LGBT story trope. Used at least once for almost every LGBT character ever, but most often seen with lesbian or gay characters, due to the No Bisexuals
trope and trans characters still being rare as well. Asexuality doesn't seem to have hit the media at all yet. In any case, while coming out certainly happens in real life, the coming out story trope has certain standard stereotypical notes that every telling of it hits, no matter who the characters involved are. Although there are only so many variations you can do with it, you can be assured that any LGBT cast member of a show will relate it to someone at one point, or have it shown one person in their life will wholeheartedly support them, while at least another will turn out to be homophobic (even if they gave no indication of ever being so in the past) and will hate them. When parents are involved, they will either furiously throw their own child out of the home for this revelation, or reveal that they suspected all along, but were content to wait for their child to feel comfortable enough to admit it. Also usually includes a hate crime somewhere in the story.
Sometimes done especially clumsily, such as to a character who never gave any indication before
. It also might be a payoff for a character who has long been giving hints
, in which case few are surprised
Several teen and young-adult centric stories will incorporate this with a Coming of Age
story. If the characters are an ensemble of LGBT characters
, usually this plot is assigned to The Twink
or the Lipstick Lesbian
. If not, then this will almost always be a Gay Aesop
If a character comes out as a supernatural creature, see Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?
. Such stories will often be inspired by Coming Out Stories.
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Anime and Manga
- In Aoi Hana, Fumi has her coming out toward her best friend Akira at their favorite hang-out spot, when she tells her that she's dating a senior from her all-girl high school. Akira is a bit surprised at first, but soon decides to support her friend fully. Luckily, there are no homophobes in this series, and the emphasis is more on the relationship between Akira and Fumi in light of this development.
- Wandering Son, made by the same mangaka who makes Aoi Hana, has a Transsexual variant, mixed with a Coming-of-Age Story. Both Nitori and Takatsuki are not reluctant to tell people of their wishes to be seen as a girl and a boy, though Takatsuki is more worrisome. The beginning of the manga began with them two meeting in fifth grade, and soon after telling each other of their wishes. Both of them feel the need to start dressing as the opposite sex around that time. So far in the manga they've come out a few times, and their feelings are getting more intense, but no transitions.
- Played with in Love My Life. At the start of the story, Ichiko comes out to her father by introducing him to her girlfriend...only for him to reveal that he's gay and Ichiko's mother was a lesbian, and that the two of them only got married because they wanted to have a family. Notably, none of the story's gay characters ever come out to society in general.
- Pied Piper comes out◊ to The Flash, Wally West. Wally claims◊ he knew all along.
- Steady Beat is a well done Coming-Out Story; nobody comes out...yet, but the main character discovering that her sister is apparently a lesbian is the motivator for the plot. Her own reaction is more confused and upset than homophobic.
- Spoofed in Young Avengers. The character Wiccan is reluctantly trying to tell his parents he became a superhero, but they misunderstand and assume he's coming out with his boyfriend. They're supportive of his sexuality, but no word yet on his choice of profession since he didn't get a chance to say anything about it.
- Also Marvel planned on slowly hinting, then having a big reveal that Hulkling and Wiccan are gay and a couple, but readers figured it out long beforehand. Marvel then had it casually mentioned in one issue instead of making it a shocking reveal.
- Averted by Scott Pilgrim, where most gay characters are already out by the time they are introduced. While bi-curiosity abounds (Ramona dated a girl for some time but eventually didn't really consider herself bisexual, Knives and Kim drunkenly made out but never mentioned it again), Stephen Stills is the only one who comes out, and it's done off-screen around Volume 5 without fanfare.
- Alison Bechdel's autobiographical Fun Home details her coming out as a lesbian, and while her mom writes a letter expressing disappointment (Alison herself noting "As disapproval goes, I suppose it was rather mild"), and she finds supportive people (her roommate responds "Oh cool! Can I tell my friends?") the main crux of it is how it spurred Alison to learn of her own father's closeted homosexuality.
- She also published her coming out story in comic form in 1993 in Gay Comics (Early Summer 1993, #19). You can read it here.
- In the furry comic Circles, Marty is eventually forced to come out to his parents and godmother when they inadvertently force the issue during at visit to his boarding house. As it turns out, his parents had a wager where the mother thought he was gay while the father was holding out for him being bisexual so grandchildren could still be possible from him. As for the godmother, she is so obtuse that she doesn't understand the confession in the first place.
- Batwoman (Katherine "Kate" Kane) came out as gay and was kicked out of West Point under the "Dont Ask Dont Tell" policy. Her commanding officer had given her the chance to deny the whole thing and have it swept under the rug, but Kate refused to lie and compromise her personal honor. When she comes out to her father, he is awesome:
[Kate enters her father's garage] Dad:
Kate? This is a surprise. Shouldn't you be attending class? Are you on pass? Kate:
No, sir. I've been separated from the Army. Dad:
What? What happened? Kate:
Colonel Reyes informed me I was under investigation for violating Article 125. I couldn't say what he needed to hear. Dad:
Article 125... that is Homosexual Conduct. Kate:
Yes, sir. Dad:
Why couldn't you tell him what he needed to hear? Kate:
[Raises her sun-glasses, looks him straight in the eyes] I'd have been lying.
of Dad carefully cleaning his hands, processing this.] Dad:
Then you kept your honor and your integrity. I'm proud of you. Your mother would have been too.
