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Adaptational Sexuality
Movieline: The book is extremely explicit and in some places very homoerotic. Has that been toned down?
Dana Delany: Yeah, it's very much a heterosexual island. It's too bad, because Anne Rice has a great homosexual following, but I think Garry Marshall is aiming for a Middle-American audience. There are two things I think about this: In movies, I think, people only want one lover - they want the hero and they want the heroine. They get confused otherwise, even though that's reality.

Elements of a character changing when a work is adapted from one medium to another is an extremely common occurence. Nice Guys might turn into Jerkasses, platonic friends might become love interests, an ally might become an enemy, etc.

One of the most controversial ways of changing a character (much like a Race Lift, and for similar reasons) is to alter their sexuality. This could mean making a gay character straight, giving a love interest to someone described as asexual note , making a straight person gay or bisexual, or any combination or variation of the above.

Sometimes a form of Bowdlerization, when the change is made to appease Moral Guardians or to avoid controversy. Compare Hide Your Lesbians and Promoted to Love Interest. Not to be confused with Situational Sexuality.

NOTE: If a character (most importantly if s/he is based on a Real Life person) is merely speculated to have a certain sexuality and a depiction does not follow that, it does not count as this trope, even if said speculation has been generally accepted as fact through Pop Culture Osmosis.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  
  • In the Sailor Moon manga, Kunzite and Zoisite's sexuality was never addressed but there is a piece of artwork Naoko Takeuchi made whilst hashing out plot points that were eventually dropped that shows Zoisite and Sailor Mercury and Kunzite and Sailor Venus embracing. In the anime however Kunzite and Zoisite are Yaoi Guys (and in the DiC dub "Zoycite" is a woman). Also Fisheye was never into guys in the manga, again showing romantic interest in Sailor Mercury, but chased men in the anime and once more became female in The Nineties English dub.
  • This happens to Juri Arisugawa in Revolutionary Girl Utena. In the anime series, she's a closeted lesbian who is secretly in love with her childhood frenemy Shiori Takatsuki, whereas in the manga (which was a simultaneous project, despite beginning serialisation before the anime started airing) she's straight and in love with Touga Kiryuu except in that version, she actually has a torch for Ruka and just sees Touga as a stand-in in Ruka's absence; incidentally, Shiori doesn't even exist in the manga. Part of the reason for this seems to be that Juri in the manga is a combination of Juri from the anime and Nanami (who is in love with Touga and a Clingy Jealous Girl much like manga!Juri) making her something of a reverse Composite Character. Meanwhile, in The Movie Juri is once again in love with Shiori, and in the movie-manga and Light Novels, her sexuality is never specified either way.
    • In interviews, Chiho Saito said that since the manga was shorter, she wanted to keep the story as focused on Utena as possible, so she decided Juri's love triangle couldn't be as separate from the main character as it was in the anime.
  • In the anime adaptation of Spice and Wolf, Lawrence's male friend Yarei is changed to the female Chloe, with implications that they've been romantically involved. This can lead to possible Ho Yay for fans who saw the anime before reading the novels or manga.

     Audio Drama 
  • The Big Finish Doctor Who: Jago and Litefoot line heavily implies that Litefoot is gay (they had no real sexuality in the original serial featuring them).

     Comic Books  
  • Colossus of X-Men fame is straight in the 616 universe, but gay in the Ultimate Universe and in a relationship with Northstar, who's gay in both continuities.
    • Exiles traveled through many of Marvel's multiversal realities, picking up an alternate-timeline Mariko Yashida (Sunfire), who entered into a lesbian relationship with the Mary Jane Watson (Spider-Woman) of another reality. In the mainstream timeline both characters were or are straight (Mariko one of the most important of Wolverine's deceased love interests, Mary Jane Spider-Man's wife).
    • In X-Treme X-Men an alternate universe Wolverine, here known by his birth name of James Howlett, is bisexual and in a relationship with Hercules, who's been heavily implied to be bisexual in his main universe incarnation but remains Ambiguously Bi.
  • DC has now gone there too, with the all-new version of Alan Scott (the original Golden Age Green Lantern and very much Married With Children in the old continuity) revealed as being in a same-sex relationship on the all-new Earth-2. Word of God says that this was to make up for the fact that his son Obsidian, who was homosexual, was erased from continuity due to the age-down making Scott too young to have adult children.
  • The Ultimate version of Jessica Drew is a lesbian, as revealed in All-New Ultimates.

