Flying Under the Gaydar
When a gay (or bisexual), character, who is normally very flamboyant acts in a far less stereotypical manner. This usually in order to hide his or her sexual orientation from another person's Gaydar. It may or may not be a part of The Masquerade. This is different from the standard Straight Gay character who isn't campy to begin with. This trope only occurs when the character is normally very, very flamboyant, but is putting on an act. Needless to say this is Truth in Television.
- Nathan Lane's character in The Birdcage.
- Inverted in The Dresden Files. Thomas Raith, a White Court Vampire that feeds on lustful emotions, pretends to be a flamingly gay hairstylist in order to feed on the lustful emotions of his clients as he washes their hair. Normally this is done via the act of sex where a big bite of the subject's life force is taken. Instead, Thomas does it this way, taking tinier bites so as to try and prevent accidentally hurting someone. As he says it himself: feeding on a person's lustful emotions requires a sense of intimacy, styling her hair is the most intimate you can get with a girl short of sex, and no one would pay him anywhere near as much money to style their hair if they didn't think he was a gay Frenchman.
- Variation: Varys, who is treated as asexual due to being castrated at a young age, typically acts in a manner that would be called Camp Gay if he had the equipment for it in order to come off as non-threatening. When he must move about unseen, he sometimes drops the act and dresses as a common soldier. It is incredibly effective; even people who interact with him on a daily basis have trouble recognizing him.
- Inverted in Ugly Betty. A fashion designer is actually straight, but plays up a flamboyant Camp Gay image so he can be taken seriously as a designer.
Betty: Are these really the questions that are going to make your mom think you're straight?Marc: Straight guys Mystic Tan. Hello, Tom Cruise.
- Played straight (no pun intended) in an earlier episode, when Marc tries to act straight for his mother. He is spectacularly awful at it, claiming that his favorite musical is High School Musical and that he tans at only a certain place.
- A similar inversion happens in Malcolm in the Middle, with Francis helping out at a beauty contest and realizing the perks acting Camp can bring him.
- Done in the original Get Smart TV show after Max is punched out by a previously effeminate character who spoke in a falsetto because no one would believe a deep bass voice could design windows.
- In Glee, Kurt gets caught by his dad dancing in a unitard with two girls to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" video. He claims he is practicing for his new position on the football team, which he had totally just joined and not made up on the spot. Later, when he does join the football team, he helps the team perfect their coordination and timing (and some psychological warfare on the other team) through learning the dance. In a later episode, when he feels that quarterback Finn is "stealing" his dad away from, Kurt begins dressing in flannel clothing and dating a woman in order to appear more manly and win back his father's affection.
- Bisexual Cross Dresser Kris from British Soap Opera Hollyoaks did this at one point, stopping wearing make-up, skirts and hiding his bisexuality because his brother was visiting.
- Also occurred in Degrassi with transgender character Adam. When having a family dinner with his grandmother, his mother begged him to dress up in girl clothes and go by his birth name, Gracie, as not to shock or upset the grandmother.
- Until a certain episode of The War At Home, Kenny tries to hide his sexual orientation. The audience still know he's gay because of his Inner Monologues.
- Max from Happy Endings subverts this: while he is definitely not Camp Gay at all, his friends point out that he can't really act straight either. Especially in front of his parents.
Max: *While pointing at Penny's breasts* Get a load of these! Huh? Yeah!
- Noah's Arc: In an episode where Noah wants to go to a bar to meet Wade's friends, Wade gets Noah to tone down his normally feminine look for this purpose. Noah calls him out on it later.
- On Will and Grace, Jack overhears Will saying he wish he (Jack) weren’t so ‘gay’ (because Jack was being incredibly loud and campy around Will at a completely inappropriate time). Jack comes to the gym acting like an equally obnoxious and stereotypically straight man, even remarking, ‘Nice rack,’ at a young woman working there.
- Lampshaded in Angels In America in a conversation between Louis and Prior. Prior remarks that Louis always introduces himself as "Lou" to his relatives—so they don't hear the sibilant s.
- In the book, film, and theater versions of The Birdcage, a man has to pass for straight to win over his son's new in-laws. It does not go well. However, his drag queen lover does pass for a straight woman, however.
- In an inversion similar to the Ugly Betty example above, Bill Dauterive of King of the Hill pretends to be Camp Gay in order to keep his employment at a trendy hair salon that only hires women and gay men because they do not believe straight men can properly cut/style hair.
- American Dad! had an episode where the Smiths' neighbor Terry needed to pretend to be straight because his intolerant father was coming to town for a few days. This resulted in Francine pretending to be his live-in girlfriend, forcing his actual partner Greg to stay with Stan.