty (Leslie Jones)? Patty is the only one who refers to Jillian by the affectionate nickname “Holtzy.” Our P.K.E. meters are detecting gal pals. Ultimately, one of the best things about the movie is that romantic relationships aren’t the focus, but let’s be real: Holtzmann has sexual chemistry with every single ghostbuster, and they have probably all at least thought about kissing her on the mouth.

9. Gleefully watches hot women play with her gadgets, cackles when they explode

I’m not writing terribly euphemistic fan fiction, YOU’RE writing terribly euphemistic fan fiction.

10. This


Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 840 articles for us.


  1. First of all, Kate McKinnon is so damn foxy. Second of all, thank you for writing this. Last night at work my patient was watching the GOP convention and I was forced to sit through THE ENTIRE THING. And I’ve basically been in a bad mood ever since. So thank you for making the internet a nicer place.

    • Its all in the moment. She just whipped out her sidearms and was just before she started blasting. She does love her inventions.

      And she was by far my favorite chatracter from the film.

    • She loves caux.. haha or female equivalent, or is just fetishing her equipment.

      Well, she definitely gave me the impression of being gay or bi, but appealed to this male gaze. Without the need to show off midriff.
      Spunky attitude, pretty eyes, quirky.
      By the way I haven’t actually checked what this website is about yet.

  2. Please let this mean the how-to guide for stealing Holtzmann’s style is on the way ASAP.


  4. I’m pretty sure I missed at least 1/3 of the movie because I was distracted by Holtzmann. Because of that reason, and that reason only, I have to watch it a hundred times. So that I actually don’t miss anything.

    Jokes aside, I loved how weird and awkward she was. As a awkward/weird person, it’s nice to see her being the coolest of them all.

  5. “This is an inspiring and moving portrait for me as a bisexual (hi, this is Audrey) who would strongly prefer that no man ever speak to me unless I give him permission to approach.” Yes hi, are you me? I want to paste this sentence on my front door.

    But seriously, quality article.

  6. THE OVERALLS WERE THE MOMENT. The overalls with the crop top were the moment. The overalls with the crop top were the moment I realized this movie was not about the male gaze. The overalls with the crop top – NOT worn how Megan Fox might wear a crop top in TNMT – not worn how Jessica Alba might wear it on the cover of Health (lol) – THE OVERALLS AND CROP TOP WORN LIKE A HUMAN WOMAN WOULD WEAR THEM WERE THE MOMENT I KNEW THIS MOVIE WAS MADE FOR ME.

    • Yes yes, yes, absolutely this. One of the things that gave me great joy watching this movie was realizing that this movie was not only subverting the male gaze but also assuming that men would be capable of identifying with one of these women the way we are always expected to do without question in all the movies out there with all-male leads. I seriously am beginning to consider that one reason Chris Hemsworth’s character was played the way he was, was to keep male viewers from running to him as an identification character and require them to keep focused on the female leads for that.

      And just so you know it’s possible, the five guys behind me in the theater on my second viewing who came to see the movie together were totally into it, laughing hysterically in all the right places. I believe they managed to get through this film with their masculinity and childhoods intact.

  7. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 THIS POST!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Hahaha there's already a decent amount of Holtzmann/Erin fic! And some Holtzmann/Patty and Abby. *goes off to devour*

  8. When people say there’s Holtzmann/Erin fic, I just imagine they mean Holtzmann and me. ;)


    but also yes v v v foxy like gd. like, my laptop is kinda possessed; guess i gotta call ghostbusters, oh sigh what a debacle

  10. Thank for this article. I spent the entirety of the movie, every time Holtzmann was on screen, silently chanting, “One of us, one of us,” in my head while bowing down to the screen. (Also in my head, obvs. Otherwise that would’ve been weird…)

  11. I somehow got gayer while watching this movie, which I did not even know was possible.

    • I had this whispered conversation with my friend while in the theater:

      Me, hushed: “I’m so gay…”
      Friend: “You were already gay.”
      Me: “Not THIS gay.”

  12. I noted the crop-top, overall, motorcycle jacket combo and how amazing and Queer it was. ♡ I’m glad we all agree that Holtzmann and Ghostbusters are the best ever.

  13. This is the most important thing I’ve read today.

    Also, help – I’ve fallen into a vortex of love for Kate McKinnon and I can’t get out!

  14. Holtzmann will show up on every single “top 10 best queer characters” list from now on

  15. Oh,and thank you for the high quality article
    This was great. Gotta watch that movie again

  16. This article made me so happy all over again, just looking at her FACE is filling me with this medium sized explosion of gay happiness. I have already written two fics since I saw the film Sunday night (and they’ve done pretty well).
    Also I want to share that I had to cry after the film because I was SO HAPPY IT WAS SO GREAT I LOVE HER SO MUCH also I hadn’t eaten much that day.
    I’m gonna go see it again tonight. And then write more fic.

  17. Can I just hide out in this thread until straight media stops talking about “everyone” having a “girl crush” on Kate McKinnon? I think that’s my least favourite phrase ever.

    Also- number 10. Yes.

  18. I run in some pretty straight circles. When I got out of this movie, I just needed someone to understand.

    Thank you, thank you so much.

