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Often, especially in older works (to the extent that they are found in older works, of course), gay characters just aren't allowed happy endings. Even if they do end up having some kind of relationship, at least one half of the couple, often the one who was more aggressive in pursuing a relationship, thus "perverting" the other one, has to die at the end. Of course, it can also happen to gay characters who aren't in relationships, particularly if they're psycho lesbians or depraved homosexuals.
Nowadays, when opinions on sexuality are different, this justification will often be attempted via Too Good for This Sinful Earth. Sometimes it's because the Magical Queer has died in a Heroic Sacrifice so that the straights may live. "See, we didn't kill them off as a punishment or to avoid having them together, it was to point out how mankind isn't worthy!" Naturally, this is subject to Alternative Character Interpretation.
Also known as Dead Lesbian Syndrome. This trope can also be seen as a head-on collision between Sex Is Evil and All Gays Are Promiscuous.
See also Romantic Two-Girl Friendship and Bait-and-Switch Lesbians for the nicer way to let the ship down. If the characters' relationship is obscured, it drastically increases their chance of survival. (Note from the names of all three that they're most common for female couples. If you're a man, you're basically screwed.)
Please note that sometimes gay characters die in fiction because in fiction sometimes people die (this is particularly true of soldiers at war, where Sitch Sexuality and Anyone Can Die are both common tropes); this isn't an if-then correlation, and it's not always meant to "teach us something" or indicative of some prejudice on the part of the creator - particularly if it was written after 1960. The problem isn't when gay characters are killed off: the problem is when gay characters are killed off far more often than straight characters, or when they're killed off because they are gay. This trope therefore won't apply to a series where Anyone Can Die (and does), or a Cast Full of Gay.
Can be seen as Truth in Television in some cases, as gay and lesbian people are at a substantially higher risk for suicide and assault. And the fact that AIDS hit the gay male community most prominently provided potent fresh fuel for this long running trope (which, like many things about the eighties, still has an effect on more recent works). Not to mention that nothing communicates that "the wage of sin is death" quite like killing off your gay character.
Period fiction also needs to take into account the lack of understanding of gay characters, whereby depicting the death or murder of homosexuals may not reflect the views of the author but the social dynamics of the setting.
See also: Gayngst, Hide Your Lesbians.
As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.
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Hagino and Mari from Blue Drop are obviously not meant to be happy together, despite the whole series being about their growing relationship. When they finally confess their feelings for each other, Hagino dies in a Senseless Sacrifice.
And Hagino's race is a bunch of evil lesbians who invade Earth and prey on girls. The good one, though, died.
In Devilman Lady, when Jun's best friend/girlfriend Kazumi dies for no reason. This likely arose out of the changes from the Devilman Lady manga, where Asuka was Jun's lover. Also, Jun was older in the manga, being a schoolteacher instead of a model.
Compare the original Devilman, the ending of which had the hero Akira die at the hands of Ryo Asuka as a direct result of Foe Yay.
Probably parodied in episode 16 ("Take Back Love!") of Excel Saga, where both Ropponmatsus fall in love with Hyatt and Excel, respectively, and are destroyed by the end of the episode. They get better, but they don't like them anymore because they're no longer programmed to love the first person they see.
Franz d'Epinay, who was secretly and tragically in love with Albert de Morcerf in Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, sacrifices his life to save Albert's and to deliver what is ultimately the fatal blow to the Count.
For something as dark as Naru Taru, Norio has perhaps the most gruesome death out of all the characters.
Gundam 00 has Tieria, whose "love" interest, Lockon Stratos, was killed before anything could develop... although whether or not Lockon would have generally reciprocated ANY feelings of a significantly deep nature is highly debatable. Tieria himself later dies... and then his mind not only survives, but it's uploaded into the super-computer VEDA.
Also, in Special Edition 1, a very lightly hinted gay relationship is made explicit between Alejandro and Ribbons, who turn out to be the Big Bad of season 1 and 2 respectively. More exactly, Ribbons was a male Honey Trap and pretended to care for Alejandro, who was rather smitten with him... and then he kills him and takes over.
Honey Crush had a different take on this: the lesbian main character is killed off in the first chapter but brought back as a ghost and not precluded from still getting a happy ending, though she does go to Heaven in the final chapter after confessing to Kyouko, so it's still a Bittersweet Ending.
In Kannazuki no Miko Himeko and Chikane confess their love to each other. Chikane dies and gets erased from existence. Then, come The Stinger epilogue, Chikane subverts this trope, having kept her promise of not letting even the gods stop her from returning to Himeko. Crowd goes wild. In the manga version, however, they get reincarnated — as sisters, in reference to the Japanese legend that says Star-Crossed Lovers get reincarnated as twins.
Narrowly averted in Lupin III Angel Tactics. The "Bloody Angels" are a women's supremacy organization competing against Lupin and his gang. Out of the named characters in the organization, Bisexual Bifauxnen Lady Joe is the only one who survives. The (implied lesbian) women who died were clearly killed by the Protagonists in Self-Defense.
In Mai-HiME, Shizuru and Natsuki die at the end of their fight with each other, as a result of Natsuki using an attack that destroys both their Childs, killing each other, as they are each other's Most Important People. Subverted in that not only are they the last Himes to die, but they and everyone else get resurrected in the next episode.
Mimi and Sheshe of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch are killed in the second arc by their own employer. It's much worse for them in the manga, where they're eaten alive without warning, than in the anime, where their life force is simply absorbed after they rebel.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Kaworu chooses to die because he loves Shinji. Of course, all the relationships in Evangelion end badly, so Shinji and Kaworu's relationship is not unique here. It is unique in that Shinji has to kill him.
Rei Asaka/"Hana no Saint-Juste" in Oniisama e..., although in depends on which adaptation you are following: In the anime she dies suddenly in an accident just when it's beginning to look as though she and her love interest Nanako are getting a happy ending; in the manga, it's suicide after her other "love interest", her half-sister Fukiko, gives her a cruel "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
Depraved Homosexual Lain Brody in the manga Under Grand Hotel is shot to death in the first volume. Also subverted: the main character and his male lover escape life imprisonment and end up living on a tropical paradise.
Clari from the Violinist of Hameln (while the infatuation is only implied), he harbored a crush on Lute for most of his life, ending in said Love Interest dying twice.
X1999 has this at the core of the story. Kamui's mother Tohru and Fuuma and Kotori's mother Saya were lesbian lovers, but in order to save Tohru's life Saya and her Romantic Runner-Up Kyougo Monou agreed to get married, in order to take Tohru's place and "give birth" to the holy sword (read: explode into a bunch of bloody pieces). Tohru survived, but she took off with her son Kamui because she felt too guilty for this; later, she died by bursting into flames to protect Kamui or more exactly, by becoming a Human Sacrifice of sorts, burning herself up to slow the global warming.
A less sympathetic version is implied to be Captain Continental who was supposedly killed by Leonard after he cut his penis off as revenge for him raping Jonathan.
The main character from Claudine is a female-to-male transsexual. He takes his own life when it's all but stated that the Love Triangle between himself, his girlfriend Sirene and his brother Andre is not tipping towards him.
A transgender variant pops up in one chapter of He Said "I'm A Girl". Yuki makes a comment on how one of her friends was killed by her boyfriend after learning she was trans.
Said chapter is referenced to in Hourou Musuko very late into the story. The friend is actually alive and well, and is the owner of the gay bar Nitori works at. She's considerably pissed that Yuki stated she was both dead and ugly.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica appears to play this trope a couple of times, but ultimately subverts it. Mami suddenly dies after her Ship Tease moment with Madoka, and Kyoko brings about Together in Death for herself and Sayaka. But Homura's affection and dedication towards Madoka allows the latter to perform a Cosmic Retcon, bringing Mami and Kyoko back to life. Sayaka chooses to stay dead to preserve the wish she made for the guy she loves.
Marvel's Freedom Ring defied nearly all the gay stereotypes... other than the one about being allowed to live happily. Killed off within a month of Marvel E.I.C Joe Quesada touting him as the company's top gay hero. Word of God is that "Freedom Ring "was always planned as an inexperienced hero who would get beaten up constantly and probably die. I wanted to comment on the fact that most superheroes get their powers and are okay at it... and that's not how life works. During working on the book, I was also noticing that most gay characters... are all about being gay. Straight characters are well-rounded characters who like chicks. So I wanted to do a well-rounded character who just happened to like dudes. Then I decided to combine the two ideas." Oops. Robert Kirkman did apologize when he realized he had effectively killed off 20% of Marvel's gay male characters.
