Pop Culture Fix: Kate McKinnon is a “Pansexual Beast” But Her Ghostbusters Character Can’t Be and Other Stories

Yo! This is your pop culture fix! This is where we talk about real things happening to real people right in your own backyard!

The director of the new lady Ghostbusters would’ve really liked to make Kate McKinnon’s character gay, but couldn’t, because of the studio. From The Daily Beast:

But while McKinnon is SNL’s first openly lesbian cast member, Ghostbusters offers only hints on Holtzmann, who spends her free time shamelessly flirting with Erin. I ask Feig: Is Holtzmann gay?

He pauses, smiling. “What do you think?”

I’d like to think yes, I say. He offers a grinning, silent nod. “I hate to be coy about it,” he offers. “But when you’re dealing with the studios and that kind of thing…” He shrugs apologetically.

“You know, Kate is who she is and I love the relationship between Kate and Melissa’s characters,” he says. “I think it’s a very interesting, close relationship. If you know Kate at all she’s this kind of pansexual beast where it’s just like everybody who’s around her falls in love with her and she’s so loving to everybody she’s around. I wanted to let that come out in this character.”

Regardless, Kate McKinnon is the best.

+ Look I’m gonna do the next 52 minutes of your life a favor: here’s a roundtable with Ilana Glazer, Lily Tomlin, Rachel Bloom, Allison Janney, Niecy Nash and Gina Rodriguez for The Hollywood Reporter. It’s totally unedited, which is cool, it’s like going to a panel. They end up talking a lot about confidence and insecurity and it’s like, inspirational.

+ George Takei was not delighted to learn his Star Trek character, Hikaru Sulu, would be queer in the forthcoming “Star Trek Beyond,” calling it “unfortunate” because it twisted Gene Roddenberry’s initial creation. However, Simon Pegg, the film’s writer, responded that the unfortunate part is that “the screen version of the most inclusive, tolerant universe in science fiction hasn’t featured an LGBT character until now.” But maybe LGBT diversity has been there all along, it’s only just now going mainstream.

+ Dolly Parton feels “more like a family member or an aunt or an older sister or a friend” to her LGBT Community than an icon. DO WITH THAT WHAT YOU WILL. Oh also she’s releasing a song called “I’m a Wee Bit Gay,” so look out for that.

+ Television shows that got bisexuality SO wrong include Sex and the City. Discuss.

+ “The Block” has cast its first ever lesbian couple – Julia and Sasha.

+ GLAAD has partnered with Project Greenlight on a new LGBTQ filmmaking contest, “See Yourself.”

+ As aforementioned, Whitney Houston and Robyn Crawford were a thing.

+ Relive the hits of the badass women celebrated at VH1’s hip-hop honors? Don’t mind if I do!

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+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3211 articles for us.


  1. the only real solution to the star trek “problem” is to make EVERY bridge crew member queer. gay sulu, pansexual party animal kirk, genderqueer and “still writing the scientific article explaining my sexuality” spock, hard femme bisexual uhura, ace bones, out trans activist chekov. whatever! go wild! all of them are queer! some weird science prevents straight ppl from going to space!

    • hard femme bisexual uhura is the greatest thing I’ve ever read and is now in my mind as cannon forever


      oh wait, wrong fandom. but still, I am so into the idea of the queer Star Trek bridge.

    • I may be stealing “some weird science prevents straight people from going to space” and pitching that YA novel if “everyone in Star Trek is some flavor of queer” doesn’t pan out.

  2. hereby circulating a petition to re-dub her KATE MACKINNON PANSEXUAL BEAST like Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual.

  3. That ‘bisexual’ episode of Sex and the City left a sour taste in my mouth even back then, years before coming out as queer. It was just so bad. I didn’t know how Sarah Jessica Parker could even record the voice overs for it, they were so OTT offensive.

  4. Re: the article about “Sex and the City” and bisexuality, in retrospect, I always wondered how Cynthia Nixon felt uttering those lines or overall about bi-erasure and biphobia on the show considering she’s bi herself and identified/s as a lesbian specifically because of biphobia and bi-erasure.
    The whole Samantha + Elena Derevko (jk, her name was Maria) was a complete debacle.

  5. I didn’t know anything about Dolly Parton before reading this (not even who she was), but I read the interview, and since she seemed funny and simple, i’ve spent two hours reading everything about her and listening to her music. It brightened my day !

