Masculine-Feminine Gay Couple
Same-gender couples that consist of one very masculine individual and one very feminine individual.
When it comes to gay couples in media, this is the most common set-up for them. One is very feminine while the other is very masculine. This usually also shows itself in their character designs, with one being shorter and dantier (sometimes even twinky if male) then their One Head Taller, and often more muscular, lover. This trope goes back to misconceptions that there must be a "man" and a "woman" in a relationship. It also invokes Opposites Attract. Despite the fact it's often based on misconceptions, this trope does appear in works written by queer people. It's not remarkably rare to see couples like this in Real Life, and thus the writers take inspiration from experience. Pairings involving two Straight Gays or two Manly Gays are becoming increasing popular in media in order to subvert the Camp Gay cliche, however couples involving two Camp Gay individuals are quite rare. Pairing two Lipstick Lesbians is extremely common, especially for fanservice reasons or in Yuri Genre works (in Queer Romance it also pops up but so do butch-femme couples), but two Butch Lesbians in a relationship are all but unheard-of in fiction. Overlaps with Tomboy and Girly Girl and Sensitive Guy and Manly Man. Also see uke and seme for Japanese tropes heavily associated with this concept. See also Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock, where the gay guy is less conventionally masculine than the popular athlete.
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Anime & Manga
- Ymir from Attack on Titan is a tall, muscular young woman who usually wears trousers and is The Lad-ette. Her love interest Krista is a short, feminine girl.
- Subverted with cousins Rei and Yoshino from Maria-sama ga Miteru. Rei is a tall girl with Boyish Short Hair who is into kendo while Yoshino is a short Ill Girl with Girlish Pigtails. When it comes to their actual personalities however, Yoshino is the loud and more tomboyish one of the two.
- Haruka and Michiru from Sailor Moon are one of the most iconic examples in manga. Haruka is a cool bifauxnen who always wears the boy's school uniform and Michiru is her Ojou girlfriend who plays the violin. This is somewhat an example of Character Exaggeration in the 90s anime. In the manga, Haruka is still butch but has her feminine moments and even occasionally wears girly clothes. In the '90s anime she is much more masculine and is even a Bokukko (in the manga she uses the girly pronoun "atashi"). In the manga, Haruka actively disguises herself as male while in the 1990s anime she's a tomboy who just gets mistaken for male.
- Subverted in Aoi Hana. Yasuko is Fumi's first girlfriend. She's a tall, boyish looking girl who prefers masculine clothes outside of school and is the captain of the basketball team. Yasuko however doesn't enjoy being forced into a masculine role in order to fit people's expectations and is actually bisexual, not lesbian. Yasuko and Fumi break up, and after being Put On The Bus Yasuko grows her hair out and undergoes a Girliness Upgrade. Fumi's girlfriend at the end of the manga is her short, girly childhood friend Akira.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: Chibitalia and Holy Roman Empire are a Puppy Love example. Chibitalia is a meek artist who wore female clothes while HRE is a bold warrior who wears boy's clothes. Subverted as HRE actually mistook Chibitalia for a girl. As an adult, Italy became a keet and started wearing men's attire.
- Revolutionary Girl Utena has the butch Utena and femme Anthy, who are also Lady and Knight. Both are bisexual as well. This is pronounced even more in The Movie as Utena crops her hair short and turns into a bifauxnen while Anthy grows her hair to Rapunzel Hair levels.
- Subverted with Batwoman and her girlfriend Maggie. At first glance they fit the archetype, with Kate being femme and Maggie being butch, however they are both in fact butch.
- Her level of butchness has varied over the years, but during Gotham Central, in which her lesbianism was revealed to the readers and then the other characters, Renee Montoya definitely fit into this dynamic with her much more feminine girlfriend of the era.
Films — Live-Action
- Downplayed in But I'm a Cheerleader. Megan is a very feminine closet case while Graham is a Aloof Dark-Haired Girl with shorter hair who acts as her Closet Key. The most butch girl at the Cure Your Gays camp actually turns out to be straight.