Moondragon's death in Marvel's Annihilation: Conquest series. Considering how many characters died in the series, what makes Moondragon's treatment notable was the sheer brutality of it. In Annihilation, Thanos kidnaps her, uses her as a hostage, rips her ear off, and presents the ear to her lover Phyla. She survives that series, but in Conquest she finds herself permanently turned into a dragon before ultimately dying in a Heroic Sacrifice to protect Phyla.
Moondragon eventually got better, but then Marvel went and killed Phyla off at the same time. And not only that but in the stupidest way possible. She dies not only off panel but her death gets one line from Gamora and no one other than Moondragon seems to care. And to make things worse, in the character files book tying in with the series one of the main characters actually states he thinks that her girlfriend being murdered will make Moondragon a better person.
In Salvation Run: Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, a... talking gorilla with a gun and a French accent and an immobile brain in a little chamber thing that allows him to talk. Mallah got into a fight with Gorilla Grodd after the latter was offended at the suggestion that they're at all similar. Despite being armed, Mallah lost, and was beaten to death with The Brain, who likewise expired. And that was the second time they died: the first was being blown to smithereens the instant they confessed their love for each other.
Accusations of this were thrown about when Northstar, Marvel's first hero to come out of the closet, got killed by a brainwashed Wolverine in Wolverine: Enemy of the State. It didn't help that he died from an attack that he could've easily dodged. It also didn't help that, the following month, he died in two separate Alternate Universe books (Age of Apocalypse and X-Men: The End) that were released in the same week. The main universe Northstar was resurrected the next issue, though, although he ended up Brainwashed and Crazy and only recently returned to normal.
There's also the fact that Northstar was originally going to die from... from AIDS. You see, he was gay, so of course he would have AIDS. Executive Meddling finally did something right by putting that one down before it saw print... Except instead of AIDS, Northstar just had some vague life-threatening ailment.
Which was then changed again to reveal that Northstar actually had elven blood, and that living in the mortal world away from the Fair Folk lands had given him a "wasting sickness." Peter David's disbelieving commentary on this in his "BUT I DIGRESS..." column: "So, Northstar's not gay — he's a FAIRY. Yeah, that's an improvement." This was retconned away rather quickly, as was the fatal illness.
For a few issues, it looked like this happened to Northstar again in Ultimate X-Men, after an overdose of a mutant drug apparently made his heart give out... but a few issues later, he turned up fully alive, just paralyzed from the waist down. In other words, he's alive, he just can't have sex. Oops.
Likewise, Marvel's The Order axed some superfluous characters in the first issue, but one of the two main characters to die by the end of the series was the lesbian Mulholland Black. That said, she was also the youngest and the most innocent, her gang history aside.
When it came out, Justice League: Cry for Justice seemed like one of the more queer-inclusive products DC was putting out - it had both Batwomanand Mikaal Tomas in the book's main superteam. Surprise! Mikaal's boyfriend is killed off for pathos's sake (offscreen), and obscure gay superhero the Tasmanian Devil is killed and skinned (again, offscreen) to set up the villain as a threat. Batwoman gets lucky by just disappearing from the series, and luckily had her own book planned that spared her from getting killed. In a prime example of "Oops, we done fucked up," James Robinson later resurrected Tasmanian Devil (via a Lazarus Pit), and it looked like he and Mikaal might get together at some point.
In Matt Wagner's Grendel series, bad-ass bodyguard and fighter Susan Veraghen is portrayed as a lesbian. Her first lover abandons her. Her next lover is killed. Her next lover abandons her and then is killed. Veraghan herself lives to a ripe old age, but becomes True Companions with the male Grendel Prime, which is implied to be too intense a non-sexual relationship for her to fall in romantic love again.
Knockout, one of the bad guys in DC's fantastic Secret Six died essentially offscreen between the first mini-series and the ongoing comic. Her lover Scandal Savage is left devastated although thankfully not insane or any more evil than before. Knockout was a "New God" and killed off with the rest in the Final Crisis arc, so it gets a pass as her death didn't come off like such an afterthought within the confines of someone else's comic book or because of her lesbian relationship, and the writer, Gail Simone, was not happy that the character had to die. It also helps that in the finale of Secret Six they go to Hell and get Knockout back.
Terry Moore's various series often deal with human sexuality in a mature and intelligent fashion, exploring what might force a person to reassess their self-identification and what impact societal pressures and expectations have on human desires, but when Echo needs to show its villain beginning to lose his grasp on his sanity and begin to break down he, of course, kills his boyfriend to keep him from leaving.
After writer Peter David brought Rictor and Shatterstar together, many people guessed that he'd kill one or both of them off, to which he responded that he was aware of this trope and would purposefully avoid it.
An unintentional example, one can't help but think this with Rotor's brutal torture (and his significant other Cobar's implied death) shortly after their Word of Gay reveal in the Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog story "Mobius: 25 Years Later". The fact that writers Ian Flynn and Ken Penders (the one who wrote the torture and revealed the Word of Gay, respectively) are at odds about each other's writings, and the former's denouncement of the Word of Gay as "irrelevant" years earlier, didn't help matters any.
It's suggested that John Reddear from The Tamakis' Skim was in love with another boy from his Catholic school and is part of the reason he committed suicide at the start of the story.
This is used in the original Watchmen comic to deconstruct ideas about homosexuality in Golden Age comics. A lesbian superhero, Silhouette, is outed and thrown out of her group, then murdered alongside her lover. The killer was punishing them for their sexual orientation, but it was more that, had she retained her identity and the support of her teammates, she would have been safe. In an interview, Silk Spectre comments that two of the other superheroes (heavily implied to be Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice) were understood by their teammates to be homosexual and nobody cared so long as they stayed in the closet and weren't caught.
In Before Watchmen: Minutemen, the Silhouette and Gretchen, pictured, are hunted down by the Liquidator and killed, partly because of their orientation, partly because she stood against him so often. Then Hooded Justice was killed by accident because the killer thought he was a ruthless child-murderer as the Comedian had framed him as one.
This is a plot point in Sandman Mystery Theatre. In The Phantom of the Fair, a a serial killer suffering from either schizophrenia or multiple personalities lures unsuspecting gay men, kidnaps them, then tortures them while dressed in a gimp suit. He then leaves the bodies in the Worlds Fair, in places where anyone and everyone can see them until the police get them removed.
In Empowered, Mind*@%! dies; while her erstwhile girlfriend Sistah Spooky blew up her superheroic careernote (even presuming that her powers are intact and she can restore her arm) in a suicidal plan to rescue or ransom her from Hell.
Subverted in Birds of Prey, where one of the later arcs looked like it was playing this straight, seemingly killing off both Savant and Creote, two of the Birds' allies who were both in love with each other but hadn't gotten around to saying it. It turns out to be part of a plan to corner Oracle as Savant, who's suffering constant mental agony, plans to commit suicide and force her to watch. Creote had promised to help him die to put an end to his mental issues, but Oracle's able to convince them both to live. It's somewhat notable as this drew ire from the LGBT community, who had previously held the writer, Gail Simone, to Creator Worship levels, and the amount of backlash she got as a result of angry fans who didn't wait until the story had wrapped up lead to her leaving previous community sites she heavily contributed to.
In a similar subversion, there was the Civil War: Runaways/Young Avengers team-up, where the Warden of the Cube has the brainwashed Noh-Var sent to bring in the Runaways. Being a super-powerful Kree Super Soldier, he's able to take down most of the team, and starts the fight by attacking Xavin, Karolina, Wiccan, and Hulkling first and disabling each of them in a single hit, snapping Xavin's neck in doing so and seemingly killing them, while their body and the other three are taken to the Cube to be tortured. This gets kinda iffy, however, as Karolina is a lesbian, Xavin is her lover who's gender fluid (though during the story was taking the form of male), and Wiccan and Hulkling are one of Marvel's most prominent gay couples. While they all make it out alive, we are treated to a disturbing scene of Wiccan being forced to watch Teddy get cut up and vivisected while unable to do anything to stop it.
Unfortunately, in "Blood and Fire", an episode of Star Trek: Phase II. Kirk's redshirt nephew Peter is deeply in love with medical tech Alex Freeman, and the two plan to marry. (Everyone charmingly takes this for granted.) Alex ends up the last person alive on a doomed research ship, killing himself seconds before the Regulan bloodworms get to him. This was probably supposed to be reminiscent of Robert Tomlinson and Angela Martine in the TOS episode "Balance of Terror".
