American Horror Story has done a great job of including LGBTQ characters into its storylines. And not just your likable white, handsome gays or the cliché sultry lesbians we can find on nearly every other show. It has pushed the boundaries of queer characterization on our small screens and no other “mainstream” show has come close to the kind of range those characters embody. So join me in remembering the greatest of the gays, lesbians, and queer icons of AHS!
Edward Philippe Mott – Mott was a queer nobleman whose sexual preferences held little weight in comparison to his other eccentricities and sometimes cruel temperament. Taking a slave as a lover did not mean he considered him an equal though, and his treatment of his other servants was downright ghoulish. Sadly, this behavior, as we see in Freakshow, is at least somewhat genetic so I think it’s safe to say, “Fuck the whole Mott family line.”
Tristan Duffy – A whiny, self-entitled male model, I think it would be hard to relate to Tristan on any level. But there was something to be said for his sexual reawakening after encountering Liz Taylor during his time at the Hotel Cortez. Maybe a little far-fetched, as believable relationships go, but hey, stranger things have happened.
Stanley – Stanley was very comfortable with who he was, but this was also the reason we hated him. Because while he seemed to embrace his sexual appetite and was apparently fine being a gay man, he was also seemingly okay with being a murderous con man.
Dell Toledo – One of two gay male villains in the Freakshow season, but at least Dell was a little sympathetic. Since the season was set in the 50’s, it was a truthful portrayal on how gay men living in the era were forced to remain secretive, and on how that secrecy could easily envelope someone in darkness. Dell was mean, abusive, careless, threatening, and a murderer. But he was also protective, passionate, and conflicted. I also enjoyed how he wasn’t painted simply as a closeted gay man who married cis women and toyed with men on the side. His character was also able to have some added depth when it came to his relationships, considering his first wife was a “bearded woman” and his second was a three breasted hermaphrodite (though that turned out to be false).
The Countess – The Countess was a tragic character. Her passion for men and women knew no bounds and often burned so uncontrollably that the relationships ended in flames. Only after she lost her lovers did she truly miss and respect them. This trait was most notable with Liz Taylor and Romona Royale.
Andy – It’s the sign of a great actor when they can play a small, quick role and breathe so much life into it. Matt Bomer did this with Freakshow’s Andy. What could have been a very quick, throwaway character became so much more; a young man with talent and dreams, knowing he was capable of greatness, but forced to do lesser things in order to survive. Andy was memorable enough that when he met his end with Dandy Mott, I was left missing him throughout the season.
Ramona Royale – I almost thought Ramona was going to be an uninspired lesbian seductress cliche, but of course Angela Bassett played her boldly, and the choice for Ramona to be bisexual gave her a little more depth. Above all though, I loved how Ramona conveyed how we could love some one so much and hate them at the same time. Exes really are the worst.
Will Drake – Will seemed to have it all. A fashion house. A loving son. Men. Women. A jawline for days. He was basically what all lgbtq people would like to be; fulfilled and equal. Sure, his money probably played a big part in his overall happiness, but being an accepted sexually fluid man who could balance sex, work, and family is nothing to scoff at in and of itself.
Chad Warwick – I feel like a lot of people hated Chad in AHS’s first season, Murder House. Personally, I loved and identified with him. He was a modern gay man, but not the overly sexualized, feminine sass-bucket trope TV seems to spit out so often. In fact, he almost rebelled against it. He wanted a low key life, with a caring husband and a nice home. He fought against the idea that a gay man in LA had to spend his every weekend night in WeHo and called out his lover for trying to straddle both sides of that division. Also, I love gay domestic goddesses.
Lana Winters – This was close. I love Lana Winters so much and consider her one of the strongest AHS characters of all time. Brave, resourceful, loving, and emotionally and mentally strong. In the darkness of the Asylum, and in the repressive decade in general, Lana fought to remain a burning source of hope, truth, and endurance. And she came out on top.
Liz Taylor – Hotel would have been nothing without Liz and everyone knows it. How? Because in a story full of queers, amnesiac serial killers, ghosts, and vampires, the theme of rebirth and living as you were meant to came from a human character with real world issues. From Liz’s first encounter with The Countess to the reunion with her son to her choice to die, the elegant bartender’s story was the most fascinating thing in Hotel. #EyelinerGoals