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Hide Your Lesbians
aka: Hide Your Gays
Sailor Moon's greatest battle: Moral Guardians vs. Fridge Logic.

"Queen Victoria didn't even believe we existed (though I don't believe in monarchy, so I guess we're even)."
Vice Magazine.

The main character and her boyfriend share their First Kiss onscreen and, from then on, we are treated to a pile of onscreen mushy goodness (if we're lucky). The main character's best friend and the boy that was after her get together amidst cheers and blushing. But wait, weren't they hinting at another couple? Oh, the Schoolgirl Lesbians? Forget ever giving them a resolution — at least onscreen. Heck, the plot won't even say that there is a relationship, so that technically, anyone arguing that there isn't one is not wrong. They may live together, they may never get with someone else, they may sleep in the same bed; but they will not say that they are a couple "that way". It's called "the love that dare not speak its name" for a reason.

Canon homosexuality, except in the genres that focus on it specifically, is rare and sometimes restricted to subtext — no outward shows of affection onscreen except for that which could be interpreted as just friends if you squint hard enough.

Happens most often in series aimed at kids or teenagers — and as the name shows, most often to female characters. One of the reasons for that is a Discredited Trope: the idea that lesbianism was a form of asexuality. It was believed that the average lesbian wasn't actually attracted to women but was instead irrationally afraid of men (and therefore sex in general, because if there isn't a penis involved it isn't sex), usually because she had been hurt by a "bad guy". She chose women only because she still required emotional fulfillment, which was thought to be the only thing women wanted out of sex. This trope (and its much darker companion, the idea that a lesbian could be turned straight by a "good guy", even if he has to rape her) has been largely forgotten, but echoes still reverberate in many areas.

Part of the reason that Yaoi Fans and Yuri Fans alike have reputations for pairing up any two guys or gals who interact with each other; most canon couples are reduced to subtext as is, so why not elaborate?

Do not confuse with But Not Too Gay; that trope is for when there is a confirmed same-gender relationship in the work, but the physical contact between the partners is much more G-rated than the opposite-gender couples. This trope is for when there is same-gender couple in the work that is never explicitly confirmed as a couple.

Minion Shipping is generally immune, as villains can do (almost) whatever they want without being called out on it.

Related to Will They or Won't They?, Bait-and-Switch Lesbians, Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?, Ambiguously Gay, But Not Too Bi. Compare No Hugging, No Kissing and Ship Tease. See also Bury Your Gays and Get Back in the Closet. Naturally rife with Unfortunate Implications.

Contrast Everyone Is Bi, Cast Full of Gay, Have I Mentioned I am Gay?, and Relationship Reveal. The opposite of Girl on Girl Is Hot and Guy on Guy Is Hot (when the characters are old enough to make out and the act is fetishised).


