"I didn't want you to know. I knew you would reject such inappropriate love. I knew it too..."Despite the older meaning of the word "gay," homosexual characters in fiction tend to be a miserable lot, and not by simple coincidence - their misery can be attributed largely to their sexuality or, more accurately, other people's attitudes towards it. In short, they don't just have angst, they have gayngst. Characters suffering from Gayngst are prone to alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse, self-loathing, rampant homophobia towards themselves and others, falling in tragic unrequited love with heterosexuals, contemplating (and often committing) suicide, and wishing that they were straight. Gayngst is a Pet Peeve Trope of many due to the fact that while it usually portrays gay people sympathetically and addresses an issue many gay people in Real Life go through, it can be interpreted as saying that it's impossible to be gay without being miserable, or that gay people don't deserve Happy Endings, or at its very worst and most ineptly-handled, homosexual relationships are innately disastrous. However, Gayngst is still unfortunately common in real life. After all, True Art Is Angsty transcends sexual orientation. If the story wants an uplifting tone, the character will eventually come to terms with their sexuality, have the obligatory Coming-Out Story, and either live Happily Ever After with their love interest, or morph into some other gay archetype (usually Straight Gay or Lipstick Lesbian; either this is their natural personality or they still have some lingering insecurity). Gayngst is often found in the Boys Love and Girls Love works for obvious reasons. Doesn't come up quite as often in works with a Cast Full of Gay — even if a couple of characters are of the angsty persuasion, they're usually balanced out by the rest of the cast in such a way that the Unfortunate Implications are done away with. Not to be confused with the Gayngster, although some Gayngsters probably have their share of Gayngst. Clumsy examples of Gayngst often dive headfirst into Wangst territory. Sister Trope of Bury Your Gays, which it frequently overlaps with. Depending on how it's played, it can be a Sub-Trope of Boomerang Bigot and/or Super Trope of Incompatible Orientation. Opposite of Queer People Are Funny.
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Anime and Manga
- Girl Friends in particular loves this trope. It does eventually get fulfilled, though.
- Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl leans toward this in the beginning, but soon changes gears into a rather straightforward Love Triangle, despite all participants being girls. Also notable is the signs of transgender angst with Hazumu in episode/volume one before the Gender Bender as well as in flashbacks.
- The First Love Sisters manga averts this and has all girls accept their feelings for another girl as something fairly normal, with the focus on the romantic entanglements themselves.
- In Sasameki Koto this is largely averted at first, since most girls seem to have no problems with their feelings for someone their own gender. Sure, Sumika is angsting heavily over her crush on her best friend Ushio, but that is because Ushio prefers cuter girls—and Sumika does not consider herself to be cute in the least.
- Later on the largest amount of gayngst surprisingly comes from Ushio, when she finally faces up to her feelings for Sumika, but is afraid of losing her as her best friend.
- In the No Bra manga, Masato is constantly torturing himself over his awakening feelings for his childhood friend, Yuki. The fact that Yuki looks and acts like a cute girl and is obviously in love with Masato makes matters even more complicated. Masato finally gives in to his feelings later on though.
- Seems like characters named Shiori usually bring the gayngst along with them:
- Sei and Shiori's relationship in Maria-sama ga Miteru has some elements of this. Of course, falling in love with someone who wants to become a nun is always asking for trouble.
- In the manga Hanjuku Joshi, closeted lesbian Ran harbours a deep unrequited love for her best friend Shiori, who is happily oblivious to the other woman's pining and desire for her.
- Shiori in Revolutionary Girl Utena is the best fremeny of Juri, who is a closeted lesbian and has been in love with her since they were young. Whether or not Shiori is aware of this just adds to Juri's misery. (Of course, it gets worse in the movie ... )
- There's a Shiori in Octave as well who goes through two rounds of gayngst: the first with her girlfriend, who dumps her and returns to her former lover and the second with Yukino, to whom she offers a muddled confession mixed with love and lust, and is met with rejection.
- In the manga this seems to be mostly averted at first, until the chapter in which Yukino visits her parents and decides to bring her girlfriend Setsuko along.
- Aoi Hana: Poor Fumi, losing two love interests in a row to other men. She begs Akira not think of her as disgusting after she first comes out (confessing that she's dating another girl), and brings this up again after Haruka asks Fumi for advice over her sister possibly being lesbian, which finally drives Fumi to confess to Akira at the end of volume 4. Ramped up considerably starting about the end of volume 3.
- Most of the time Shuichi from Gravitation is comfortable with being in love with another guy. Occasionally though, he really gets hit hard with Gayngst and worries quite a bit that his relationship with Yuki is doomed because they're both male.
- Subverted in Mahou Sensei Negima!. Setsuna's angst is less about the fact that she is quite thoroughly gay for Konoka, than that she thinks herself of the wrong social class for Ojou-sama, and that she feels unworthy of her. Their pactio might help her feel better about her Bodyguard Crush.
- In Mai-HiME, this is played for brutal effect with Shizuru, whose facade slowly starts to crack late in the series, starting with abandoning her duties to protect Natsuki (whose powers are temporarily unusable) from Nao, then a stolen kiss in her love's sleep, and culminating with going full-blown Psycho Lesbian when her feelings are rejected. Natsuki's final declaration that even if she doesn't feel the way Shizuru hoped she would, she is happy that Shizuru loved her and also loves her in her own way, combined with her causing both their Childs to be destroyed helps restore her sanity, though.