    • You’ve gotta see some of her films then! Check out “9 to 5” immediately! It’s on Netflix I think. :D

      • Netflix in my country don’t have lot of choice so I don’t have it, but since it’s from 1980 and it seems well known, I think I can find it at the library :) Thanks for the suggestion !

  6. Sulu being gay is sorta “meh” to me. Especially in the new films that have nothing to do with social justice. I’d rather see multiple LGBT main cast members in the new series and have their characters explored fully on TV. Give us our own characters with their own stories. I’d love to see queer relationships between two of the main cast where it’s totally normal.

    Now, Sulu’s life is really ambiguous. It certainly could’ve been that he was always gay or bi. It just… doesn’t do anything for me and I’m one of the biggest Trek nerds on this planet.

    Takei’s reaction is typical though. He can be very queerphobic and transphobic. He loves being this “icon” right up until it conflicts with his bigotry. It’s deeply disappointing behavior and very typical for him.

    • hi! I don’t want to be /that/ person, but I was curious about your George Takei comments, since I’ve never seen anyone criticize him before for homo/transphobia, and I certainly don’t want to support him if he doesn’t support me. however googling “george takei homophobic” just seems to yield “articles” about him trolling homophobes. do you have any specific incidents or articles in mind that you could point me to? thanks so much!

      • Sure. Watch his documentary. His own husband calls him out on his inappropriate hypocrisy. That’s what really soured me on George (and made me love Brad all the more). George does a lot of good, but unfortunately he’s still a hypocritical relic than can do more harm. I can’t begin to express how disappointed I was he said the things he did.

      • And again, Madeleine, I’m not criticizing how much good he’s done. He does and says a LOT. He never really gets called out when he’s wrong though. That’s the problem. I’m probably more bitter about it because I looked up to him SO much and was a huge, huge fan.

    • ” Especially in the new films that have nothing to do with social justice”

      …..LGBT people’s existence doesn’t have to have anything to do with social justice, like having gay characters be as inconsequential as straight characters across all genres is desirable

      • Point being… ? I’d rather see quality character development and story with real relationships progressing than an incidentally gay character in an action flick.

  7. i have pretty mixed feelings re: sulu being gay. on one hand, im ecstatic for more queer asian representation, something which is incredibly rare. however, it feels off-putting to me to have this straight white guy tell this gay asian man why he should be glad for this representation when he’s disappointed with the decision. but oh well, i guess what’s done is done.

    • Considering Takei doesn’t even believe gay people should have children, I don’t think his opinion is relevant or worthy of being printed when it comes to LGBT issues. He’s a self-hating fraud. :P

  8. True story: My cousin wrote a movie and Kate McKinnon is going to be in it. The other day, they went out for drinks to talk about the script and my cousin brought me up to Kate McKinnon and said I should be her assistant!!! So Kate McKinnon knows of my existence. And she also does not need an assistant…but that’s cool. I’ll let you all know when the wedding is.


      Someday, somehow, Kate Mackinnon might need an assistant, and you will be ready.

  9. Kate was on Late Night with Seth Meyers last night and told two stories about being a dork, one from childhood and one recent.

    She also said her ambition for the summer was to refinish some furniture, and proceeded to describe her trip to buy two orbital sanders, how things went from that point on, culminating in the bathing of her cat who had become covered in sawdust. It was the most gloriously dykey thing I’ve ever seen on TV.

  10. That thing about Whitney Houston is interesting. I guess her relationship with her “assistant” is pretty much confirmed now. Whitney Houston was some of the first current pop I really listened to as a kid – I was trying to sing her songs at 3 and 4 years old. Mom enjoyed her too. I mean, even if you’re not a fan of pop, you’ve just gotta respect her vocal ability. She makes Mariah Carey and, frankly, most of the people that came afterward look like rank amateurs. Beyonce, Christina…they can’t compare with Whitney. When she died, I felt bad in some inexplicable way. Not like hardcore sad, just somewhat wistful. It was a loss. She had been, perhaps, my first musical influence.

    Mom and I were talking about her recently, and Mom was thinking that perhaps Whitney not being able to live with her love, being discouraged from that relationship, made her so miserable that she was more susceptible to the negative influence of Bobby Brown, including rushing into the marriage. I think there may be some truth to that. It’s probably a stretch to say that homophobia killed Whitney, but…if she had spent her life with Robyn, would she still have died in 2012? Perhaps not.