In one of the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf mini-stories titled "Why Can't It Be Love", Mother Nature informs Empath that even she has to deal with creatures that can't be permitted to love anyone but the opposite sex.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls in some way subverted this trope. Though the lesbian couple in the film were not the only ones to die in the show, their fate was specifically mentioned in the sarcastic voice-over ending as not being based around the fact that their relationship was in any way evil. Of course, they also weren't the only people to die, just the only ones for whom it wasn't supposed to be a consequence or punishment of their wrongdoing according to that monologue.
There's a montage in the documentary The Celluloid Closet (a history of homosexual depictions in film up through the early 1990s) of a litany of gay/lesbian characters either dying or being Depraved Homosexuals or (most often) both.
In The Fox lesbian Jill is killed and her girlfriend runs off with a man.
Jack from Four Brothers, maybe. In a deleted scene, his older brother Bobby joked about him being gay. Bobby went as low as making fun of his tongue ring.
In Prey for Rock & Roll, Faith, the one half of the prominent lesbian couple in that movie, is hit by a car and killed when two punks try to take her guitar.
Happened to Mrs. Danvers in the Hitchcock film Rebecca, though this wasn't the case in the original book.
Land of the Dead features an incredibly gratuitous scene, even considering some of what happens in the rest of the film, where two women are passionately making out until one of them is pulled through the wall by a bunch of zombies.
Subverted in the 1931 film Mädchen in Uniform (Girls in Uniform), which ends with a lesbian teenager's class mates preventing her suicide. The original stage play, Gestern und heute by Christa Winsloe, ends less happily, thus fitting the trope. Interestingly, in the real life incident Winsloe based the story on, the girl did jump, but survived.
The 1919 German film Anders als die Andern (Different from the Others) used this trope to a much better effect than Brokeback Mountain, because it was genuinely trying to educate the public about the senseless persecution of gays and included real life sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld giving a lecture that homosexuality was completely natural. That said, the main character still gets thrown out of school, loses all of his clients, is blackmailed and eventually commits suicide.
A Single Man: George's partner of sixteen years dies in a car accident eight months before the start of the film. By the end of the story, George himself dies due to a heart-attack, right after an epiphany which stopped him from committing suicide out of unsustainable grief. He was so busy preparing for his death that day that he forgot to take the heart medicine keeping him alive. It's all pretty tragic, really.
Ode To Billy Joe: Many people remember the sixties hit song "Ode To Billy Joe," about a young man who kills himself by jumping off the Tallahatchee Bridge, for reasons unknown. What few people remember is that in 1976, Hollywood decided to make a movie of the song that would explain exactly why Billy Joe jumped. Turns out it was the gayngst.
Braveheart has the prince's male lover being murdered by King Edward by throwing said lover out a tall window right in front of the prince. In real life, Gaveston was Prince Edward's favorite, but it's not known with certainty that they were lovers. Gaveston was eventually captured and executed, but not the same way, and it had more to do with Edward's favoritism than explicitly with homosexuality.
In the fantasy-horror Warlock, the main character's gay roommate is killed off quite early and in brutal fashion by the Warlock.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Gay Perry is shot, and barfs blood and keels over dead. But then he miraculously comes back, and it's HEAVILY lampshaded.
"Boy" Barrett's suicide in Victim (1961). As in Brokeback Mountain, it's the guy who's more open about his sexuality who has to die. In a common working of the trope, he dies to protect the man he loves: knowing he'll be questioned by police, he hangs himself in his prison cell to avoid revealing a distinguished lawyer's involvement with him.
In The Wild Geese the openly gay guy is given a heroic death (quipping about his sexuality all the way). As the film is one of those 'one last mission' ones you could possibly say the trope was averted or subverted, there was certainly no hint that it was because of his sexuality (i.e., it wasn't a 'punishment' death).
In Nous étions un seul homme (We Were One Man), a German soldier on the run in occupied France and a French peasant he meets fall in love. The soldier is caught. The peasant, who's a little crazy, shoots him and, carrying the body, gets into a hole in the ground where he puts dead things so they can grow again.
Le temps qui reste (Time to Leave) is about a promiscuous, selfish gay fashion photographer dying of cancer.
In Gerard Blain's Les Amis, about an intergenerational gay relationship, the older man is killed in a car crash. Blain, however, maintained that he dies not because of his homosexuality but because it's his destiny.
Right at the end of L.I.E., pederast Big John is shot dead by a jealous boyfriend who thinks he's been replaced by a younger model.
In Smukke Dreng (Pretty Boy), a 13-year-old boy has a relationship with an astronomy professor who kicks him out when the professor's girlfriend comes home. The boy ends up semi-accidentally killing the man by throwing a rock at his head, sending him on a long fall.
Subverted in Trevor. 13-year-old Trevor attempts suicide over his homosexuality but recovers in hospital, where he meets a cute, friendly candy-striper, Jack, who offers him tickets to a Diana Ross concert. Trevor decides to live — at least "until tomorrow" — and dances up the path to his house.
In Ma Vie En Rose, the protagonist, a gender-variant seven-year-old whose gender variance causes her a lot of trouble, attempts suicide by shutting herself up in the family's garage freezer, but is rescued by her mother.
In the documentary The Lavender Lens: 100 Years of Celluloid Queers, there's a very striking montage towards the end of gay accidental death, murder and suicide scenes from various films, set to 'Another One Bites the Dust'. The film ends with a Bugs Bunny clip in which Bugs is suspected dead but revives and runs off wearing a tutu.
Martineau in Another Country gets caught during some guy-on-guy action and a few minutes later (in the film) he offs himself. In a church, of all places.
In Bent, it is a movie about two gay men in a concentration camp during the holocaust. Use your imagination.
Cruising is also a serial killer stalking New York City's gay leather subculture, and Al Pacino going undercover to stop this. In contrast to the acres of dead sexually active perverts, Al's neighbor, Ted, is offered up as a contrast - he has a steady boyfriend and hates the idea of cruising. And he dies, too. Not surprisingly, this film was protested by many people in the gay community during filming.
Freebie and the Bean, a buddy cop film from the 70's, features a beautiful blond crossdressing antagonist played by Christopher Morley. He is shot to death in a particularly drawn-out and gory scene by James Caan's character.
More so in the film than in the book Cloud Atlas: Both the gay/bisexual characters do not make it to the end of their respective stories, while almost everyone else gets a happy ending (with the exception of the Sonmi storyline). In the book, the endings are somewhat more ambiguous, but it still counts.
Averted completely in Tell No One; neither of the gay characters, Anne and Helene, die, or are under any threat.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Graham dies almost immediately after he locates his long-lost lover. Yes, the cast is elderly and he had a heart condition, but none of the other cast members exits the hotel this way, and in fact the residents who don't go back home get new leases on life by living there.
Victim both plays the trope straight and averts it. The plot's set in motion when a gay character, having been blackmailed by criminals and sought by police, kills himself. But the protagonist, closeted barrister Melville Farr, not only fights the blackmailers despite the risk to his reputation, but manages to survive the movie.
Colonel Redl. The protagonist (an Austrian intelligence officer) is both gay and compromised as a spy, so he's Driven to Suicide by his superiors. Since Redl was a real person, this one's at least Truth in Television.
In The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, the handsome young male lover of Arthur Geiger, Carol Lundgren, is perceived as a Sissy Villain by the Private Detective Philip Marlowe, who decisively beats Carol in a scuffle before arresting him. Arthur Geiger dies and Carol gets locked away for homicide, leaving both characters fairly well buried
In Half World by Hiromi Goto, Ms. Wei's lover Nora Stein was killed in a burglary before the book begins. Ms. Wei is almost Driven to Suicide but decides not to jump in front of a car because she doesn't want to cause the driver trouble.
Gone: Averted, all LGBT characters cross the finish line in the end. Dekka does it with her heart broken. It is implied that there is hope for her in the future, and that her life is getting better, but it still ends on a rather bitter note for her.
Older Than Feudalism: Although the story of Sodom was probably originally about the treatment of guests (read: don't gang rape them), Jewish authors were already reading it as against homosexuality around 100 BCE. When things started to get worse for homosexuals and bisexuals in Europe in the 13th and 14th century, Sodom narratives became more common. The first known in English is Cleanness by the Pearl-Poet (author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight), which includes a full description of the destruction of Sodom for homosexuality, complete with fiery dogs, and a lifeless sea and ash-filled fruit to symbolize sterility.
In The Qur'an, The story is the same and homosexuality is clearly stated as the reason why Sodom was doomed. 7: 80-81 "And [We had sent] Lot when he said to his people, "Do you commit such immorality as no one has preceded you with from among the worlds? Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people.""
