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Gay Cowboy

"Alright, here's a little tune inspired by one of the great legends of the Old West. Well, there once were two cowboys all alone out on the trail / And they discovered they could sleep with another male / Now they're having buttsex / Cowboy buttsex!/Sodomy-hyyyyyyyyyy!/"''
Peter Griffin, Family Guy

The mythos of the American Old West, with its aura of ruggedness, danger and adventure, has appealed to many people over the years, including gay men. While they don't have quite as many stereotypical gay associations as sailors and leather-clad bikers, cowboys are an important part of macho gay male iconography. This trope covers gay or bi men who are Western-flavored characters or just fans of the genre.

This is almost always a flavor of Manly Gay.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comics 
  • Marvel Comics' Rawhide Kid in the eponymous 2003 limited series (but not in regular continuity, Earth 616 appearances). His over-hyped sexuality caused the books to be rated inappropriate for minors to read, even though the only indication he was gay was by offensive innuendos and implications.
  • In the 2000s Jonah Hex series, Hex faces off against a Gay Cowboy who goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the town where his partner was killed.

    Film 
  • Three Ten To Yuma, where Charlie "Princess" is almost outright stated to be gay (especially for his boss, Ben Wade). And Fanon explains Ben himself to be gay as well.
  • Brokeback Mountain is famous for being the "gay cowboy movie", although the main characters were actually looking after sheep and it's not set in the old West. But for simplicity's sake, rancheros = cowboy in pop culture.
  • The two major gay male characters in the Canadian indie film Wilby Wonderful are both fans of Westerns.
  • Also popular in Spaghetti Westerns with the Sissy Villain type: Django Kill, Sabata and The Grand Duel have flamboyantly gay baddies.
  • Julian (J.C. McGinley's character) in Wagons East. An ultimately heroic example, at that.
  • In the Joshua Jackson film Lone Star State of Mind a.k.a Cowboys and Idiots, Earl's best friend is Jimbo, who is the stereotypical Texan cowboy mechanic, only that he's gay and there's a subplot throughout the film of him trying to get a date. He dates Earl's father's killer Yeah, it's that kind of movie.
  • In the slasher film Maskhead, the contact the snuff film makers (a pair of Psycho Lesbians) have with their buyers is a cowboy who picks up men to fist and do other weird sexual things to. However, he vehemently claims he is not "a fucking fag".

    Literature 
  • In The Last Rune series there are the minor characters Davis and Mitchell, two gay ranchers who have been together for over twenty five years.
  • Warren from the Mercy Thompson series was a gay cowboy before he became a werewolf.

    Live Action TV 
  • Referenced in The Drew Carey Show when Oswald decides to check out a new bar where the dress code is cowboy gear. Drew lets him go, figuring this is something he'd just have to learn the hard way.
  • The Goodies had the Rhinestone Cowperson in the episode "The Goodies Almost Live".
  • One of Jack's many boyfriends in Will and Grace. There is also a gay Country & Western bar in the episode, complete with "GAY BAR FIGHT!"
  • Paul Lynde played a Lone Ranger style character in a series of skits on a late-60s variety show - his 'clever disguises' tended to be Mardi Gras eye masks.
  • Alex dresses up like a sexy one in Noah's Arc to surprise Trey.
  • One of the victims in the Criminal Minds episode "In Heat".

    Music 
  • "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other," aka "The Gay Cowboy Song."
  • One of the Village People dressed as a cowboy. The performer was one of the two members of the group who was gay in Real Life.
  • There was an underground cowboy song called "The Lavender Cowboy", who, according to the lyric "had only two hairs on his chest" (which line was usually followed by two plucks from the violin).
  • There's a Brazilian Earworm song, called "Cowboy Viado" or "Fag Cowboy". It goes like "He rides, I know he rides, He rides the horse just to raise his ass".
  • Alice in Chains' song "Queen of the Rodeo" is a subversion; the subject of the song is simply a transvestite.
  • "Cowboy Love" by Reverend Horton Heat
  • "C.S. Cowboy" by the Axis of Awesome, the result of two of the bands' members believing the initials stood for 'Crime Solving'.
  • In the musical production called Fairy Tales, the song "Illinois Fred" tells the story of two men sitting at a bar encountering a cowboy named Illinois Fred, who enjoys antiques, Patsy Cline music, dancing, and taking men into the back of his truck to...play the radio.
    "The cowboy just stood there in Levis and chaps/'till Randy said, 'hey, sit on down, have a beer.'/From the way that he smiled/When he walked over to us/ I said to myself this guy must be a ... Yankee."
  • Roy of the Vengaboys is gay.
  • When Dog Fashion Disco's producers irritated lead singer Todd Smith by pressuring him about the state of their upcoming concept album, DFD released two joke songs, one of which was called "Hank Steel the Real Queer Cowboy". The band was barely able to finish the song for laughing.
  • While Taiji Sawada was likely heterosexual (or at most bisexual or bicurious) in Real Life, he attained the status of Memetic Sex God by combining the cowboy and Leather Man / Badass Biker aesthetic onstage (especially with X Japan, but in his solo works as well) and in photoshoots and the like.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Parodied in one The New Yorker cartoon: two senile old cowboys are sitting on a porch, and one yells to the other, "Were we gay?"

    Video Games 
  • In Sunset Riders, Billy (who has a stylish victory pose) is the only character who looks away from the saloon girls, after the Smith Brothers boss fight. Of course, he may just be bashful or modest around the ladies.
  • Revolver Ocelot in the Metal Gear series is a Spaghetti Western-themed villain who turns out to have been in love with a guy.
  • Jude the Dude in MadWorld is heavily implied to be one of these. His boss arena even features a banner that proclaims him as "The Brokest Back in the West."
  • Sir Hammerlock of Borderlands 2 is hinted at being gay, and wears an outfit which is a mixture of a scholar and a cowboy.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The American Gay Rodeo Association
  • The reputation surrounding super-selective Deep Springs College, one of the few men's colleges left in the US, where so-called "cowboy intellectuals" split their time between ranch labor and the western canon. Founded by engineer and philanthropist L.L. Nunn, who's suggested to have been a pederast.
  • The cowboy from the Village People. He was a macho man.
  • This poem.


CowboyWestern CharactersThe Drifter
Gay ConservativeQueer as TropesGaydar
Gay BravadoAlways MaleGayngster
Brokeback MountainImageSource/Live-Action FilmsStuck on a Ski Lift

alternative title(s): Gay Caballero
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