- In Finder Series, Akihito angsts for a while after being raped by Asami and (maybe) enjoying it.
- When the boys in Let Dai stop trying to kill each other and start dating, the whole world seems to be against them. This trope follows.
- The protagonist of Houou Gakuen Misoragumi has some of this at the beginning, mostly related to the fact girls date her because she looks like a boy.. But they aren't lesbian, and are Squicked out when she does anything remotely sexual.
- Prism has Hikaru depreciating herself over her crush on Megu in chapter 2.
- In Boys Love Genre FAKE, much of the Unresolved Sexual Tension and Will They or Won't They? derives from Ryo having trouble accepting his attraction to his very forward partner Dee. It takes Ryo 2 years to sort his feelings out and finally reciprocate Dee's feelings. Yet he still continues to worry how other people, mainly Bikky, will feel about his homosexual relationship with Dee.
- Misaki and Kawabata in Hana No Mizo Shiru. Misaki wonders why he can't be attracted to women instead of men at the end of Chapter 8, and why, if he's going to fall for men, he was born a man himself. Losing Kawabata and, in his mind, Arikawa to women really hurt him (what he doesn't realize is that Arikawa already broke up his girlfriend in Chapter 5). Then there's Kawabata, who left Misaki and got a girlfriend because he knew a relationship with an underaged boy was not socially acceptable. In Chapter 11 his true feelings for Misaki come out, and at the end of the chapter, he cancels he and his girlfriend's wedding preparations over the phone. He says he can "think for himself" now.
- A Cruel God Reigns: Jeremy and Ian both go through a bit of this, although a lot of their cases could be chalked up to other reasons. To start off with, Jeremy and Ian are both Ambiguously Bi, or simply have a case of If It's You, It's Okay. Jeremy, who seems to be going through a case of Rape and Switch anyway often refers to himself as the "male prostitute of Lynn Forest" and later agonizes over developing a fascination with Ian. Ian, on the other hand, is trying to figure out whether he is in love with Jeremy or if he is like his sadistic, Archnemesis Dad and only lusts after his stepbrother, coupled with the fact that Jeremy is the first boy he's ever been seriously interested in.
- Shizuku from Sakura Trick has this, as she is afraid that her relationship with her cousin Kotone will only last the three years they are in school—Kotone has a Fiancé arranged for her already.
- Downplayed in Kase-san. Yamada continually gets flustered over the idea of having feelings for a girl and worries Kase can't feel the same way, and early on Mika warns Yamada against befriending Kase because she's rumoured to date girls, but in the end the main thing separating the two girls is just their combined nervousness, and when Mika admitted she knew about their relationship, she didn't seem bothered at all.
- Averted despite the explicit Incompatible Orientation on Outlaw Star; Fred Luo is perfectly comfortable with his nature as a Camp Gay merchant and even though he professes his undying love for Gene Starwind, he's perfectly aware of the fact the heterosexual Gene doesn't reciprocate and in fact seems to enjoy teasing him by flirting. The closest thing Fred gets to this trope is his annoyance with the fact his parents insist on ignoring his orientation to force him into an Arranged Marriage with Reiko Ando
- Karolina Dean of Marvel's Runaways has a crush on her straight best friend Nico, made out with a guy she'd just met because she wanted to feel "normal", and tried to commit suicide by proxy. However, the fact that she's an alien and that her parents are supervillains probably adds to her angst.
- This is a frequent and longstanding part of Renee Montoya's character, starting from when she was first outed in Gotham Central. A police officer, Renee already had extensive personal issues due to being an honest Hispanic woman in a primarily male, primarily white, completely corrupt police department. When Two-Face outed her to friends and family her captain, Maggie Sawyer (an open lesbian), attempted to help her deal with the issues that arise in this situation. Unfortunately, as Renee rather vehemently points out, their situations are nothing alike, as Maggie did not already have racial and gender baggage to deal with, and she was from Metropolis, not Gotham, and the differences between the two societies run deeper than just the different operating hours of their heroes. Combined with other factors, (including the normal drama and angst that comes with being a police officer) Renee eventually descends into alcoholism and serious contemplations of suicide while she bounces from one-night-stand to one-night-stand. She gets better, eventually, but some comics have her relationships plagued with conflict and drama. This cocktail of angst and social trauma about her own identity eventually helps shape her own career as a masked vigilante.
- Renee's ex-girlfriend Katherine "Kate" Kane (a.k.a. Batwoman) had her own issues. The daughter of two career soldiers, when her mother and twin-sister were killed during her childhood kidnapping Kate's sole dream was to follow in her parents' foot-steps in the army and somehow make a difference. Accepted to the Military Academy at West Point, Kate actually became Cadet Captain and, in the estimation of her instructors, would go on to become a high-ranking, well-respected officer once she graduated...until rumors regarding her sexuality began to circulate around the campus. Army regulations require the discharge of any solider confirmed to be homosexual, and Kate's refusal to lie about herself resulted in her being "separated" from the army, ending the only dream she has had since she was ten years old. It is only once she sees Batman after a hapless individual attempts to steal her wallet that she sets a new goal for herself, and she still needs to deal with the criticism and rejection of her "family" and "friends" (everyone but her dad) from high-society.
- Watchmen has several minor gay characters, none of whom get happy endings.