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Pictured: Uranus and Neptune are heavily, heavily implied to be lovers in Sailor Moon, without the word lesbian being brought up and nothing gets graphic. Word of God actually confirmed this on occasion, though, saying strong emotional bonds like friendship can become deep enough to evolve into love, regardless of gender.
    • The Cloverway English dub of the original anime reworked the two to be cousins, which probably could have worked, if they did not keep all the subtext. They did more or less imply that Uranus had a crush on Mamoru/Darien.
    • In the French version, Uranus disguises herself as a boy to protect their identity, and Neptune only pretends to be "his" girlfriend to help, with the voice indicating that she WAS a man in her civilian form. In the love contest episode, it was implied that Uranus posed as a boy. Mercury told that sometimes she wonders whether Uranus was a boy; ridiculous reactions from the others followed (because in the original version, Mercury wondered whether the two girls were lovers).
    • In the Italian and Polish dub, they were simply "close friends".
    • What takes the cake was the Hungarian dub, which explained that Uranus WAS a man in civilian form. The Russian dub did this as well (though only in the fifth season: the third, dubbed by a different company, kept Haruka female with much of the subtext left intact).
    • The anime itself on two separate occasions. In their first formal appearance, Michiru denies being lovers (surprisingly, the line was changed in the Cloverway dub to being Michelle's "prince"). In the following episode, they drop out of a love contest so that Umino/Melvin and Naru/Molly could win, saying that someone in love deserved to win, implying that they're not in love. It is also stated that Haruka is shy about talking about romance in public, indicating all of her flirts are insincere. There's also lines going in the OTHER direction and imply it very strongly such as Haruka saying "I don't listen to talk like that outside of bed" or helping Michiru with her zipper. Also Haruka blatantly flirts with a Maid during the SuperS special until Michiru returns and interrupts, acting jealous. Then there's the scene from the third Non-Serial Movie, where Neptune remarks that being an adult allows for more "fun", causing Uranus to blush and cough to hide embarrassment. (Odds are they won't pursue a relationship in the third season because they're afraid it will distract them from their mission. At the end of that season they announce that their mission has concluded and...)
    • The second case was Usagi/Serena and Seiya. The anime changed Seiya from a crossdressing lesbian to an actual boy, in civilian form, to make their relationship opposite-gender. This was done to avoid controversy caused by Uranus and Neptune.
    • And because Naoko Takeuchi apparently loves this trope, the manga (and only the manga) has Minako and Rei develop a truly intimate friendship and be in rather ambiguous scenes and pictures (some of which compare them to Haruka and Michiru). Bonus point for them being respectively Sailor Venus and Sailor Mars, whose planets are named after two mythological lovers.
  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, Mint was actually allowed to give a love confession to her Onee-sama Zakuro, but they were fighting at the time, and Zakuro never gives her answer onscreen. Compare to fellow minor teammate Lettuce, who was allowed to carry out a long and involved Ship Tease Love Triangle with two males, one of whom she actually kissed. The wording used by Mint in the anime is more ambiguous than the way Ichigo and Masaya confess their love to each other, which gives Mint's line a possibility to be taken in a more or less neutral "I pledge my loyalty" sense. Although the anime itself is greatly bowdlerised in that aspect — in the manga Mint's crush on Zakuro is increasingly more blatant and hardly allows for interpretations outside of the Schoolgirl Lesbians concept.
  • As Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch shows, Minion Shipping isn't immune. Mimi and Sheshe's almost-kiss was cut from broadcast, while the main girls kiss their boyfriends all the time. If you take their group name literally, it could be Hide Your Incest too, but it's also quite plausible that they're not actually sisters and the name comes from either the Onee-sama tradition or their shared origin — either way, it's pretty badly hidden, all right.
  • Naruto has a male example of this with Starter Villains Zabuza and Haku. Although it is never truly explained what their relationship was, it was heavily hinted that there was more than just mentor/student feelings between them, especially when you consider Haku's absolute devotion and Zabuza's parting words at the end.
  • Azumanga Daioh had, already from its initial run, a fair amount of Les Yay revolving around Kaorin's obsession with Sakaki... Then, in the newly-released 10th anniversary manga, this situation arose...
  • An odd example occurs in the manga Mugen Densetsu Takamagahara: Dream Saga. In one world, Nachi is female in mind and body, while in another, she is transsexual. Her romantic subplots with Takaomi and Souta, both of whom are male, are almost exclusively given attention in Takamagahara, i.e. when Nachi looks female; in Nakatsukuni, it's reduced to Even the Guys Want Him gags.
  • Nanoha and Fate from the Lyrical Nanoha franchise likely have something more going on than just a romantically tinged friendship. At least, they share a bed and adopt a child together. If that is indeed the case, they keep very quiet about it, since they don't do more in public than exchange glances. Although it's not just Nanoha and Fate - aside from Chrono and Amy, who never actually appear together after the scene that reveals they got married, none of the relationships are confirmed to be more than friendship, regardless of the genders involved, so this could be attributed to No Hugging, No Kissing.
    • By ViVid this has gotten strange. Yuuno is no longer in the picture, and, for the last 4 years, Vivio has considered Fate as her other mother. Nanoha and Fate still live with each other when Fate isn't on a mission that takes her to other worlds; they still refer to each other as "best friends", but are referred to collectively as "The Takamachi Family." (They own a minivan.) The writers are taking it to the molecule-length of the line. Before Vivid, Yuuno was explicitly mentioned as an important part of said Takamachi Family (on an official Love Chart no less).
  • Maria-sama Ga Miteru excels at setting up beautiful, romantic relationships between female characters that never quite make the leap into text.
  • Alicia and Akari from ARIA get ever closer and closer during the course of the series, culminating in the highly romantic Arietta OVA, only to have things blow up when Alicia announces to get married—and not to Akari. This leads to exactly one short scene in which a seemingly heartbroken Akari gets comforted by Alicia—and that's that. Then again, she might still be marrying another woman... like her former mentor, "Grandma" Akino, the only one seen constantly with Alicia in the end of the series.
  • The English dub of Cardcaptor Sakura managed to turn an Everyone Is Bi series into a No Hugging, No Kissing one, removing all same-gender attractions and relationships. At least they were equal opportunity; even Sakura and Syaoran's relationship was excised.
  • Noir, which did in fact contain an explicit lesbian attraction, which ended badly for one party, but the relationship between the leads is just ambiguous enough at the end that it could go either way.
  • Kurogane and Fai from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle are probably an official couple. But the Sadistic Lady Mangaka being who they are, and the fact that Tsubasa is a shonen manga, we never found out for sure.
  • In Mai-Otome, about 90% of the eponymous otomes are strongly insinuated to be in lesbian relationships, but we never so much as see any handholding (except for one lesbian rape scene). In the sound dramas, Yukino tells Nao that while she is quite good at finding out information as president of Aries (including that Nao is leader of the Stripes gang), and has been friends with Natsuki and Shizuru for a long time, she still doesn't quite know the true nature of their relationship, although the scene in the spa seems to indicate that Natsuki and Shizuru are in a romantic relationship. Perhaps some hiding goes on in-universe.
  • Sandra and Greta from Dramacon are never said to be a couple, but they certainly act like it: holding hands, sharing a bed, dancing together, etc. Greta even calls Sandra "love" at one point.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Setsuna and Konoka are heavily, heavily implied to be lesbians, but it is never stated outright. In the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, it's mentioned that Setsuna got married in 2017, though it doesn't mention to who. Konoka also got married in 2017. And in the accompanying image Setsuna is carrying Konoka, bridal style. A very, VERY happy looking Konoka...
  • In Magical Pokémon Journey a Squirtle has a crush on a male human, Almond. The English translators tried to censor it but the Ho Yay was still there. There's also Charmander who is implied to have a crush on Eevee, but it's never very explicit.
  • In Canaan, the title charachter and her "light" Maria are obviously in love, and Canaan's powers explicitly are tied with her love for Maria, but they never properly get together in the entire show. They refer to each other as friends, we get to see their thoughts for each other (but they never say them), and they go on dates but aren't allowed to kiss. They get like 2-4 hugs in the entire series, and hold hands twice, but are kept apart by what seems to be the power of this trope alone. They aren't even implied to finally get together in the end.
  • In .hack//SIGN, Tsukasa became the "Most Important Person" to Subaru; "despite being a girl." 10 years later, in the manga of .hack//Link she is living with her. This off-hand comment was dropped in the commercial translation of the manga.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica
    • Played strangely with Madoka and Homura. Nothing in the show ever says or implies that they're straight and/or Just Friends, but on the other hand, it's never said that they're in love either, though it is very easy to interpret the story that way. Basically, either way, it comes down to either assumptions or shipping.
    • There's also copious amounts of evidence that Kyoko likes Sayaka (the inverse is less clear), especially in their Together in Death scene. The manga has a clearly romantic scene between them in the afterlife. But they never hug or kiss except in a vague Imagine Spot, and the word "love" is never used.
    • The spinoffs continue the trend. Puella Magi Kazumi Magica featured a magical girl who wished to be like her dead friend, with the witch form of a giant heart, and a scene where two characters leave for "dating" and seem to be alone when we next see them. Oriko and Kirika in particular seem to make a living off of almost, but not quite, saying "I love you" - for instance, a scene where Kirika rants at Mami for using "affection" instead of "love" to describe her relationship with someone who is almost certainly Oriko. Nonetheless, no kissing (though hugging remains in place).
    • The Rebellion movie inches a bit closer, with Sayaka and Kyouko holding hands in an extremely Les Yay moment, still without saying anything about love. Homura says that she loves Madoka, but only indirectly—after doing something involving Madoka, she says love gave her the power to do it—and, well, she may not have chosen the best way to express her feelings.
  • Fate/Zero has Waver and Rider who have been confirmed to have slept together sometime after episode 13. Too bad they don't show any affection/romance on screen.

