"Karen, all straight people age.
LGBT characters are becoming more common on TV. However, they are still generally pretty young. This may be tied to the fact that characters over 50, whether gay, bisexual, straight, or asexual, rarely discuss (much less have
) sex at all on television, as well as such people having grown up in a time very hostile to openly LGBT people.
Obviously not at all Truth in Television
, but slightly justified in that most people from older generations grew up in a time where the expectation to being straight was so unquestionable, that many gay people lived their lives pretending to be straight and/or suppressing any homosexual urges, and are just now beginning to come out of the closet. In this past of such strict taboo, Nobody Is Gay
was the more straightforward assumption. So now, Nobody Over 50
Is Gay. Even Heteronormative Crusaders
generally acknowledge that gay people of diverse age exist, but that they should Get Back in the Closet
— only those more strictly isolated from this information (such as older generations in the past, or media-restrictive religious communities) may actually fail to fathom the existence of gay people in their midst.
This trope even applies in gay media, due to a heavy focus on youth and conventional beauty. If older gays appear at all, it's mostly to mentor the younger heroes or lecherously chase after them. This trope doesn't really apply in the United Kingdom
, however, thanks to a lot of publicity from celebrities such as Stephen Fry
and Elton John
. In the US, this trope is slowly fading as openly gay celebs get older.
See also No Bisexuals
. Combine the two, and can anyone name a single bisexual over 50 in fiction? (Besides Captain Jack Harkness
, who is well over 2000 and is an Extreme Omnisexual
played by a forty-year-old.) Someone who intends to enforce that no one must be gay (or that gay people must be invisible
) is a Heteronormative Crusader
. When gay people are
well understood to exist but are routinely swept away from mention in mixed company, it is Get Back in the Closet
Since this trope is prominent, please only add notable exceptions
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- Averted in a TV ad for Google Chrome featuring LGBT people reassuring a character coming out over the Internet. Among them is a man who looks to be in his seventies who says, "It just gets better with age."
Anime and Manga
- In Full Metal Panic!, Gauron looks to be around 50, and is very gay for Sousuke. Apparently, even at that age, he has no problems talking about his sexual fantasies to Sousuke (who reacts like any normal teenager would, Squicking at Too Much Information). Of course, it's even more disturbing for him, since Gauron's fantasies involve him — or, more accurately, his corpse.
- An elderly lesbian couple show up in the Girls Love manga Ame-iro Kouchakan Kandan and comment about the tea shop owner's growing attraction to her employee. The elderly couple admit that they've been together for 50 years.
- The old merchant Yamatoya in Peacemaker Kurogane. He rapes Suzu after picking him up off the streets, as well as two twin kitty boys.
- Old Lord Trancy from episode 8 in Black Butler II who rapes Alois and possibly other young boys as well.
- Lil' Mama, a minor character from Space Dandy that lives on Planet Betelgeuse, looks around 50-ish, and is dating Meow's longtime crush, Katie. This is what supercharges Meow's determination in the group successfully getting out of the "Groundhog Day" Loop they're in at the time (with his acceptance phase of the resulting despair being to settle down with Katie).
- Steve Traynor, the police captain in Top 10, is around 50-60 years old, and is gay (albeit largely closeted). His boyfriend, Wulf, is about five-to-ten years older. They were WWII super-heroes, and started seeing each other when Steve, a.k.a. Jetlad, was 16.
- Ray Monde in Hellblazer is an elderly gay man who is friends with the protagonist, John Constantine.
- For that matter, Constantine himself is bisexual and has (sort of) aged in real time, he was calculated to have turned 56 on May 10, 2009.
- Alex Burgess and Paul McGuire in The Sandman, though they're young on their first appearance and age over the course of the story.
- Ultimate Edwin Jarvis, Tony Stark's butler.
- Played with with the guy who turns out to be the murderer in Green Arrow: Quiver. He wasn't actually gay, just faking to earn the sympathy of the title character.
- In Circles, Paulie is well over 50 and gay. He also has AIDS.
- Steve "Captain America" Rogers' childhood best friend, Arnie Roth, was revealed to be gay when the two met up again for the first time since World War II. As Steve was born in 1917, and the meeting occurs in 1982, Arnie was probably around 65 at the time.
- It was eventually revealed that two of Marvel Comics's WWII heroes, the Destroyer and Union Jack, were lovers before the war and kept up the relationship while fighting the Nazis.
- As most of the cast are lesbians who, unlike some comic strip characters, age, this is naturally averted in Alison Bechdel's Dykes To Watch Out For. Most of the regular characters are now pushing middle age, and Sydney had an ongoing affair with her former literature professor Madeleine who is probably in her 60s.
- Francis Albany and Olivia Sturgess.