     Fan Works 
  • This is the point of Slash Fic. However, some fan fic authors are vexed by the premise that all characters are straight unless proven otherwise in canon, and they genuinely think that slashing them is consistent with the original works.

     Film 
  • The gay, unnamed protagonist of Truman Capote's novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (whom Holly calls by her brother's name, 'Fred') becomes the film's straight love interest Paul. Famously referenced in Seinfeld, when George's attempt to bluff through a book club meeting, having only seen the film, fails spectacularly when his girlfriend has to tell him, "George... Fred's gay."
    • Capote's unmade script for the The Great Gatsby would've had Nick as a closeted homosexual and Jordan as a vindictive lesbian.
  • In the novel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason Rebecca Gillies was a platinum blonde passive-aggressive Alpha Bitch who was setting her claws on Mark Darcy, in the film version she was changed to a nice Brainy Brunette with a crush on Bridget.
  • In Tennessee Williams' 1955 play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Brick's friend Skipper killed himself after drunkenly confessing his love, and Brick's own feelings are rather violently conflicted and ambiguous. The 1958 film strips out this aspect, which some critics have suggested leaves the central conflict of Brick's character somewhat muddled.
  • In the movie of A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche's story about her ex-husband's suicide changes from homosexuality (as in the play by Tennessee Williams) to "weakness".
  • Shows up from time to time in the James Bond franchise:
    • The film version of From Russia with Love eliminates Rosa Klebb's scene from the book of outright trying to seduce Tatiana. In the movie Klebb plays uncomfortably with Tatiana's hair while talking of "a labor of love".
    • Pussy Galore's lesbianism is downplayed in the film version of Goldfinger, where she merely tells Bond she is "immune" to his charms. Tilly was also a lesbian in the book and in love with Pussy, but is depicted as purely heterosexual in the film.
  • The documentary The Celluloid Closet was supposed to feature a sequence detailing biopics where the subject was known to be gay or bisexual, but was nevertheless portrayed as straight. It was cut due to rights issues. Some of the films meant to be featured were:
    • The Agony And The Ecstasy: Charlton Heston denied the film rights because he insisted that his portrayal of the famous sculptor Michaelangelo as straight was historically accurate.
    • Alexander the Great, starring Richard Burton
    • Hans Christian Andersen, starring Danny Kaye (the filmmakers were denied the rights to this because the studio mistakenly thought the documentary would claim that Kaye was gay, rather than Andersen)
    • Night and Day, starring Cary Grant as a straight Cole Porter.
  • The first film adaptation of the play The Children's Hour changed the story of two teachers having their lives ruined due to rumors that they are having a lesbian affair to rumors that one of them slept with the others' fiance. This is because The Hays Code outlawed even the slightest hint of homosexuality. Even the title had to be changed (to These Three) because the stage play was so well known as a work that dealt with lesbianism.
  • The Color Purple was criticized for not including the lesbian relationships detailed in the book.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes portrayed the relationship between Ruth and Idgie (which is quite clearly a lesbian union in the book) as friends, with strong implications of Les Yay.
  • The film adaptation of David Gerrold's autobiographical novel Martian Child had the openly gay Gerrold played as straight by John Cusack, giving him Amanda Peet to flirt with.
  • In the film adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Peter Gulliam is portrayed as gay, and though he was never said to be explicitly straight in the novel it's never elaborated on. Not that it makes much of a difference in either, since his sexuality is relevant to anything for all of six seconds. Word of God for the movie is that they made him gay because the idea of him being closeted fit in well with the themes of secrecy and concealment throughout the entire story.
  • In Rope (the original play) Brandon, Philip and Rupert were explicitly gay. In Alfred Hitchcock's film adaptation (which was made in 1948) it was reduced to subtext between Brandon and Rupert with Brandon also referring to a past relationship with Janet implying he's possibly bisexual.
  • In a The Picture of Dorian Gray adaptation, Basil was played by a woman.
  • Supposedly, the producers wanted to remove all homosexual allusions from the film adaptation of Queen of the Damned, so Louis (Lestat's long-suffering fledgeling) wasn't included in the movie despite playing a fairly pivotal role in the book, and Lestat was given a female love interest in Jesse (who showed absolutely no interest in him in the book).
  • The Robert Wise version of The Haunting (1963) has a female character who is implied, but never outright stated, to be attracted to women. The Haunting (1999) remake makes the same character openly bisexual.
  • The biopic Killer Nurse depicted serial killer Charles Cullen as a necrophiliac, despite there being absolutely no evidence he was one in real life.
  • The Other Boleyn Girl (both the film and the book) portray George Boleyn as gay. In real life he was a notorious womaniser due to his shrew of a wife. In the book he is having an affair with a male courtier while in the film it is mostly subtext, his wife challenging him about why he never sleeps with her.
  • The Tomie films portray the title villain as a Depraved Bisexual who has several Schoolgirl Lesbian lovers. This is in sharp contrast to the manga, where Tomie outright hated other girls, and was very contemptuous and territorial around them.
  • Ron Woodroof, the straight homophobic protagonist of Dallas Buyers Club, was likely bisexual in real life.
  • The film Emmanuelle portrays the titular character's mentor, Mario, as ostensibly straight. In the original novel, upon which the movie was based, Mario was bisexual, with a strong inclination towards other men.
  • In the One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Harding was as heavily implied to be gay as was possible in 1960's literature, depicted as effeminate and forced into the asylum for unnamed sexual acts, and getting a long speech about the ridiculousness of the society that condemned him. In the movie, however, he's reduced to a background character who gets at most three lines, which might not count as this trope if not for the fact that his appearance is totally different - and far more masculine - as well. Book readers usually don't even recognise him until the nurse uses his name.

