Sitting on the opposite end of the spectrum from Camp Gay
, Manly Gay is when a homosexual male character is shown not only in lacking Camp
or feminine traits, but kept going in the opposite direction and into the realm of pure masculinity
A character who is Manly Gay is the complete opposite of the Camp
stereotype. Typically such characters are large and strong, and shown doing masculine things like sports and working class jobs. He may have a Carpet of Virility
, he may be a Badass
, or he may have Stout Strength
...but regardless of how he got here, the result is the same: While being gay, he's manlier than your average man, straight or Straight Gay
This is a stereotype more associated with modern gay porn, but is also a certain distilled ideal of gay men that appeals more often to other gay men — one of the reasons it has
become so associated with gay porn. Such characters also appear in other works as a means of telling a Gay Aesop
about homosexuals not all being flaming queens. Manly Gay characters are often seen as a form of Straight Gay
by some (especially Western) audiences, while a gay stereotype in and of itself to others (especially Eastern audiences).
Compare with Straight Gay
. If the character is stereotypically Camp
or Played for Laughs
, then he's actually Macho Camp
. May be The Bear
, a Big Beautiful Man
, a Leather Man
or a Gay Cowboy
. Many a Gayngster
qualifies. May also be an Armored Closet Gay
. Is also commonly a Badass Gay
. See also Bara Genre
, the genre where Manly Gay men have... fun
with one another. Also see Lipstick Lesbian
for this trope's Distaff Counterpart
Anime & Manga
- Northstar, the Canadian superhero and twin of Aurora (who were in Alpha Flight) came out while appearing in his then team's (Alpha Flight) 106th issue in the 1992 comic book. It was a groundbreaking event in comic history, as he became the first superhero to say, "I'm Gay", and made international news. In 2013, Astonishing Xmen 51, Northstar marries his partner on the cover, and the issue was widely heralded as another groundbreaking moment in comics. Northstar is arguably the most well-known gay superhero of all-time. The character, created by John Byrne, was designed to come out a decade prior in Alpha Flight, but the editor of Marvel Comics at the time was against his wishes. Northstar is a brash, intelligent, and highly confident man.
- Apollo and the Midnighter (Apollo is slightly less exaggeratedly tough and may be more of a Straight Gay) from The Authority.
- By implication, Hooded Justice and Captain Metropolis from Watchmen.
- Bloke from X-Force, an avid bodybuilder and especially brutal vigilante. He also has Macho Camp elements (pink skin, said to have great taste in home decoration, very romantic with his boyfriend), but he was primarily a big strong man who happened to be gay.
- Many characters from Patrick Fillion's gay porn superhero comics (practically nothing you will find by web-searching will be safe for work).
- Give Me Liberty has the Aryan Thrust, a group of Manly Gay White Supremacists.
- Alan Scott is depicted as this in the reimagined New52.
- X-Treme X-Men Volume 2, an Exiles-esque book starring X-Men from alternate realities, gives us Governor-General Howlett and his boyfriend...who happens to be a certain estranged son of Zeus.
- Another example from X-Men and related comics: Shatterstar, who was unambiguously outed in X-Factor after much innuendo.
- Spike in Robert B Parker's Sunny Randall books.
- Nearly all the wolfcarls in Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear's A Companion To Wolves and its sequel The Tempering Of Men. Those who aren't are Bi the Way.
- Clawmaster Emero in John Ringo and Jody Lyn Nye's novella "Cata".
- Burt Shaw in Mr Blank is an old-school spy.
- Torchwood and Doctor Who's Captain Jack Harkness, although the character is definitely pansexual.
- All in the Family: On the program that broke all previous barriers and taboos, one of the earliest came in the Season 1 episode "Judging Books by Covers". Archie is annoyed by one of Mike's outlandish friends (Anthony Geary, long before he played Luke on General Hospital), who acts and dresses effeminitly but was otherwise heterosexual; in fact, Archie is so irritated he goes off to Kelsey's Bar – its first appearance in the series – to vent to his friends about gay people. One of the people involved in the conversation is a middle-aged man, a one-time football player who has normal male interests ... and is a homosexual. No male-on-male affection is shown in the episode, but Archie does learn that outward appearances do not necessarily mean someone is gay or straight.
