Reading the Grinch as Gay to Piss Off Dr. Seuss

Kalea Martin
Dec 9, 2020 · 3 min read

If you think I’m about to ruin your childhood by reading the Grinch as gay character, you’d be even more disappointed to discover the truth about Dr. Seuss.

Did you know that The Cat in the Hat was based on blackface performance, and that The Sneetches was originally written as an anti-Semitic narrative? Did you know that And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, originally published in 1937, was undergoing revisions by Random House until 2017, due to the breadth of its bigotry in both text and illustrations?

How then would Dr. Seuss react if we read the Grinch as gay? It’s safe to say he wouldn’t be too happy. But if we’re going to read Dr. Seuss books anyway, we might as well reclaim their narratives. In this fourth installment of the “Sorry, Dr. Seuss” series, we’ll be re-reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a timeless tale about the meaning of Christmas, as well as a gay coming of age story.

“Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”

Not only is the Grinch discriminated against simply for looking different, acting different, and not liking Christmas like a “normal” Who, society full-on outcasts him to the point where he literally lives in a cave in the mountains, and has no other companions besides his dog Max.

“It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.”

According to the Whos, liking Christmas is supposed to be second-nature to everyone, so the only reasonable explanation for the fact that the Grinch doesn’t like Christmas is that “his head wasn’t screwed on just right.” Homophobic people love to blame mental illnesses for homosexuality, just as the Whos do with the Grinch. Not being attracted to the same holiday as everyone else in Whoville doesn’t mean you have a mental issue.

“I think that the most likely reason of all may have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

Love is love, so even if a person doesn’t love someone of the same gender, or even if the Grinch doesn’t love Christmas, that does not mean that their heart is two sizes too small.

“But whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes, he stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos.”

Despite the fact that the Whos are complete bullies to the Grinch, they are oblivious as to why the Grinch hates them. If you’re a homophobe going on and on about how Jesus hates gays and how they’re all going to hell, don’t be surprised if they don’t like you or your religion. It’s the same case for the Whos and the Grinch. The Whos judge the Grinch for his heart (it’s “two sizes too small”) and his shoes (they’re “too tight,” or maybe even high heels?!), yet they have no idea why the Grinch doesn’t like them and their holiday. “Now, please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the reason,” the narrator comments naively.

“Why, for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now! I MUST stop this Christmas from coming! But HOW?

After fifty-three years of the Whos shoving their holiday down his throat, the bitter Grinch finally decides to take action. In an attempt to put the Whos in their place for their discrimination against him, he hijacks Christmas, and chaos automatically ensues. It’s the same chaos that ensues when you spend years discriminating the gay community, and they respond by rioting and protesting for their rights, just as the Grinch protested against the Whos.

“He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!”

In an unfortunate turn of events, the Grinch fails in his efforts to put a stop to the holiday that’s being forced on him, and he ends up assimilating to the norm of celebrating Christmas. But the Grinch deserved a happier ending than deciding to cave in to his oppressors, and it should’ve gone a lot more like this:

When the Whos woke up without Christmas that morning,

they realized that it wasn’t so boring.

“If the Grinch doesn’t like Christmas, it’s none of our business.

The Grinch can like whichever festivity he wishes.

Perhaps the Grinch is just different, not abnormal or scary.

From now on we will be far more accepting and merry.”

Life is Lit.

Life as/in literature

Kalea Martin

Written by

An editorial writer and linguist with a background in trade book publishing and a B.A. in Romance Languages & Literature.

Life is Lit.

Insight on our lives in the context of our literature: re-examining the classics in light of contemporary culture.

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