     Literature 
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • Many of the Missing Adventures portray previous Doctors as bisexual or omnisexual in accordance with later Eighth Doctor canon. For instance, the First Doctor Missing Adventure "The Plotters" involves a sequence where the first Doctor gripes about the outrageously gay King James I's interest in his crossdressed female companion over him, acting jealous and complaining that on his home planet "I had been considered quite a looker". The "Shada" novelisation also gives the Fourth Doctor a few lines that allude to him having an interest in men, such as saying the villain is trying to kill "[Clare and] all the other lovely girls. And all the lovely boys".
    • The original pitch for rejected book Campaign would have made Ian bisexual through placing him in a romance with Alexander the Great - the pitch document even specifies that "his feelings about bisexuality could provide a good forum for modern viewpoints, seen through a Sixties mentality". The book that eventually got written is so far removed from the original pitch that these elements were excised except as backstory, with the only remaining parts being Alexander calling Ian 'my beloved', and a scene where Ian talks to Susan about how beautiful he found Alexander, saying that he got drunk with him and 'gave him my all'. Both of these happen fairly early on in the story when it's still possible it could be a pure historical and are soon abandoned once it goes into a metafictional Jigsaw Puzzle Plot - possibly even subverting this trope as it turns out the more important relationship Ian had on Alexander's campaign was with a Persian Queen who seduced him, while the Alexander relationship is firmly restricted to innuendo and Susan being Shipper on Deck.
    • The Target Novelisation of "Power of the Daleks" goes out of its way to give Lesterson, who in the serial was Married to the Job and seems to display a mild sexual fascination with the Daleks if anything, a crush on Janley that he tries to ignore. It seems to be mostly there so Janley's beauty can be described through Lesterson's internal monologue.