- Spartacus: Blood and Sand:
- Barca is a solid example.
- And his boyfriend, Auctus, from the prequel.
- Agron. And how.
- Omar from The Wire is a very good example of this trope.
- Vito from The Sopranos is a tragically-closeted example.
- Keith and Sarge from Six Feet Under.
- Dave Karofsky from Glee; the guys at the gay bar even call him a "bear cub."
- Sam Adama from Caprica. An interesting case in that he is considerably more stereotypically masculine than his straight brother, and most of the other men on the show.
- Bob Hunter from Desperate Housewives. He is taller and a tad more muscular than his husband, Lee Mc Dermott. Both can be considered as Straight Gay though. In 2013 the actor Tuc Watkins came out as gay so he fits the trope in real life as well.
- Wade and Trey from Noah's Arc, especially Wade who definitely plays up his masculinity (at least early on).
- Riley from Degrassi, also overlapping with Straight Gay. Sam also most certainly counts, though he only showed up for one episode and Dylan, Marco's boyfriend.
- In third season of The Joe Schmo Show, The Full Bounty, Lavernius is this, and is also the stereotype of the token muscular black guy on reality shows. When he revealed it to the season's schmo, Chase, he barely batted an eye and even agreed to join an alliance with him.
- Timebomb from No Heroics, in his inimitably sleazy fashion.
- Discussed in Metrosexuality. Everyone comments just how masculine Jonno is and Jonno hismelf, a former serviceman, addresses the issue of manliness among Gays, saying that his tough upbringing and extended army experience didn't make him "funky" and in touch with his feminine side, thus not at all in tune with the usual campiness of the London LGBT scene.
Photography and Illustration
- Electric Six also did a Manly Gay video. With appearances by Abraham Lincoln, who may have been an example of this trope if you combine the "shared a bed with a male BFF" detail with the broadswords in a pit duel detail.
- "Metal God" Rob Halford of Judas Priest.
- Black Metal performer Gaahl of Gorgoroth and Gaahlskagg fame.
- The Village People were this when they were released. Though as their act has aged and become more retroactively Camp, it has become more passably Macho Camp in retrospect. It should be noted that the Village People were not always recognized as Manly Gay early on, because general American culture at the time was relatively more macho than it is now. This misunderstanding was what allowed the U.S. Department of Defense to commission the song "In the Navy", unaware at the time of the Village People's Manly Gay stage persona. This fell notably flat in the UK, where there was a well-known joke about "Join The Navy, and Feel a Man" and public fgures from George Melly to Winston Churchill publicly alluded to the Navy's propensity for this sort of extra-curricular amusements. Planned recruitment advertisements built around the song were scrapped at the last minute when the Pentagon finally realized this. By the time the Village People had passed the peak of their popularity, they were better understood as Manly Gay, but their music had already entered pop culture, with most of the backlash against them being part of the greater general backlash against Disco (which as a genre was already partially rooted in gay culture) in the late 1970s and early 1980s. And yet the Village People were still not yet quite Macho Camp — this only came with age as their style became more and more dated in comparison with the contemporary years that passed.
- Rammstein's steamy and highly controversial video of song "Mann Gegen Mann" features nothing but a bunch particularly manly men engaging in a kinda... special party. Yes, that one.
- Queen's Freddie Mercury; even during his more effeminate period in the 70s, he had Perma Stubble and a Carpet of Virility that would put Sean Connery to shame.
- The end of the video for Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe".
- The erotic art of Tom of Finland (who drew the top picture) was the Trope Codifier of the modern version of the trope. Incidentally, the top picture is one of the few artworks he ever drew that is worksafe enough for TV Tropes. Tom of Finland was subsequently influenced by the artwork of George Quaintance.
- Robert Mapplethorpe's photography commonly explored this theme.
- Many professional wrestlers get accused of being Manly Gays (must have something to do with the oiled-up muscleman physiques and those tight trunks), but the WWE tag team of Billy and Chuck actually had being ambiguously Manly Gay as their gimmick, until they finally came out of the closet... as straight. During a gay wedding ceremony that had been heavily advertised and talked about in the press. Suffice it to say, GLAAD (who actually endorsed the "wedding") was not happy with WWE.