- Renee Montoya, in an award winning arc of Gotham Central, was involuntarily outed by Two-Face, who had become obsessed with her since their encounter in Batman: No Man's Land. He mailed pictures of her with her girlfriend to her family and to the Major Crimes Unit, the branch of the Gotham City Police Department where she worked. Captain Maggie Sawyer, Renee's shift commander at the MCU, was already out and attempted to help guide Renee through the initial tribulations, but Renee felt that their circumstances were not comparable. Ultimately, her parents disowned her, but she was able to find a modicum of acceptance from the cops she worked with.
- It's later implied that her parents — or her father at least — upon cooling down a bit have deeply regretted this disownment, but Renee is by this point understandably unwilling to have anything to do with them even if they are willing to mend fences.
- Just in case there was anyone who hadn't figured it out yet, Karolina Dean of the Runaways came out in the two-part "Star-Crossed" arc. Unfortunately, someone at Marvel apparently felt that having an open lesbian on the team might scare away readers, so she was suddenly engaged to a very masculine alien prince and quickly put on a spaceship. It was not one of Marvel's braver moments.
- Extremely common in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics, and is the starting point for many a Ship Fic.
- In the Glee fanfic Hunting The Unicorn, the Warblers are questioned by the FBI for leads on on Blaine's recent kidnapping. Nick reveals that he came out as bi to his mother, only to have her think that going to a same-sex school "confused him." He smokes a blunt to piss her off while he packs up and leaves, then gets drunk with Trent and kicks out her headlights. He also tripped so hard that he didn't remember to tell Jeff he was bi for a year.
- In Chapter 2 of Despair's Last Resort, Monokuma threatens to reveal everything about the characters love lives and fetishes as a motive. Shortly afterward, Kazumi goes to her best friend and crush, Shizuka, to tell her that she's a lesbian. Shizuka, after reassurance that she won't be hit on, is accepting of her friend's sexuality.
- Subverted in Dream for an Insomniac. A character nervously plans to come out to his father, only to find out he already knows and has no problem with it.
- The Australian movie Strange Bedfellows used this trope in an interesting fashion - two (straight) men living in a small country town registered as a gay couple in order to claim tax benefits, but then had to convince a tax inspector that they really were a couple. Thus, they have to go through all the travails of a Coming Out Story in a (typically gossip-driven) small town, without actually being gay in the first place. Mostly played for laughs, but with a reasonably sensitive Aesop mixed in.
- The entire first half of Happy Feet can be read as a coming-out story, with tap-dancing being a safe metaphor for homosexuality; Mumble's mother supports him, his father doesn't, and Mumble eventually gets exiled for it.
- The Heather Graham flick Gray Matters had her come out as a lesbian to her therapist, while they were rock climbing.
- And to her brother who, as it turns out, already knew.
- Played with in He Died With A Falafel In His Hand. Dirk spends a large segment of the movie coming to terms with his (rather obvious) homosexuality, which ends in him in tears declaring to his housemates that he's gay. When they accept this reasonably well, he then starts angrily berating them for not giving him a hard time about it.
- Used with hilarious effect in ''Rock N Rolla'
- The protagonist in Bent is a gay man who hides his homosexuality whilst in a concentration camp, and learns from his openly gay lover that he meets there that it's better to die as you are than live as a lie.
- Two Of Us, a 1986 English TV film: gay boy is already out except to his parents, who find his soft-porn magazines and are thoroughly upset. His friend/boyfriend comes out as bisexual.
- Juste une question d'amour, another TV film, this time from France. Covers all the bases very nicely; widely viewed and widely liked.
- Funnily enough, the 1989 East German film Coming Out.
- Beautiful Thing, the story of two sixteen-year-old boys falling in love on a London council estate. There's an emotional scene in which the main character comes out to his mother.
- Get Real, another love story between teenaged boys, this time set in middle-class suburbia. The sixteen-year-old protagonist comes out by making a speech in front of his entire school and his parents.
- C.R.A.Z.Y., a 2005 French-Canadian film about Zac, who is an Armored Closet Gay due to growing up in the 1960's-1980's and having a conservative father and a devout Catholic mother who believes he is a miracle child after consulting a Tupperware selling mystic.
- The 9th Dalziel and Pascoe novel, Child's Play, is basically this for Sgt. Wield.
- Given a nice twist in Holly Black's fantasy novel Tithe, in which one of the characters literally came out to his oddball family and sci fi geek mother by saying: "Mom, you know the forbidden love Spock has for Kirk? Well, me too." Lampshaded after as Kaye says that is the strangest coming out story she's ever heard.
- The whole point of Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger, only the main character Grady is coming out as transgender. Lacks most of the cliches associated with Coming Out Stories, in that Grady was almost in a Transparent Closet, so it didn't surprise his family at all, and most people at school ignored him anyway.
- Occurs in Absolutely Positively Not Gay to the main character.
- He actually comes out multiple times in the book; once, he comes out to his best friend, is confused when she doesn't care, and then has a mini panic attack when she tells her parents. Leads to a Crowning Moment of Funny when her 6-year-old sibling comes into the room and asks, "Did he finally tell her he's gay?" His coming out to his parents is actually interestingly subverted. He comes out to each parent separately. Both are fine with it, not to come out to the other just yet, as they don't think the other person will be as supportive.
- There are quite a few books of lesbian coming out stories, for example this one called Testimonies: Lesbian Coming-Out Stories.