    • Oh my goodness, YES!!! My fiancée and I cracked up when we saw that (as well as when Abby and Holtzy were staring at each other really closely after Rowan possessed Abby). The rest of the theater was silent for that moment, so I agree that we were also likely the only queerios there.

  19. What about when she points with her index finger then slides her middle finger next to it?!?! GAH! I heart Holtzy!

    • Yes! My girlfriend and I were the only ones in the theater laughing at that so I’m assuming everyone else there was straight.

  20. I do not have anything intelligent to say at this time. I just want to express my love for the movie, the actress, and her character.

  21. I went to see this again last night (because duh) and gained a whole new appreciation for the entire action sequence (after she licks the gun). I feel like that glorified action sequence excited and empowered me in a way that Buffy, for instance, only ever aspired to. MAKE ACTION MOVIES FOR WOMEN. WOMEN LIKE ACTION MOVIES.

  22. When I noticed the crop top showing off a portion of her torso and I was like “SKIN!!!” I suddenly became a 15 year old boy.

  23. But one of my favorite things about her was that she was SO weird/awkward. I identified with that aspect almost as much as the queerness. And it makes me really happy that the character is being so celebrated in spite of or because of it.

  24. This. This allllllll day long…. I need to watch this movie another couple hundred times, please …

  25. Yesssssssssssss. This is all the best. I laughed or swooned every time for the entire time Holtzy was on the screen. I had to send myself to my bedroom when I got home to think about what she had done.

  26. I can’t fall for a woman who made her career, and is popular among lesbian circles for, making fun of trans women.

  27. Skinny white blonde cis woman has white lesbians falling at her feet, in other news sky blue, water wet, Tara bored.

  28. As a straight white cis man I probably have very little to contribute to any discussion here on an experiential (or any other) level. I will merely say this:

    This article was the first inkling I had that either McKinnon or her character were gay. I was already madly in love with both. Now having read this all I want to do is go back and watch the movie again. Thank you for writing perhaps the most perfect article on this film I have ever seen. Just thanks.

  29. You guys this article is amazing and its title doubly so but I cannot fathom that the two finger point ain’t on this list

    She points… And then PAUSES N TAKES A SECOND TO POINT LIKE A LESBIAN just to make it clear to wiig what her deal is

    It was…. Pointedly gay

    • I already loved this comment but the pun at the end really sealed the deal. You really made a… good point

  30. I would say that the gayest thing about Holtzmann is her massive crush on Erin.
    Also, the “One of the Boys” T-shirt feels like a hint.

    Maybe that’s just me.

  31. If I thought I was dead and done with that wink, I proved myself wrong when she up and *licked* that damn gun. Some weird, unidentifiable noise escaped my mouth when I saw that scene and I swear it took every last ounce of willpower I had not to melt into a puddle of goo on the floor. This is why I’ve seen the movie thrice at theaters – A) because the first time I missed like half the movie because Kate McKinnon as Holtzmann was just too damn distracting; B) I was determined the second time to watch the movie properly and give my undying attention to all characters (I failed..I failed so hard); and C) the third time I just wanted to relive all the moments mentioned in this article. I mean c’mon! The crop top under overalls under a leather jacket?!?! *fans self*

  32. I find myself bewildered at the studio for bothering to… deny? Obfuscate? …the obvious fact that Holtzy is a Lesbian. You just know that in a couple of years, those same executives will be full-on bragging about it and patting themselves on the back for their progressiveness. Srsly, just wait for it.

    Also: Kayla! For many years, I had a tiny, adorable-but-feisty cat (with reptilian-demon eyes) named Gozer the Gozarian until he passed away from a heart attack (needless to say, he was the epitome of a Type A personality.) He truly represented the return of the Destructor, and I have the scars to prove it. Naming kitties after pop culture characters is the best, all my best to you & Piper.

  33. “This is an inspiring and moving portrait for me as a bisexual (hi, this is Audrey) who would strongly prefer that no man ever speak to me unless I give him permission to approach.”

    You’re a revolting human being.

    • :) Yes it isn’t a very nice comment is it.
      So you don’t any men to come and speak to you, inc gay men, trans men, and straight men?
      What does that say…

  34. Yeah, McKinnon is the first woman I have had a sexual fantasy about. Since I saw this movie (four times) I have been noticing women differently. How did I get to my 30’s without realizing that women can be soo hot?!

  35. Bruhhhh like really ur gonna call my fav character gay just cuz of how she acts on a movie…. dats messed up?????

  36. YAAAAASSSSSS … I thought it was just me!!! Now I see that it makes total sense that I cannot, cannot, cannot stop thinking about her! ♡♡♡

  37. The reason I play this movie over and over is because of Holtzmann. She is what I have been looking for all my life.
    Her attitude, the way she talks, the way she holds herself, her love of engineering… Every facet of her is just incredible.
    I hope it’s not wrong that I feel this way because I’m a guy.

  38. I’ve watched the movie 12 times (twice just today) and demanded a copy of it for my birthday this 19th. The movie is great, but my crush on Kate Mckinnon/Holtzmann is greater…

  39. When she acts like that, it’s cool and sexy. When I do it, I’m weird or an asshole. The joys of being an awkward lesbian.

Comments are closed.