Get Back in the Closet
Det. Danny Reagan: Come on, Russell, I don't give a damn if you like men or women or cream-filled donuts, okay? It's 2013. Men marry each other all the time. They put it in the papers, for goodness' sake.The tendency of Moral Guardians to be harsher toward homosexuality than heterosexuality. In American media, male/female couples can kiss and make out, but even a slight peck from a same-sex couple is an automatic PG-13, if not an R. And of course, there's no way to include even a tame homosexual sex scene without getting an R or NC-17 rating. Unfortunate Implications of this become even more apparent as gay people become more accepted and equal in society. Not to be confused with Hide Your Lesbians, which refers to the tendency to reduce canon gay relationships to subtext. See also But Not Too Gay for the downplaying of sexuality/exclusion of gay affection altogether.
Russell Burke: Well, in my world, it's 1913, and they don't hire fairies to star in the moving pictures!
Russell Burke: Well, in my world, it's 1913, and they don't hire fairies to star in the moving pictures!
—Blue Bloods, "The City That Never Sleeps"
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- CBS announced it would accept a TV ad for the 2010 Super Bowl from a pro-life group, in a change from the network's "no controversy" policy. However, CBS turned down an ad from Mancrunch.com, a gay dating service. The network has had no problem with heterosexual dating services, such as eHarmony. Of course, there's no way a small site like Man Crunch could have paid for the ad, and so submitted an ad just beyond what would have been acceptable just so they could get publicity for it being turned down.
- Similarly, the pro-life group had a religious orientation... and skeptics brought up how CBS had earlier turned away an ad from the United Church of Christ that depicted bouncers turning away gay people (among others) from church services.
Anime and Manga
- The third episode of Naruto received unnecessary editing in the English dub; when Naruto attempts to intimidate Sasuke by getting really close to his face, he's unknowingly bumped into by a classmate, leading to an accidental kiss. Whilst this is clearly (but briefly) shown for comical effect in the Japanese dub, a mere kissing sound and reaction shot of others was used to avoid an age rating boost in English dubs (despite it being entirely innocent).
- The screenshot of the kiss remained intact for Sasuke's almost-death collage of flashbacks, and a similar image is used for the 5th English opening as well.
- The English dub of Transformers Energon, while not really that great to begin with, made a ham-handed attempt to edit out Mirage/Shockfleet's obvious love for his leader. Unfortunately for them they could only bring it down to Ho Yay levels, as there's no real way to rewrite a blossoming pink heart behind Mirage's transformation sequence after discovering Megatron was still alive.
- The original English dub of Sailor Moon famously tried to hide Haruka/Amara and Michiru/Michelle's relationship by making them cousins... without changing any of the visuals, resulting in these two "cousins" acting unusually close.
- In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 6, the author Hirohiko Araki had to change Anasui from transexual girl to man, or renounce to write about what later become his/her relationship with Jolyne.
- This is supposedly the sole reason why the Rawhide Kid mini Marvel Comics did a while back was in the MAX imprint, even if he was just somewhat hinted to be gay. Through constant and offensive innuendo.
- After Karolina came out in Runaways, she was almost immediately put on a spaceship, having suddenly become betrothed to Xavin, a genderfluid Skrull royal (who presented as male as often as female, if not more). When they came back, they were generally portrayed as a happy couple...until volume three contrived a reason to put Xavin on a bus. They haven't been seen since, and Karolina is currently dating Lightspeed whenever they show up.
- Works of slash often raise their ratings for exactly this reason, and homosexual content is often listed as a warning alongside violence and nudity. This system is even present at some fan fiction recommendation pages on this site.note
- In revenge, some writers started warning for heterosexual content.
- The documentary This Film Is Not Yet Rated had additional examples of this: It showed straight and gay sex scenes with similar action, positions and lighting side-by-side on the screen, then pointed out that the films with gay scenes almost invariably had far stronger ratings (usually NC-17 as opposed to R).
- In I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, the filmmakers originally planned for the two male leads to kiss there in court, but the MPAA threatened to rate it R if they did. Instead, they just got extremely close.
- The film Ma Vie En Rose, about a male-born 7-year-old child who identifies as a girl, was given an R rating for this reason, although the "official" reason is "brief strong language."
- The dark comedy I Love You Phillip Morris had a delayed American release for this reason - distributors supposedly refused to pick it up due to its fairly graphic sex scenes. It was released in more liberal places, like Europe, though. Fortunately it was ultimately averted as it did eventually receive a release and became rather popular (especially in DVD sales and on streaming sites, like Netflix).