- A minor subplot near the end of the newsstand owner's side story involves a lesbian couple at odds with one another, and is a huge example of gayngst AND spousal abuse. Fun. It ends with several prevalent minor characters trying to intervene in said abuse, including a police officer trying to catch Nite Owl and Rorschach's now former prison psychiatrist. Of course, it's all for naught as they all die horribly when Ozymandias' plan is executed (but their bodies were seen together).
- And then there's the Silhouette, who was kicked out of the Minutemen upon being outed, and Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis, who are strongly implied to have been secretly lovers. All three are dead or missing before the story begins.
- Ozymandias is speculated to be gay by a few characters, and there are hints backing this up in the film version. While he doesn't seem particularly angst-filled, we learn later on that he's at least unhappy enough to be pretty okay with mass-murder.
- The discontinued Chick Tract "Wounded Children", fit this to a T (although it is also full of Narm), because of his views of homosexuality Chick's tracts on the subject had the message "There is nothing gay about being gay" before shifting to "Those who support or tolerate homosexuality are evil".
- An issue of Zot! deals with Jenny's best friend Terry and her gradual realization that she's homosexual, engaging with this trope in the process — in particular, Terry at one point tearfully pleads with Zot to know whether, in his Utopian superheroic 'world of the future!', she would be considered 'normal'. She eventually hooks up with her friend Pam, who's own coming out of the closet was the trigger for Terry's identity issues on the subject, and appears relatively happy as a result.
- Billy Kaplan, aka Wiccan of the Young Avengers, used to get bullied at school for being gay. Other than that, he and his boyfriend, Hulkling, avert this trope. None of their teammates seem to be fazed by their relationship, and Billy's parents are positively thrilled with it.
- Teddy had his own issues, with his own shapeshifting powers tying into a need to be like "the other guys" and a crush on a jock who mainly used Teddy for his shapeshifting powers to help get into clubs and be seen with famous people and what have you.
- Nancy and Ginger deal with this in Afterlife With Archie. Ginger wants to be open about it but Nancy is afraid that their families will react negatively.
- A Butterfly Effect features quite a bit of this, though it is repeatedly hinted that it will end well.
- About half of Slash Fic loves this trope. The other half tend to throw out the question of sexuality altogether or make the characters bisexual.
- If not canon, Sasuke in Naruto is often portrayed as having this, especially while being bashed. Sas"uke" and Sasugay being two of the names often used to bash him.
- In The Ballad Of Stoot And Argyle, of the three major gay characters presented, only Terrance experiences any sort of Gayngst, and it's pretty severe, as well as irrational. Phillip, one of the other gay characters, is so unconcerned by Terrance's sexuality it's not even funny, as is Terrance's mom.
- Although Word of God is she doesn't see gender, Cassandra's interest (and later a relationship) with other female members of the cast of Angel Of The Bat was one of the catalysts for her Crisis of Faith. Notably, this is one of the only plot points not resolved by the end, and it's implied she may one day have to hide her feelings or face scrutiny from her religion ( Catholicism). Turns the otherwise happy ending bittersweet.
- Paul Korner (played by Conrad Veidt) from Different From The Others is likely the cinematic Ur Example.
- Brokeback Mountain is by far the most famous example of this trope from recent years.
- Col. Fitts from American Beauty is particularly disturbing example of a self-loathing closet case.
- The 1961 Dirk Bogarde film Victim is positively overflowing with Gayngst.
- Gayngst would account for much of Kirill's issues in Eastern Promises, along with being the son of a crime boss. He's a vicious, pitiful, self-loathing drunk, and very attached to Nikolai.
- The 90s gave us two British films about teenage boys coming to terms with their homosexuality: Get Real and Beautiful Thing.
- Also Wild Tigers I Have Known, which is notable for making its Gayngst completely surreal.
- Before Get Real and Beautiful Thing there was Two of Us.
- In Across the Universe, Prudence experiences this throughout the movie (the cover of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" practically screams this trope). In fact, she goes as far as to cover it up by getting herself a boyfriend who beats her, which then intertwines her into the lives of the other main characters.
- Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale's character) in Velvet Goldmine goes through a lot of this.
- Lampshaded in As Good As It Gets, when straight Melvin (Jack Nicholson) asks gay Simon (Greg Kinnear) after all the horrible things that have happened to him if he thinks his life would have been easier if he were straight, which causes Simon to ask back: "Do you consider your life easy?"
- Father Greg (Linus Roache) in the controversial Priest has this in spades.
- Bent was about a gay man posing as a Jewish man learning to come out of the closet while in a concentration camp.
- In Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence Yonoi suffers from this hard due to his (maybe) unrequited feelings for his prisoner Celliers. That they are both soldiers on opposing sides of World War Two makes this kind of justified though.
- In Les roseaux sauvages (Wild Reeds), set in 1962, a 17-year-old boy realizing he's gay says "It's like a curse. I don't know why I'm landed with it." His female best friend tells him that a shoe salesman they know is living happily with his boyfriend.
- In Ma Vie En Rose, a 7-year-old trans girl with a crush on a boy is misunderstood at every turn, tries to butch it up, fails, feels miserable, and attempts suicide.
- In Trevor, a 13-year-old boy realizes he's gay, loses the friend he's in love with, is given The Talk by a priest at the request of his parents, is shunned by his schoolmates and tries to kill himself.
- Plan B features Bruno, who plans to seduce his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend in an attempt to break them up, accidentally falls in love with said new boyfriend, and can't help vomiting when a friend points it out.
