[[quoteright:259:[[VideoGame/MassEffect2 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_2011030300017_4713.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:259:It's not gay if "[[OneGenderRace she]]" is [[GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe an alien]], is it?]]

->''"[...]Why is lesbian sex only OK if it involves another species?"''\\
--'''Joystiq.com''', on ''Franchise/MassEffect''

They look exactly like hot women, and they make out with other hot women. But they're actually aliens/immortals/bodysnatchers/etc. So it's not ''really'' gay, right?

Discount Lesbians are canon homosexual characters and couples who are either not human to begin with, come from alternate realities, have been magically or technologically altered in ways that affect their sexuality, etc., so that they don't really "count". This usually seems to be a device used within the story to maintain a status quo that lets [[MostWritersAreMale the (presumed) audience]] watch [[GirlOnGirlIsHot two hot chicks making out]] without having to think about the associated real-world issues of homosexuality. On the other hand, the trope may come into play if the writer wishes to include a lesbian relationship in the story but is worried about MoralGuardians, thus becoming a way for a RuleAbidingRebel to make an attempt at GettingCrapPastTheRadar.

Note that they're DiscountLesbians only if they're included in the story in a way that obviates the need to address the associated issues of sexuality. This is usually done through [[http://scottthornbury.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/o-is-for-othering othering]] homosexuality by associating it only with characters who have conspicuously different traits from the viewers. Characters used to ''draw'' attention to those issues are inversions, although this can still fall into FantasticAesop or SpaceWhaleAesop. If they're stated to be homosexual they're not Discount Lesbians, just a non-human who happens to be gay.

Basically [[ShapedLikeItself gays... but cheaper]]. Commonly carries UnfortunateImplications (see page quote). It can be considered a subtrope of ButNotTooGay.

Compare HaveYouTriedNotBeingAMonster, LesbianVampire, BuryYourGays, and (occasionally) {{Elfeminate}}. Related to DeceptivelyHumanRobots because both are only as robotic/gay, respectively, as is convenient for the show. Also see SpaceJews for aliens standing in for minorities. Related to HideYourLesbians in that both are a way of including apparently gay content without admitting to it. Not to be confused with transgender and metaphorically transgender characters.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Advertising ]]

* Some of the Kerrang! bumpers in the UK in 2009 showed a young Asian woman who flashes with yellow energy making out with a pink, suited androgynous humanoid with a mask, clearly intended to invoke the [[PowerRangers Pink and Yellow Rangers]] - but as only Yellow is clearly a human woman and Pink shows no gendered characteristics beyond its colour, it maintains plausible lesbian deniability.

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* This trope is frequently invoked by some ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' fans whenever anyone mentions the HoYay between Shinji and Kaworu, what with [[spoiler:Kaworu bearing the soul of Adam]].
* The entire premise of ''Anime/{{Simoun}}'', where everyone is born female, only choosing a permanent gender at the age of 17. This automatically puts all teenage characters into the SchoolgirlLesbians zone. However, by the end every possible gender combination is represented, averting the main reason for this trope.
* Used for the women in ''{{Vandread}}'', because each gender had essentially become a different race. The male equivalent is never revealed. The Majerans (women) form romantic bonds and two-parent families for their daughters. As for the men of Tarak, in the first episode, one of the background conversations during a military graduation has one guy asking another if they want to make a kid. The guy's answer was basically, "Sure, why not?", as if he had been asked to form a ''WorldOfWarcraft'' guild. A later episode one guy is shocked the baby grows inside the woman as all men are test tube grown.
* ''BlueDrop'' gives us the Arume, who are a OneGenderRace of space lesbians.
* ''Manga/CreoTheCrimsonCrises'', a [[CastFullOfGay Cast Full Of Lesbian]], where more than half of the cast are demons (who inexplicably [[HumanAliens look exactly like humans]]).
* ''Manga/KashimashiGirlMeetsGirl'' has the main lesbian character be a transformed boy, although it's heavily implied that s/he was a trans woman, but didn't know about his/her condition. Not even the voice-actor is changed with her gender!
* Bernkastel and Lambdadelta, the [[RealityWarper reality-bending]] [[WitchSpecies witch]] pair in ''UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'' appear to have [[PsychoLesbian something like this]] going on, as part of their massive amount of FoeYay.
* The Cthulhu in ''IczerOne'' play this straight, being an one-gendered female-looking alien species. The titular Iczer-1 and Nagisa may count as well, with Iczer-1 being an alien android who seems to love Nagisa.
* ''Alien from the Darkness'' has Flair, who spends most of the story seducing the all-female crew of the ''Zogne''. While she qualifies due to being possessed by a tentacle-raping alien in search of [[MarsNeedsWomen breeding stock]], the sex scenes Flair isn't involved in prove that the {{hentai}} has no problem with [[CastFullOfGay actual lesbians]] either.