- There are also some books of gay men's coming out stories, for example Boys Like Us: Gay Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories.
- There's at least one book with bisexual men's coming out stories, called Bi Men: Coming Out Every Which Way
- Here's a book called A Woman Like That: Lesbian And Bisexual Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories. Pretty self-explanatory.
- Here's a book called Bisexual Coming Out Stories. Also pretty self-explanatory.
- The Mortal Instruments:
- In City of Glass, Alec Lightwood comes out rather awesomely by kissing Magnus in the middle of the entire Clave, including his parents.
- Parodied, when Luke gets Simon a pamphlet called 'How To Come Out to Your Parents' when he becomes a vampire and tells him to adapt it to suit the situation. Neither Simon nor Clary is amused.
- In Annie On My Mind, the main characters are forced out of the closet when they are discovered, and the rest of the novel is about them dealing with the impact of everyone else's homophobia.
- In Jodi Picoult's Sing You Home, the main character Zoe starts dating her friend Vanessa after divorcing her husband of 10 years. The main plot of the book is them trying to start a family with the embryos Zoe and her husband froze after IVF treatments. However, the book has all the cliches of this storyline, such as one character supporting her (her mom) and one character being homophobic out of nowhere (justified, because her husband had just converted to Christianity).
- In Hero by Perry Moore, Thom is forced to come out to clear the villain Sssnake for a murder. He was getting intimate with Sssnake at the time that the murder occured.
- The M/M procedural series Cut & Run by Abigail Roux gives us one hell of a reveal in book 6, Touch & Geaux where FBI Special Agent Ty Grady outs both himself and his partner Zane Garrett by kissing him in front of their entire department, since Ty had just learned he was being recalled to active service in the Marine corp..
Live Action TV
- On one episode of Two and a Half Men, Alan starts hanging out with a gay man, leading his (surprisingly supportive) family and friends to believe that he's gay. It culminates in his confessing that he's straight to the other man and worrying that he'd "be letting everyone down."
- Used straigth in the Argentine series Graduados. Several former classmates who are now in their forties have a reunion meeting, to see the others once more. Guillermo Almada invites everyone to reveal a hidden secret: when it was his turn, he revealed that he is gay, and has already been gay in their high schools days. Most of them understood and supported him. Vicky had her hearth broken: she had a crush on him, she still had it, and now it's pointless. Pablo, the former school bully, reacts in a completely homophobic way, and insults Guillermo about this at each chance he gets since then.
- Appears as a major plot point in a Dalziel and Pascoe episode, Child's Play.
- Used both straight (so to speak) and parodied on Will and Grace. One two-parter episode had the story of Will's coming out. Another one had Jack and Will refer to a gay bookstore as a collection of numerous coming out tales, all more or less the same.
- Marco's entire character arc in Degrassi The Next Generation revolved around this, particularly in the third season.
- And Riley's in the ninth season.
- Actually, his is a subversion. He finally admits he's gay but stays in the closest to everyone except Peter.
- (Perhaps because) he's transgender, not gay, Adam came out to his family and began living as male some time before transferring to Degrassi.
- In Degrassi Junior High, Snake's older brother Glen comes out to him and their parents on a visit home from medical school. Snake's dealing with that took up most of the episode, but he took it better than the elder Simpsons, who kicked Glen out of the house.
- Most of David's story arcs in the first two series of Six Feet Under involve him coming out to various members of his family.
- Done in one episode for Max from Happy Endings, who is out to everyone except his parents because, in his words, "Coming out [to your parents] is gay". When his parents visit town, however, his friends' attempts to act as his beards convince them that Max is dating a married woman, his best friend's ex and a Nazi, so he comes out reluctantly and after two minutes of surprise they're totally fine with it.
- South of Nowhere is pretty much Coming-Out Story: The Series. The first season is all about Spencer developing and learning to accept her feelings for Ashley, and end with them getting together. The second season is all about coming out to her family and friends and dealing with other peoples reaction and homophobia and ends with her and Ashley going to the Prom together. The third season is all about Spencer being out and Proud, calling out her mother's homophobia, going to Pride, getting LGBT-friends and so on. She never has any big "I am Gay"-scene, since pretty much everyone she knows figures it out on their own or by walking in on her and Ashley in compromising situations. The closet thing she has is when she was given the chance to deny it and chose not to.
Chelsea: I think it is really great that you are planning this party for Ashley.
Spencer: Yeah well, she is my best friend.
Chelsea: [coyly] Isn't she more than just a friend?
Spencer: Uh... yeah... [starts to grin like a loon]... YES!
- Happens in several episodes of Brothers and Sisters, including the pilot.
- Kevin, who is in his thirties, and his uncle Saul. Saul had a particularly hard time with it, since he was an older man, though the family was very supportive of them both.
- The most infamous example has to be from Ellen, where it was not only a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, but also a Jump the Shark moment for the show. In case you've been living under a rock, Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian, and then shortly afterwards her character Ellen Morgan did as well.
- Inverted in Friends, where Phoebe's gay husband Duncan (they had a Citizenship Marriage) realises he is actually straight and comes 'out' to her.
"I... I don't know what to say. I mean, you know, you're married to someone for six years, and you think you know him, and then one day says, 'Oh, I'm not gay.'"
Phoebe: "Do your parents know?"
"Duncan: "No, but it'll be OK, they're pretty cool, my brother's straight so. . ."
