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 gay and lesbian people, 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
. 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 more than one gender.
Also compare/contrast with 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 but has 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
. If the character is revealed to be one hundred percent straight, then they're Camp Straight
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.
Examples without subpages
open/close all folders
- Early in With This Ring, whether or not the SI was attracted to Superboy, or just over-protective, was a point of debate.
- In the cracky Harry Potter & the Azkaban Parody Ginny Weasley, Seamus Finnegan, and a female OC House Elf are all potential Love Interests for Harry. The author promises that he "won't make [Harry] gay but he won't make him straight either."
- In the horror crossover fix, Scream For Me, Ghostface, is this, and an attempted rapist as well (to Michael, yes that Michael).
- The WWE tag team Billy & Chuck were ambiguously Manly Gay, from being spotted backstage oiling each other up and doing bizarre stretches, to their shiny red trunks and matching personalized headbands, to their boy-band entrance theme. This became less ambiguous when they planned a gay wedding, on television — and then became outright subverted when they stopped said gay wedding to declare that the whole thing was a publicity stunt, and they weren't really gay, just Heterosexual Life-Partners.
- Their manager Rico, who took their gimmick AND their theme song to whole new levels. The You Look So Good To Me theme has been used time and again in the WWE to mark a character as non-heteronormative. See Marella, Santino.
- Long before Billy & Chuck, WCW had Lenny and Lodi, who were very ambiguous about their "very close relationship" - until Executive Meddling from AOL T Ime Warner killed the angle, ending it with the revelation that they were brothers.
- While The Brooklyn Brawler's onscreen persona has always been a tough guy, an Urban Legend amongst longtime wrestling fans is that Steve Lombardi is gay, rumored to be in a relationship with Pat Patterson.
- During a D-Generation X run, Triple H and Shawn Michaels seemed to pass off as convincing Heterosexual Life-Partners at the very least. They only even somewhat pass because most viewers don't remember the original DX, where there was very little heterosexuality to be had, between Shawn kissing Hunter on national television numerous times and Hunter's infamous "bi" quote:
- The Fabulous Ones. They were a Mr. Fanservice team marketed to adult women as Playgirl-style sex symbols (as opposed to The Rock N Roll Express, who were a Tiger Beat team aimed toward teen girls), but some of their posed photos do seem to have a bit of Ho Yay in them.
- Goldust from the WWE, even though his homosexual overtones are primarily mind games he plays with his opponents. One notable example is his feud with Razor Ramon, where in one match he rubbed Ramon's chest and freaked him out.
- The New Generation.
- Layla El and Michelle are very close, and it was Layla who suggested they go to couple's therapy. And then there's Layla's blatant dry humping Kelly Kelly and Natalya on TV.
- Too Much had "Too Sexy" Brian Christopher and Scott "Too Hot" Taylor as tag team partners who were very concerned about each other's safety. Billy & Chuck's "wedding" angle was originally planned for Too Much, but was vetoed by Jerry Lawler (Brian Christopher's father) who was afraid his son's career would never recover. However, they found more success when the then-WWF repackaged them as the Pretty Fly for a White Guy team Too Cool, Grandmaster Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty and put them with Rikishi, and it got over much more than Too Much had.
- Round the Horne has Julian and Sandy: a couple of out-of-work actors, though they could turn their hand to anything. In one episode they were lawyers, leading to the glorious line "We've got a criminal practice that takes up most of our time." (At the time, homosexuality was still technically illegal in the UK.)
- Don't Fear The Dark has Lieutenant Starkey.
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged plays Zarbon's ambiguous sexuality for as many jokes as it can. Soon before his death however it is revealed, to the surprise of everyone, that he is completely straight, and in fact has a girlfriend.
- The Fantastic Favio Bros: Tony often acts as the foil to Favio. As such, while Favio is a Chivalrous Pervert, Tony is ambiguously gay. His Evil Twin, LeTony, also has traces of ambiguous sexuality.
- Nick and Beck of Theatre of Life fame. They do it on purpose.
- Coach Z of Homestar Runner was shown married to Bubs and has worn a skirt and hair curlers in two different toons. The only reason why he is ambiguous is because his sexuality is never mentioned. He's likely Ambiguously Bi due to his obsessive attraction to Marzipan.
- Barry 'The Blender' Henderson and Thomas 'The Tanker' Smythe of I Am Fighter both fit to some extent; Thomas frequently takes it to Squick levels.
- Look a Vlog has Will.
- Omega Zell from Noob is a reporter for a feminine channel in real life, cares for his avatar's appearance over anything else, is frequently forced into an Involuntary Dance and acts as if he has a crush on the game's (male) top player. His Yaoi Fangirl guildmate speculated he could be gay from day 1, but he has always denied it. Season 4 has him reveal that he's deliberately avoiding relationships with women to be able to focus on his dream of becoming the next top player of the game (that and he sort of hates them). However, neither the series creator nor the fans seem able to stop making jokes about him having a crush on any male character whose actor ends up in close proximity to him on "behind the scenes" photos.
- Chapter 21 of Psychronicles. Is it so hard to guess who?
- Red vs. Blue has Donut. In Season 1, he had been given pink armor ("It's not pink, it's lightish red!") and was your typical new recruit. In Season 2 (where this trope comes into play) he started using lotions, talking about his feelings, screaming like a woman, analysing dreams, and generally being as effeminate as possible while retaining some air of heterosexuality. The song "Donut: The Musical" from the Season 9 soundtrack is full double-entendres and similar sounding words (that the other Red members keep asking to repeat). In the show itself Donut stopped being ambiguous around Season 3.
Tucker: I don't think Santa's outfit is a biker's costume and a codpiece, Donut.
Donut: It was the best Christmas ever!
- The hosts of Spill, in their review of Beautiful Creatures, claim that upper-class, "posh" Southern accents come off as sounding like this.
- Jean-Armand (codename: Nephandus) of the Whateley Universe is obsessed with his looks and his hair and his clothes. Chaka refers to his standard outfits as a 'Merchant-Ivory wardrobe'. A mama's boy, although his mother is a notorious European supervillain called the Troll Bride. Carries a walking stick (although it's a weapon too). Even his friends in the Bad Seeds make jokes about his ambiguity.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
- Pegasus is an even stronger example of this trope than the original. He goes so far as to violently defend this image, as once the side characters find out that Pegasus had a wife, he knocks them unconscious with the words "I can't have people thinking I'm straight".
- Bakura, to the point where his own personalities can't agree on the issue.
Bakura: I'm not gay, I'm just British!
Yami Bakura: I'm not British, I'm just gay.
- Marik is either in a Transparent Closet or out and dating Yami Bakura, although it's less ambiguous and more Marik failing to even realise he's gay.
Marik: Oh, what, just because a guy likes to dress effeminately and hang around with another extremely attractive man and read yaoi and flaunt his gorgeous abs and stroke a phallic symbol suggestively in every other scene, that automatically makes him gay?!
- The writer of faith-based LGBT pride blog We are the Rainbow, Bess, has hinted at being a lesbian, but a recent blog post Lampshaded her ambiguous sexuality and choice not to reveal whether or not she is a lesbian.