- Essentially the whole plot of The Children's Hour, in which Martha (Shirley MacLaine) is persecuted by homophobic accusations based on malicious misinterpretation of her completely platonic friendship with Karen (Audrey Hepburn). The scandal thus provoked aggravates Martha's intense Gayngst, until in the last act she privately comes out to Karen—which immediately segues to a Bury Your Gays Downer Ending. When it was filmed 1961, things were so repressed that they couldn't even utter the word "lesbian." And yet in the final scene Karen visits Martha's grave and professes undying love to her... in a scarcely audible voice.
- Stephen Gordon, the heroine of Radclyffe Hall's The Well Of Loneliness.
- Andrew Holleran's novel Dancer From The Dance.
- Robin from the Troubleshooters series goes through some of this as he realizes he's a Straight Gay, particularly the substance abuse. He gets better.
- In Sarah Waters's novel Tipping the Velvet, Kitty Butler suffers from this. Notably averted with most of Waters's other heroines, who deal with their lesbianism surprisingly well, given that most of them are Victorian women.
- It is heavily implied that this is the reason why Brideshead Revisited's Catholic, aristocratic, and eventually alcoholic Sebastian Flyte is made so miserable by his family, particularly his manipulative and extremely devout mother.
- Aw come on, lotsa straight adult men carry a teddy bear—named Aloysius!—around with them, everywhere.
- The recent film adaption said "Screw Ambiguity!"
- Aw come on, lotsa straight adult men carry a teddy bear—named Aloysius!—around with them, everywhere.
- Damien from The House of Night series has a bit of this. His father didn't react at all well to him being gay. What's strange is that at first he seems to be the only gay vampyre, aside from a couple of lesbians.
- Averting this is half the point of Annie on My Mind, which ends well.
- Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan is set in a Quirky Town with a prominent LGBT community and a remarkably open-minded straight community. Most of the characters avert this trope completely. However, the main character's best friend and ex-boyfriend provide straightforward examples. The former is justified in that his extremely religious parents don't accept his sexuality.
- In Hero by Perry Moore, the protagonist has two big secrets: he's gay and he has super powers. Guess which one he angsts about more?
- Averted, subverted, and played straight by various characters throughout the DRAMA! series by Paul Ruditis. The main character, Bryan, insists that his sexual orientation is no big deal. He even hangs a lampshade on this:
But don't worry. This isn't one of those angst-filled books where I'm struggling to come to terms with what it all means. I've long since accepted it. I'm gay. I'm over it. There will be no endless, teary-eyed, internal dialogues. No tormented, sleepless nights. I am 100 percent at ease with who I am.
- It's debatable whether Bryan is really as well-adjusted as he pretends to be. Meanwhile, his extremely flamboyant acquaintance, Marq, is out and proud despite having once been the victim of a gay bashing. Bryan's main love interest spends most of the series deep in the closet, however.
- Exploring Gayngst in-depth and eventually overcoming it is arguably the whole point of E.M. Forster's Maurice.
- Word of God says this may be the cause behind the entire plot of Fight Club.
- James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room.
- Detective Milo Sturgis from Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series had some of this, especially in the early books. Justified because they took place in the late 80's and he was the only openly gay detective on the force.
- Funny Boy has some of this, naturally given that it stars a gay adolescent.
- Heralds of Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage trilogy opens with the protagonist Vanyel Ashkevron going through an abusive adolescence. He's aware of being "different" but doesn't understand what that means, except that his father is determined to beat him into some ideal of manliness that he feels incapable of living up to. It isn't until he travels from a backwater keep to the capital of Valdemar that he becomes exposed to people who are openly homosexual. His self-awakening is correspondingly traumatic, with Closet Key Tylendel becoming his lifebound as well as his first lover. When Tylendel dies after a tragic accident, Vanyel is left emotionally ravaged and becomes suicidal. He doesn't fully reconcile his sexuality until the final book in the series.
- According to Word of God, Dumbledore from Harry Potter is gay and his rather bad experience with his friend Gellert Grindelwald was actually something of a romance, on Dumbledore's part anyway (it's never been said whether Grindelwald was gay or not) that ended up with his sister getting killed and a lifelong rift between Dumbledore and his brother.
- Francesca Lia Block often addresses this in her novels, notably with Dirk and Duck in Weetzie Bat, Griffin in I Was A Teenage Fairy, and most recently Pace in The Frenzy.
- In Terry Goodkinds Sword of Truth series, the Mord'sith Berdine and Raina were always belittled by Darken Rahl for their relationship.
- Basil Hallward in The Picture of Dorian Gray.
- Gives Light is notable for averting this, which is probably because their society (Plains Shoshone) is historically openminded about samesex relationships. The main characters are both boys, but their relationship is treated like any other romance.
- The novel Roses and Thorns: Beauty and the Beast Retorld by Chris Anne Wolfe both plays this straight and averts it. Angelique, the heroine, completely averts this trope when she discovers that she's being romanced by another woman. Drew, the figurative "beast" of the story, plays it very straight, especially in the area of self-loathing.
- Every single Kyell Gold novel. Justified as often as not, but it happens even when the other characters don't see anything wrong or abnormal about the protagonist's orientation.
- In the Alexandria Quartet, the neurasthenic Balthazar copes with his break-ups through epic, lengthy, near-fatal bouts of drinking, depression, and self-neglect.