- Out At The Wedding has a woman pretending to be a lesbian because she's afraid her family won't accept her boyfriend because he's black. Alex ends up invoking this when she pays a butch lesbian to act like her girlfriend. The true example is Risa and Alex's sister, Jeannie. Her recently-married sister turns out to be in the closet and is using her husband as a beard. Jeannie ends up falling for her sister's "girlfriend" and Risa in turn falls for her back.
- Tomboy is about a boyish girl named Laure who moves to a new town and pretends to be a boy. She falls for a girl named Lisa and they hit it off. The ending is ambiguous. Laure's gender gets revealed and Lisa is initially upset, however they appear to start a friendship afterwards.
- I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry has a scene where Alex and her gay friend are guessing who of the titular duo is Femme and who is the Butch, which for them apparently is the same as Bottom and Top.
- Though it's not explicitly stated, housemates Misses Murgatroyd and Hinchcliffe from A Murder Is Announced fit this trope, with Hinchcliffe being the butch and Murgatroyd being the femme.
- The first novel in Katherine V Forrest's Kate Delafield detective series, Amateur City, has the very Butch Lesbian Kate starting a relationship with Lipstick Lesbian Aimee, and feeling some genuine identity disorientation when she finds herself bottoming to Aimee in bed and enjoying it.
- The 1928 novel The Well Of Loneliness is about a woman named Stephen who is diagnosed with "gender inversion" (an outdated 'disorder' that theorized gay people are mentally the opposite gender). Stephen falls in love with a nurse named Mary while working together during The Great War.
- Patience And Sarah is a historical novel about two women in 19th century America who fall in love. Patience is a traditionally feminine well-to-do woman while Sarah is a scandalous figure who wears men's clothes and does men's work.
- Spartacus: Blood and Sand uses this sometimes. The first example is butch gladiator Barca and gentle slave Alexios, which ends tragically when Barca is murdered and Alexios is unable to defend himself from being repeatedly raped by another Jerk Ass gladiator, driving him to kill himself. Notably averted in the prequel series where Barca's previous lover Auctus is as butch as he is. In the later part of the story, hot-headed macho gladiator turned rebel Agron is paired with the gentler, calmer, and less intimidating, though still pretty deadly, Nasir. Averted with the series' main lesbian pairing, Lucretia and Gaia, who are both very feminine.
- While not a couple, Moose and Kevin like to hook-up a lot in Riverdale. Moose is a closeted bisexual/gay guy who is on the football team and has a girlfriend while Kevin is an openly gay boy. Kevin borders on Camp Gay (in contrast with his Straight Gay comic counterpart) while Moose is much more masculine.
- In Will & Grace, Will is the manly man to Jack's feminine man. Behind the scenes, the actor who played Will won the part over an actual gay man who was perceived as too manly to be a convincing gay man.
- Discussed and defied in the first episode of Queer Eye (2018), where the heterosexual Tom asks the gay Bobby if he's the husband or the wife in his marriage. Jonathan and Bobby point out that it's a misconception, a little sexist, and that lines between masculinity and femininity are becoming increasingly blurred, even with straight couples.
Bobby: We both wear the pants.
- Downplayed with The Children's Hour and its second film adaptation. It's not noticeable due to Values Dissonance however Martha was considered tomboyish for the time. Her Ambiguously Bi best friend and crush Karen is more of a girly girl compared to her. Martha is very closeted about her sexuality and ends up Driven to Suicide before she gets to even date a woman.
- RENT has the Straight Gay-bordering-on-Manly Gay Collins with the flamboyant, more feminine queer character Angel (whose gender identity is not really clarified).
- Mass Effect: A lesbian Commander Shepard is always the "butch" one in every relationship, whether it be with Liara, Kelly, Samantha, Diana, or Samara. Although the last one is a Lady of War only slightly more femme than Shepard.