James Baldwin's feel bad classic, Giovanni's Room is a stunning example. The novel is narrated by a sexually confused young man who is counting the hours before his lover is executed.
Les Misérables may feature this trope: there's references to possible historical and mythological homosexuals in the scenes featuring Enjolras and Grantaire, and they eventually die together, hand in hand, in "Orestes Sober and Pylades Drunk". However, there is no confirmation of either person's sexuality, and none of the heterosexual students survive either, except a protagonist, Marius.
In Voltaire's Candide, the Baron's son is heavily implied to be gay, and he's the only one of the recurring characters who at the end is shipped off to be a galley slave. He is a complete Ungrateful Bastard, and that's why the protagonists ship him off, not his homosexuality.
Partially subverted in China Miéville's Iron Council: Cutter, who is gay, is one of the few characters to survive but his on-off boyfriend Judah is shot in one of the final scenes.
Robin Hobb's The Rain Wild Chronicles series averts this; Sedric and Carson seem to be on their way to a happy ending.
In Ken Follett's "Winter of the World", book two of The Century Trilogy, Chuck Dewar, who is gay, is killed at the battle of Guadalcanal.
For all of the death and destruction that happens in Warhammer 40,000, this trope is oddly enough subverted during the Ciaphas Cain novels. Magot and Grifen, the lesbian couple, are pretty much hinted at being the only actual couple with names to survive long enough to see retirement aside from Cain and Amberley. Indeed, it is their relationship that's the main reason that they make it away from the Necrons without a major mental breakdown, which actually impresses Cain a bit, saying that he wishes there were more soldiers like them in the Imperial Guard.
Similar to the 40k example, Jame and her spouse Cathie in the first Alien vs. Predator novel are among the few characters to make it to the end, some of the only named ones, and are actually among the nicest and most sympathetic characters in it. Their relationship is a bit more subtle in the comics though.
More like non-existent. Jame was a tertiary character at best with only two notable appearances and no character development. Her lesbian marriage was pretty much wholly an invention of the novel adaptation of the original comic mini-series.
C.J.L. Almquist's The Queen's Tiara, which is set in Sweden in 1792, has Tintomara, who pretty much personifies Attractive Bent-Gender. Two sisters and their respective suitors fall in love with her, the men thinking she's a woman, the girls convinced that she's male (at least initially). The men fight a Duel to the Death over her, the sisters go insane, and Tintomara herself is eventually killed for her refusal to pick a gender role and stick with it.
In Clive Barker's Imajica, a fantasy novel by British horror author Clive Barker (published in 1991), a subplot introduces an openly gay male couple who are friends of the Christ-like protagonist Gentle. One of the gay men, Taylor Briggs, dies of AIDS near the beginning of the story, while his partner Clem survives and goes on to help the protagonist. It is mentioned in passing that both men were in a lot of open relationships during the 1970s and "slept around" a lot, back before HIV became public knowledge; but only Taylor, the party animal, contracted HIV while his partner was plain lucky and never did, something for which Clem feels Survivor Guilt. Subverted Trope in that both men had been lovers for a long time and their love and relationship are depicted in a very positive light. Later on, Taylor returns as a ghost and reunites with Clem. At the end of the story, after the Reconciliation of all five realms, when all the souls of the dead of Earth and the other four Dominions are free to travel on to... somewhere else, before he departs Taylor asks his lover not to forget him but to go on with his life.
In The Golden Compass there is Balthamos's death, six other characters on the protagonists' side had died in the series, most of them fairly major characters. Note that angels are made of Dust, the sentient particle; a common theme of the third book is that dead people's souls reunite with their loved ones, daemons or other people, once their Dust particles spread across the universes, after getting out of the underworld for humans of course. Having this in consideration, maybe Balthamos and Baruch had a happy ending after all. The Angels in this universe have no sex and thus not really gay, introducing an interesting twist.
Subverted in Mary Renault's The Charioteer - the main character believes Ralph is about to commit suicide, but manages to interfere in time, resulting in a relatively happy ending. Considering the book was published in 1953, when homosexuality was still illegal in the UK, this came as a genuine surprise.
The Front Runner, while being one of the first modern novels to treat gays as people, still follows this trope.
The Picture of Dorian Gray, in which the two main characters (Basil Hallward and Dorian Grey) are heavily implied to be gay or bisexual, ends up with two of them dead, one murdered by the other. The other later effectively committed suicide. This may be a reflection of the difficulties of being a gay man in Victorian England, though (Wilde himself eventually died in poverty after being imprisoned for "gross obscenity", i.e. having sex with men).
Kiss of the Spider Woman, in which the gay protagonist demonstrates his new-found bravery by accepting a suicide mission to pass a message to political revolutionaries.
The first — and so far only — plainly gay characters in R.A. Salvatore's The Dark Elf Trilogy were... pirates. Lesbian pirates (bisexual in the case of one). At least they're properly pirate-y, not just Fanservice, though that makes them bad guys. But guess what? All the gay ones die, Going Down with the Ship as it were. The bisexual one, who also happens to have maintained a male lover she coerced into working for the pirates, is a sorceress and manages to escape with him after he talks her into doing the right thing.
Margaret in Affinity intends to take her life at the end of the story. The TV adaptation explicitly shows her jumping into the Thames.
The Book of Lost Things features the knight Roland, who is trying to find out what happened to his lost lover, Raphael. He is, of course, dead. Roland ends up dying as well, once he finds out what happened.
In Fritz Peters's Finistère Michel drowns at the end, probably intending to die though this is only hinted at. When the book was published — in the early '50s — the tragic-conclusion trope was still de rigueur.
Carol Plum-Ucci's What Happened to Lani Garver is built around this trope, although it's justified in that one of the major themes of the book is to bring attention to homophobic hate crimes. Also, it's strongly implied that Lani is actually an angel, which may change things a bit.
Perry Moore wrote his young adult novel Hero as a response to the use of this trope in superhero comics. There are several gay characters and several characters who die, but no overlap.
Subverted in Captain Corelli's Mandolin. The gay character Carlo survives a horrific campaign in Albania while the heterosexual man whom Carlo secretly loves dies in his arms. Carlo is later killed in the Cephallonia massacre, but (as with the real-life historical event) every single one of the other Italian soldiers dies with him except the Captain.
Josif, who is bisexual, marries female Kyaren; they have a happy marriage except he warns her that he's attracted to the inhumanly gorgeous male protagonist, Ansset. She tells him that that's fine, she doesn't mind if he sleeps with Ansset; but he still continues to worry about it. Ansset and Josif do end up getting together. Unfortunately, treatments Ansset received as a boy soprano, to delay puberty, cause a weird chemical reaction, making sex intolerantly painful. Josif is hunted down and castrated as punishment for "raping" Ansset. Josif then dies. His wife remarries the next day and in the epilogue is said to be much happier in this more peaceful relationship. Subtle, Card, subtle.
He tries to justify himself in this essay, which only made things worse.
Orson Scott Card may have been heavily influenced by Mary Renault's The Persian Boy; Bagoas cannot allow himself to feel desire because it causes him to re-experience the agony of his castration. Only with Alexander, whom he really loves, is he able to climax without pain.
Hal Duncan's The Book of All Hours duology has the gay character Thomas "Puck" Messenger get murdered early on in the first book, leaving behind his lover Jack... and dies again and again across the multiverse, to the point that one version of Puck and Jack find a tomb full of hundreds if not thousands of dead versions of Puck. Puck's treatment is a harsh criticism of this trope from Duncan (as well as upon real-world anti-gay violence, specifically the murder of Matthew Shepard), who is very outspoken about gay rights, and several versions of Jack manage to save their Pucks in the end.
A plot point in Darkship Thieves. Max kept his orientation a secret, so his identity thief doesn't realize he's given himself away by ignoring the lover, Nat. Still, the book ends with one gay man dead and the other consumed by his need for revenge.
Teenaged Harold's heroic death in The Garden God (1905). He dies saving his friend/lover's life; it's implied that this wipes out the 'sin' of his previous homosexual acts.
Der Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice) (1912). Aschenbach expires on the beach, gazing at Tadzio.
Alexandre's suicide in Les amitiés particulières (Special Friendships) (1943) after being cruelly separated from his boyfriend by hypocritically-moralising priests. Alexandre is 12.
Ashley's suicide over his homosexuality in Lord Dismiss Us (1967).
Pippa (of Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy) dies at the end of the first book, leading to her gradually turning into a monster in the realms before she is Killed Off for Real in the third book. However, the trope is subverted, as the series does not shine a negative light on homosexual relationships, and the reader only finds out she and Felicity were in love after Pippa dies the first time.