    Comic Books 
  • Harley and Ivy, from the comic of same name. Harley especially is very enthusiastically cuddly, and Ivy seems to be her fallback from the (more) abusive relationship Harley had with the Joker. When Batgirl discreetly asks if they're... you know, Harley responds "What, like what people say about you and Supergirl?". The matter is quickly dropped. In one scene it did look like Ivy was going to kiss Harley, only to be interrupted by angry Ambiguously Gay characters. Made (sorta) canon in the final Gotham City Sirens storyline. Harley taunts Ivy by telling her that she's always known that she only hates the Joker because she's secretly in love with Harley herself, and the following issue has Ivy admitting that she does indeed have feelings for her. Confirmed by the writer, but within the comics and show you'll never see anything concrete between them.
  • Danielle Moonstar and Rahne Sinclair of the original New Mutants (198x to present). No resolution after more than twenty years of dancing around the subject. It could be dismissed as a school crush, but these two were in each other's heads, by empathic link. Two bodies, one mind. At least when a halfway competent writer was writing them. Although in the early issues Rahne had a crush on Sam, at least until he got hooked up with Lila Cheney.
  • Mystique and Destiny in the X-Men comics. Word of God said theirs was a romantic relationship, but there was no definitive confirmation in the comics until after Destiny had died, and the confirmation was very subtle (a character refers to Destiny as Mystique's "leman" — an archaic term for "lover").
  • This is the whole reason why so many people like to deny the Word of Gay about Rotor in the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comics; according to the writer, the relationship between Rotor and Cobar (his significant other in the story that featured it) was made subtle for a reason (alternately to avoid any fan backlash and to get people used to the idea of a gay Sonic character), but proved to be too subtle for most readers to catch on. The fact that it was introduced in a Twenty Minutes into the Future storyline that has since been discredited doesn't help matters, any.
  • The first run of Alien vs. Predator comics had Jame Roth and her wife Cathie. In the novel Alien vs. Predator: Prey, Jame is one of the eye level characters: the story is frequently from her point of view to the point where she could be called an outright main character. The fact that she's married to a woman is stated outright but never brought up as an issue and the pair are often overtly affectionate (and are among the few characters to survive to the end). In the comic version, both of them are shunted off into being side characters and most of their affectionate moments are cut out, to the point where you could be forgiven for thinking they're simply good friends.
  • For much of the 80s, Superman's friend Maggie Sawyer was was just a somewhat butch policewoman, who had a very good friend called Toby Raines, and who had got divorced and didn't intend to remarry because of reasons. The writers stopped dancing around the issue eventually, and currently she's Kate Kane's "Lois".
  • During an infamous period in Marvel Comics, then-EIC Jim Shooter mandated that no same-gender couples could be depicted in books. As the story goes, after a rather infamous story Shooter penned where Bruce Banner is sexually harassed in a YMCA got criticism for its depiction of Depraved Homosexuals. Shooter seemed to think that this meant that any depiction of gay people would be controversial, so he banned it, which included keeping a lid on Storm and Yukio (who were intended to be a couple), the above mentioned Destiny and Mystique, and meant that Northstar couldn't come out and plans to make Wolverine bisexual were scrapped, as well as any other plans Claremont had.