- Dragon Age II lets you play with this. A male Hawke (especially the default with the beard and rugged look) seems pretty "butch" compared to Fenris or Anders (your uncle will even say that he doesn't have to ask "which one of you is the girl" if you're romancing Fenris). Hawke can be designed and played much less butch, but the male love interests are pretty no matter how you swing it.
- Pokémon X and Y features a subtextual version between Brawns & Brawn Frank and Sly. Psychics are effeminate looking young men while Black Belts are muscular and masculine. Frank and Sly have some heavy Ho Yay in their dialogue.
- In the Distant Finale game of Power Instinct series, Groove on Fight (also called Power Instinct 3), there's Rudolph Garthheimer (selectable character and also Sub Boss) and Damian Shade (NPC in Arcade version and Secret Character in the Sega Saturn port), which also are the first gay couple in the series.
- Life Is Strange:
- There is Max and Chloe. Max is more shy and traditionally feminine than Chloe, who's a Laddette punk girl. Downplayed in that Max is still far from the most feminine member of the cast, and when they were kids, Chloe was an outright girly girl before she Took a Level in Cynic (whereas Max stayed more consistently feminine as she grew up).
- Life Is Strange: Before the Storm is a prequel that focuses on Chloe (the Player Character this time) as she takes said level in cynic in Max's absense, including her relationship with Rachel (whose disappearance drives the plot of the original game). Once again she's the butch, in a relationship with a Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak.
- Sun Jing and Qiu Tong from Their Story. Sun Jing is One Head Taller than Qiu Tong, wears a tie in her Custom Uniform, and is tomboyish while Qiu Tong is more feminine. Official artwork that predates the comic depicts Sun Jing as even more butch, having short hair and wearing more boyish attire. In the webcomic itself Qiu Tong is initially Oblivious to Love and initially rejects Sun Jing's Love Confession however they end up the Official Couple.
- Dillon O'Brien from Ménage ŕ 3 and Sticky Dilly Buns is a flaming Camp Gay character whose partners are usually masculine, Manly Gay or bisexual characters. These include the promiscuous underwear model Matt and the hunky construction worker Jerzy. It's also made explicit that Dillon "always bottoms".
- Rock and Riot is about two rival Greasers cliques in The '50s. Connie is a cool butch greaser while her Carla girlfriend is a Seemingly Wholesome '50s Girl. Connie is a lesbian while Carla is a panromantic asexual.
- Steven Universe:
- Ruby and Sapphire are a Discount Lesbians example. They're from a species of alien who have No Biological Sex but are treated as woman. Ruby is a red coloured Hot-Blooded tomboy who wears martial arts-inspired clothes while her girlfriend Sapphire is a blue coloured Proper Lady with long hair who wears dresses.
- Mystery Girl and Pearl are a half-Discount Lesbians example, with Pearl being a sex-less femme-presenting alien and Mystery Girl being a tomboyish punk woman.
- It's arguable whether Jasper and Lapis were in an actual relationship, but their bond was at minimum a metaphor for a Destructive Romance nevertheless. Lapis is very feminine looking, wearing a flowy dress and looking like a dainty blue coloured woman. In contrast, Jasper is an angular, tall, and very muscular woman with a deep voice who is One Head Taller than Lapis.
- Jeff's moms' from Clarence are a femme woman and a butch woman.
- Korra and Asami from The Legend of Korra are a rare example involving two bisexual women. Korra is a tomboyish Action Girl while her girlfriend Asami is a Girly Bruiser who always wears makeup. This is pronounced even more in the last season, which is also when they get together, as Korra cuts her hair shorter.
- Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World: Kirsten and her wife Dana. Kirsten dresses in pink overalls while Dana is a self-proclaimed "Jewish American Bulldyke" in a mullet.
- It's heavily implied that in Adventure Time Marceline and Princess Bubblegum could become a downplayed variant if they get over their Unresolved Sexual Tension and the show stops trying to Hide Your Lesbians. Bubblegum is a Tomboy Princess in her own right but leans towards Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak. Marceline is a punk rocker who both looks more tomboyish and is more laidback then Princess Bubblegum.
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