Played with in the House of Night series, which portrays gay relationships positively (if unrealistically/stereotypically). Jack is killed by Neferet as a sacrifice to Darkness, since he is a "pure" soul. While this is completely against the homosexuality = sin mentality of many of the other examples of this trope, it still prevents Jack and his boyfriend Damien from getting a happy ending.
Rosemary Sutcliff wrote historical novels stuffed full of homeoeroticism but had only three explicitly gay characters. All three are minor.
One, in Blood and Sand, is a villain who sleeps with young slave-boys and whom you never actually meet.
The other two, in Sword at Sunset, are heroic warriors whose love inspires them to greater heroism. However, one of them dies nobly in battle, whereat the other feels suicidal and ends up dying too, saving everybody's life in the process. Mind you, this was published in 1963.
In The Flowers of Adonis (1969), the otherwise heterosexual Arcadius falls in love with fellow soldier, who immediately dies off-screen between that scene and the next.
10-year-old Serge's suicide in Quand mourut Jonathan (When Jonathan Died). Serge's mother decides to keep him away from his adult lover, Jonathan. Serge runs away to go to Jonathan, but on the way realises he'll never make it and jumps in front of a car.
13-year-old Manuela's suicide in Das Kind Manuela after being punished for declaring her love for a female teacher and told she can't see the teacher again. In the film, Mädchen in Uniform, she's rescued while preparing to kill herself.
In Ursula Zilinsky's Middle Ground, Johannes von Svestrom's lover Gabriel is killed in a burning tank and Svestrom acquires a death wish, which only ends up winning him a lot of medals for bravery in combat. Svestrom intends shooting himself until he meets and loves Tyl von Pankow, Gabriel's nephew. The end of the book is ostensibly happy, with Tyl going to Svestrom, but you never see him arrive and he's been told that he has a 'short life-line' on his palm.
In David Blaize, the titular character very nearly suffers a death like that of Harold in The Garden God, jumping at a runaway horse in an act of self-sacrifice. However, he survives, and the accident is basically an excuse to bring his older boyfriend, who's gone away to university, back to his side.
In Tout contre Léo (Close to Leo), Leo is very young, gay and dying of AIDS. The book is told from the point of view of his little brother Marcel.
In the Left Behind book series, closet lesbian and Straw Feminist Verna Zee gets killed by the Wrath Of The Lamb earthquake in the book Nicolae, though there were Christians that died in the earthquake as well, including the New Hope Village Church secretary Loretta and parishioners Donny and Sondra Moore, none of which were gay. In the prequel novels, the Antichrist villain Nicolae Carpathia has his two biological fathers, who were both gay, killed off.
In Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, the lesbian Raina dies from a magical plague in Richard's arms while her lover is trying to find a way to save her. They have time to say they love each other before she dies.
In Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, Esther's friend Joan is gay, or at least bisexual. That plus various other life stresses lead to her coming to the same hospital as Esther. She later hangs herself. But Esther describes other lesbians, like the famous woman poet at her college, who are "weird," but doing all right.
In Ian Fleming's novel Goldfinger, Pussy Galore gets boned by James Bond, switches to the straight path and lives. Another woman who falls in love with her stays gay and is contemptuously killed off near the end of the book.
Given that it's about AIDS in the gay population in the eighties, Never Wipe Tears Without Gloves features this trope. It also averts it with some characters.
In The Last Werewolf, Harley, Jake's gay familiar, is Stuffed into the Fridge very early on. However, it's worth noting that Everyone Is Bi unless explicitly proven otherwise, and the trilogy's bisexual characters have a better survival rate. Bury Your Monosexuals, perhaps?
Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter's The Long Earth: The end of Book 1 ends with nuclear fallout rendering the city of Datum Madison uninhabitable. Book 2 picks up ten years later, and there's no prizes for guessing which character is dying of radiation poisoning - Monica Jansson, the series's only openly gay character. Possibly Justified in that she exceeded the amount of time she was supposed to spend working Search and Rescue, but it's implied that so did Joshua and Sally, neither of whom are shown suffering any ill effects.
Both parodied and subverted in Patrick Senecal's much Darker and Edgier version of Alice in Wonderland, Aliss. Bone and Chair, the novel's stand-ins for the Mad Hatter and the March Hare, are a long-established gay couple who also serve as The Dragon to the Red Queen. They're alive and well at novel's end, but are responsible for killing off several other characters along the way. If they appear on your doorstep, then it's likely you who are about to be buried.
In Veronica Roth's Divergent series, secondary character Lynn reveals she's gay the moment before she croaks.
In Beth Revis's A Million Suns, Elder's second and third in command are implied to be lovers. One gets murdered with Phylus patches and the other gets sucked into space.
Jezebels -some of who are lesbian- are prostitutes for Commanders and their friends, performing as Fanservice, and are sent to the Colonies once their usefulness for sex is over, as the Unwomennote Women -of whom some are lesbian- who are incapable of social integration within the Republic's strict gender divisions..
Downplayed in Coda. Scope is killed at the end of the book, but it was by one of the Corp.
In Christian Nation, Sanjay, who is portrayed as gay, is killed in a televised stoning. Also a gay Buddhist monk immolates himself during a public protest, and a gay married couple is executed during a wedding. The bombing of the Castro (a gay neighborhood in San Francisco) during the Civil War, which the Fox News successor channel known as "the F3" and evangelical leaders celebrated as being "divine justice", ended up turning America into a pariah in the eyes of the world.
In Robert Anton Wilson's The Historical Illuminatus II - The Widow's Son, Edward Babcock lives through Hell at Eton when the School launches a witch-hunt to find and detect actively gay pupils. Wilson describes a Gestapo-like interrogation of all pupils who are called, one by one, in front of a panel of teachers and urged to confess to the cardinal and disgusting sin of sodomy, so that they can repent and their souls may be saved before God. Knowing to confess to being gay means expulsion, disgrace, and lifelong ostracism, Babcock bluffs and lies his way out of it, although he is both frightened and intimidated. After the first flush of elation at having successfully lied to his teachers, he is pulled up cold by the appalling realisation his lover is yet to be questioned. As the boys are being called in by alphabetical order, he realises Geoffrey Wildeblood will have a long agonising wait... eventually he discovers Geoffrey has fled the school and has killed himself, rather than face shame and disgrace.
Live Action TV
For a series that has been praised for its portrayal and inclusion of gay characters and themes, True Blood does fall victim to this trope.
While the majority of the series's vampires are Ambiguously Gay or flamingly bisexual, the only strictly gay vampire, Eddie Fournier, was kidnapped and staked to death by Jason's psycho girlfriend.
And then there was Lafayette's boyfriend Jesus. Their romance was surprisingly genuine, but apart from a few kisses and laying in bed together they weren't shown "in action" like most in-series couples. And then Lafayette was possessed by a psycho witch and was forced to stab Jesus to death. Though it did avert the trope a teeny bit by keeping Lafayette alive at the start of the second season. The book actually killed him.
Largely averted in the series Will and Grace. All of the characters, including the flamboyantly gay Jack and title character Will (also homosexual), go on to live long, comfortable lives (as shown in the final episode). The only person who died was Karen's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Beverley Leslie, who hooked up with Jack long enough to will him his entire fortune.
The Lexx episode "Nook" had Brother Trager admit that he was in love with Stanley. This is on a planet populated by all men, but he's the only one who specifically states an attraction. He is later killed in an attempt to frame the crew for murder. Even on a Sadist Show known for a dark tone, this was a heartwarming moment because he was genuinely a good guy and moved Stan to show genuine regret that he couldn't return Trager's affections.
In the original book and movie of The Andromeda Strain, Dr. Hall is straight and lives. In the 2008 miniseries adaptation, he is replaced by Major Keane, who is gay and dies. Draw your own conclusions.
Babylon 5, which rather unsubtly implies a certain sapphic essence to the relationship between Talia and Susan, doesn't really go all the way to acknowledging that they sleep together until the episode in which Talia's personality is wiped, which is called "death". But had the actress playing Talia not left the show, Kosh had plans to make it better.
Gaeta was revealed as bisexual, and he had a very unfortunate experience with a Cylon that ended up pushing him over the edge into a full-blown insurrection against Adama and his proposed Alliance with a dissident element of the Cylons. For his part in the attempted coup, he was executed. All in the span of four episodes. Although in this case the Cylon relationship was heterosexual and his homosexual relationship was the nice one.
Hoshi, on the other hand, not only survived but was made Admiral during Adama's suicide mission of rescuing Hera.