- In Doctrine of Labyrinths, Gideon suffers from a serious case of this, to the point that it damages his ability to be intimate with Felix even after everyone knows about the relationship. Kay is a more unusual case, as he sees nothing embarrassing about sex with men, but thinks feeling true love for one is "unnatural" (kind of unfortunate, considering that he's in love with Gerrard). Strongly averted by most of the Cast Full of Gay: Felix, Shannon, Astyanax, and all their admirers have no orientation issues.
- Nico di Angelo, from the The Heroes of Olympus series, turned out to be partially motivated by this (in addition to the rest of his angst, of course). This is largely because he grew up in the 40s, and is an Armored Closet Gay as a result. It didn't help that he's already seen as a Creepy Good outcast by everyone (including his crush) due to his powers.
- Emily Monaghan, sister of The Dollmaker, suffers from serious gayngst, marrying a man who enjoys watching her with other men.
- Downplayed in More Than This. People around Seth don't react very well to finding out he is gay, but that's far from his biggest problem.
- Skirted in The Red Vixen Adventures. Alinadar is secure in her sexuality, but finds herself with a Bodyguard Crush with two of her (straight) employers. Fortunately the second decides If It's You, It's Okay.
- Alec Lightwood in The Mortal Instruments struggles with his sexuality, thanks to the homophobic Shadowhunter society.
Live Action TV
- While the characters in The L Word are largely devoid of Gayngst, this trope was summed up nicely in one episode where the characters attend a Gay Pride parade:
Old Woman: Hi, what are you doing here?Jenny: I'm celebrating Gay Pride, I guess. I don't know.Old Woman: You mean "gay shame." That's what it really is.Jenny: Why?Old Woman: 'Cause most of us have more shame than pride.
- Julien from The Shield is deep in denial because of his religious convictions and he never really gets better. However, in one episode where a criminal commits a series of assaults on gay men, Julien very easily picks up on the perp's closeted self-loathing and taunts him with it.
- Riley from Degrassi The Next Generation hit on his best friend, then threatened to beat him up if he ever told anybody. Then he started popping steroids, believing it would turn him straight. He eventually came oot almost by mistake by signing himself and Zane up for prom couple which was posted online.
- Marco also has this in spades. At first it's just usual Degrassi drama as he struggles with his sexuality, but it eventually encompasses his character almost entirely as his character arcs go from "How will he get through this problem?" to "How will he be discriminated against next?"
- Thomas Barrow from Downton Abbey. Justified in that it's the 1910s in Britain and homosexuality is illegal.
- Also averted many times, when he openly flirts with men and the worst he receives is a disgusted rejection and even managed to have a relationship/affair with the Duke of Crowborough. The only time he is threatened by a scandal is after molesting the new footman Jimmy, and even then, almost the whole household (including Robert) defends him.
- Later, in an attempt to "cure" himself, he spends a lot of money on a crackpot treatment involving electroshock therapy and drugs, which, naturally, do absolutely nothing but make him sick. When he finally goes to Dr. Clarkson, the doctor doesn't dance around the issue and tells Thomas straight-up that there's no medical cure for what he is.
- In the Dracula series, Lucy Westenra begins to suffer from this when the object of their affection is engaged to someone else. After a declaration of love goes badly awry, this leads to a rather Narmy case of If I Can't Have You: she sleeps with Harker to ruin their engagement.
- Also exhibited with Lord Laurent and Daniel Davenport, who have a very happy if clandestine relationship that is then used to blackmail the former. This quickly becomes a case of Bury Your Gays for both of them.
- Aaron Livesy from Emmerdale is the epitome of this trope.
- Nathan in the British (original) Queer as Folk was having a bit of a teenage Gayngst moment, when his best friend neatly deflated him: "I'm black! And I'm a girl. Try that for a week."
- Russell T Davies, himself gay, has gone on record about not being the biggest fan of this trope, arguing that it in some ways perpetuates gay shame both as something experienced by homosexuals and how it is viewed by non-homosexuals, and also because it can be a bit boring, cliched and stereotypical to watch and write. As such, while most of his works deal with homosexuality and are not entirely free of angst, the characters usually angst about things other than being homosexual.
- However, this trope plays a plot point in another RTD project. Although Captain Jack Harkness is absolutely devoid of any shame about his sexuality, his boyfriend Angelo in Torchwood: Miracle Day suffers from deep seated religious gayngst due to being raised Catholic in a small Italian town in the early 1900s. With terrible consequences for poor Jack...
- Noah's Arc: In the movie, Brandon goes through this briefly over a rough coming out to his mother.
- When we first meet Jodie in Soap, he is preparing for a sex change, then attempts to kill himself when his boyfriend dumps him. The show being what it is, his status as "suicidal homosexual" is played for laughs for the remainder of the season.
- David from Six Feet Under has a really hard time with the fact that he is gay for almost the entire first season. It's mostly religious Gayngst, due to the fact that David is a devout Episcopalian who believes (at least during most of the first season) that homosexuality is a sin, and struggles intensely with reconciling his faith with being gay. The problem comes to a head about three quarters through the first season, when David has to prepare the body of a young gay man who was beaten to death by a group of homophobes. During this particular episode, David does not have gayngst so much as a total emotional breakdown. After he breaks up with Keith for the first time, David's main story arc involves him slowly reconciling his homosexuality with his religious faith.
- He slowly gets better throughout the series. Once he's reconciled his homosexuality and religious beliefs, he still angsts a little about coming out, but most of his anxiety comes from other sources, like the business and his various fights and break-ups with Keith (which is more about personality differences and communication problems between the two men rather than the fact they are both gay).