     Live Action TV  
  • Chuck Bass of Gossip Girl is a Depraved Bisexual in the books, but is straight The Casanova in the TV series.
  • The NBC sitcom Love, Sidney made waves when it was first announced, as it would be the first major television show to feature an openly gay main character. However, the show later faced criticism from the gay community because aside from some very subtle Sub Text, Sidney's sexuality was never mentioned outside of the pilot.
  • ITV's Poirot (1989) and Marple (2004) make some of the exclusively straight cast members gay, for example in Five Little Pigs, The Body in the Library and Cards on the Table (in the latter it was done to at least three characters). In A Murder Is Announced, a subtle lesbian subtext in the original novel is made much more explicit.
  • Irene Adler, who is straight in the original Sherlock Holmes canon, is a self-professed lesbian in Sherlock, though she does suffer from If Its You Its Ok where Sherlock is concerned.
    • Sherlock Holmes himself is subject to this in practically every adaptation to date. In the original novels by Arthur Conan Doyle he is asexual and aromantic, but subsequent re-makes portray Holmes and Irene Adler sharing a mutual attraction, or even being outright love interests.
  • Xaro Xhoan Daxos, a Qartheen merchant prince from A Song of Ice and Fire is gay. Despite claiming to be in love with Daenerys and proposing several times to her, she can see right through him. The TV series, Game of Thrones, made him straight, black, and a widower. It also appears that aspects of his character from the books was transferred to the minor character the Spice King. This was also not a case of Hide Your Lesbians since the series has several other clearly gay characters (including making a relationship only hinted at in the books explicit).
  • In Pretty Little Liars, Emily Fields went from bisexual in the books to a lesbian in the television series, likely to avoid the Unfortunate Implications of the former, where she ends up with a guy.
  • Honorable mention: prior to Starz taking on co-production duties, the UK series Torchwood was farmed around to the Fox network. It was reported in the media that had a Fox series been made, the pansexual character of Captain Jack Harkness would have likely been rendered straight for the series. Not surprisingly, the Fox deal fell through and soon after not only did cable network Starz get the rights, but the subsequent season ramped the sexuality (and the gay aspects of Jack's character) Up to Eleven.
  • The ITV adaptation of Christopher Brookmyre's Quite Ugly One Morning turned gay police officer Jenny Dalziel into the (male) main character's love interest—an odd and unnecessary move, considering his actual love interest from the book wasn't even Adapted Out (though her role was significantly reduced).
  • Amanda from Lost in Austen gets Trapped in Book Land, specifically in Pride and Prejudice. Miss Caroline Bingley is a closeted lesbian in this version. (True, there are some Les Yay moments in the book when Caroline gushes about how perfect Miss Darcy is, but it's done mostly for Mr Darcy's benefit.) Her coming out to Amanda was triggered by Amanda's 'Sorry, I'm Gay' gambit on Bingley who found her refreshing and was hitting on her, but she shipped Bingley/Jane which is consistent with Jane Austen's pairing. Amanda wonders what Miss Austen would have thought and whether she had any idea who she had created in Caroline Bingley.
  • Once Upon a Time reimagines Mulan as a bisexual woman who is in love with Aurora.
  • Nyssa al Ghul (Nyssa Raatko in the original comics) is a lesbian in Arrow. More significantly, she was in a relationship with Black Canary. This would indicate that Canary is likely either bi or pansexual in the show, though the creators avoided putting an exact label on her sexual orientation. In the original comics, Black Canary is generally depicted as heterosexual and the longtime lover of Green Arrow, though longtime writer Gail Simone has confirmed that Canary is intended to be bisexual when she was writing her.

     Theater  
  • For the stage adaptation of High School Musical, Ryan was made gay.
  • A Very Potter Musical has the Scarf of Sexual Preference in addition to the Sorting Hat. Scarfy declares Harry to be metrosexual and Ron to be bi-curious.

     Webcomics 
  • In Arthur, King of Time and Space, Sir Kay (noted for his boorish behavior towards women in the original stories) is in a relationship with Bedivere in the contemporary and space arcs (in the baseline arc, he's still noted for his boorish behavior towards women, explaining in one Fourth Wall Breaking strip "Yeah, like we're going to be openly gay in the Middle Ages. We probably don't even realize ourselves.") And contemporary and space Tristram is still in the canonical relationship with Isolde ... only Tristram's female.

    Web Original 

     Web Video 
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a Setting Update of Pride and Prejudice. Colonel Fitzwilliam in the book likes Elizabeth a lot and flirts with her, which might make Mr Darcy a bit jealous. Fitz Williams in this vlog version is gay, and he and Lizzie become great friends. The authors did lots of changes for this adaptation (set in the modern-day USA, they had very diverse cast with Age Lifts and Race Lifts). Word of God claims that they didn't want to involve Fitz in any romantic plot lines and therefore decided to give him a boyfriend. It worked.

     Western Animation 
  • W.I.T.C.H.: Irma was straight in the original comics, but is made into a lesbian here. However, this is never brought up in the show and we only know this due to Word of Gay.
  • Young Justice depicts Beast Boy's mother Marie Logan as a lesbian. Unfortunately, it's only mentioned in the tie-in comic series and Word of Gay. The closest thing to a hint in the actual series is the fact that Marie apparently doesn't have a husband or boyfriend and was vulnerable to Queen Bee's mind control, which only happens to those who are attracted to women which was unfortunately how she died when Queen Bee used it between seasons to make Marie commit suicide.

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