Admiral Cain's death. According to the DVD Commentary for "Pegasus" this was not intentional. When Michelle Forbes read the line "She ate at our table..." she gave it an extra personal touch that the producers decided to build on in "Razor".
The Bill. Lance Powell, murdered. Juliet Becker, murdered. Luke Ashton, large scale-heartbreak. Gemma Osbourne, suffers GBH. Thankfully, Paul Marquess has gone...
Bramwell: Frederick, who was initially the Wholesome Crossdresser, gets hit by a carriage, gets his throat torn open with a smashed bottle by a drunken Thrift patient, gets sent away to a religious institution and then dies of infection. The religious institution seems to subvert its own trope somewhat with the master being portrayed, if not truly sympathetically, then certainly as permitting a last reconciliation between Frederick and Charles Sheldon without intruding on their private grief. The master delivers a powerful sermon on forgiveness, which is a powerful bit of writing in its own right and averts the straw fundamentalist stereotype quite significantly.
In the episode "Forever Blue", the cop who calls him and his partner 'the lucky ones', tells his father that he is a man, and all but admits that he's in love with said partner is the one who's killed. Meanwhile, his partner, who in present day, still insists until near the end of the episode that he isn't gay (and to add insult to death, claims his partner also wasn't 'like that') is the one who lives. He lived because he broke things off the night they were supposed to go patrolling together.
In "Best Friends", a butch lesbian dies and her girlfriend lives after they try to commit suicide by driving off a bridge, while being chased by her homophobic brother.
Another episode featured elements of this trope being applied, not to gays, but to the deaf. A student at a deaf school has a massive falling-out with his parents and friends over his attraction to a non-deaf teaching assistant, and is murdered by his roommate when he acquires a cochlear implant, making the proudly-deaf roommate feel abandoned and betrayed.
The worst thing about the first season of Damages was Ray's plot, which looked horribly reminiscent of one of those would-be sympathetic 1950s/60s films confronting the Homosexual Problem, in which gay people are tragic victims of a terrible burden but still suffer perpetual torment and death. It would have been less unfortunate if he hadn't been the only identified gay character in the show ever (as of the end of S3), and if his relationship with Peter Facinelli hadn't been portrayed, up until the non-kiss, as very much a romantic affair. Until the non-kiss, the show strongly implied that they were in a relationship or at least mutually attracted.
Dark Angel. Original Cindy's one serious girlfriend onscreen, Diamond, dies of being used as a disease lab rat. At least she took her murderer with her. Original Cindy herself survived, however.
Dirty Sexy Money killed off its transsexual character Carmelita, who was played by real life transexual Candis Cayne. Making it even worse was that the show had just been canceled, giving the impression that they just had to get that death in before it was over. Viewers had had their eyes on the show right from the start as well, as in the pilot episode Cayne's voice was digitally lowered an octave. Word of God explained that Cayne is so convincing as a woman that they were afraid the audience wouldn't get that the character used to be a man.
Downton Abbey subverts this. Originally Thomas, the only gay character as well as the Designated Villain of the series, was supposed to die at the end of season one. However, the producers were so impressed by Rob James-Collier acting they decided to keep his character for the rest of the series.
The pair of Victorian homosexuals are dead by episode three of 2013's Dracula as a direct result of Greyson's blackmail.
Nicely subverted in Flash Forward. The episode in which Janis is confirmed to be a lesbian ends with her lying alone in the street, bleeding out from a bullet to the stomach. In the next episode, she gets to a hospital and is saved.
Game of Thrones: Two for three with its major gay/bisexual characters. Season two kills off Renly Baratheon, while season four kills off Oberyn Martell in what has been referred to as the series' most gruesome death to date. Only Loras Tyrell remains alive.
King Joffrey expresses disgust at "degenerates" like Renly and considers making homosexuality punishable by death. And had he not been poisoned, it's quite likely that he would have attempted to deal with gays as he did with Robert's bastards.
The show managed to subvert this somewhat. The first episode introduced Thelma, the main character's lesbian best friend. Then it had a demon murder her. Cut to her funeral, at which the priest is talking about how Thelma was very much her own individual and saying it was this individuality which left her isolated and led to her tragic death... at which point Thelma's ghost walks up beside the main character and says: "God, they're loving this. Don't be a dyke or you'll end up topping yourself." Thelma then goes on to be one of only two of the original cast to be left after the show's Kill 'em All ending.
Two more lesbian ghost characters turn up. Peggy, who has been long dead, and Maya, who was killed by the villain to provide Thelma with a girlfriend, thus giving him a hold on her. Admittedly, when you already have one lesbian ghost, who else is she going to get physical with? But then Maya proceeds to get even deader at the hands of the heroine.
Male gay character Tom ends up dying. At the hands of the man he fancies. Ouch.
The show later had a one-week series, the same but Darker and Edgier. It concluded with the death of Sarah Barnes after her psychotic girlfriend mistakenly slashed her parachute instead of Zoe's.
Hollyoaks also featured the death of Kieran, the gay priest, but averted this trope nicely when John-Paul and Craig went off into the sunset together, both fully comfortable with their sexuality and their relationship. It should also be noted that Hollyoaks features character deaths quite frequently, and that the majority of the gay or bisexual characters on the show remain alive and well.
Another British soap, Emmerdale had Aaron and Jackson. Aaron was a violent thug, who got worse when he realised, and hated the fact that, he was gay. Eventually, he settled down with Jackson, who could tame him. They were happy, accepted. Then Jackson became paraplegic and begged Aaron to help him die until he agreed.
The fourth episode of House has two main couples whose babies are given different treatments to solve the case. The innocent lesbians lose their child, the (granted, unknowingly) infection-spreading straight couple keeps their child.
The Spanish soap opera Los Hombres de Paco recently wed one of its most popular pairs, lesbian couple Pepa and Silvia, in one the biggest and most hyped weddings of the year. All went well and the wedding was lovely — and then Silvia was shot when gangsters beseiged the reception. Unable to get medical help for hours (and still in her Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress) she slowly and painfully bled to death on the floor as Pepa held her and told her she loved her. The episode is almost Whedon-esque in its ability to cause maximum trauma to shippers.
LOST was said to be adding a gay character. In season 4, this was revealed to be Tom, who by that time was already dead.
Steve from Reaper. Somewhat subverted by the fact that his boyfriend, Tony, is the only survivor after the Devil killed all the other demons. Steve is also redeemed and goes to Heaven as an angel. And provides an example for more demons who want to (attempt to) be good.
Vito Spatafore in The Sopranos is beaten to death for being gay. Justified in that the Mob is hardly a bastion of cultural liberalism, especially not on the subject of homosexuality. The show also portrays Tony (Who is portrayed as a sympathetic character) as being accepting of homosexuality, at least compared to his friends, while the two most homophobic are either very unsympathetic (Paulie) or devoid of redeeming traits (Phil Leotardo).
Captain Alicia Vega was supposed to be the first canonically gay character in the Stargate-verse, which had a respectable reputation in real life for the diversity of its cast and characters, but had yet to feature an out character. She was introduced in the first episode of season five of Stargate Atlantis and was heralded as a new recurring character, but almost all her scenes from her introductory episode were deleted for pacing reasons, including the scene where her sexuality was hinted. The producers then decided her character did not fit the series as well as they liked, and she was killed in her second appearance.
There's a third-season episode called "Ghostfacers" in which a gay character is introduced and immediately killed, only to come back as a ghost for a bit... and then perform a Heroic Sacrifice to become Deader Than Dead. Everyone else survives.
There is also Lily in the finale for the second season, and while this is likely overlooked as just about everyone else in that episode dies (even if they get better), she is the first to go. Notably, after mentioning that she "touched her girlfriend and her heart stopped."
Averted later on, however, because Lipstick Lesbian Charlie sticks around an average amount of time for female supporting characters, and the cosplaying gay couple from "The Real Ghostbusters" makes it out alive. Anyway, the reason Lily died first is probably that she was the most dangerous and therefore likely to mess up the intended plot (because she could kill with a touch and hated them all anyway).
There was an episode of This Is Wonderland with an elderly gay couple, and at the end, it was revealed that one of them was dying of colon cancer. In a twist on the trope, however, he was the less aggressive of the two, and had been in the closet his whole life before meeting the other guy. Although the show was known for Tear Jerker moments, this subplot was one of the saddest.
Todd and the Book of Pure Evil kills off a gay character in the fourth episode (though he had used the Book of Pure Evil, which doesn't end well for anyone). Somewhat subverted in that, at the time, that character was the only straight one.