    My favorite Whitney song is “So Emotional”. Incidentally, I listened to that song one time and for some reason, “gee, this sounds like she’s singing to a woman, perhaps, and not a man” popped into my head, and I can’t hear it any other way now. “Oh I remember the way we touch I wish I didn’t like it so much…”

    • I agree with everything except the Mariah Carey comment. She does not sound like an amateur, not then and probably not now. Her label forced her into using her baby voice but that’s about it. She is phenomenal.

  11. The rumors about Whitney and Robyn have been around for years. Bobby recently confirming it definitely adds more weight to it though I’m sure there are people who will outright dismiss what he has to say because they believe he is just an opportunist writing a book. That said, if this is true Whitney would not have been allowed to be out during her heyday. One of the biggest popstars in the world(and still arguable the greatest vocalist of all time) being gay would not have gone over well back then but also because of her relationship with her mother which I’m sure played a factor in them keeping it a secret. Cissy Houston is extremely religious and homophobic. Oprah outright asked her about the rumors years ago and if she would be okay with one of her children being gay and she said she would not. Oprah didn’t press the issue any further after that but you could tell she was a little taken aback by Cissy’s response.

    However, I don’t think there is any correlation between the drug use and having to suppress her sexuality. Everybody knows that celebrities practically get drugs thrown at them everywhere they go and any celeb who says they haven’t seen that is lying. It would have been particularly prevalent in the 80s music scene where cocaine was THE drug of choice. She is not the first legendary musician to loose her life to drugs and she unfortunately won’t be the last.

  12. I think I sprained my eyeballs with how hard I rolled them having to read another dude in charge doing the wink-wink nudge-nudge “what do YOU think this character’s sexuality is” and all this “well we have to be coy blah blah blah” like, I’m sure that’s true but I am SO. SICK. OF. IT.

    I don’t want to find out a character is gay/bi in the press interviews. I don’t want to. I’M TIRED OF IT.

  13. With Star Trek, I think I would have preferred them to have a main character who wasn’t Sulu be the queer one. It just feels a bit like ‘well, George Takei played Sulu, and he’s gay, so we’ll make Sulu gay too’. On the one hand I’m happy there’s a queer character but it just feels off somehow. Pretty much every other Star Trek character would be awesome queer – Spock, Bones and Uhura spring to mind – it’s not like the writers didn’t have options.

  14. wow is that what he thinks pansexual means or was he trying to throw the word in to show how he’s ~down with the queers~

  15. All I know is, I go to about one movie a year in the theater… and Ghostbusters is going to be IT. I want to help it have one hell of an opening weekend so the studios get the idea that we want to see more female-led movies like it!

  16. Helloooo I just wanna come here and say Star Trek Deep Space Nine ALREADY HAD a queer character: Jadzia Dax. She had relationships with men and women! There’s a whole episode dedicated to her character falling supes hard for a lady! They make out! And no one dies! Although they can’t be together b/c reasons blah blah blah BUT HEY THEY STILL MAKE OUT AND ITS SUPES HOT AND I DIED.

    I’m just super tired of seeing all these things about SULU BEING THE FIRST LGBT TREK CHARACTER when he was not!!!

    • Yeah, that’s true. I really love Dax. I love not just queer in terms of not being neatly hetero, she’s also someone who has inhabited different gender roles and is a-ok with that.

      That being said, I figure people just overlook her because DS9 isn’t as well known in pop culture terms as TOS and TNG. Most people know Kirk and Picard, but less so Sisko and Janeway (can’t just be incidental that Sisko is black and Janeway is a woman…).

      • that should read ‘I love that she’s not just queer in terms of not being hetero’, oops.

      • Well she’s coded as bi, since the writers never have her label herself, and you know, bi women don’t really exist. And yeah no one knows about DS9 which sucks because it’s pretty awesome.

  17. I mean besides being completely over the whole “oh I would LOVE to make this character a Canon Queer but you know… studios… shame” and expecting us to take that as anything other than a cop out, the whole quote came off as so cringe worthy and try-hard.

    Like, yeah, sure, let’s all take up calling this self-described lesbian a “pansexual beast” because some straight guy thought it was a cool, hip synonym for ‘friendly’

    • Yeah, as a bi woman, I am completely over these cop-out wink-nudge responses. I’ll save my film dollars for something with actual queer content.

Comments are closed.