- At the end of ParaNorman Mitch reveals he has a boyfriend. In some foreign dubbed versions it's changed to girlfriend.
- G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend) is rated R despite having no sexual moments or strong language.
- In the summer of 2011, Trisha Telep, an editor of various anthologies rejected YA author Jessica Verday's short story on account of it being a Queer Romance, saying it was too risque for a Young Adult audience. Never mind the fact that some of Telep's previous anthologies had far more explicit heterosexual content (i.e. foreplay,) drug use, violence, and foul language. Telep advised Verday to de-gay her story if she wanted to publish it, which sadly isn't an uncommon occurrence in publishing. When Verday posted about it on her website, an Internet Counterattack ensued and most of the authors featured in the anthology (and some who were involved in Telep's other projects) pulled out in support of Verday.
- Multiple agents in 2011 famously told the authors of Stranger to either straight-iron Yuki and remove his relationship with his boyfriend or take out his POV and relegate him to a side character. The authors refused and the book was finally published in late 2014. In fact, they added a kiss between two female minor characters, too, just out of spite.
- BBC America took a lot of stick for the edit job they did on Series 3 of Skins. Cook and Effy graphically rutting in a closet? Fine. Naomi and Emily sharing a tender scene by the lake? Cut it.
- Italian Network Rai2 has aired Brothers and Sisters at 21.55 because of homosexual content while airing way racier shows (why, hello Desperate Housewives!) at earlier times. This baffles the mind.
- This is why Willow and Tara were together for a season before kissing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This may have actually helped — the writers were forced to find other ways to show their love and affection for each other.
- Invoked in-universe in the season 3 episode of Glee "Heart" Where Principal Figgins stops newly out couple Santana & Brittany when they are about to kiss in the school hallway as other students might find it offensive. Santana is quick to point out how unfair this is, citing Rachel & Finn as an example and eventually leaves the office in an angry huff.
- Also in the third season, a warning for parental discretion was shown during the episode where gay couple Kurt and Blaine lose their virginity to each other, despite there being no graphic contact at all, just a shot of them snuggling in bed and the implication afterwards. However, there was no such warning in a later episode where gayngst-ridden former bully Dave attempts suicide, considered by many the darkest moment in the series, to the point that some viewers found the sequence extremely triggering.
- Fox seems to have learned their lesson, as there was no such warning in a later episode where couples of all stripes hook up after Will's aborted first wedding to Emma, including Kurt & Blaine as well as Santana & Quinn. Santana and Quinn's hookup was entirely off screen (just the "after" shot of them in bed) but Kurt and Blaine's car makeout was seen in full, well lit glory.
- American soap operas have been called out for the double standard they use to treat their gay romances. Notably As the World Turns with gay couple Luke and Noah. Fans instituted a "kiss clock" marking how long it had been since their last kiss. It was over 6 months, in a genre that has people hopping in and out of bed on a regular basis. Guiding Light's gay couple suffered similarly with hand holding and longing looks being the extent of affection seen. ABC and NBC have made more of an effort to give more than lip service to treating their gay soap couples the same as the straight ones.
- Another in-universe example in Good Luck Charlie where Teddy (dressed as Benjamin Franklin) kisses her boyfriend (dressed as Thomas Jefferson) in front of a family and are promptly fired for the "inappropriate" act. Unlike the Glee example above, this is played for un-ironic laughs. To drive the point home on this fine example of homophobia, Disney still cut away from the two before they actually kissed.
- Then again, they later revealed one of Charlie's playmates had two female parents, and several people involved in the production received death threats, even the actress portraying Charlie.
- Kidz Bop, a CD compilation series that features children covering number one hits, is infamous for Bowdlerizing songs that were never intended for kids in the first place. Their "clean" version of bisexual Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" removes all mention of the LGBT community, despite being the entire point of the song.
- On Bing image search, you won't get any results for anything with the words "gay" or "lesbian" in it unless you turn Safe Search off completely (which requires you to say you're 18).
- Similarly, Google Instant won't automatically complete most gay-related searches (including those that are still not NSFW or inappropriate for minors) until you hit Enter. Gay news websites are treated as gingerly as sites with adult content.
