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Why Do Gay Men Love Witches?

Why Do Gay Men Love Witches?

Why Do Gay Men Love Witches?

The love queer men have for powerful, magical women runs deep—and there's more to it than just a bunch of hocus pocus. 


Growing up, we see (through the kaleidoscopic lens of movies, music, books, and TV) that the nature of witchcraft is often likened to the strange and demonic. The women who practice the craft are also often portrayed as both the fierce vixens of our nightmares and the flamboyant divas of our dreams—so it only makes sense that a lot of queer fans have an a thing for witches.

Be it American Horror Story's Fiona Goode or the wacky Sanderson Sisters of Hocus Pocus, we’ve all met those gays who devotedly stan their fave magical queens. But why exactly do so many gay men identify with witches?

"On a personal level, I think witches tend to be engaging because there's something grandiose about their presentation," gay horror actor and screenwriter Michael Varrati told PRIDE about the gay appeal witches have on fans. "It's empowered otherness and heightened presentation." 

He continued:

"When I think of characters like Anjelica Huston in The Witches, or Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus, there's a theatricality and camp appeal, but also so much more. There's edge. It goes beyond mere diva worship. There's an underlying sense of rebellion there. Witches, by proxy of their being, reject the norm...and in fact, draw power from that rejection. It's what makes them powerful. I think that's kind of sexy.

Much like the strong LGBTQ+ attraction to the horror genre, I think gay men are drawn to the concept of witches and witch iconography because they are representative of "otherness." It's often been remarked upon that horror is the genre of the outsider, and that's something with which queer people can inherently relate. I think with witches particularly, there's an extra draw, because it's literally their otherness that gives a witch power. In a way, it's sort of symbolic of the notion of "Pride," taking that which sets us apart from the mainstream and allowing it to give us strength. Witches also historically are individuals who have been ostracized for being who they are. I think there's a kinship and an understanding there. Furthermore, they usually are just fierce, amazing, and engaging characters. Who doesn't love that?"

"As a gay man, I think I'm attracted to witches because they were persecuted for being who they were/are," said pop culture aficionado and witch enthusiast Daniel Plotner. "As we all know, that shame and fear of being born into "a role" or a "sexuality" that isn't your choice feels like a weakness or a curse. But, once you accept who you are and embrace it, it can become your superpower."

While there’s something profound to be said about both these observations in regards to the queer identity, what does an actual witch have to say about gay men's love for magical women?

"Though there are so many levels of identification. People often think of witches as ghastly bitches who cast spells on men to seek vengeance. This is completely untrue. Witches are often protectors, using a combination of light and dark work to conjure their spells," says Matthew Kaufmann, a devoted practitioner of Wicca. "Witches historically were a marginalized group that were wrongfully accused of crimes they were innocent of. This rings true to marginalized groups of today."

Kaufmann continued:

"The fear of our unique and special gifts by menial and generic (often times) MEN is what has made our spells work stronger and our need for community wider. They truly represent a divine feminine energy, one that battles the male patriarchy established in our modern times. I think gay men are attracted to these powerful women because they are the direct counterpart to the powerful men who have ruined our lives. To see a female fully in charge of her truth, power, and mission gives us strength to stand up for ourselves. It gives us permission to revel in our femininity, and to use it in it's greatest power."

The most iconic depictions of witchcraft may seem trivial to those who practice in the world (gay or not), but regardless, the general consensus of the bond between queer men and witches falls into a category similar to that of why we stan drag queens.

"Even if they are warted, green, hairy-moled, humped, whatever, they always have an air of confidence, and are rocking all black, which everyone in fashion knows is THE FASHION," said Kaufman. "Witches represent the freedom from binding chains and how to take power back. That is something that every gay man wants and craves after years of abuse, killing, harassment, and restraint."

No matter what you think, if there's one thing to take away from all this, it's that magic, or sexuality, isn't just a bunch of hocus pocus.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Brendan Haley