Why Are Queer People Begging Their Celebrity Crushes to Kill Them?

"Beyoncé could honestly murder me, and I would thank her for it."

I was recently bagging popcorn at the indie cinema where I work part time and talking to my very heterosexual co-worker about the upcoming Emma Thompson movie. “Honestly,” I confessed between scoops, “I just want Emma Thompson to stomp on my head.”

She stared at me, barely masking the horror on her face. While a comment like that is normal on queer Twitter, out in the cold, straight world, such violent desires make people uncomfortable. Or so I learned.

You know the tweets I’m talking about. To anyone who partakes in conversations on queer Twitter, they’re totally commonplace: “Run me over with your car, Rachel Weisz!” “Punch me in the face, Jeff Goldblum!” “Murder me, Beyoncé!”

But why have queer people accepted this strange trend as simply par for the course? Why are some of us obsessed with the idea of being knocked off or otherwise violently harmed by hot celebrities? And where exactly did the slightly unsettling phenomenon originate?

To find my answer, I’ve spent the past few weeks conducting a comprehensive internet investigation. The results will probably not surprise most queer folks: This story actually begins with Beyoncé.

My research began with a Twitter deep dive. Since Beyoncé is the unofficial Queen of the Gays, I theorized that if I searched the words “Murder me, Beyoncé,” I would discover when the trend was first conceived. Specifically, I conducted an advanced Twitter search with the year 2013 and the keywords “Murder me, Beyoncé.”

Nothing.

I tried again, this time for tweets in 2014. I entered the keywords “Murder me, Beyoncé,” and lo and behold, a small handful of relevant tweets surfaced, like this one and this one.

On August 24, 2014, however, something intriguing occurred. The number of people tweeting about their most violent Beyoncé desires dramatically increased:

My long lesbian fingers positioned above my computer keyboard, I entered a quick search into Google: “Beyoncé AND August 24, 2014.” The search yielded a staggering revelation: Beyoncé’s iconic MTV VMAs performance.

In the end, it wasn’t a single tweet that started it all. Instead, the MTV performance seems to have created a snowball effect, with fans upon fans longing to be physically harmed by Queen Bey herself.

But the question remains: Why exactly do queer people want to be physically annihilated by the people they lust over and idolize? Upon further digging, I discovered three primary motivations:

1. It’s an indication of just how hot a celebrity is.

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Hannah, a 19-year-old lesbian, spoke to NewNowNext about why she recently tweeted, “I want Cate Blanchett [pictured above, in her iconic Carol role] to destroy my insides.”

“I think it’s because I find her so hot that I don’t know another way to express my love for her than to tweet out I want violent things done to my body,” she says. “It just helps get the point across even more—how hot she really is.”

This tracks. The more grisly the fantasy, the hotter the celebrity—and Cate Blanchett is really, really hot. A positive correlation indeed.

2. Even negative attention is good attention.

Another lesbian, an 18-year-old who preferred to remain anonymous, told NewNowNext that she agrees with the first point but also noted the overwhelming desperation of it all.

“For me, it’s just an expression of how hot someone is or how attracted I am to them,” she says. “’This person is so hot I would allow them to physically harm me because at least they would be touching me.'”

Sara, a 23-year-old queer woman, concurs that any attention is good attention. Sara holds “a belief deep down that even negative attention from the one you love is preferable to no attention at all,” adding, “Allison Janney would probably never give me attention in the way I truly want, but maybe she would be willing to hit me with a Chevy Colorado—the most environmentally friendly pickup truck on the market today.”

Her passion is evidenced by a recent tweet about Janney.

Maria, a 19-year-old bisexual woman, is also obsessed with the idea of the hot and famous maiming her. “It’s totally an attention whore thing for me!” she says, punctuating her thought with an emphatic, “Please pay attention to me!!!!”

Queer people aren’t that delusional. We know we never stand a chance of being in a relationship with Sandra Bullock or Laura Dern. So we settle by imagining them treating us like the scum of the earth. After all, if Tessa Thompson won’t date us, the least she could do is stab us once or twice.

3. Yes, it’s also a BDSM thing.

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Wanting someone you think is hot to physically harm you is by very definition kinky! And it’s no secret how often the queer and kink communities overlap. In fact, BDSM culture as we know it today finds its origins in early-20th-century queer culture. So is this Twitter trend really just about doms and subs and such? For many queer young people, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

“It’s a BDSM thing, for sure,” says Amy, a 23-year-old bi woman. “I like the adrenaline rush of being scared for my life or whatever.”

Personally, I am in the BDSM camp. The fantasy of Rihanna smacking me upside the head so hard I fall to the ground, only for her to then kick my crumpled body with her thigh-high boots, is breathtaking enough to have my loins quaking. (Her song “Kiss It Better” would be playing softly in the background, of course.)

Grace, a 17-year-old bisexual woman, has a more serious perspective. “Truthfully, I think it comes from growing up in an area (and in a family) where the idea of queer identity was overly sexualized,” Grace says. “From an early age, I was told that queer people were really evil, and I associated the evilness with violence. When I started coming into my own sexuality, I sort of assumed initially that the BDSM-style life was what you had to participate in if you were gay. I convinced myself that I really loved it, got into online Twitter fandom that (whether it be joking or not) encourages it, and honed/developed those urges over time.”

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St. Vincent (Annie Clark) and Dua Lipa at the 2019 Grammy Awards.

Be it in jest or in seriousness, tweeting about the longing to be dominated is a way for many queer people to own or understand their sexual desires.

The trend is so hot that even the straights are co-opting it. Noah, a cisgender, heterosexual man, proudly proclaims his affinity for it. Why? “Because,” he says, “Anna Kendrick is my wife, and I am an attention whore.”

While queers and straights alike are furiously drafting savage tweets about Cher, Gillian Anderson, and Sarah Paulson, it’s important to note one more thing: #NotAllGays. As Katie, a 27-year-old lesbian, notes, we don’t all want to be slapped in the face and cut into tiny pieces by our crushes.

“I guess I’m not like the other queers,” she says. “I just want to sit across from Annie Clark and enjoy a nice hot tea.”

Hannah is a freelance writer with bylines in Refinery29, Teen Vogue, HuffPost, Allure, and elsewhere. She writes about politics, religion, sexuality, and pop culture.
@hannahbrashers