- Also one of the few cases in which the gay character does get a happy ending. He ultimately ends up with Keith, they adopt two boys, and the Fisher & Sons company is implied to have gone to his children rather than Nate's daughters. Although the finale reveals that Keith dies many years before David, they spend over twenty years together raising their family before it happens.
- Averted with Keith, who has virtually no gayngst, although he usually doesn't argue when his father refuses to acknowledge David as his life partner. This is probably more to do with a history of abuse than gayngst . Also, Keith states that one reason he was attracted to David was because Dave didn't typecast him as (to borrow Claire's words) the "big black sex cop" but instead treated him as an individual. Given Keith's appearance, mannerisms and job description , he'd likely have similar problems if his dating pool consisted primarily of white women. Given that, in tv land, All Men Are Perverts and All Gays Are Promiscuous , this might be a bigger problem because Keith happens to be gay, but it isn't necessarily so.
- He slowly gets better throughout the series. Once he's reconciled his homosexuality and religious beliefs, he still angsts a little about coming out, but most of his anxiety comes from other sources, like the business and his various fights and break-ups with Keith (which is more about personality differences and communication problems between the two men rather than the fact they are both gay).
- Averted in United States Of Tara. Marshall angsts a little about his crush—like any 14-year-old might—and a lot about his mother's Dissociative Identity Disorder.
- Shown on Cold Case with the characters of Rose and Jimmy, who have spent more than seventy and forty years respectively in the closet mourning their dead gay lovers.
- Straight Gay Calvin of Greek references this to his friend, explaining why he doesn't want to go to a movie with his crush:
Calvin: How do you feel about a three-hour long coming out story about a gay boy who is beaten by his preacher father and eventually commits suicide in the closet?Ashley: ...sounds depressing.Calvin: Exactly.
- In the episode "In Heat" of Criminal Minds the killer is a guy whose father repeatedly tried to beat the gay out of him (he worked as a prison guard, so its implied he was really, really brutal) and essentially drove him insane with self-hatred. He began killing gay tourists and stealing their identities, so he could live their seemingly carefree lives.
- Another episode "Broken". The killer had been sent to a 'straight camp' were he was tortured and brainwashed similiar to 'A Clock Work Orange'. He started killing men he slept with out of anger at his 'vile urges', While also killing any women he 'tried' to sleep with when they failed to arouse him like he felt they should.
- Daffyd of Little Britain is a parody of this type, as he desperately wants to be perceived as gayngsty, constantly pointing out how horrible and lonely it is to be "the only gay in the village", but not only is it all a facade, his entire community is not only very accepting, but is full to the brim of gay people, including his own brother and his best friend. Daffyd ignores this in hopes of looking more miserable and alone.
- In fact, there are some hints that Daffyd is straight and only pretending to be gay.
- Vito in The Sopranos spends a significant amount of time in Season Six experiencing Gayngst when he is inadvertently outed to both his and Phil Leotardo's (somewhat homophobic) crews, flees to a small town in New Hampshire, and struggles with his duties to his wife and kids, his crew, and the web of lies he has to tell his newfound lover in New Hampshire to protect himself. His gayngst arguably results in his death at the hands of Phil.
- Happens quite a bit to Kurt Hummel on Glee. He is constantly bullied for his sexuality, his crush is straight, and at one point someone left a threatening phone call at his dad's business. Subtly, the father is initially uncomfortable, and in "Preggers", you can tell that the father tries punishment by removal on his son to cease his flamboyant dressing. However, this trope is also subverted when Kurt comes out to his macho, sports-loving, mechanic father, and he reveals that he's known since Kurt was three years old ("all [he] wanted for [his] birthday was a pair of sensible heels") and doesn't love him any less for it. And throughout these Gayngst plots, Chris Colfer's performance really makes it realistic and heartbreaking. Until the "Never Been Kissed" episode, Kurt has been bearing the bullying.
- Things are looking up for Kurt Hummel. Though early Season Three has an episode about him realizing his Camp Gay tendencies make him hard to believe as a leading man in a romance, he is now in a stable, healthy, loving relationship with Blaine (who, himself, is cheerful, out and proud, and an overall aversion of this trope). Even Karofsky, the bully who picked on Kurt because of his insecurity with regard to his own sexuality, is now out of the closet and spends time in gay bars where he feels accepted. He's also contrite about the things that he once did to Kurt, apologizing and saying that that isn't who he is anymore. On the other hand, poor Santana. She gets forced out of the closet through a political attack ad (aimed at Sue), and just when she's finally made enough peace with her identity to decide to come out to her grandmother, her grandmother completely rejects her, telling her she'd have been better off keeping her identity as a lesbian a secret forever and disowning her.
- In the episode "On My Way", Karofsky gets hit with Gayngst Laser-Guided Karma full-on. He is outed, gets bullied in his new school and tries to commit suicide as a result.
- MADtv did a skit with Will Sasso as a gay plumber who constantly angsts about how gay he is and accuses his customers of prejudice even though they don't care.
- Happens to a few gay characters on Coronation Street, the notable ones being Todd Grimshaw who found out while his fiancée was pregnant. The stress from the whole situation caused her to have a miscarriage and Todd had to endure snide comments in the pub and shops, as well as David Platt (his fiancées brother) spray painting "Queer" on his front door.