    Film 
  • The film Bend It Like Beckham. The heterosexual romance seems very tacked-on compared to the chemistry between the leads; it was originally written as a lesbian story (look at the title!), but was changed based on the assumption that (1) it would narrow the appeal, and (2) it would perpetuate the stereotype that sporty girls are all lesbians. To make up for it, the writers added a subplot about the heroine's male best friend coming out as gay.
  • In the movie adaptation of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, the lesbian relationship between the two main characters (the ladies in the story, not Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy) was toned down to being only heavily implied rather so the film could be marketed to a more mainstream audience, a decision which led to lively criticism upon its release.
  • The original movie adaptation of The Children's Hour wrote out the lesbian plot, and replaced it with a Heterosexual one.
  • When the Italian Horror Anthology Film I Tre volti della paura was dubbed into English as Black Sabbathnote , the segment "The Telephone" got this treatment: in the original version it was a plot point that Rosy and Mary were lovers, whereas in the English-dubbed version, they were apparently just close friends. To save it from any Dub Induced Plot Holes (and possibly also to make it fit in more with the other segments), the ending was also significantly changed to involve the supernatural.
  • In Saving Mr. Banks, absolutely no mention is made of the fact that, during the time of the film's events, P.L. Travers was engaging in an openly lesbian relationship with her live-in girlfriend, and the girlfriend in question is never once seen.

