They're extremely close in an ambiguous way! They're ambiguously gay!
A character may have no apparent interest in the opposite sex. They may live in a single-bedroom apartment with one of their "roommates". If the character is male, he may lisp more than someone missing two front teeth, have a limp wrist and an interest in fashion and musicals. He may be unusually fastidious
in dress and grooming. He may even profess a great knowledge of modern dance. Conversely, a female character may have a deep voice and an aggressive manner, dress in "unfeminine" clothes and play rough sports.
But nobody will ever come out
and discuss the character's sexuality.
Yes, the character is Ambiguously Gay
—they display many stereotypes associated with gays, but the "g" and "l" words are avoided entirely. Characters such as this are usually played entirely for laughs, with "hints" regarding their sexuality being portrayed as jokes in and of themselves. Often the victim of numerous instances of The Un Reveal
If the character is revealed, against all odds, to be one hundred percent straight, then they're a Camp Straight
. These characters are often played for laughs
, usually only for a single episode as a Running Gag
, but they can also be full-fledged recurring cast members as well. Lately, it has become somewhat popular to make the Ambiguous Gay a child or teenager, waving away the character's questionable sexuality as them still trying to figure it out - yet still playing their mannerisms for laughs.
Because of less restrictive rules of media and acceptance of homosexuality becoming more common, modern media (unless it's aimed at children) will be more likely to open the sexuality of their characters, making it a Broken Trope
. Don't expect this type of character to ever be the hero of a children's production, though you'll notice plenty of villains—and sometimes sidekicks—who wear their ambiguous sexuality on their sleeves.
Compare Hide Your Lesbians
, where the characters may not act
in a stereotypical manner, but their relationships are never outright stated or displayed (except maybe by Word of Gay
). The writers in charge of works focused on Heterosexual Life-Partners
may play around with this. Ambiguously Bi
is related, but occurs when a character displays interest in both sexes.
Also compare/contrast with Camp Straight
, Mistaken for Gay
, Transparent Closet
, and some types of Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?
, in which the character's dubious sexuality is much more openly questioned. Also compare Real Men Wear Pink
, where a character is very manly despite having one or two girly interests. Compare Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?
for when gay innuendo is used to define something supernatural, such as vampires or mutants. Contrast with Flying Under the Gaydar
and Straight Gay
of all romantic orientations, with their general lack of interest, often fall victim to it (and all its contingent repercussions). This trope is not synonymous with Ho Yay
; nor does the character ever need to be declared gay by the work's creator or creators
to fit the definition.