- Sophie Webster and Sian Power are a pair of recently outed lesbians. Claire Peacock outed them in front of the entire street and they ended up running away to get away from gossip. However Sophie's family were actually quite supportive of them once they adjusted so they don't have too much besides the typical teenage angst.
- Sean Tully is a notable aversion, probably because the writers have realised that viewers won't actually feel sorry for him if anything bad happens to him.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Willow Rosenberg is something of a subversion since there is never really a big coming out episode, and they probably skated around having the obligatory drama by having people know about it at the end of the season so most of it presumably takes place offscreen during the gap between seasons. Although Willow does feel the need to declare her sexuality every few episodes. Spike manages to bring out a little gayngst in Willow during "The Yoko Factor" but that fades quickly.
- Larry suffers a little before coming out of the closet but by the time it's mentioned again, he's out and quite happy about it.
- Tara probably fits this trope. She's rather insecure, and worries that Willow will leave her for a guy. And she seems to have this a lot in the episode where her abusive family arrives in town, though a lot of it is metaphorical.
- In the Cracker serial Best Boys, Stuart Grady joined the army, married, and had a child to try and cover the fact that he is gay. Given that Cracker is a British Crime and Punishment Series, it doesn't end well.
- In American Horror Story: Asylum, a lesbian reporter (Lana) is committed to an asylum against her will because the nun in charge doesn't want her to reveal it's secrets. While she is incarcerated, Lana's girlfriend (Wendy) is murdered.
- Mostly averted in Southland with John Cooper. He tells a teenager that he has a lot of problems (this includes physical back issues, a penchant for unprescribed pain pills and a murderer for a father) but being gay isn't one of them.
- A strange variation is found in Metrosexuality. Most of the gay characters are angsty but not about being gay, rather they all eventually find out that , while there's nothing wrong with being queer and proud, it just doesn't guarantee that you'll be happy in the end.
- In Frankie Howerd Rather You Than Me, Frankie is unable to mentally separate being gay from the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father.
- Although Captain Holt of Brooklyn Nine-Nine doesn't show a lot of emotion about anything, his backstory consists mainly of him being mistreated as a black gay man in the NYPD.
- His husband Kevin is shown as resentful of the police force in general because of this treatment.
- One of Morrissey's specialties. Best summed up by Bret Easton Ellis, who referred to The Smiths as "gay angst music" in The Rules Of Attraction.
- "Sing If You're Glad To Be Gay" by the Tom Robinson Band.
- John Lennon admitted that The Beatles' "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away", which he wrote, is something of a Gayngst ode to their manager, Brian Epstein, who was gay and not unfamiliar with the real life issues inherent in this trope.
- "Viðrar vel til loftárása" by Sigur Rós. Although the lyrics are pretty indechiperable both the music video and the melody made it pretty clear that the song is this trope
- "Smalltown Boy" by Bronski Beat is about a young gay man being "pushed and kicked around" (bullied) by the homophobic populace in his town.
- Michael from The Boys in the Band is practically the poster boy for this trope. Most of the other characters have varying degrees of Gayngst as well, due to the cast essentially being a Pre-Stonewall gay Breakfast Club.
- This was at a time when it was believed homosexuality could be cured through psychological analysis.
- David Posner of The History Boys has plenty of teenage Gayngst and eventually grows up to be a Gayngsty adult, although the movie gives him a somewhat happier ending than the stage version.
- From Lanford Wilson's Burn This:
Anna: You've got a dozen invitations to parties; hop in a cab, have some fun. They'll go on all night.Larry: Have you ever been to a gay New Year's Eve Party? The suicide rate is higher than all of Scandinavia combined.
- Parodied in Brave Smiles: Another Lesbian Tragedy by The Five Lesbian Brothers.
- Rod in Avenue Q has quite a bit of trouble coming to terms with being a straight-laced Republican who also happens to be a homosexual. None of the other characters are aware that this was supposed to be a secret, nor do they seem to have any kind of problem with it.
- "bare: a pop opera'' is all about gayngsty Catholic schoolboys.
- Martha of The Children's Hour goes into a terrible crisis and kills herself upon realising she is in love with her friend Karen.
- A. E. Housman in Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love, suffering by an unrequited love for his (heterosexual) college roommate throughout his life. Actually, the play is a whole world of Gayngst.
- Persona 3 adds this to Aigis' Social Link in the Female MC path. On top of the concerns she has over not being human, she also feels awkward about her feelings towards the MC because they're both girls. It's possible to subvert this by maxing out the Social Link, which ends the same way as the male one - with Aigis revealing her Papillon heart and asking you to touch it; thereby burning your genetic information inside her forever.
- There was a trace of it in BioWare's first Gay Option, Juhani from KnightsOfTheOldRepublic. First, her friend, a male Padawan named Dak, tried to get her to run away with him, and while Juhani refused, she was unable to tell him why. Later, she and another Padawan start a romance, and have to keep it hidden (but that could be just as much due to the Jedi Order's psychologically brutal demand about "no attachments"). Worse, she also had a bit of an unrequited crush on her master.
- In Shojokyuu Kurige No Shiofuki Shoujotachi, Schoolgirl Lesbian Haruna severely worries that her attraction to other girls as well as her amorous conduct with them could lead to her getting in deep trouble and jeopardizing her graduation because of the conservative catholic environment she's in at the time.
