Some in the LGBTQ+ Community are Calling Pennywise Homophobic, Upset He is Not a Good Role Model?

promotional still courtesy New Line/Warner Brothers


Somehow gay voices have found a problem with an evil character driven to bloodlust??? 

The sequel to the 2017 surprise blockbuster film “It” was released this weekend. The box office numbers for “It: Chapter 2” were huge, as expected, but unexpectedly (for some) they found an issue with the central figure of the sequel. A few scenes in this film about a nightmarish circus act are said to be disturbing — not from a horror perspective, but for the social implications.


Over at Out Magazine there is an announcement for readers that the lead villain, the clown Pennywise (referred to as “It” by the residents) is in fact homophobic. The headline declares “Pennywise Is Surprisingly (yea, about that) Anti-Quer In “It Chapter Two”. There is a reason for this declaration in the gay publication. After the first chapter of this rebooted franchise come out in 2017 the character became something of a gay icon.

(possible spoilers in the next paragraph)

That has all changed however in the sequel. In this film the children are now grown-ups, and there are some scenes in which the murderous entity actually behaves in an unapproved fashion! As explained by writer Rose Dummu, “after seeing It Chapter Two, I’m sad to announce that Pennywise is not gay, or even an ally. In fact, Pennywise is surprisingly anti-queer.”

The primary reason for this summation is that in an early scene a homosexual couple is attacked by a group of youths, with one of them ultimately meeting his end at the hand of the clown. Later scenes have Pennywise taunting the character Richie (played by Bill Hader) who is gay, threatening him with his “secret”.


These are the kind of cultural fights many in the gay community undertake which make little sense. The clown in the film kills far more than the gay characters. By this reasoning why is Pennywise not looked at as heterophobic? This balance of victimhood should be regarded as a positive, given that the clown is indiscriminate.  Homosexuality is presented as not being a motivation, and is therefore shown as a norm.

But not in the eyes of Out, which declares that this portrayal is indicative of contemporary mores. Says Dommu of Pennywise in this sequel: “He’s a homophobe. Trump’s America strikes again!” Seriously, with this…

To explain (since it clearly needs correction) to call the clown in this film “surprisingly anti-queer” ignores a central fact of the story. The scenes are pulled from the original Stephen King novel, which was published in 1986. How is this a surprise?! If this is such a shocking development in the LGTBQ+ community why has there been no outrage over the source material? Taken further, Donald Trump in no way was a motivator nor inspiration of this plot point over three decades ago.


This is the ridiculous lengths one needs to go to find outrage. The elements of murder, of attacks on children, and terrorizing of innocents are not looked at as problematic…yet perceived homophobia is crossing a line! But hey, I understand that I am not supposed to get it. I am just a person here wondering how it is deemed disappointing that a homicidal clown that consumes the hearts of its victims can no longer be looked at as a role model. I hope the community can pull through this loss of an icon.



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