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I’m sure you’ve been asked before — you really should know it by now. Are you an Aries? I’m totally getting that vibe off of you, like super passionate and … maybe a temper? I don’t know if we would get along, to be perfectly honest.

I (Capricorn sun, Cancer moon) plead not guilty of asking people their zodiac signs right off the bat. More accurately, I do it as soon as I get an inkling of queerness. While not exactly the currency of all gay conversation, astrology has taken up a major space within queer relationships and social interactions. Especially post-quarantine, as TikTok has overwhelmed social media consumption, it seems that more and more college-aged LGBTQIA+ people, particularly women, are taking an interest in zodiac signs. 

A Time article about the history of astrology explains that the existence of 12 signs of the zodiac goes as far back as 1500 B.C., but the idea of the stars affecting our daily lives goes back further, and to many different cultures. Ancient Egypt, China, Babylonia, Mesopotamia and eventually the Greeks used astrology to anticipate events — like the success of rulers or hunts. 

The Western astrological names of the signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. If you can’t remember all of those, the most commonly mentioned (and polarizing on the internet) zodiac signs are Gemini, Leo and Scorpio. I’m not saying to “look out” for these signs, but who knows? As a Capricorn, I am meant to be hard-working, serious and a little cold. When I tell people what my sun sign is, I often include my Cancer moon (it’s like saying, “Look! I’m sensitive! I care about other people!”). Zodiac signs don’t have to be real to be interesting or exciting to talk about with other people. 

Astrology, in general, tends to be polarizing. Conversations surrounding zodiac signs are often ignored or disregarded — astrology is seen by some people as stupid, annoying or a reason to warrant bad behavior. The Vice article “Why Straight Men Hate Astrology So Much” affirms that not only is the belief of astrology decreasing in straight men as the years go by, but it is increasing in women and queer people. The article was written in 2018, before the giant social media boom that is TikTok and the global pandemic; yet it already anticipates the growing popularity of “New Age” beliefs like astrology. Is it a “new” belief that a Taurus dating an Aquarius is a very bad idea? I would be surprised. 

To be clear, I’m not a huge believer in astrology. I think everything about it is fun, and it’s a great way to get to know people — not because you can assume their zodiac sign describes them perfectly, but because of how they respond to the question. Agreeing or disagreeing with the adjectives that are attributed to a sign can often tell you more about someone than small talk can. Do I act like a Capricorn? I don’t think most Capricorns would write an entire article about zodiac signs. 

I find myself most often discussing zodiac signs with my fellow queer friends. We discuss how Co-Star is being a little too accurate in their daily emotional forecasting, the compatibility between our friends and the signs of possible partners. Astrology can be used to explain most parts of your life if you try hard enough, especially when you’re struggling and Co-Star reminds you, “You know yourself and your limits.” Astrology is comforting. It’s also an entertaining way to understand and get to know people. It has become somewhat of a staple of queer culture, and as it grows, it is even being used in the stock market.

Astrology has taken over corners of the internet, and, as it enters the real world, it can seem a bit self-aggrandizing. While we talk about others, we also hope to focus on ourselves, but this leaves moments for self-reflection and honesty. As astrology is belittled in many social spaces, it is explored in queer conversation, a way to spiritualize the world around us without the ever-present distaste toward and from most organized religions.

While I have never met anyone who did not want to be my friend because of our zodiac sign compatibility, I can see this as a concern of the larger masses. To me, astrology is something I can joke about and play with as reasoning for daily events and personal characteristics, but for some people, astrology is undeniably real. If someone does not want to be your friend because of your zodiac sign, then pay them no mind. Like all “unshakable” religious beliefs, they may drift with time or never leave. This is not like your aunt who won’t speak to you after you come out as gay, but it is an even easier solution — ask yourself, “who cares?” 

To me, even the serious parts of astrology deserve exploration, but nothing that comes at the cost of others’ happiness is worth the devotion. Astrology should be exciting and silly, and like most beliefs, it can’t be proven. That’s the fun in it. So, the next time someone asks you your sign, don’t roll your eyes. It’s interesting, and it isn’t another piece of boring small talk. Take a Buzzfeed quiz and let them get your sign wrong just because it’s amusing. Try to lean into it. And do NOT, under any circumstances, date a Gemini.

Opinion Columnist Giselle Mills can be reached at