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Franchise/MarvelUniverse:
** During Creator/JossWhedon's run on ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'', lesbian character Karolina has a long-standing relationship with a shapeshifting alien (twofer!) who appears female entirely to keep her happy. Karolina herself is also an alien. (An alien who [[ChangelingFantasy believed she was human, and was physically human, until her early teens]], but an alien nevertheless.) This is an especially glaring example, because Xavin (the shapeshifter) has mentioned that members of his/her species don't stay the same sex all the time anyway (s/he compared changing sex to dyeing one's hair) and had a subplot where Molly, another teammate, was bothered by the fact that Xavin was only a girl sometimes ([[AnAesop Molly eventually learned to accept Xavin as is]]). Karolina, however, insists that Xavin is female and only female, despite that Xavin ''does'' spend a lot of time male, too (and not just when it's more practical, either).
** Shatterstar fits this, depending on which origin story you believe.
* In ''Franchise/WonderWoman'' comics, the Amazons of Paradise Island often have romantic relationships with each other.
-->"We don't call it 'Paradise Island' for nothing."
* The Neil Gaiman story "Literature/MurderMysteries" actually has discount gay men. The characters in the main part of the story are angels, sexless and genderless, though they do generally take the form of human males. The angels who discover love end up as lovers, which means while there isn't any distinctive action, there's a lot of cuddling.

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[[folder: Fan Fic ]]

* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' fandom operates under the EveryoneIsGay format in shipping fan works, what with the [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters gargantuan]], [[ImprobablyFemaleCast near entirely female cast]]... except the number of human characters, even including the {{Retcon}}ed-out-of-existence PC-98 games, doesn't exceed one dozen. The vast majority of characters are magically transformed animals or inanimate objects, {{Anthropomorphic Personification}}s, various mythological beasts, and even a HumanoidAbomination or three. They're not really lesbians if one's an umbrella, right?

* Ahsoka and Barriss in the StarWarsTheCloneWars FanFic "Barris's Secrets". Ahsoka is a Togruta while Barriss is a Mirialan, literally a GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe.
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[[folder: Literature ]]

* [[Creator/UrsulaKLeGuin Ursula K. Le Guin's]] ''Literature/TheLeftHandOfDarkness'', dealing with a planet of people who are asexually hermaphroditic until they enter heat, at which point they can assume either set of genitals, is sometimes confused for this. It's not, for two reasons: first, the issues raised by this setup are the entire point of the novel, so there's nothing discounted about it; and second, the characters are not presented as substitutes for gays.
* Discount Bisexuals? Discount Bisexual Threesome? In the ''Literature/DarkNestTrilogy'', Jaina Solo and one of her love interests, Zekk, were both snapped up by the psychic alien menace-of-the-week; they became Joiners, on the aliens' side and telepathically ''very'' close to each other. At one point they started fighting against Jagged Fel, Jaina's other big love interest. Jaina-and-Zekk had thoughts along the lines of "We should make him a Joiner and be Jaina-and-Zekk-and-Jagged! Yes, he is pretty. He would make the mating rituals much better."

