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Elvira lost thousands of “horny old men” fans after coming out

Elvira at the 2006 San Francisco Pride parade
Elvira at the 2006 San Francisco Pride paradePhoto: Owen Byrn via Wiki

Cassandra Peterson – better known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark – said that she lost thousands of “horny old men” fans after she came out last year in her memoirs, but she was more concerned about how her queer fans would accept her.

“The straight people, I knew that there was going to be some horny old men out there who were just not going to like the fact that they didn’t have a chance with me anymore,” she joked on the Behind the Velvet Rope podcast earlier this week.

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“I hate to tell them they already didn’t have a chance of me anyway.”

Peterson, 70, said that she lost 11,000 followers on one social media platform (she wouldn’t say which one) after she came out but gained 60,000 new followers.

“In one day, the day after the book came out, I lost 11,000,” she recounted. “People just said, ‘Elvira, you lied to me. I don’t respect you anymore. Goodbye.'”

“But I got 60,000 new followers the same day.”

“It was mostly straight, older guys who just felt lied to,” she said. “I don’t know – can’t please everybody!”

Peterson is best known for her spooky and sexy character Elvira, who she has played in movies and on television since the 1980s. Her drag-inspired aesthetic and campy humor attracted her a cult following over the decades, as well as many LGBTQ fans.

She released her memoirs Yours Cruelly, Elvira this past September, where she revealed that she had been in a relationship with a personal trainer named Teresa “T” Wierson for 19 years, who she described as a “beautiful, androgynous creature.”

Peterson wrote that she first kissed Wierson after she ended her 25-year marriage to her ex-husband, at a time when she just thought she and Wierson had a close friendship.

“I think I was even more surprised,” she wrote. “What the hell was I doing? I’d never been interested in women as anything other than friends. I felt so confused. This just wasn’t me! I was stunned that I’d been friends with her for so many years and never noticed our chemistry. I soon discovered that we connected sexually in a way I’d never experienced.”

Peterson said on the podcast this week that she kept her sexuality a secret from her fans for years.

“Nobody was ready for that,” she said. “And apparently we kept it a pretty damn good secret because nobody knew — and everybody was surprised.”

She said she was worried that some LGBTQ people might think she’s a liar for coming out after keeping her relationship a secret for so long.

“Honestly, I worried more about my gay fan base,” she said. “Because I hope they embraced it, but I was feeling like: ‘What if they think I’m a big fat hypocrite, and I was lying to them?’”

“So that scared me more.”

Peterson said that one of the good parts of coming out was that she didn’t have to introduce Wierson as her assistant anymore.

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