- Also inverted in Less Than Perfect, where Owen has to tell his two lesbian moms that he's straight.
- Inverted as well in an old Saturday Night Live sketch:
Son: Dad... I'm... I'm straight.
Son: I said I'm straight, Dad. I like girls.
Father: You! You and girls!
Son: Now look, Dad, you might as well hear the whole story right now! I happen to have a, uh, a girlfriend.
Father: Stop it! I don't wanna hear about it! Where did I go wrong? I mean, I tried to give you a nice home. I sent you to YMCA summer camp. I should have played with you more when you were a baby! I never, never should have let your mother bathe you!
Son: Mother has nothing to do with this!
Father: Oh, come on!
Son: Now look, Dad, it's no one's fault! It just happened! I... am... a heterosexual. And I am not ashamed of it.
- Parodied by a sketch on Mr. Show, wherein David Cross comes out as bald.
- Also parodied in a sketch where a boy's parents have been telling the whole town that their (straight) son is gay. When the son finds out about it, the mom says, "This isn't how we wanted you to find out," and the dad says, "I feel like a great weight has been lifted!" When he insists he isn't gay, the dad starts yelling. "No gay son of mine is a not-gay!"
- Marc from Ugly Betty comes out to his mother. The standard setup is subverted somewhat in that his colleagues already know he's gay and don't care, but his mother absolutely rejects him after he comes out (which Marc suspected would happen). No happy ending for him, at least not now.
- When Justin finally came out in the second to last episode, his family went in the extreme opposite direction, being supportive to the point of being embarrassing.
- Noah's Arc: Not a full story, but in the movie we get to see Wade and Brandon's (also see Gayngst) coming out.
- The standard American Soap Opera approach is to phase the gay character out shortly after the Coming-Out Story has played out - particularly if the character in question is male.
- All My Children famously did it Bianca, a legacy character, daughter of Erica Kane (the that soap's most important character) when Bianca was sixteen. They stuck by it and gave Bianca a few girlfriends and even a wife, too bad it took years to let her actually be affectionate with any of her love interest.
- As the World Turns has recently proven to be a notable exception, not only running through the trope twice - first with a main character, then with his prospective love interest - but continuing to integrate the characters into the usual roundelay of kidnappings, murders, convenient comas, etc. Averted with Reid, who was out and comfortable about his sexuality, which didn't define his character. The reason why most people didn't know he was gay was because no one bothered to ask, though much of the audience suspected he was.
- General Hospital did it with Lucas Jones, after trying to pair him up with not one but both of his female, adoptive first cousins. Sadly, Lucas has not been seen since his (adoptive) father
was killed by the writers died during Sweeps Week.
- Lucas finally returned in 2014, eight years after his last appearance. His first major storyline upon his return was meeting his newly discovered biological father and coming out to him.
- British or international soaps seem to handle it with a bit more truth. Syed's Coming-Out Story on EastEnders is quite painful.
- Talking about painful. Tough guy Phil Mitchell just wanted his son Ben to be like him while Ben just wants his fathers approval. Unfortunately Ben is everything Phil isn't and Phil long suspected his son was gay. When Ben finally reveals he's gay, Phil puts his arms on Ben's shoulders, leaving the viewer unsure of whether he's going to hug or strangle him, before he breaks down in tears and runs off.
- The famous HollyOaks John Paul and Craig story involved both of them coming out, John Paul months before Craig, although Craig's was more dramatic than John Paul's. John Paul was created as a gay character, but Craig had been on the show a lot longer and was originally straight. They managed to avoid it being a mess by making it less of a coming out as gay story and more a coming out as in love with John Paul story.
- In the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy's mother Joyce asks, "Have you tried not being a Slayer?"
- In Season Three, Joyce continued this metaphor describing herself as "marching in the Slayer Pride Parade."
- Subverted with Willow in Season 4. She gets the support of her friends (particularly Buffy), but there isn't a homophobic reaction in sight—there is some shock at first among her friends, but they overcome it quickly. The only person who has any kind of negative reaction is Willow's ex-boyfriend, Oz, who was interested in getting back together with her (and whose return prompted Willow to come out to Buffy). More importantly, Willow coming out is the secondary plotline of the episode.
- Then again, the lack of homophobic reactions could be due to the fact that anyone who insulted Willow would have to deal with Buffy.
- The reactions were there, but they were applied to Oz (a werewolf) in a Fantastic Aesop — he returns in the same episode ("New Moon Rising") Willow first 'comes out'.
- Averted with Larry, who privately comes out to Xander, and later makes mention in later episodes that he had the school paper print a coming-out notice for him and that he's "so out I have my grandmother setting up dates".
- Interestingly the heterosexual relationship between Buffy and vampire Spike does follow this trope, with Tara as the supportive friend (she even uses the term "coming out") and Xander as the hostile one. In "Normal Again" Spike tells Buffy she should tell the others about them so they'll either support her, or drive her out so Spuffy can be together on the Dark Side. Contrary to Spike's hopes and Buffy's fears, when their relationship does come out into the open her friends, once they've overcome their initial shock, are non-judgemental about it, even Xander and Parental Substitute Giles.
- Strangers with Candy gave Chuck Noblet his Coming-Out Story when lover Geoffrey was hit by a car, and doctors told Chuck he needed 'a ray of hope'. Chuck decides to come out to show Geoffrey that their relationship has a future. Unfortunately, this is Strangers with Candy, so halfway through explaining their 'friendship', the doctors reveal that Geoffrey has completely recovered. Chuck is immensely relieved, stays in the closet and no-one else had any idea what he was trying to say anyway. Geoffrey later has a horrible relapse, although he's fine by the next episode.