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* An episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' features an alien (Trill) ambassador who has a fling with Dr. Crusher and then dies, having his personality and memories transplanted into a new (female) body thanks to BizarreAlienBiology. Later repeated in an episode of ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Space Nine]]'', with much more feeling and depth.
** Also touched on in the season 5 episode "The Outcast", [[BoldlyComing where Riker is attracted to a member of an androgynous alien species]]. By the end of the episode the alien in question (who was starting to identify as female and was played by a female actor) was forced by her planet's government, which views those identifying as (more or less) strictly male or female as abominations, [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped to undergo the equivalent of conversion therapy]] and denied any further sexual interest in Riker. It was about as close to covering the issue of transexuality as ''Star Trek'' ever got.
*** It was also rife with UnfortunateImplications given that Soren was played by a woman. You could read it as "Riker's dick saves girl from lesbian colony: unfortunately psycho lesbians brainwash her back." Creator/JonathanFrakes even suggested the female-identified alien be played by a male actor. Given that it was [[TheNineties the early nineties]] though, that is pretty FairForItsDay, as most shows would not even approach the issue.
** The MirrorUniverse version of Kira Nerys is a DepravedBisexual with more [[EvilIsSexy evil kink]] than CharacterDevelopment; she's even made advances toward the regular universe version of [[ScrewYourself herself]]. [[WordOfSaintPaul According to]] Creator/NanaVisitor, that last one was more out of [[{{Narcissist}} narcissism]] than anything else.
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Willow's MirrorUniverse duplicate is a LesbianVampire. But then it's averted a few seasons later when Willow herself comes out and has to deal head-on with all the issues of sexuality and society.
* The evil sexually-manipulative bodysnatching alien Mary in the ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' episode "Greeks Bearing Gifts" is a glaring example. Toshiko is at least on the borderline, given that Tosh is never seen to have a sexual interest in a woman before or afterwards and it's not made precisely clear whether her sexual relationship with Mary was bisexuality or mind-control.
** A straighter example is Gwen making out with a (female possessed by a) sex-gas alien in "Day One".
** Given that there are many same-sex relationships and WordOfGod states that everybody on the team is bi, this is more of a coincidence than actively invoking this trope.
* Tina Greer of ''{{Smallville}}'' is a shapeshifting PsychoLesbian obsessed with Lana. However, her every romantic interaction with Lana is while she's in the form of a male. She invokes it because she knows Lana is straight.
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', although there's absolutely no shortage of more humanoid queer characters, the fact that Madame Vastra is a Silurian makes her somewhat gender-blind when it comes to humans. Her wife, Jenny, is very gay, but Vastra herself doesn't especially care if someone is male or female. The homophobia of VictorianBritain gets merrily ignored by the both of them.
** In ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'', Tosh turns out to be bisexual when she starts dating a woman named Mary... who almost immediately reveals herself to be an alien.
* In ''Series/{{Alphas}}'', Nina mind-controls the straight (and also uncomfortable with physical contact) Rachel into kissing another woman in a club, to cause a distraction and also just ForTheEvulz.

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[[folder: Music ]]

* While Ziggy isn't DavidBowie's only gay or bisexual stage persona (as for the man himself... [[FlipFlopOfGod let's not start]]), he's certainly the most flamboyant...and happens to be TouchedByVorlons.

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[[folder: Theater ]]

* Done a lot by Creator/WilliamShakespeare because of his fondness of crossdressing plots. Therefore, when (for example) Duke Orsino falls in love with the handsome Cesario in ''Theatre/TwelfthNight'', it's okay because Cesario is really the very female Viola [[WholesomeCrossdresser in disguise]].