A major occurrence in Brazilian soap opera Torre de Babel was a shopping mall explosion. Said explosion was also used for the author to kill characters the audience wasn't liking, including a lesbian couple.
Veronica Mars does this in the second season as it is revealed that Beaver engineered the bus crash because two characters established to be gay were going to reveal that Woody had molested them when they were in a little league baseball team, and that he had done the same thing to Beaver, and Beaver didn't want people to think he was gay.
There has been only one confirmed lesbian couple in Charmed. In a show set in San Francisco, no less. Not only are they very minor characters, one of them naturally gets killed.
By the seventh episode, all three gay characters have either been killed or have killed themselves. A fourth gay character was introduced the very next episode, although he wasn't revealed to be gay until season two.
In the Warehouse 13 season 3 finale, they seem to have done this with BOTH of their queer characters—H.G. Wells and Steve Jinks. They're both alive again. Time Travel was involved.
In Boardwalk Empire, the only queer regular character is Angela, Jimmy Darmody's bisexual — though lesbian-leaning — wife. She and her lover are mistakenly killed by Manny Horvitz, who'd intended to kill Jimmy and is surprised to find who Angela's partner is. Bury Your Gays andStuffed into the Fridge!
Played with with George Boleyn and Mark Smeaton. Only one other person even knows that they are gay, and they are actually executed for an (alleged) heterosexual sex act.
Played straight with William Compton and Thomas Tallis, however. Tallis originally rejected Compton's advances but eventually gave in. Compton then died of "sweating sickness" in the episode after they had consummated the relationship.
A potentially justified example in RTE's restaurant drama Raw and gay character Pavel. Krystof Hádek declined to return for the fifth series partway through filming for the fourth leaving writers with little time to find a resolution for the show's sole gay couple while still retaining the other half as a character. Having only just found stability in their relationship, it would have seemed odd for the pair to suddenly implode with no real build-up, so killing Pavel was the only viable solution.
Averted: Helen Magnus, the only officially queer character (even if her latent bisexuality only came up in one late-season episode), is both extremely long lived and one of the few people still alive by the end. Of course, she is the main character.
On the other hand, John Druitt and James Watson, both implied to have at least some homo-romantic feelings for each other even if they're too old-fashioned to ever admit them, both end up dying over the course of the show, with the latter actually having most of his scenes in various flashback or timetravel episodes.
An episode of Strong Medicine had Lu being annoyed by her bickering neighbors. The fact that they're a lesbian couple is initially mentioned handedly and seems to be of no importance, until one of them turns up dead. This being a Lifetime series, the instant the investigating officer learns that the two women were lovers, he arrests the other woman for murder with absolutely zero evidence to support this, then of course, reveals himself to be a homophobic, sexist jerk by outright refusing to investigate the case any further, insisting that he has the guilty person in custody and muttering something about "crazy lesbians".
Averted. Captain Jack Harkness. He's the most queer character on the show (Tosh's bisexuality only comes up in one episode where she is seduced by a female alien; Ianto later said that Jack is the only man he was ever interested in) and yet he survives almost everyone else on the team. This is shown to have happened before, and implied to happen again and again. Of course, that's only because he's immortal. He dies plenty of times.
Unfortunately, his bisexual lover, who is finally coming to terms with being in love with a man, does not avert this trope. Although Word of Gay has it that all five original regular characters were bisexual, Gwen, who was the only one never to engage in voluntary same-sex activity on screen, was also the only mortal one to survive to the end of the show.
Subverted by Madame Vastra, a Victorian-era katana-wielding Silurian detective and her wife/maid/fellow swordfighter/investigator Jenny, who have so far survived both episodes they appear in with nary a scratch or emotional trauma.
It comes close in the Series 7 finale, where Jenny dies twice in the same episode, leaving Vastra stricken with grief. She gets better...
Subverted in Person of Interest. The episode's Big Bad tries to get the POI to commit murder by threatening to kill her wife. Reese and Fusco successfully extract the wife.
The Body of the Week in the Vegas episode "Masquerade" was one half of a lesbian couple, though it didn't have anything to do with her death.
Larry, the only confirmed gay man ever on the show, was killed in the battle against The Mayor in "Graduation Day".
Tara, Willow's long time girlfriend, was shot and killed by Warren Mears. Word of God is that Tara's death was solely a consequence of her being Willow's Love Interest - had Oz still been around, he would have died in her place. There were plans to bring Tara back in Season Seven, but they fell through, as Amber Benson was unavailable.
Averted in the series finale. In a series where romances always ended badly, the only ones to make it were Willow and Kennedy. However, after the show continued as comic books it was revealed that Kennedy was killed between the end of Season 7, and the beginning of Season 8. She was subsequently revived by Willow, though.
Jenny Schecter ends the last season with her suicide/possible suspected homicide off of her hotel balcony.
The L Word also had Dana, but it's kind of excused in the fact that almost every character on the show was queer in some way.
In In The Flesh, the main character Kerian's love interest Rick gets killed TWICE, once coming back as a zombie and then getting Killed Off for Real in the final episode. Both his deaths are basically plot devices to cause Kerian Gayngst. It's a fairly pointless offscreen death as well, which basically shuts down the climactic confrontation that's been building between various characters and replaces it with angst.
The very first person to die is a teenage girl who is on her way to a liaison with her (female) teacher (and this is the only thing known for sure about her character.)
Viewers are then introduced to Clementine Chasseur, first seen in bed with one woman and later having an affair with another (though it's at least not her sole characterization.) Chasseur is captured, tortured, and killed by Olivia and her right-hand man.
In Skins Fire, a kind of "epilogue" to Effy, Naomi, and Emily's story from Skins series three and four, Naomi is mercilessly killed off. It wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't only two episodes long and seemed to exist with no real plot other than killing Naomi and sending Effy to jail.
Siberia manages to have the only two main characters who die both also be the only two non-straight characters. Natalie disappears (and is later confirmed dead) only an episode after it is revealed she might be bisexual, and willing to give a relationship with Annie a chance. And then Annie gets shot in the last episode of the first season.
Adam from Degrassi was one of the few major transgender boys in fiction. He was killed off in a car accident to show an aesop about texting and driving.
The only character to die on Smash is Kyle, who dies in a hit-and-run accident and whose death is acknowledged, in-universe and in Word of God, to serve to teach a straight character a lesson.
Nicely subverted in Arrow, where Sarah is revealed to have been in a relationship with a woman, and later in the same episode comes very close to death, but is saved at the last second.
Ultimately, and annoylingly, played straight, however.
In the third season of AMC's The Killing, Holder befriends a homeless lesbian teenager named Bullet, who knew the victim in the latest case that Holder and Linden are investigating, and who is in love with another girl, Lyric. After Lyric seems to return Bullet's affections and then suddenly disappears, Bullet tells Holder that she thinks Lyric was kidnapped by the same person that Linden is looking for, but it turns out that Lyric simply went back to her boyfriend, and an angry Holder tells Bullet never to bother him again. Shortly after, Bullet is kidnapped by the actual perp, and Holder finds her body in the trunk of a car.
Refreshingly averted in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Jadzia lifetime of the genderfluid, pansexual Dax comes to an end, but the Dax symbiote lives on, with all of Jadzia's memories inside it. The other queer main character, Elim Garak, gets out of the series relatively unscathed and is still going strong in the novels.
The song itself doesn't even hint that Billy Joe is gay (in fact, it strongly implies that the (female) narrator and Billy Joe had a romantic relationship). The "Billy Joe was gay" idea was made up specifically for the movie.
Rod Stewart's The Killing of Georgie (Part I & II) was inspired by the Real Life murder of a gay friend during the 1970s.
The music video for Lana Del Ray's "Summertime Sadness"
This seems to be a favorite trope of Tennessee Williams, much of the anguish motivating the protagonists of his two most famous plays, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof revolves around gay men who commit suicide.
Michael: It's not always the way it is in plays. Not all faggots bump themselves off at the end of the story!
Beautifully subverted in Angels In America. Although deaths of Prior and Belize's friends are mentioned, the only one of the gay characters to die is Roy Cohn, the malicious, heartless bastard of a closet queen who refuses to think of himself as gay. Prior is a particularly poignant aversion because near the beginning he is in the advanced stages of the disease and it seems like he's about to go at any minute. His boyfriend Louis abandons him when the disease gets too intense. When Prior's condition does improve, Louis has to make amends with him.
Subverted in Spring Awakening. Hänschen and Ernst don't appear again after their kiss, which is a pretty good fate, since saying the lives of the heterosexual characters (well, those who are left alive) suck would be an understatement..