    Literature 
  • Monstrous Regiment; it's very heavily implied that Lofty and Tonker are romantically linked, and someone who's seen through the Sweet Polly Oliver disguise of one and not the other calls them a couple, but after they're both established as female it's talked around quite a bit. In this case it might be cultural, since it's just not something that occurs to them in their society. They advise the others not to think too hard about it.
  • The Wheel of Time has what are euphemistically known as "pillow friends", lesbian relationships that usually arise out of Situational Sexuality, like with the isolated trainees of the White Tower. For most of the Tower's instances, the relationship dissolves about the time they become full Aes Sedai. Moiraine and Siuan, for instance, had such a relationship in the prequel, only to distance themselves and in later books become involved with men. The issue of "pillow friends" is complicated by how the same term can denote either the aforementioned relationships, or just mean "close friends". Though fortunately there are non-ambiguous examples, in particular Elaida, Galina, and Thereva are clearly into women, and two of the Forsaken are bisexual.
  • The Mord-sith in Sword of Truth have significant numbers of lesbian relationships, but the only one between two named characters had one of them die in the next book after she was introduced. The surviving member of that pair is implied to have started up a new relationship with another named Mord-Sith in the last book.
  • While romance is a large focus for almost all of the characters in The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot, a romance between two girls is only hinted at and could be easily ignored. That is, until Volume X: Forever Princess, when it's stated outright that the girls' dates are only to hide the truth from their parents.
  • Tavore Parran and T'amber in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Even lampshaded by one character who wonders why they bother hiding it, as the Malazan culture has no taboo against same-sex love. Turns out that they weren't hiding their relationship, but the fact that T'amber was giving Tavore (the commander of the Malazan army) swordsmanship lessons.
  • In Stephen King's Under the Dome, the relationship between Dodie Sanders and Sammy Bushey is referred to in conversation and in Dodie's thoughts as "you-know" and as "kid stuff" that they should have grown out of by now. Sammy has been married and has a baby, but it's also implied that many people in town know she has inclinations towards the other team; Dodie mentally equates her lesbian experiences with other immature and possibly immoral things she has a weakness for, such as smoking weed. The whole relationship is quickly obscured when Dodie is killed very early on. Sammy later kills herself, which could make this a case of Bury Your Gays if almost everyone in the town didn't also eventually die.
  • In the Circle of Magic series, the relationship between Rosethorn and Lark is apparently present the entire time, though completely invisible apart from a hint in the fourth book unless you know what you're looking for. (They even sleep in separate rooms.) However, in The Will of the Empress, it is stated as fact, after Daja realises that she is in fact a lesbian herself.
  • By the same author, Lalasa from Protector Of The Small, Kel's maidservant, is a lesbian. Aside from some subtext with one of her friends, it's never mentioned in the series proper, due to Lalasa being a small enough character that there wasn't space for it without invoking Have I Mentioned I am Gay?.
    • Thom and Duke Roger from the same universe's "Song of the Lioness" were intended to be a couple (something had to compel Thom to bring Roger Back from the Dead, after all), but the publisher wouldn't allow it. Fan reaction was split when Tamora Pierce revealed this, as some were uncomfortable with the only gay characters in the series being villains.
  • Played straight in Ovid's The Metamorphoses with Ifis and Ianthe: despite loving each other deeply, Ifis has to be turned into a boy via Deus ex Machina in order to happily marry her.
  • Played with in a Judge Knott book. One lesbian couple in the small southern town the series takes place in remain very deeply closeted and it's a significant plot point in the book.
  • The Agatha Christie novel A Murder Is Announced, features two unmarried, middle-aged women, Miss Hinchliffe and Miss Murgatroyd who live together. Miss Hinchliffe looks and acts like a man and dislikes men, and she's devastated when Murgatroyd is killed. The exact nature of their relationship, however, is not specified, and it's possible that the subtext isn't even intentional. Since there were certainly Real Life arrangements like this in a Genteel Interbellum Setting, it's even possible she based them on a genuine couple without realising that was the relationship. (The television series Marple ditched any ambiguity and made the characters an full-on lesbian couple for its adaptation, and also young and good-looking.)
  • Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell in A Song of Ice and Fire have a relationship that is only hinted at in the books. Word of Gay says they had a sexual relationship. In the TV adaptation they don't try to hide it at all.
  • (Jill) Banford and (Ellen) March in D.H. Lawrence's novella "The Fox", though any Literature teacher would tell you otherwise.
  • Two of the Mauve Shirts in the Ciaphas Cain novel Caves of Ice, Sgt. Grifen and Cpl. Magot, were heavily implied to be involved, to the extent of keeping each other centered while wandering through a Necron tomb, but don't get any real confirmation. Compare this to opposite-gender Mauve Shirt couple from For The Emperor, who are much more touchy-feely although Aliens Made Them Do It, literally. The effect is downplayed, though, since the Unreliable Narrator is very careful not to "notice" their relationship — their being women is totally fine in his books, but a being of different ranks (and in one another's chain of command) is a serious breach of Guard protocol.
  • The bisexuality of several characters is hinted at early in The VAMPIRE Chronicles books, but isn't outright stated until The Tale of the Body Thief. It's been theorized it was softened in the earlier books by editorial mandate, and by the fourth book Anne Rice had enough clout to spell it out explicitly.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo has this with Eugenie Danglers and her lover.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Babylon 5, there were definite, though plausibly deniable, indications that Susan Ivanova and Talia Winters were bisexual and involved with each other. The clearest one was a scene in "Divided Loyalties", where Talia, staying in Ivanova's quarters, reaches across the bed and is surprised to find the other side empty. The Word of God on the subject is that this relationship would have been more thoroughly developed if there had been more time before Andrea Thompson left the series. Ivanova more or less confirms this herself in "Ceremonies of Light and Dark".
    Ivanova (confessing as part of Delenn's Rebirth Ceremony): I think I — loved — Talia
  • Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined)
    • Admiral Cain and Gina at one point share a quick kiss. Compare this to practically any heterosexual relationship in the series, which at times seems determined to blur the line between space opera and soft porn.