Their manager at the time, Rico, was very much not manly, and kept his personality. And then he took up a singles career after the team split, dressing in bedazzled spandex and wearing make-up and coming to the ring with his... girlfriend manager. And would proceed to get a psychological edge by kissing his male opponent. The only reason the WWE wasn't burned to the ground over it was that it was Rico apparently taking his own natural tendencies and cranking them Up to Eleven.
- Orlando Jordan also wanted to work his real-life sexuality into a storyline towards the end of his WWE tenure, in a very plausible way that kept him looking just as masculine but acknowledging that, yes, these alternative lifestyles exist, where he would behave very Manly Gay but also have a girlfriend. Unfortunately, he was fired (for other reasons) before it could be implemented. Seeing the somewhat different way that TNA was portraying him, apparently forgetting the "bi" part of "bisexual".
- Brad Evans is normally gentle and soft-spoken outside battle, and would be Straight Gay in his relationship with Billy Pilder, if not for sheer appearances. Extremely muscular and at 7 feet tall, Brad is built like a Badass tank, oozing testosterone in every scene he appears in. With buff shoulders, toned abs and half his chest always bare, he's also very much a Mr. Fanservice, particularly in his animated FMV clips.
- Zangief is a good example of this. It's not outright confirmed he's gay but many of his win quotes hints towards this.
- Similar hinting goes to Ricardo "Rico" Banderas from Xenogears, who often dotes upon his friend Hammer, particularly after his death.
- Rudolph Gartheimer from Groove on Fight, a large man who fights with iron balls and is notable for being one the first openly gay fighting game characters along with his lover Damian Shade.
- Azrael from BlazBlue is often called gay by some of the seiyuus, especially Yuuichi Nakamura. However, given that Yuuchi voices Hazama and Azrael's seiyuu Hiroki Yasumoto often (but not always) denies it, this is debatable.
- Everything about Sir Hammerlock of Borderlands 2 screams "scholar", "hunter", "adventurer". He's clearly a gentleman of british design, a mustache that would make Mario & Luigi jealous, speaks like a true scholar and knows his way around a gun and murder like the Vault Hunters. Even his splash card and name are manly. He mentions an ex boyfriend during a side mission as if it were common knowledge, otherwise it wouldn't be too obvious.
- Said ex-boyfriend is even more so. While Hammerlock prefers fighting with a sniper rifle from a distance (as befitting the image of a gentleman hunter), Taggart enjoys fighting dangerous wildlife with his bare fists.
- Toivo, from Groovy Kinda is so manly, he's a Neanderthal. Really. That said, he tends to be a gag-a-day character at times, having offered some notable Fan Disservice in a Bo Peep outfit, and played a fairly unwelcome practical joke on Larry and Edison while they were sharing a shower
- Count Tethik of The Challenges of Zona, capable of outfighting a man half his age and twice his size.
- Oglaf (NSFW) has the recurring barbarian character Kronar, Son of Man. It's literal.
- Jerzy from Sticky Dilly Buns
- Humon's character Agent 250 is this, being an operative for the militant division of the government agency he works for. He is extremely tough, with most of his work involving getting into firefights, and he has the scars to prove it. He is openly gay and in a steady relationship with his male co-worker, Agent 300.
- There Will Be Brawl does this to Captain Falcon, who is Pit's lover and extremely badass. "Maybe later you could come by and... show me your moves."
- Frost from Trinton Chronicles fits this troupe well being a muscled guy with a masculine set of traits and yet still being into other men.
- Practically everything created by CaptainGerBear, especially of The Bear variety.
- Shadowofthe Templar had Simon the protagonist as this - he's an FBI agent, for crying out loud! The antagonist, Jeremy, and later Simon's lover, is...less so, despite also being very bad-ass.
- The artwork of David Kawena from Deviant ART, famous for his "Disney Princes" series.
- Most parodic interpretations suggest that He-Man is this.
- You Could Make A Life is chock-full of this, since virtually all of its main characters are hardcore hockey players. Even "pretty boy" characters like Liam and David are more than able to compete with more heavily-built players on the ice.
- Jean and Paul from Superjail!, the gay couple, will constantly remind the audience of their gang origins. Remember, they're in prison. They have to be tough. Paul threatened Jean by telling him that he once cut off a guy's dick and stuck it down his throat for disagreeing with him.