- At one point on Craigslist, the "male seeking male" personals page was marked for adult content (meaning both that it was restricted and that racier posts needn't be flagged), whereas the straight and lesbian personals were kept clean, only the "casual encounters" page being marked. Presumably due to complaints, all personals but "strictly platonic" are now marked adult.
- Amazon once marked any book with the keyword "Gay & Lesbian" as adult, meaning that unless a search included those keywords or other "adult" keywords, any books marked with that keyword were excluded, whereas keywords like "homosexual" or "homosexuality" were fine, with the effect that the only books dealing with homosexuality that showed up on general search were right-wing polemics. Amazon first claimed they'd been hacked, then that a single employee had accidentally done it. Whether that is an example of this trope is debatable, since some believe it wasn't deliberate on the company's part.
- TV.com censored the words "gay" and "homosexual" on its forums for a few weeks in 2006.
- YouTube pulled a 16-second sponsoring ad that featured two men in their underwear in an emotional embrace, saying it "promoted mature sexual themes" and was "non family safe". It was an excerpt from a Perfume Genius music video YouTube still hosts. Cue Internet Backdraft. The other man in the video is recognized by some as the Manly Gay Bear porn star Arpad Miklos, but this would not likely be recognized by a random viewer who has never seen an Arpad Miklos porno.
- Internet search filters in some schools prohibit the search of 'gay', 'lesbian', or anything along those lines.
- On this very site, any time homosexuals or otherwise are so much as alluded to on a show meant for kids, it almost always gets labeled as Getting Crap Past the Radar. Though this isn't necessarily due to the tropers' view on the subject and is instead how they perceive the executives and Moral Guardians to act. And, to be fair, most examples pretty much treat it as such; while a work like Paranorman has no problems in addressing the existence of LGBT people, things like Adventure Time have whatever subtext they have as basically treated in the same way they treat "adult jokes": implied, humorous as means to "soften the impact", kept as vague as possible, et cetera.
- After Yahoo bought Tumblr, it has set a rather unnecessarily complicated tag blocking system to make it "kid friendly". Among the deleted tags? "Gay", "lesbian", "bisexual", even simply "lgbt". "Straight" isn't blocked, and neither are far more explicit tags like "rape".
- This turned out to be an aversion though: the real reason those were blocked was because most things tagged with them were Not Safe for Work (as in pornography) and they risked getting the Tumblr app pulled from app stores because of it. It's now possible to search those tags again, with most NSFW stuff left out.(Question 2 is the relevant one.)
- The American release of Wild Arms 2 turned Caina into a woman because he was in love with Vinsfeld. They didn't do that to Brad and Billy though, instead downplaying their relationship. That didn't work out.
- Mass Effect was guilty of this for two whole games. In the first game you can romance an omnisexual alien, Liara, who has become a mascot for the Discount Lesbians trope, since the relationship is only gay from a human perspective. In the second game, you can have a fling with a bisexual human female, Kelly, that does not grant you any recognition on the romance achievement. It takes until the third and final game in the trilogy for gay relationships to be granted equal standing; it is also the only game that allows any kind of male same-sex romance. Needless to say, Moral Guardians bitched about all of this, even though the entire series is M-rated and not marketed to children.
- There was a spin-off of the PBS television show Arthur starring Buster. It is remembered for little more than the fact that one episode got banned for showing an (implied) lesbian couple.
- The infamous gay marriage episode of The Simpsons (season 16's "There's Something About Marrying") became the first episode on American TV to get a content warning before the episode started note and was rated TV-14 for strong sexual themes (in this case, gay marriage). This is coming from a show that regularly contains child abuse, gambling, death, alcohol abuse, juvenile delinquency, sex, attempted murder, explicit animal blood and gore, and other humor that is usually considered cruel or dark, yet often gets away with a TV-PG rating.
- An openly gay character was one of the reasons the third season of Braceface didn't air in the US.
- The series finale of The Legend of Korra ends with Korra and Asami becoming a couple, though the fact that they never kiss, merely hold hands, had some viewers argue that this was ambiguous. Creator Konietzko wrote that the same-gender relationship is canon, and that while Nickelodeon was supportive of this decision, "there was a limit to how far [they] could go with it"- meaning no kissing, even though every heterosexual romance in both this show and its predecessor got one.
- When PopGirl in the UK started censoring 6teen so younger viewers could watch it, they stopped airing the episode where Nikki had a lesbian co-worker and the episode where Jen developed a "girl crush" on her new boss.
- Cartoon Network in the US didn't air the lesbian co-worker episode even once.