- In the last episode, it's established that none of his students are paying attention because it's the last day of school, and he and Jellineck take the opportunity to tell them about the "HOT, ASS-THUMPING SEX" they enjoy on a regular basis. Sure enough, no reaction.
- Justin, The Twink of the American version of Queer as Folk, deals with coming out to his parents. Supportive parent? Check. Homophobic parent? Check. Hate crime? Check. Three for three.
- Several of the women on The L Word deal with coming out. In the case of the original characters it was either dealt with as the show progressed, or related in flashback (they even had a "coming out story" storytelling episode). Also happened with for several characters who were additions to the cast and started out as straight or closeted.
- Subverted with Shane's coming out story, in the storytelling episode, where Shane falls in love with a girl on the playground when she was a kid. Not really a coming out story, though.
- Both spoofed and subverted in The Catherine Tate Show. One series of skits featuring a man named John coming out to his family. This is set up to be a sterotypical encounter, since he lives in a seemingly lower-class neighborhood. However, his family is outright delighted to have a gay man in the family, hilariously over-supporting him and parading him around town to everyone they meet. And everyone he encounters treat his sexuality as a godsend (even street punks), giving him gifts, asking for advice, and generally making a much bigger deal out of it than poor John intended.
- "I'm with the woofter" could pretty much be its own trope.
- Made all the more hilarious by the fact it's set in lower-class Belfast. It is... generally ... unusual for people from Belfast to be portrayed as anything other than stubborn terrorists. Which is part of the joke. The family are portrayed as stubborn terrorists (giving each other balaclavas and knuckle-dusters for Christmas), just really open-minded and supportive stubborn terrorists.
- Trailer Park Boys made use of this trope in a memorable fourth-season episode. In the first season, Randy and Mr. Lahey obtained a compromising video of Ricky acting in one of J-Roc's porn films, which could ruin his relationship with Lucy. When Julian tries breaking into Lahey's trailer to steal the video, he comes across Randy and Lahey in a compromising "position" of their own, and agrees to keep quiet about their relationship in exchange for the tape. A few years later, their relationship comes out when Ricky's car goes out of control and crashes into Randy and Lahey's trailer. Lahey emerges dressed as the Lone Ranger, and when Julian rescues Randy from the wreckage, he finds that Randy is wearing a bumblebee costume. Everyone except Julian is confused about this, when Randy finally says that he and Mr. Lahey shouldn't be ashamed of who they are, and loudly announces to the trailer park that he and Lahey are gay. In later episodes, Randy and Lahey have no problem with displaying their relationship in public, and none of the other trailer park residents really bother them about it.
- Hilariously subverted in an episode of That '70s Show when Red befriends his football-crazy neighbors. Red comes to accept the neighbors' gay relationship, but his budding friendship turns into passionate hatred when he finds out the two men are Minnesota Vikings fans. As a diehard Green Bay Packers fan, Red is outraged and screams at the "freaks" to get out of his house.
- The Gossip Girl episode "All About My Brother" is Serena's brother Eric's. This being Gossip Girl, his outing wasn't complete without Gossip Girl-fueled rumors and scandal, mostly having to do with his closeted love interest, who was using Jenny as a beard.
- Played with in an episode of the British-Indian sketch show Goodness Gracious Me - after his parents steadfastly ignore his increasingly blatant hints about how stereotypically gay he is, the son blurts out that he and his "friend" Simon are in love; "Simon?" tuts his mother, "you couldn't find a nice Indian boy?"
- Sanjay's hilarious coming out story on Weeds occurs midway through a hostage situation, in which both the man holding him hostage (U-Turn) and a fellow hostage (Conrad) become totally preoccupied with whether he's actually gay or just thinks he is. U-Turn waves a gun in his face and insists what he needs is Jesus, before ordering Sanjay to have sex with one of his (U-Turn's) hookers to make sure. The hooker opines that he is in fact gay. Lampshaded by the fact that he was (literally) hiding in a closet and his kidnapper yelled "Come out of the closet"!
- Kurt from Glee came out to his dad. Turned out his dad knew all along: "I've known since you were three. All you wanted for your birthday was a pair of sensible heels."
- Earlier, Kurt came out to Mercedes who had no idea. Well... She knew, but then the cheerleaders convinced her he wasn't.
- In Season 2, Santana comes out to herself as a lesbian, but hasn't officially told anyone but Holly and Brittany, though several other people probably know. Karofsky has yet to be out to anyone but Kurt. By season 3, both have been unwillingly outed, and both suffer consequences as a result.
- The Big Gay Sketch Show had a parody of "The more you know" public service announcements called "when I knew."
- Skins has Emily, who after being quiet about it for some time comes out epically to JJ with: "I want to have sex with girls." The group is all fine with it - unfortunately for Emily, though, her mum and twin-sister aren't so supportive.
- In Katie's defence, it appears that it is not so much about Emily dating a woman as it is about her dating anyone, and thus separating herself from her. Check out their big reconciliation here (starts 4 minutes in). Their mother, on the other hand, is just an ass.
