Let’s take a look at this hilarious pop culture moment through a queer lens


If, like me, your Screen Time widget is constantly calling you out for spending countless hours a day scrolling through social media, you’ve likely stumbled upon the “This is my Roman Empire” TikTok trend. But what sparked this pop-culture-fuelled moment?

It all began last year when Swedish influencer, Saskia Cort, started dating men, after dating only women for five years. She was shocked by “how bad I was treated by men, and felt a need to understand how men work”. And so she asked her followers what straight, single men eat and think about. It turns out that a lot of men think about the Roman Empire, like a lot.

In August 2023, a Swedish man translated Saskia’s theory into English and that’s when “This is my Roman Empire” became a viral phenomenon. Many people have been taking to social media to share their own Roman Empires. The results are both hilarious and insightful. I became fascinated by what pop-culture moments sapphics and queer folks from around the world deem as their Roman Empire.

And these are just some of my favourites…

It’s no surprise to see Cate Blanchett referenced by so many sapphics who offer up their take on this trend. And yes, just like @theonlylex, I think about her every day.

@theonlylex #duet with @E.R. Fightmaster I have never heard anything more real than this right here #lgbtqia #lesbiansoftiktok #cateblanchett #romanempire ♬ original sound – E.R. Fightmaster

And speaking of gay icons I think about every day… Gillian Anderson was also very popular on QueerTok.

@gillian_scully_fan #stitch with @emmy. Gillian Anderson, the female version of the Roman Empire 😌 #gilliananderson #gillianandersonisgod #gillianandersonsupremacy #fyp #romanempire #romanempires #romanempirefemaleversion #middleagedactresses #women #womancrush #lgbtq ♬ Im In Love Im Obsessed Rihanna x Casa Di Remix – CasaDi

The only thing more popular than Cate Blanchett when it comes to the queer take on this trend was Greek Mythology. And this made me feel so seen.

@sabrina.campbell4 Tell me I’m wrong… you can’t #romanempire #lesbains #greekmythology #greekgods #wlw #lgbtq #roman #empire ♬ original sound – Sabrina Campbell

And we’re not just fascinated by Greek Mythology, but also Ancient Greece, specifically Sappho.

Taylor Swift was featured on many Roman Empire posts on various platforms. Specifically Gaylors (fans of the musician who believe her to be queer and theorise over her past connections to women) have shared thinking about all things “Gaylor” multiple times a week. I am a proud Swifty and recent photos of Taylor and Sophie Turner looking “thick as thieves” and giving serious Vigilante Shit vibes have been one of my latest obsessions. And this post from @godimsuchadyke proves I’m not the only gay thinking about these pictures.


♬ original sound – Julia Handra

Boygenius’ Julien Baker is definitely my Roman Empire. I swoon over her so much that my girlfriend refers to her as my “boyfriend”.

Skins’ Emily and Naomi (AKA Naomily) are a firm favourite among many of our readers, and so it’s no surprise to see them referenced in this trend.

Yellowjackets’ Taissa and Van are another popular onscreen sapphic ship that kept propping up. I hope to see many queer couples dressing up as them this Halloween.

This list would be incomplete without mentioning The L Word. And Shane McCutcheon, Bette Porter and Gigi Ghorbani in particular are my Roman Empire.

@starsandthemoon444 #wlw #romanempire #thelword #lword ♬ The L Word Theme Song (The Way That We Live) (Full Version) – Betty

If it weren’t for me deep diving into QueerTok to research this trend for this article, I might never have found out that Victoria Pedretti (one of my biggest celeb crushes) stars in a sapphic audio erotica.


Episode One ruined me.

♬ original sound – Quinn

The masterpiece Portrait Of A Lady On Fire was of course mentioned in this trend.

@elfe_des_forets #collage avec @Julia Handra OUR roman Empire #adelehaenel #celinesciamma #bravoleslesbiennes #portraitofaladyonfire #portraitdelajeunefilleenfeu #noemiemerlant #romanempire #lesbianmovie #sapphicmovie #fyp #vivaldi #wlw #sapphic ♬ son original – Lila

We’ve all heard of the “Do I want to be her or be with her?” dilemma that many sapphics face, but many folks will resonate with the “Do I want to be him or be with him?” train of thought. I know I did when I was processing my gender identity and sexuality.

@erin_wright_ What was everyone’s gay roman empire?? #wlw #wlwtiktok #lesbiansoftiktok #masclesbiansoftiktok ♬ original sound – Erin Wright

And yes, everyone is still talking about and obsessing over the Lesbian Masterdoc.


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