Whether it’s because of the way that horror pushes the boundaries of acceptability or whether it’s simply because movie monsters represent our own trauma come to life, LGBTQ people have long held a special affinity for things that go bump in the night.
It’s no wonder then that American Horror Story developed such a strong cult following among queer fans when it first premiered back in 2011. Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, everyone’s favorite anthology series has brought us some of the most diverse LGBTQ representation of the past decade and with the dystopian camp of Apocalypse, it shows no sign of slowing down either.
Now that the end of the world has been averted, it’s time to look back at the first eight seasons of AHS and determine which one was the queerest. Will the fierce witches from Coven reign supreme or will Murder House slay the competition? The answer might surprise you.
8. Murder House
Aside from some kinky BDSM and that Rubber Man Suit, Season 1 of American Horror Story didn’t delve too deeply into the queer experience, although it did give us that now infamous ‘crank’ session that Dylan McDermott revisited when he returned in Apocalypse. In terms of representation, local gay couple Chad and Patrick didn’t figure into the overall plot too much either, but Murder House does deserve some bonus points for introducing Jessica Lange to a whole new generation of queers who gagged every time she appeared onscreen.
The latest season of American Horror Story delivered some of the fiercest one-liners ever heard on the show, so why isn’t Apocalypse “fucking Supreme” on this list? Well, aside from Mr. Gallant’s sexual encounter with the Rubber Man, explicit moments of queerness were few and far between. Even scream queen Madison Montgomery didn’t appear as much here as she did in Season 3. Still, though, it’s safe to say that the sexual tension between Cordelia Goode and her coven burned even brighter than the fiery inferno that Michael Langdon and his glorious hair crawled out of.
For most of Season 6, the emphasis on gore and a more traditional family unit shifted Roanoke away from the queerer side of things, but that all changed when Evan Peters made his long-awaited debut as Edward Philippe Mott. Our wigs were quite literally snatched by Mott’s own impressive headpiece and then they flew full on into the sun when we discovered that he was also having sex with one of his male slaves too.
Although this all took place in just one episode, it’s also worth mentioning that viewers worldwide were quick to delete Lyft from their phones thanks to a brief appearance from Uber driver and all around thirst trap, Rhett Snow.
5. Freak Show
Honestly, Freak Show deserves a place in all of our hearts just for that GIF of Dandy flexing his muscles. It’s the GIF that keeps on giving. As if that wasn’t enough, the fourth season of American Horror Story also gave us Jessica Lange channeling David Bowie and trans model Erika Ervin in the role of Amazon Eve. Oh, and then there’s also Stanley, the murderous conman with a 13-inch penis that not even Thor could handle. “If he be worthy” indeed…
Not only is Cult one of the few seasons to star an out queer character in the form of Ally, but its strong anti-Trump stance is also something we can all get behind. Something else that many of us would like to get behind is that noisy sex session between Harrison and Jack next door. Between that and the infamous shower wank scene, Season 7 helped build a renewed following among gay fans that could even rival Kai’s own psychotic clown cult.
Surprise, bitch! Season 3 of American Horror Story is easily the most camp installment of the series so far, but the general lack of queer characters holds Coven back from topping our list, even though Leslie Jordan does (seven) wonders with the role of Quentin. Still though, an entrancing cameo from Stevie Nicks and the supernatural levels of sass that exude from Fiona Goode ensure that Season 3 remains a favorite among us wannabe wiccans.
A bisexual vampire orgy with Matt Bomer and Lady Gaga sunk its teeth into the kind of fluid representation that American Horror Story has become renowned for, but Hotel didn’t stop there. Ramona Royale, Tristan Duffy, and Will Drake were all portrayed as sexually fluid too and Denis O’Hare vamped it up with his best role on the show to date. In a cluttered and almost overwhelming season, it was his portrayal of a transgender bartender called Liz Taylor that grounded the show and provided viewers with a genuine, human connection. Also, her lewks were on point throughout.
Sure, there are other seasons that feature more LGBTQ characters, but nowhere else is the queer experience so integral to the story as it is in Asylum. Thanks to a star-making turn from Sarah Paulson, the journey that Lana Winters takes is one of hope and endurance, even when things looked their bleakest during her time in the asylum. By grounding the narrative in horrific and yet all too real aversion therapy techniques, the second season of American Horror Story actively explored LGBTQ struggles in a way that no other genre show has to date, proving itself to not only be the queerest season of all, but also the very best.
American Horror Story will return with Season 9 in the fall of 2019.