On Sunday night, a screenshot began circulating on Twitter that appeared to show a person’s Facebook response to a potential roommate — Christine (a Capricorn).
“Hey Christine!” the user wrote, “Sorry I haven’t responded earlier. My main concern is that you’re a Capricorn.” This was a problem, they explained, because their main goal is to keep their home “egalitarian,” and they don’t want anyone “domming the household.” And while they “love Capricorns,” they don’t think they could live with one.
“Fuckin astrology queers in this town are out of control, y’all,” Twitter user Riley Owen wrote alongside the screenshot. The post spread around Twitter quickly, garnering nearly 10,000 likes in just over a day.
At this point, you might be asking yourself, “What?” “huh?” or “domming the household??!?” Don’t worry, take our hand, we’ll guide you through it.
Where did this post come from?
“Someone in a Portland queer housing group legit got this in response to their message about an ad for a room,” tweeted Owen.
A screenshot of what appears to be the same message was also posted by Guardian reporter Kari Paul after it was shared in the closed Chez Queer Montreal Facebook group.
It seems neither Christine nor the concerned Virgo/Gemini have been reached for comment yet.
Wait, so what’s wrong with Capricorns?
“Capricorns are not the sunniest sign,” astrologer and author Annabel Gat told me over the phone. “They have been called the ‘curmudgeon of the zodiac.’” In the Northern Hemisphere, she explained, Capricorns, who are born in December and January, usher in the cold, winter months, and are are often considered rigid and industrious.
Gat quickly clarified, however, that “we’re talking about this energy and the mythology and key words of a sign, and that’s really different than an actual human being.”
What’s this about “cardinal authorities”?
In the message, Christine’s never-to-be roommate wrote, “This Virgo/Gemini house is a special place where soft mutable signs get to run free untethered by cardinal authorities.”
After you let that sentence wash over you for moment, we’ll explain. The 12 signs of the zodiac are grouped into three qualities — cardinal, mutable, and fixed — depending on where they fall in a season, and certain characteristics they are believed to have. Cardinal signs, like Capricorn, are the signs that mark the beginning of every season, and are generally considered to be the signs more likely to initiate action. Mutable signs, like Virgo and Gemini, are the signs that end a season, and are generally considered to be the more flexible, adaptive signs.
The mutable responder seems to have been concerned that Christine’s Capricorn initiative would clash with the “free” and “untethered” vibe of their “special place”.
Is it legal to deny someone housing based on their sign?
Probably … yes, says attorney Justin C. Brasch, who specializes in New York City landlord and tenant rights. At least in New York City.
Tenants in New York City are protected by the New York City Human Rights Law, Brasch explained over the phone, which prohibits discrimination against a wider range of protected classes than either the federal Fair Housing Act or the New York State Human Rights Law. Yet Brasch said he doesn’t think that a person’s astrological sign would fall under any of the 16 protected classes or categories — which include age, citizenship status, color, creed, gender, marital status, lawful source of income, etc. — and therefore, discrimination based on a person’s astrological sign would not be illegal.
“You don’t have to make everybody your roommate,” Brasch said.
So is everyone just mean to Capricorns?
No, other signs are often dismissed by others too, and not just when it comes to housing. In December, a post on the Instagram app of the LGBTQIA+ dating and community app Personals titled “Cutie 4 Cutie” made some users upset because the poster wrote, “Sorry, Geminis need not apply.”
“Look at this unabashed Gemini prejudice,” one user wrote.
“I’m assuming they mean someone who lives in the midst of all continuums, is deathly charming, cunningly intellectual, informed, and passionate on many disparate things, and well rounded — seeing things from multiple viewpoints — need not apply,” wrote another.
Kelly Rakowski, who runs Personals, told the Cut that this kind of anti-Gemini sentiment is not entirely unusual on the page (nor is it uncommon offline — on her new album Cuz I Love You, Lizzo also blasts Geminis in her song “Soulmate”.)
“I’m not sure there’s a sign that’s so dividing (everyone vs. Geminis),” Rakowski said. “Maybe Scorpios? But who can resist a Scorpio? Really it’s only Geminis.”
This way of writing off certain signs is not new, says Gat, but it is infuriating.
“You can’t just group people together like that,” she says, exasperated, when I tell her about “Geminis need not apply.”
Reducing people to stereotypes about their signs has always been a problem, Gat says. “It’s always been why people hate astrology.”
So did Christine find somewhere to live?
We don’t know yet. Hopefully her cardinal initiative came in handy and she found another house.