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* A pair of Tasen from ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'' are in a relationship. This one makes a bit more sense in that almost all Tasen soldiers shown on-screen except for the BonusBoss are female.
* The asari in the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series are a classic example. An entire alien species of [[OneGenderRace mono-gendered]], universally hot [[GreenSkinnedSpaceBabe blue alien space babes]] who have relationships with each other, all genders of [[ExtremeOmnisexual almost every other sapient species]], and (potentially) with female [=PCs=], the gender aspect almost never shown to be an issue for interspecies relationships. However, ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'' may have [[WhatCouldHaveBeen originally been going to include]] same-sex options for the two human love interests, as suggested by DummiedOut audio files that suggest such a thing. Worth noting that those files also have the ''very male'' Mark Meer ask Liara if she's OK with [[NarmCharm dating a woman]].
** ''Finally'' averted in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', where two gay characters are introduced to the crew and one comes out as bisexual. Conversations with these characters and others suggest that sexuality is almost a non-issue by that time.
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', another Creator/BioWare product, Juhani the cat alien provides a somewhat hidden GayOption.
* [[spoiler:Joshua in Another Day]] from ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou''. This looks to be played straight until you remember that [[spoiler:Joshua, as the Composer / an Angel, could be whatever sexuality or gender he damn well pleases]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' has exactly one lesbian couple in the game, and they're both ghouls (hideously deformed, all-but-ageless zombie lookalikes).
* ''VideoGame/GuildWars2'' has the sylvari, plant people who don't reproduce sexually, and to whom gender is completely irrelevant. And more specifically, Caithe and Faolain.
* The vampire-ish Mystics in ''VideoGame/SagaFrontier'' have a natural "Charm" ability that can attract others, none moreso that Orlouge, ruler of the Mystics. He gives a [[BloodMagic blood transfusion]] to a human girl named Asellus, one of the protagonists, and she becomes a half-Mystic in turn. Because of his magical blood, Asellus is more or less a lesbian (or [[EveryoneIsBi vaguely bisexual]], and this same blood causes a human girl named Gina to fall in love with her. [[spoiler:She and Asellus have a sort-of-there MayflyDecemberRomance should Asellus choose to remain a [[WeAreAsMayflies half-Mystic]] in one ending, they become a couple (with Asellus toting an all-girl harem to boot) in the full Mystic ending, and in the ending where Asellus becomes human again, she marries a man.]]

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[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* ''Webcomic/TheDragonDoctors'' features a town where all the men have been transformed into women. Their romantic relationships have generally continued, the town having become a huge market for {{Magitek}} that alters one's sexual preference to "bi." (The author has mentioned that the "orientation adapter" magic only sets you to bi, basically widening the spectrum of what you could be attracted to without otherwise altering what you're already attracted to, so it's not used as a [[CureYourGays cure for gayness]] or anything).
-->"I don't think they're lesbians so much as..."
-->"Pfft. Like I care about technicalities."
* ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'', in regards to ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'':
-->'''Gabe:''' It's not gay if it's an elf.
-->'''Tycho:''' I'd love to know why you have a rule for that.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', the [[AllTrollsAreDifferent trolls]] have a [[BizarreAlienReproduction system of romance and mating that is much different from ours]], and gender isn't really a factor in any of it. Monosexuality as we know it does exist, but is so rare that when John mentions the concept to Karkat he is thoroughly confused that it's even a thing in human society. According to WordOfGod, preference for a gender in troll society is analogous to a fetish insofar as it is an exacting preference rather than a preference swapped from the norm. It is not, however, analogous to a fetish in that it is something that the troll can ignore if they have it bad enough for the gender they normally don't prefer; Kanaya, for example, is only attracted to women as a rule. UnfortunateImplications are removed however with the explicit presence of gay and bisexual humans.
* Variation: In ''OneOverZero'', Terra the earthworm is introduced as a lesbian because Tailsteak wanted to include a female character who wasn't a viable romantic option for the guys. This is clarified by saying that earthworms are [[OneGenderRace hermaphrodites, but he's choosing to identify them all as female]], so they're all "lesbians". [[spoiler:The fact that she's not a "real" lesbian is the key to her being with the man she loves without rejecting the author.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' movie ''The Beast With A Billion Backs'' contains a transdimensional planet-sized tentacle monster named Yivo. [[PronounTrouble Shklee]] has a male voice, but everyone in the universe dating shklim isn't treated like an issue by anyone, at least not from the perspective of sexual orientation. Fry clearly states that Yivo loves both male and female equally and has no gender, and schlee even has schlis own pronouns.
* The last episode of ''Series/AeonFlux'' has Aeon and Trevor both falling in love (or at least lust) for the same androgynous alien. [[spoiler: It turns out the "alien" is actually a [[TranshumanAliens human from the far future.]]]]

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