    • Cries of this also went up when Gaeta and Hoshi shared a kiss... in a series of webisodes that never aired on TV. After that, their sexuality and their relationship are never mentioned again, even after Gaeta flips out, stages a mutiny, and is executed when it fails. In fairness, the webisodes were made after those mutiny episodes despite being set and aired before them, and it was originally going to be Narcho (also a man), not Hoshi, that was Gaeta's lover. Actor availability struck again.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Faith is very heavily implied to be in love with Buffy, but the only definite thing is said by a villain (impersonating another villain). The original script for "Enemies" had Faith kiss Buffy on the lips, but the network changed it to a more ambiguous forehead-kiss.
    • Tara and Willow were on the line between this and But Not Too Gay originally, with a lot of their relationship confined to innuendo and implications. They only had their first kiss after one and a half seasons (while Buffy and Angel/Riley have plenty of loud make-outs and, in Riley's case, simulated sex on screen) in a scene that had to comply with a ridiculous amount of restrictions. When the show switched networks the couple became a lot more touchy-feely.
  • Stargate Atlantis writer Joe Mallozzi has announced that Alicia Vega, a minor recurring character in season five, was gay. However, in true hiding fashion, the scene meant to imply this fact (Her asking Dr. Jennifer Keller on a date) was cut from her introductory episode, along with all her other scenes meant to set her up as a character of importance. So, not only did they remove the oblique reference to her sexuality, but all the other scenes she was in, and then killed her off in her next appearance to make sure they never managed to squeeze it in later. He also stated that he thinks of one of the male recurring characters as gay, but he will not say who. Still, we don't want whoever that is ending up dead too.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess features one of the best known and longest running examples of this trope in the implied relationship between Xena and Gabrielle. Though the subtext becomes more and more explicit throughout the series, particularly during the final season, they're never officially confirmed to be anything more than Heterosexual Life-Partners, and both characters are seen engaged in serious relationships (in one case, even a short-lived marriage) with male characters at various points throughout the series.
    • One episode set in the modern day, with the Xena tv show existing had Xena reincarnated in one of Joxer's identical descendants, marrying Xena reincarnated in one of Gabrielle's identical descendants. Their friend was Joxer reincarnated in one of Xena's identical descendants. Then a later episode showed Ares appearing to switch them back into the bodies that look like they used to look, with the result being that Gabrielle and Xena were alive in the modern era and were about to get married as wife and wife. And they were cloned, with heavy implications that their modern day clones were a couple. And they met up as a completely separate reincarnation in the 1940's which ended up with the pretty explicit implication that Xena, reincarnated in her identical ancestor, and Gabrielle, reincarnated in her identical ancestor, would become life partners, though at the time same sex marriage was illegal.
    • In You Are There, a camera crew spends the entire time harassing Xena and Gabrielle about whether or not they're sleeping together. The trope is practically lamp-shaded in the final scene, when they force Xena to sit down and actually answer the question and then their camera's battery dies just as she starts to spit it out...
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is notorious for the relationship between Hello, Attorney! Alex Cabot and Action Girl Olivia Benson - while they both acted as if they were in love with each other ("Loss" being a particularly obvious example), there was never any confirmation that they were together. The producers figured this out and decided to roll with it, and have been including Ship Tease scenes on purpose since about Season Three. Even Stephanie March has said that it is as likely that they have been quietly in love all these years as not.
  • On The West Wing, none of the main characters is gay, but it's hinted in a sixth season episode that Margaret, Leo's assistant, might be into ladies. In the episode a string of men find laughable excuses to stop by an office to stare at a beauty pageant winner, and so does Margaret.
  • Betty and Kate in Bomb Girls until the final episode of Season 1. Justified in that being an out lesbian in the 1940's was nigh-unheard-of and the creators wanted to take the relationship slowly.
  • Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint in Doctor Who started off as this, with the BBC's official profile of Jenny saying she and Vasta are "good friends". As of The Snowmen they are married and averted it... but then they went back to it, rarely showing any affection, never mentioning their relationship, and while the Doctor has kissed Jenny, Vastra certainly hasn't.
  • In-Universe example in American Horror Story: Asylum. When Lana finally escapes Briarcliff, she writes a book detailing all the things she's been through. When on the subject of her roommate Wendy, she omits to mention that she was also her lover because it would apparently "distract" her readers from the message of the book.
  • Postcards from Buster, a PBS show that went around talking to kids about their families, interviewed some children who lived together with two mothers. The episode was never shown on TV.
  • Myka and H.G. Wells from Warehouse 13. Helena's only claim to canon bisexuality is the half-joke, fully deniable "Many of my lovers were men". Myka doesn't even get that much. All her outright-stated relationships and crushes have been on men. Nevertheless, they are quite obviously desperately in love, although circumstances prevent them from getting together. Come on, H.G. abandoned her plan to destroy the world because she couldn't bear to hurt Myka, and Myka is clearly hurt in the episode where she finds out H.G. is in a long-term relationship and wants nothing to do with the Warehouse.
  • Santana and Brittany on Glee both slept with all the boys... and each other. They were very close and made tons of comments that hinted that they were more than friends. Viewers finally had enough and demanded the subtext either be dropped or for it to become canon and in Season Two, Santana began her bittersweet journey of coming out as a lesbian. In Season Three, she and Brittany officially became a couple.
  • This scene from Once Upon a Time is said to be the one in which Mulan is revealed to be either lesbian or bisexual. However, its ambiguity leaves Mulan's sexual orientation up to the viewer's interpretation. She never explicitly says whether she is in love with Aurora or her husband Phillip.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced Agent Victoria Hand, who is a lesbian in the comics, to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, she is killed by Agent Ward before there is any in-universe confirmation that she is a lesbian.