- How can anyone forget DUFFMAN!
- In ParaNorman, Mitch is the typical teenaged Dumb Muscle, causing Norman's sister, Courtney, to be Distracted by the Sexy throughout the movie. He replies to her asking him out to see a movie that "My boyfriend's a chick-flick nut."
- The Bear Community is often associated with this trope, but not strictly so. Bears are only required to be gay hairy men, but can otherwise be any other kind of gay trope including Camp Gay or Leather Man.
- Walt Whitman.
- Anderson Cooper.
- Thomas Roberts.
- Rob Halford of Judas Priest, the most badass metal singer to ever live, happens to be gay. Everyone already knew it, he just didn't feel the need to admit it publicly for years.
- Rock Hudson was the picture of manliness in the 50s. So much so, that his agent Henry Willson did everything in his power to stop the tabloids from ruining that image, go so far as to throw his other clients to the tabloids rather than let them get their hands on Rock Hudson's dirty little secret. He finally quelled the rumors in the form of a Beard named Phyllis Gates. They married and had two kids, but their marriage lasted less than 3 years when she found out he had an affair with another man. But with a divorce under his belt, Hudson was in the clear. Some even speculated that Phyllis went along with the charade for so long because she was a closet lesbian and he was her merkin (the lesbian version of a Beard).
- Rugby players Ian Roberts and Gareth Thomas
- English Columnist and provocateur Mark Simpson, who coined the term "Metrosexual" as a derision and suffered the subsequent Insult Backfire, lies somewhere between this and Straight Gay.
- The Butch Factor is a documentary that analyzes the aspect of masculinity in gay culture. It has good examples of manly gays as well as some straight-acting and Camp Gays. It can be watched on Logo here.
- Graham Chapman took one look at the camp stereotype, said "No, thank you" and took up rock climbing, pipe smoking and being a doctor. He also liked playing rugby and by most counts was pretty good at it. That being said, he would quite often take the roles of camp or ambiguously gay characters, though most likely because his manly appearance and general seriousness made a funny contrast with such characters. Exactly like him in real life.
- John Barrowman. He had to be, considering he's from Glasgow. Didn't stop him from making his name in the theatre, and he's known to switch between this and Camp Gay depending on the situation.
- King Edward II of England, although he was less successful as a general than his great-grand-uncle.
- Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, praising the manly ideal of the samurai. It is likely that Mishima, who fervently admired the ancient samurai, based his vision on the The Hagakure's concept of "pure love" ("burning hearts" in the Hagakure) between men, which was at the time - at least in the work of prominent authors such as Jôchô Yamamoto - considered superior in terms of pureness and virility to heterosexual love (thus deemed necessary to some extent in order to guarantee the perpetuation of the clan's bloodline). Although Mishima himself did not advocate such a "hierarchy" among relationships, he married only to please his parents and stipulated that his wife must not have any interest or involvement in his work.
- William S. Burroughs, granted he was bisexual.
- A serving US Marine recently got himself hauled up before a court martial for appearing in a gay porn film while wearing part of his uniform... But not all his uniform, so the Corps decided he'd only bent the rules. note
- William Manchester's darkly brilliant memoir of the USMC during the Pacific War, "Goodbye, Darkness" contains such a character in a minor role
- The Theban Sacred Band makes this trope Older Than Feudalism. They were an elite 300-strong unit made up entirely of homosexual couples, the logic being that soldiers would fight harder if their lovers were in battle next to them. Until Alexander the Great came along, they were unbeatable. Incidentally, Alexander could have been a Manly Gay himself, or more likely bisexual.
- The Manly Gay (or bisexual) was the standard social model for male homosexuality and bisexuality in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. There was a pretty broad acceptance of sexual acts and relationships between men. It was effeminacy and sexual passivity that carried social stigma. Also important to note that they did not have the concept of categories for sexual orientation and expectations of sexual fidelity of men within marriage were a great deal lower. A Greek or Roman man could have a respectable wife and himself be doing every male slave in the household and get away with it.
- Darren Young is the first wrestler to come out as gay in august 2013. At time his twitter account was saying "Darren Young’s life revolves around three things — money, women and wrestling.".
- Wentworth Miller came out of the closet. You read that right.