It's hard telling people about yourself isn't it? But I am going to try. It's no big deal. You probably couldn't care less. J.J:
About what? Emily:
... I want to have sex with girls. J.J:
[years of secrets pours out of her] Yeah, I like girls. I like sex with
girls. I like their rosy lips, their hard nipples, bums, soft tights. I like tits and fannys, you know... There... I said it, and now...
[J.J passes out] Emily:
Oh fucking hell...
What have you been doing? Emily:
Well, it looks like you have been fighting. Emily:
Well, I haven't... look, leave me alone. Mom:
Is it a boy that upset you? Katie:
[Who has just realized Emilys deal]: Mum, I don't think she wants to talk about it. Mom:
I do. 'cause if it's been a boy thats been... You looks like you've been roughed up; so just tell me. Emily:
...It wasn't a boy. Katie:
There, see, so... Emily:
It was a girl. Dad:
You've been fighting with a girl? That's not very ladylike. Emily:
No Dad. I've been making love to a girl. Okay? Everybody satisfied?
[stunned silence] Katie:
She is such a liar. Don't listen to her... Emily:
Her name is Naomi. She's rather beautiful. So I was nailing her. Dad:
[Long pause, then he starts grinning] Okay, I got it.. Nice one. had me going there. I've got to mind my own business. Funny. You've got to give it to her! Convincing! Emily:
Dad, I am trying to tell you... Katie:
[Emily flees the table.] James:
[nonchalant] Gordon Macpherson says you call them dykes because you have to stick your finger in them.
- Subverted in Generation 3 with Franky, who is comfortable with her pansexuality from the onset. So far Mini hasn't spoken much of her lesbian leanings, but she appears to in a kind of Transparent Closet.
- Played surprisingly, um, straight in the otherwise crass Fox sitcom The War At Home, when former (unconfirmed) Camp Gay / Pet Homosexual ends up coming out to his best friend's Jerk with a Heart of Gold father, who has been joking about him being gay behind his back:
So, how do you know if you're gay? You know, hypothetically speaking, how do you know? Dave:
I dunno, man, it's kinda like an instinct thing. Y'know, it's like ice cream. You either like chocolate or you like vanilla
. Which flavor do you like? Kenny: (offhandedly)
I don't know, which one's the gay flavor? (beat, then covers his mouth in shock) Dave:
So what are you sayin' here, Kenny? Kenny:
I guess I'm saying I'm...I'm gay.
- Hilariously parodied in Little Britain when Daffyd, the "only gay in the village", comes out to his parent, wanting them to shun him. They basically shrug their shoulders and start talking about setting him up with his father's coworker.
- Done in three storylines on Neighbours:
- Lana Crawford, a new student at Summer Bay High who made friends with Sky after a poor first impression. When Lana kissed Sky during a sleepover, Sky figured it out and gradually convinced her to come out (to herself as much as to Sky). Not long after she was publicly outed by Sky's cousin and it took a while for her to decide to stop denying the rumours.
- Donna Freedman had quite a subtle one when she came out as bisexual to her friend Bridget. They were discussing their 'first time' and Donna asked her friend if hers was with a guy or a girl
- A more recent example was Chris Pappas, who unlike Lana, eventually became a regular cast member. Chris was dating Summer at the time, but began to realise he was gay when he developed feelings for their friend Andrew. When their teacher Michael, as a class assignment, asked everyone to write down a secret or record a secret, Chris recorded it on his iPod. It was later confiscated and Chris mistakenly believed Michael had heard the recording. Michael figured it out from his reaction, and he later researched the subject on his home computer. Natasha found the sites in his internet history and figured out that one of her classmates had come out to him. She quickly started the rumour mill going. Nevertheless, Chris came out to Summer and Andrew and all were able to overcome the awkwardness between them.
- Michael gets one in a later season of My Family. Ben is shellshocked, but eventually comes to accept it.
- In Pretty Little Liars Emily was thrown out of the closet by their nemesis.
Why did you think I would take Maya to the dance? Hanna:
You thought I wanted her as my date. Why? Hanna:
A” sent me a picture of you and Maya kissing. So, can I just ask — You took Toby to the dance, but then you took that picture with Maya? Emily:
[Pregnant paus] ... I think I know what I want. ... But if I say yes to Maya, everything would change. You know it would. Hanna:
Yeah, it would. You wouldn’t have to pretend you’re someone you’re not. Emily:
But what if I’m wrong? What if I’m not … that
Emily, you’re not signing a contract. You were Emily dating Ben and now you’re Emily dating Maya. We love Emily. No one cares who you’re with. Emily:
Really? Have you even met my parents? Mr. and Mrs. Military and their perfect daughter...
- There was also Paige,a member of Emily's swim team and later girlfriend. When we first meet her in season one she's pretty much locked herself into the closet due to her father's rather negetive views on homosexuality and when she starts dating Emily(by this time out of the closet and secure with her sexuality)she always wants their dates to be out of the way so that noone who knows her will see them together. Despite Emily's encouragement to come out,even going so far as to set her up with a support group,Paige backs out and they break up. Then when we meet Paige again in season 2 she reveals that she came out to her parents(apparently screaming and crying was involved)and she seems quite a bit happier.
- This is the premise of the Pilot episode of My Name Is Earl. The first misdeed Earl makes up for is bullying a classmate named Kenny James. It seems as though Kenny leads a perfect life, but Earl notices that Kenny is lonely and decides to help him find a girlfriend. When that doesn't work, they resort to Patty the Daytime Hooker, and when that fails, Earl and Randy question Kenny...and Randy finds Kenny's Porn Stash. Earl then takes Kenny to a gay bar.