- In Katawa Shoujo, it is revealed that Misha is gay, and made a Love Confession to her object of affection, Shizune, who rejected the confession (most likely due to Incompatible Orientation) but offered continued friendship, causing her a great deal of pain, especially when Hisao begins a relationship with Shizune. Misha also implies that she was bullied for being gay in the past. This is what also leads to the bad ending in Shinzune's path-Misha eventually loses it and attempts to seduce Hisao before her homosexuality is revealed out of jealousy. Giving into it results in a Fan Disservice scene (since she isn't taking any pleasure from the act) that blows Shinzune's trust issues wide open and causes her to sink into a pit of utter self-loathing that lasts for the rest of the game. Thankfully, Misha realizes how selfish she's being in both possible routes.
- Little Busters!: While the relationship between Riki and Kyousuke is usually kept at the level of ambiguous subtext (if very heavy subtext), in the one scene where Riki says outright he has a crush on him, he also reveals a whole lot of unnecessary guilt about that. He claims that he's diminishing their friendship by looking at Kyousuke in those terms, and asks forgiveness from the god of friendship for being attracted to him. Though, oddly, Riki seems to be the only one bothered by this - none of the other characters ever seem concerned at all about saying ambiguously queer things (or overtly queer things, in Kurugaya's case), and while jokes abound, nobody ever acts like it'd be bad if Riki and Kyousuke dated.
- Khaos Komix, as a teen drama with a Cast Full of Gay, pretty much runs on this trope: Steve has internalized Jamie's homophobia enough that he wrestles with the idea of being gay; Mark knows his parents have already disowned his brother for, among many other things, his homosexuality; Amber is frightened of the controversy, and her mother, although accepting of Steve and Mark, is less so with Amber, because she's frightened for her safety...and speaking from experience; Nay casually accepts her own bisexuality, but she's seeing Amber; Murfs had a basically pansexual upbringing, but as a child, ran headlong into Jamie's Freudian Excuse, which left him reflexively homophobic until he met Tom; Tom, a transman (by definition, a source of angst in its own right), is afraid of letting Murfs know, much less sleeping with him, for fear of being seen as a woman; and Charlie, a transwoman, has started an outright dangerous relationship with the homophobic token straight Jamie. However, Jamie's story, which reveals that he was raped by a man as a child, is by far the angstiest of them all.
- Justin from El Goonish Shive has reason enough to gayngst with the bullying at school and his ex-best friend turning into an aggravating Stalker with a Crush. However he can also be a little too eager to have this, as shown by his accusing the others of leaving him out of the rescue team because he's gay during the Painted Black arc (shortly before realizing the team consisted of a homosexual, a bisexual, and a Teddsexual) and his muttering that the universe was plotting against him when he was informed of Elliot's having to turn into a girl due to Power Incontinence.
- Nanase also has to go through this and come to terms with her sexuality. Ellen, the Opposite-Sex Clone of Elliot goes through it too. Hell, even Tedd has to deal with angst due to a fear of being gay, even though he isn't!
- Vinci from Vinci and Arty exhibits this trope often, especially when the couple's more conservative neighbours show off their discontent for the homosexual duo.
- Averted so far in Shiniez. Ally and Lisa have entered their first relationship with another woman and Lisa didn't consider herself to possibly be gay until the relationship developed past something physical into something romantic, but even so it obviously doesn't concern her due to the small amount of thought she has spared to the topic.
- Ethan from Dumbing of Age has a problem with this. It even gets to the point where he angsts about angsting. Of course, his parents aren't exactly considerate of his feelings, and it's badly damaged his relationship with his best friend, so his angst isn't without reason.
- Dillon, the title character of Sticky Dilly Buns, mostly massively averts this trope; the occasional crying jag after a relationship breaks up notwithstanding, he may be a lot of things, but angsty isn't one of them. However, a brief flashback reveals that he went through a completely standard case of the teenage version.
- Completely averted in Ilivais X. Iriana IS incredibly miserable and has tons of angst going on, but that's for entirely different reasons. If anything, her orientation is one of the few things she's absolutely confident about, especially once her relationship with Mille gets going. Yes, their relationship is strained as all hell, and she's very insecure about liking Mille, but it's more along the lines of how she feels she doesn't deserve her, and will only end up hurting anyone close to her. However, Sycine, the one responsible for those entirely different reasons, possesses this in spades.
- A major part of the Prolectoseries. In fact, this trope is why one character goes from "Good" to "Neutral".
- Eventually Pretty much subverted, as other issues come to prominance, and the character is told, bluntly, to get over it.
- Also given an interesting examination, where the character comes to the conclusion "Okay, which would people hate me for more. Being gay, or being a demon. Being gay...crud." Face-Heel Turn ensues.
- Downplayed in the release version, where the above Face-Heel Turn never happens. It is, however, used for a Crowning Moment of Funny.
- Pleakley from Lilo & Stitch: The Series is a kind of subtextual example. Apparently his girliness and refusal to get into an Arranged Marriage are some of the main reasons he's the black sheep of his family. It's not stated outright that he's gay, but it's either that, he thinks Girls Have Cooties or he just wasn't want to be (forced to get) married (yet maybe), and the marriage thing is eventually resolved when he marries Jumba, his male friend, who was Disguised in Drag for the occasion, and they both seem very content with getting married.
- Jeremy from Allen Gregory was all but forced into a gay relationship by his former client Richard. Making him leave his wife and children, Then proceeding to treat him both like dirt and his property to do with as he sees fit.