    Music 
  • The Kidz Bop cover of "Born This Way" by the (openly bisexual) Lady Gaga left out the lyrics acknowledging LGBT people, in the process destroying the point of the song.

    Theater 

    Video Games 
  • In Harvest Moon DS (girl version), instead of marrying a male character you can do the dating events with the girls to increase your "best friend meter" with them. When it gets high enough the proposal item becomes available, at which point you can have a "best friend ceremony" with them. After this it's no longer possible to have a relationship or marry a male character, and you can even adopt a child together, but you are still only "best friends". The American version seems to have the Blue Feather event disabled, so you can do everything up to the ceremony.
  • Belaya and Juhani in Knights of the Old Republic. If you play a male Light Side character, the closest thing to a hint that they're even friends is Belaya's relieved reaction when you convince Juhani to return to the order. If you kill Juhani, on the other hand, Belaya talks about how close they were, before leaving the Jedi, joining the Sith, and attacking you when you go to Korriban. Juhani is a Love Interest for female characters only... consisting of five or six lines of dialogue, is completely ignored in all possible 1st-game outcomes setting up the second game, and Juhani is the one party member from the first game to never be mentioned or referenced in the second game. According to developer interviews, they had intended Juhani to be a more prominent party member and fully fledged romance for a female PC, but LucasArts blew a gasket at the idea of a lesbian Jedi, and only allowed Juhani in with almost all of her content cut. The relationship is incredibly blatant in the Dummied Out dialog; Juhani actually says that she loved Belaya.
  • Lillet and Amoretta in Grim Grimoire, Lillet turns down the closest thing to a male love interest, announces her love of Amoretta and lives with her in the end. But they don't technically "do" anything. (Technically, Amoretta is a few months old.)
  • Fire Emblem
    • Lyn and Florina can get really REALLY close, but it's never said straight out that they're a couple. Florina even tells Lyn that she loves her, but even that is vague.
      • Raven and Lucius are also quite close and can only get a paired end with each other, despite women showing an interest in both of them. While they can be read platonically, the Ho Yay vibes are validated by Priscilla insinuating that even some lords might have fallen for Lucius.
    • While it was ambiguous in Path of Radiance, the Ho Yay between Ike and Soren is so thick in Radiant Dawn that it could survive a nuclear holocaust. What? They're "just friends"? Despite all of the Love Interest tropes Soren fills? Ike does not marry at the end of the games he stars in, unlike every other Lord of the series, but instead leaves the continent either alone or with Soren or Ranulf. But the localization of Path of Radiance played down the Ho Yay by throwing "friend" several times in their A support.
      • In the Japanese version of Radiant Dawn, the thief Heather explicitly says that she joined the army to "meet pretty girls". Oddly, in the localizations, where that line is taken out, she is still flirty. Her attraction to women is still fairly explicit in the English localization at least, where she has to be recruited by the Shrinking Violet Nephenee, and seems to join your side specifically based on how attractive she finds Nephenee. She stays with your army under her fangirlish obsession with Queen Elincia, reviled at the fact that a man might take her crown from her.
      • Kyza's line about having the love of his Commander Ranulf is taken out in localization, but he does still seem much more eager to have other men stay close to him in battle than the women (and hopes others are feeling as fabulous as he is). His crush on Ranulf is one-sided, however.
  • Regarding the relationship between Fang and Vanille in Final Fantasy XIII, the term "hiding" doesn't really apply. Even people who are not convinced that they are a couple agree that Square Enix definitely tried very hard to make it appear that way. (The creators did say they were a couple - just not in-game.)
  • The relationship between Shion and KOS-MOS in Xenosaga isn't ever made explicit but the game beats you over the head with subtext to the point that they might as well have.
  • The relationship between Nel and Claire in Star Ocean Till The End Of Time. In addition to the care and concern they have for each other, one of Nel's level up quotes is "I did it, Claire.", and in one of the endings Claire goes off on her father for suggesting she marry one of the male characters.
  • While the first Mass Effect game gives Female Shepard and Liara the same amount of screentime as Male Shepard and Liara (though this romance has its own problems), the game contains Dummied Out code and sound files for same-gender romances with Kaidan and Ashley. Oddly, while Kaidan is finally reinstated as a same-gender love interest in Mass Effect 3, Ashley isn't.
  • Played straight in Mass Effect 2. The sole same-sex romance option, Kelly Chambers, gets almost no development, no romance scene, and you do not gain the Paramour achievement for going through with it. You can get a scene with Liara again, though, if you romanced her in the first game and have "Lair of the Shadow Broker".
  • Word of God has always had interesting things to say about the antagonists Gulcasa and Nessiah in Yggdra Union, claiming that Gulcasa trusts Nessiah more than anyone else and that the two are closer than anyone else in the Imperial Army. The issue is resolved in this particular game by never having them both onscreen at the same time, although Nessiah (a strict user of keigo) is shown to be on first-name, no-suffix basis with Gulcasa regardless. Three years after Yggdra Union was released, Yggdra Unison came out, which allows everyone to interact with everyone—and in Nessiah's route, where he's portrayed as a Villain Ball Magnet hated by almost the entire cast, nary a conversation between Gulcasa and Nessiah goes by without some form of playful flirting being exchanged. Blaze Union, in which Gulcasa is the protagonist, has their relationship finally graduate into But Not Too Gay and spent its quota of subtext on the metaphorical equivalent of Their First Time under extenuating and symbolic circumstances.
    • The same games have Zilva and Elena, whose relationship reads rather a lot like Star-Crossed Lovers. Blaze Union adds credence to the theory that there's something going on between them, implying that Zilva has come to view Elena as a Replacement Goldfish for another girl she once had a crush on, a character who dies in the canon route of that game.
  • Similar to Harvest Moon, Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times' Gay Option is referred to as "Becoming Best Friends" with someone. This is despite the fact that the game has an openly gay character, and it's exactly the same as dating (Ho Yay and all).
  • In Tales of the Abyss, there is one female NPC in the main character's hometown that has a habit of talking about resident Action Girl General Cecille with hearts in her text boxes and saying things like "If only I were born a man". Unfortunately, this woman is hidden in an area of Baticul Port some players may constantly overlook in all of their playthroughsnote , making this more like a literal case of Hide Your Lesbians.
  • While The Sims allows Everyone Is Bi for player-made characters, it seemed that a DLC town for The Sims 3, released in early 2013, was to include a same-gender couple for the first time in the series' thirteen-year run. (There had previously been a few single characters who were implied to be gay, but had no love interests.) The family portrait shows two men with their arms around one another's shoulders (the standard pose for married couples in the game) and a young girl with a portmanteau of their surnames who is apparently their daughter. Upon loading the household, however, it emerges that the girl is the adopted daughter of only one of the men, and the other is not his boyfriend or husband but only his "Best Friend Forever".
  • Riki and Kyousuke of Little Busters! are...kind of a confusing example. The two are extremely close and there are countless jokes and comments through the game about them being basically like a couple. But it all reaches a new height in one out of the way scene where it's revealed that Riki has a crush on Kyousuke... in such a casual way it's hard to believe the game really confirmed what it just did. Which counts for double since his feelings are never stated so explicitly ever again, though the subtext gets darned close at times. In the end, it's never stated who Riki ends up with, which only makes the situation even more ambiguous. But while the subtext lives on in each supplementary material and adaptation, none have ever managed to clarify whether it really was canon way back in the original, and so the two seem to remain 'those two super close friends who act just like they're in love, wink wink'.