- Calvin Owens in Greek is accidentally outed to his Omega Chi brothers by Ashleigh. After an episode of dirty looks from most of them (his big brother Evan is supportive), he de-pledges. It takes a few episodes (and Evan kicking out the more homophobic elements in Omega Chi) and a courtship with Kappa Tau for Calvin to re-pledge.
- It's also parodied with Calvin's on-again, off-again boyfriend Heath, who comes out to his brothers at Kappa Tau. They don't care; in fact, they were more worried he found out that Beaver had hit on his underage sister ("She does not look 16".)
- In Tyler Perry's The Haves and Have Nots, Jeffrey Harrington is said to have been closeted during most of the first season. When he finally came out to his parents, his father David accepted it. His mother Veronica, on the other hand, was very disapproving to the point that she rather have the survival of her sons that were aborted than have a gay son. Things go From Bad to Worse from there when she tries to make him straight.
- The first season of Transparent centers on Maura coming out to her family as a transwoman.
- Something of a watershed moment in For Better or for Worse. The storyline where Lawrence, one of Mike's friends, comes out as gay is pretty routine and by the numbers, but the fact remains that it occurred in a newspaper strip. It includes his foster father (briefly) throwing him out. The strip had been getting more serious in its arcing storylines for years, but this one drew furor like no other. While the character was still in high school, his being gay was often of note in every scene he was in from then on, such as the prom, but afterwards, he was just another family friend.
- Played mostly straight, surprisingly, in Avenue Q, though without the homophobe/hate crime.
- Indeed, one of the characters, Rod, lives in the most transparent of transparent closets; his story is more about coming out to himself.
- In the musical production called Fairy Tales, there is one song about a man writing an emotional letter to his dad telling him that he is gay.
- In The Children's Hour, a play by Lillian Hellman that was later made into a movie, Martha comes out as a lesbian to her roommate Karen, and then kills herself out of guilt, since their lives had been ruined due to a child claiming that they were both lesbians (and lovers).
- The song "See Me" in bare: a pop opera has Peter trying to come out to his mother, and the next song has his mother struggling with it but ultimately accepting him in the end.
- One mission in Fable 2 has you helping a farmer (the one who earlier put you on the mission to arrest a bandit leader to avenge his wife's death) find a wife for his son. One problem: the son doesn't want to get married... to a woman. The mission ends with you helping the son find a potential boyfriend in the city and the son coming out to the farmer. The farmer is perfectly accepting, and actually says he should've seen it earlier. Not bad for fantasy Renaissance/Colonial England.
- The Orion Conspiracy is one of the first, if not the first, games to break the gay taboo, and this game was released in 1995. Devlin is investigating the death of his son Danny. In the course of the investigation, he discovers that his son Danny was gay and was in a relationship (that involved love letters) with Kaufmann. Shortly after this, Kaufmann confronts Devlin. Kaufmann confirms that he and Danny are both gay. Both of them get into a shouting match about how Devlin drove away Danny and that Devlin is just some anti-gay bigot who is now thinking that Kaufmann murdered Danny over a lover's tiff. When left alone, Devlin is left feeling guilty over being a poor father for Danny, and that they had been so distant that he simply had no idea that Danny was gay. Devlin also feels that Danny could have told him about this, and that he would not have been angry with Danny for that.
- Gone Home actually revolves around this concept. The entire horror game plot is just a Red Herring, the story is really about the Player Character's sister realizing that she is in love with her (female) best friend.
- Dawn, to Kelli, in World of Fizz reveals early on that she had a crush on Kelli since the first grade, and the two later enter into a relationship.
- In the webcomic Boy Meets Boy, Mikhael is faced with the challenge of finding a good time to come out to a new group of friends. Finally, in the middle of a poker game, he awkwardly blurts out, "Hey, speaking of a straight... I'm not." His friends support him after the initial shock wears off. The shock itself has more to do with the incredibly awkward way he goes about it than anything else, and the story arc is more about Mikhael trying to overcome his social ineptitude. He actually panics not over the prospect of coming out in and of itself, but over the fact that he's made a friends and doesn't know how to behave around them.
- Near the beginning of the strip, Mikhael makes Harley come out to his mom over the phone. He grudgingly does so, only to have her reveal that she knew all along, much to his surprise, and had even found him a suitor.
- Szark comes out as gay in Dominic Deegan...after already being openly bisexual. His sexuality is immediately relegated to humorous and is mentioned at every possible occasion.
- Ethan of Shortpacked! didn't so much come out as found himself forceably knocked out, when he found that being kissed by Mike aroused him more than being kissed by Robin. Up until right before the kisses (when Robin accused him of being gay), a few people had suspected he was gay but the possibility had never occurred to Ethan himself.
- El Goonish Shive has a particularly powerful strip, wordlessly depicting how Justin was outed.
- Played with in the webcomic Girly. One story appears to involve Otra telling her mother she is a lesbian, but it turns out she was just explaining she was a sidekick. Unfortunately, she was involved in a massive "Freaky Friday" Flip with most of the rest of the cast at that point.
- All four storylines thus far of Khaos Komix have involved the focal character realizing his or her homosexuality or bisexuality, followed by romantic tension with one or more same-sex love interests.