- Destiny and Mystique are bisexual, though the latter doesn't naturally age, so it's easy to forget she's almost 100.
- In Small Favors, Sage is interested in meeting a cute girl for sex and romance, somehow not noticing that she's in an Improbably Female Cast and that some of those she passes by are checking her out with obvious attraction. And then she sits on a park bench and we see that the fifty-plus woman at one end of the bench is picturing Sage naked.
- Brian from Locke & Key.
- In the Doctor Who Magazine story "The Woman Who Sold the World", it's all but outright stated that the two elderly women the plot focuses on are partners. The collected edition confirms it and notes that the story was written before Gridlock gave us the Cassinis.
- Wolverine, of all people, is this in the X-Treme X-Men alternate universe, where he's the same age as his mainstream universe counterpart (making him over 100 years old) and in a relationship with Hercules.
- This Gargoyles fanfic briefly features a gay gargoyle named Kashi. He is 120 years old. (That's 60 in "gargoyle years")
- Doctor Who
- In the episode "Gridlock", there is an elderly lesbian married couple. They are conspicuously treated as nothing to bat an eyelid about - except by the "old-fashioned" cat-man Thomas Kincaid Brannigan, who insists on referring to them as sisters. His embarrassment and prudishness is played for ironic laughs - Brannigan himself is a giant anthropomorphic cat, married to a human woman. With a brood of half-human children 'played' by kittens. Talking kittens. Not to mention that they all live about 5 billion years in the future.
- Millington and Judson in "The Curse of Fenric" have Word of Gay from the writer of that serial.
- It's also hinted at in the novelisation.
- Amelia Rumsford and Vivian Fay in "The Stones of Blood" are heavily hinted to be a lesbian couple
- "The End of Time" Part One sees the Doctor getting admired and hit on by a group of Wilf's elderly friends, including one of his male friends.
- There's also the above mentioned Captain Jack Harkness, the first male companion to kiss the Doctor. John Barrowman may be in his forties, but the character was 170 by the time he got his own TV series and is currently over 2000 years old.
- Slings and Arrows has at least three older gay characters: Those Two Guys, Frank and Cyril, who are an elderly gay couple, and Oliver, the ghost and former director.
- In Dream On, the main character's father.
- Mr. Humphries, of Are You Being Served?.
- In an episode of Law & Order, a man is found murdered outside a gay bar. One of the people questioned is the bartender, a grey-haired Straight Gay who actually calls out this trope by talking about how the "pretty boys keep to themselves." In another episode, Detectives are re-interviewing suspects in a 30 year old unsolved murder case, one of whom is a gay man who's now in his 60's.
- In the later seasons of Scrubs, thanks to fliers from the Janitor, JD's deck (no, he doesn't own a house, just a deck) becomes a hotspot for gay seniors.
- In a later episode of Jackass, Johnny Knoxville and Spike Jonze dressed up as a ninety-year-old gay couple to engage in a public display of affection.
- An episode of The Drew Carey Show once featured Drew taking on an elderly gay couple as boarders. Even better, they were Adam West and Max Gail.
- In Little Britain, but only for laughs: practically everyone in Llandewy Brefi has some inclination for homosexuality regardless of age, much to the annoyance of Daffyd Thomas, who claims to be the "only gay in the village".
- An SNL digital short features Jonah Hill confessing to Andy Samberg that he's been sleeping with his father — complete with scene of Jonah Hill making out with a 53-year-old man.
- Saul Holden from Brothers and Sisters. He had a few beards in his time and still has a beard of the hair variety. Born in 1939, he was in the closet for most of his life, but is now out and recently joined a dating site for "gay men of a certain age".
- One of his former lovers from the 80s is still alive, though he has AIDS so he is no longer as sexually active.
- In Grace Under Fire Grace's ex-husband's father (Emmett) was gay. Which Grace found out when she and her then boyfriend accidentally wandered into a gay bar. Emmett and his long term partner had been meeting secretly for decades, as Emmett didn't want to come out to his wife. The lover then shows up at Emmett's funeral a few episodes later.
- Frank Pickle on The Vicar of Dibley came out partway through the series as a homosexual after forty years in the closet, and did so over the local radio show set up by the vicar. The only problem? Frank's normally so very, very dull that everyone in town turned off their radios as soon as he came on. He was thrilled with how accepting everyone was the next day.
- Midsomer Murders, where it's not too uncommon for 60-80 year olds who are pretending to be sisters to turn out to be a lesbian couple, and an aged, retried, and flamboyantly gay actor decided to chop off people's heads with a guillotine.
- An early episode of Cold Case which dealt with a 1964 gaybashing. Both an elderly drag queen and a Straight Gay lawyer show up.
- Dead Like Me: In "The Bicycle Thief", Mason has to reap a middle aged gay couple.