    Web Original 
  • Ultra Fast Pony discusses this trope in the episode "Pirate Shipping".
    Scootaloo: <How do we know Cheerilee's not gay?>
    Apple Bloom: No, Scootaloo, this is a kid's show! I mean, I get that they're trying to be accepting of all ponies, and that's good. But I doubt they'll actually put any gay ponies in.
    Sweetie Belle: Yeah, Scootaloo, the gays and the Mexicans don't exist.
  • Among all the Getting Crap Past the Radar that went on in Dino Attack RPG, the only thing that actually sparked any controversy was when Andrea Jackson, the RPG's first explicitly gay character (and really one of only three, though one of the other two was The Ghost) was introduced. This led to the initial decision to keep her sexuality ambiguous, though a sub-plot implying a lesbian relationship with Action Girl Maria was hinted at (complete with an implied sex scene). Fortunately, the parties which objected to this eventually relented, and this trope was ultimately averted.

    Western Animation 
  • Captain Maggie Sawyer was a recurring and supporting character in Superman: The Animated Series, and was originally part of Superman's extended supporting cast in the comics. She has been an open lesbian in the comic books since 1988, but in the series there was nary a mention of her sexuality. In "Apokolips...Now!", where Maggie is hospitalized after an attack by Intergang, she is visited in the hospital by a woman who comforts her and holds her hand. However, this woman is never identified, nor is their relationship explained. The credits and DVD commentary reveal her as Toby Raines, Maggie's long-time partner in the comics, and the producers explain that her inclusion in the hospital scene was their way of acknowledging the relationship in the comics, which could never be spoken aloud in the series.
  • There is a retroactive hiding to be found in Batman: The Animated Series. Officer (later Detective) Renee Montoya was a character created for the show and then added to the comic continuity; since her role in the series was a police officer who occasionally assists the Bat-characters in their crime-fighting, without delving into her history or personal life, there was nothing that dealt with her sexuality in any way. However, after B:TAS had ended she became a starring character in Gotham Central, with a story-arc involving her being outed to her friends, family and coworkers, and the revelation that she had been in the closet since she was fifteen; according to the writers this was not a Retcon, they were not "making her gay," but rather she had been gay the entire time and was just only now revealing it to the other characters (and the readers).
  • Kitty and Bunny from Courage the Cowardly Dog.
  • Adventure Time
    • Ever since "What Was Missing" there have been major hints - especially in the comics - that Bubblegum and Marceline are or were in a relationship with each other, but they're ultimately only hints and always sidelined by the numerous opposite-gender attractions and relationships, which are always explicitly stated.
    • The Lemongrabs even more so, with such things as a (naked) Headbutt of Love within seconds of meeting each other and starting a family together in "All Your Fault!", but never getting any sort of confirmation that the other couples did. All of this is moot with the events of "Too Old", however.
  • This is the reason why the Cow and Chicken episode "Buffalo Gals" was banned after its initial airing. The episode's titular group was a biker gang of stereotypical lesbians that randomly breaks into people's houses and chews on their carpets.

Hey, It's That Guy!Unisex TropesHis Name Really Is Barkeep
Het is EwQueer as TropesHomoerotic Subtext
Heteronormative CrusaderGender and Sexuality TropesHigh Heel-Face Turn
Get Back in the ClosetCensorship TropesInformed Obscenity
Hide Your ChildrenA Safe Index To HideHide Your Pregnancy
Moon SticksImageSource/Web ComicsMultiplex

alternative title(s): Hide Your Gays; Avert Your Gays
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