- Spoofed to the point of an Overused Running Gag in Umlaut House:
- Jake frets neurotically over whether to tell his boss, who ends up jumping him on the spot, then his parents, who hardly care.
- Rick denied being gay as a teen because he didn't know what it meant; after having a bully explain it to him (at gunpoint!) he didn't even struggle with the idea. Then Rick came out and explained the concept to his father, who had the exact same reaction.
- Amanda says she thinks her story is "the same as [Volair's]" and rattles off a stereotypical version of the Coming-Out Story, to which Volair responds that he "just likes getting 5% more nookie."
- In a flashback, Volair is outed to his peers (and himself) by an erection in the shower.
- In Ansem Retort, Marluxia, who has been stereotypically gay for the entire series finally comes out of the closet in 'season' 5. None of the other cast members are surprised and even the jerkass Zexion finds this reveal to be less interesting than watching Seinfeld reruns.
- Sara of Penny and Aggie undergoes a lengthy and heavily-foreshadowed coming out process, sometimes played for comedy and at other times for drama. Lisa, noticing Sara's Transparent Closet (she's visibly frustrated by the rival title characters not acknowledging their supposed mutual attraction), touches her mock-seductively on the nose, freaking Sara out and leading her to settle the question by kissing Marshall. When she feels nothing as a result, she realizes she's gay. Subsequent storylines deal with her Ambiguously Gay makeover, being slanderously outed to the entire school body as an alleged rapist, eventually finding acceptance (and, in one case, a girlfriend) amongst her friends, and coming out to her mother.
- Penny, as well, has been (very) slowly coming to terms with her own bisexuality ever since a comment by a projecting Sara hit too close to home.
- As of late 2009, Aggie is in the midst of her own coming out process, although whether she's gay or bisexual is not yet clear.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal features one strip where a woman discusses with a friend how to come out of the closet to her husband...and admit she is a robot. Her friend's suggestion is a bit unorthodox.
- Subverted in PVP; Max Powers is a Straight Gay who spends most of the comic in the closet, but his friends had pretty much all guessed that he was gay anyway. When he calls a staff meeting to come out, the basic reaction is "That's it? You called a meeting for that?". No-one treats him any differently and his sexuality is barely even mentioned afterwards.
- Hom from Welcome To Room 305 came out at the very start of the story but it get tossed around a lot on whether or not it's the truth or he's playing a joke. Eventually, it comes out that he is quite gay but hasn't come out to Sung Joong.
- One major story element in Sunstone is that neither Ally nor Lisa considered themselves to be gay or bi before meeting each other, and have to come to terms with their mutual attraction along with their roles in the D/s part of their relationship. Ally eventually admits it to Alan ("I'm... gay." "Like a rainbow unicorn.") and a future strip teases at how Lisa will eventually introduce her girlfriend to her family.
- Tripping Over You is a slice-of-life story about two boys and their relationship in a British boarding school.
- Gunnerkrigg Court: Tomboy and Girly Girl Kat and Paz deal with their feelings for each other after the first girl is Mistaken for Gay (her known crushes have been for guys); after settling her feelings Kat then has to deal with coming out to her best friend Antimony. When the couple is spotted by said friend in a compromising position the friend runs away sending Kat into a panic. Turns out she wasn't afraid of Kat being gay (an offhand comment about dating a hot enough woman a year ago was enough for her to accept the possibility that Kat might not be hetero-normative), but that her best (and at times only) friend might leave her. Kat also comes out to an ancient spirit who warns her her friend might not be as open minded as he is; after coming out to Antimony, she worries their spirit pal might be too old-fashioned. The couple later go to a dance and no one seems to care.
- Lavali of Sandra on the Rocks comes out to her brother Alex after tearfully running into his arms for comfort because her girlfriend had just broken up with her. While her sexuality is news to the reader, the following two strips have Alex reveal that he already knew she was gay and so did their parents, since they had caught her in compromising positions with girls on multiple occasions. Up until that point she genuinely believed that the Blatant Lies she used to "explain" the situation each time had successfully kept them all in the dark.
- Averted in The Saga of Tuck, where there is no single coming-out event for Tuck. The 'coming out' events that do occur range from slapstick to nightmarish.
- This is the plot of Out With Dad, with the twist that it's a coming out story for two people - Rose and Vanessa. Neither is out to everyone, but their families both know. Rose gets the supportive reaction from her friend Kenny and her dad, while Vanessa's mom is... less supportive.
- Parodied in Queer Duck, in which the titular character randomly comes out to a bunch of strangers at work. Nobody was the least bit surprised, but he later relates all of the people at his job supporting him and acting emotionally to his friends.
- Waaaaaaaaaaaaay on the other end of the spectrum, you have Drawn Together, which featured Xandir's attempts to come out to his parents. He tried to practice by having two of his castmates roleplay as his parents. His first trial run at coming out was met with a reaction of "Uh, DUHHHH!" from his pseudo-parents, which causes Xandir to chastise them for not taking the roleplaying exercise seriously enough. They take things a bit more seriously than he may have hoped, as his second trial run led to an insanely convoluted turn of events parodying an after-school special, which killed half the cast (So what else is new?) and made little to no sense. Again, this isn't new. In the end, when he comes out to his real parents, what are their reactions? "Uh, DUHHHH!" Also: when he came out to his girlfriend over the phone, she angrily requested he never save her again, as she is bound and being lowered into a snake pit. Makes Princess Clara look downright tolerant.