In RENT, the only character who dies is Angel, a gay male drag queen. Mimi, the straight female drug addict, comes close, and likely dies soon after the play ends, but still makes it to the final curtain. The message implied was that Angel was Too Good for This Sinful Earth. A subversion is that the lesbian couple pretty much gets a happier ending than anyone else.
The Laramie Project is based off of the real life murder of Matthew Shepard, and the town's reaction to the news. Shepard was beaten and tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming, by two men who suspected he was gay (which he was).
It's true and also sad that dykes in mainstream film we end up either dead or mad...
In The Children's Hour, two schoolteachers, Martha and Karen, have their lives and reputations irrevocably shattered after one of their beastly students spreads a rumor that they are lesbian lovers. After a bitter confrontation with the student's grandmother, and even after the women lose their court case for slander, the big twist is that Martha really did have those feelings for Karen, but never knew how to articulate them until they were spoken by someone else. Karen is accepting of her friend, and suggests they move away and start a new life together. In both the film and theatre version of the story, Martha kills herself before the night is through.
Marlowe's Edward II (1592). The explicitly gay title character and his boyfriend both meet a nasty end. Mind you, so do lots of other people.
Painfully and sadly played straight in A Chorus Line. Paul, after suffering a horrible childhood being rejected for being gay, falls on his leg that was operated on some time ago during a tap routine. While he doesn't die per-say, his career ends and the other characters mourn how any of them could have a suffered a similar fate.
Abu'l Nuquod in Assassin's Creed I is very, very strongly implied to be gay due to his speech about being taunted by his neighbors for being "different" and refusing to serve a god who considers him an abomination. Unfortunately, he's also a bad guy, so Altair chases him down and stabs him in the throat. It doesn't help that while Altair mentions Abu'l's greed, decadence, and theft from his people as reasons that he needs to die, nobody ever said that. Going purely by what you hear around the city he's not such a bad guy. Granted, he does poison his party guests, but Altair didn't know that was going to happen.
Also applies to the Androsynth race from the original Star Control. Yes, the entire species.
Viranus Donton in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The only one character to be strongly hinted to be gay, and guess what happens to both him and his apparent romantic interest? The short version: mistaken for cavern trolls by a bunch of heavily armed mercenaries on acid.
The Metal Gear Solid series on top of Ho Yay has four obviously non-hetero men. Scott Dolph, bisexual (and black), dies after the prologue in MGS2. Volgin the Big Bad of MGS3, Depraved Bisexual, dies at the end. Raikov, Volgin's lover and Depraved Homosexual (there's nothing in game that shows this but a radio conversation with EVA reveals he likes to punch his subordinates in the face for no reason), can be killed off with no consequences to the story. He was mostly a gag/minor plot device as it was. By the way, the way you dispatch of him is stuffing him into a closet. Then finally there's Vamp who is also a Depraved Bisexual and survives 2, dies in 4.
Portable Ops confirms Raikov's survival... well, as long as you rescue him, that is. If you don't, it's fair to assume this happens. Either way, just as in MGS3, it's up to the player to decide his fate.
Ocelot is a borderline example: his insane devotion to Big Boss is what gets him killed in the end.
Strangelove in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is loudly lesbian and survives until the end!!... but only after hooking up with a man and implicitly becoming the mother of his child. At one point, she even states that she was planning to make herself into this trope by killing herself after completing Peace Walker, but changed her mind upon interpreting Peace Walker's message as The Boss (her female lover) telling her to move on.
In Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror, Mara and Elsa are revealed to be a lesbian couple, and are subsequently killed.
Dragon Age: Origins averts this with allowing players of either gender to have healthy relationships with the bisexual characters Leliana and Zevran, and possibly even to survive the story with them. Notably Herren and Wade are one of the only happy, stable couples in the entire game.
The same applies to Dragon Age II, where there are four bisexual options, and the player can be in a loving relationship with any of them.
In The Orion Conspiracy, Devlin discovers that his dead son Danny was gay. Devlin was surprised, because he and Danny had been so distant from each other that Devlin simply did not have a clue. He also finds out that Kaufmann is gay and that he was Danny's boyfriend. Kaufmann and Devlin get into a shouting match, because Kaufmann thinks Devlin disapproves of the relationship. Devlin, on his part, feels that he would not have held that against Danny. Sadly, Kaufmann is found dead and disemboweled shortly afterwards. Devlin finds out later that Captain Shannon killed Danny and Kaufmann. Why? Because Shannon blames Devlin for the death of Shannon's wife, and so he murdered Danny for revenge. Shannon killed Kaufmann to frame Devlin. Naturally, Shannon is planning to kill Devlin. Despite this reasoning, Danny and Kaufmann are the first characters confirmed dead, and they were both gay, so the trope still stands.
Played with in Rift: In the Defiant start zone, you're informed that the rebellious bahmi princess Uriel Chuluun was killed in the razing of Meridian. However, it's not until you go back in time to when she's still alive (and thus, actually avert the Bad Future in which she dies) that she's able to meet (and, it would seem, fall for) Kira. Later, you have to save her from herself when she almost goes over to a death cult and almost gets herself killed in the process.
Despite Mass Effect 3's generally positive treatment of homosexuality, it still managed to play this trope straight in Lt. Steve Cortez's backstory. His husband was one of the victims of the Collector attacks on human colonies in Mass Effect 2, and poor Cortez was listening over comms as he was taken. His character arc involves Shepard helping him overcome his grief.
Additionally, part of his character arc is that he takes dangerous risks as a pilot because he's depressed at the loss of his husband. If you don't resolve his character arc, he does this during the final battle and falls victim to this trope himself. If you complete his arc, he survives.
In one of the third game's downloadable expansions, Omega, female turian Nyreen Kandros is introduced as a past love interest of Aria T'Loak. Lingering feelings on both side are depicted, but ultimately Nyreen gets to sacrifice herself to save some civilians and fuel Aria's anger.
Mass Effect 2 has Nef, who naturally dies a horrible death as a result of her attraction to Morinth.
Although not explicitly stated to be gay, Eli Wilkerson from State of Decay is one half of an implied male-on-male couple. After your first encounter with him he catches the Black Fever out of nowhere and dies.
In the alpha version of Katawa ShoujoMisha seems into a depression and kills herself by standing in front of a car. The alpha is incomplete, as many of the arcs were vastly rewritten and it was accidentally leaked, but there's no apparent way to stop this. She dies in both the bad and good endings.
Homestuck briefly attracted a fair bit of controversy when it killed off the only gay character in the comic. Though she ends up dead with three other characters, some of the controversy came from the fact that one of the first victims of the killing spree just so happened to be the lesbian. Fortunately, she gets better. Unfortunately, she later died again, along with the girl she was in a relationship with.
Webcomic.Goodbye Chains has a rare inversion, wherein Banquo, the very straight, very promiscuous gunslinger gets killed off , leaving behind Colin, his gay and lovestruck partner in crime.
There are three homosexual characters in Tactical Noobs, all of whom die horribly within seconds of being introduced. The first blasts himself with a rocket launcher. The second two are flame-throwered by someone who disagrees with their choice to vote Barack Obama for president.
Discussed at After Elton, a gay entertainment site here.
Inverted in Worm: of the four major gay characters, three of them are among the only cast members with unambiguously happy endings (Foil, Parian and Legend), while the fourth was screwed over by factors WAY beyond her control and unrelated to sexuality (Panacea). Almost every straight relationship ends badly or in death: Skitter / Grue ends with Grue dead and Skitter stuck in a blocked off world away from the rest of cast, Grue / Cozen ends with Cozen forever the odd woman out in the Undersiders, Regent / Imp ends with Regent's Heroic Sacrifice against Behemoth, everything involving New Wave ends in tragedy, and Trickster/Noelle ends in Noelle getting killed as a monster and Trickster as Teacher's puppet. Out of heterosexual relationships, only the Robo Ship of Defiant / Dragon and Weld / Sveta end well, and both pairs had to earn their good ending.
Averted in "Carmilla The Series", Not only does Carmilla not die like in the novella, her and Laura actually get a happy ending, ending in multiple kisses between the two.
Weirdly enough, inverted in Superjail — a gay couple is one of the few characters to survive every episode.
Young Justice did this in a roundabout way. Queen Bee is responsible for the death of Marie Logan, Beast Boy's mother. Queen Bee has the power to use pheromones to control "most men and some women". The comic book tie-in reveals that Queen Bee used her powers on Marie to make her commit suicide. So whatever Marie was, she wasn't straight.