- The L Word's lesbians are generally young, but seasons 4 and 5 have featured Cybill Sheppard as a college dean who realizes she's gay and has to deal with the impact of her coming out on her children and husband of many years.
- The short-lived 2000 Normal, Ohio was about a midwestern Straight Gay played by John Goodman.
- Middle-aged African American couple Steve & Edy from the X-Files episode "X-Cops", a Straight Gay and a Performance Artist.
- On Cosby, Hilton got onto a gay men's softball team because he didn't know what the team's name, "Older and Out", meant.
- Six Feet Under features an older gay couple in the episode "Nobody Sleeps"; Keith's boss Roger Pasquese is at least middle-aged and quite flaming; and in the finale, Keith dies in his sixties while David survives into his eighties and is shown having met another man.
- Bernard in the British Queer as Folk is quite plainly over 50 and still apparently active.
- The U.S. version of Queer as Folk
- In the first season, after David asks Michael to move in with him, Mikey has mixed feelings about it, so David takes him to meet two seventy-something gay partners who met in World War II and have been together for over fifty years to show him that a long-term gay relationship can work.
- Michael's Uncle Vic is well into his fifties and he's openly gay.
- George Schickle, Emmett's love interest for season two, is over 70-years-old.
- In The Worst Week of My Life, Mel's sixty-something Uncle Fraser angsts about coming out after decades of repression. In the second series he is involved with Gerard, a confident and unabashedly gay dance instructor. Gerard's ditched him for a younger model in the Christmas special, but while the relationship lasted it was refreshing to see an older couple on TV, complete with all the jealousies and affectionate moments usually reserved for their younger counterparts.
- Doctors did an episode in which Ronnie suspected that the 70-year-old Gwenyth's equally old girlfriend was after her money. He turned out to be wrong.
- In the Taiwanese film, Formula 17, Bai and Tien encounter a sexagenarian who gives them dating advice and happens to be gay himself.
- In ER John Mahoney guest-starred as a gay man whose lover was dying. The episode ended with him doing a drag act in a gay club.
- In the Spike TV original series The Kill Point, the elderly hostage Bernard is revealed to "have come out of the closet in 1953"
- Ed had an episode in which the title character discovered that elderly Charlie Hudson was gay, a secret Ed then had to keep from Charlie's family until the will was read. This lasted until Charlie's just-as-elderly boyfriend showed up to the funeral.
- In LOST, there's Tom, whose actor is 61.
- Frasier had an episode where Marty pretended to be gay and date the uncle of one of Frasier's crushes.
- And there was the episode where Frasier himself ended up accidentally dating Patrick Stewart.
- Although Reginald Hill averts the trope in the novels, the TV adaptations of Dalziel and Pascoe embrace it wholeheartedly: Wield's partner Edwin Digweed, closing in on sixty in the novels, pops up as a man in his early thirties.
- Berlutti's mother on The Practice came out in an early episode.
- Dr. Cooper's mothers in Nurse Jackie, played by Swoosie Kurtz and Blythe Danner.
- Eddie, the vampire played by Stephen Root for a few episodes of True Blood.
- Roseanne's very conservative sixty-something mother eventually let her attraction to women slip out during Thanksgiving dinner, shocking everyone (including the gay couple she had been yelling at moments before). Afterwards she comes out and starts dating a woman.
- Of course, this was in the last season, which turned out to be actually just be a novel Roseanne was writing... Technically, this never happened. But it still kind of counts.
- Ghost Whisperer when it was revealed that Eli's mother had a very long-term affair with her husband's business partner's wife, which they once hid by pretending she was having an affair with the husband. This comes out after Eli's father dies (the mother had died several years earlier); cue both ghosts haunting the couple out of anger (the husband) and fear of exposing the affair (the wife, because she had died during one of their rendezvous).
- The Amazing Race had a middle-aged gay team in its first season—Joe and Bill, more commonly known as "Team Guido." When they returned for the All-Stars season, they even referred to themselves as "two gay grandpas."
- Also with Kate & Pat, the lesbian ministers on Season 12, and Mel on Season 14.
- Drop the Dead Donkey averts this in the form of Helen's mother revealing that an aunt wasn't really an aunt.
- Chelsea's father, Tom (Stacy Keach) on Two and a Half Men comes out of the closet and leaves her mother for his old war buddy, Ed (John Amos).
- On Desperate Housewives, Lynette reconnects with one of her mother's ex-husbands. He comes out of the closet much to Lynette's surprise, as Lynette had simply blamed her mother for driving the only loving father she had away. Her stepfather (played by Richard Chamberlain, see below) also mentions having a lover who had been recently deceased but offers to be his ex-wife's caretaker out of friendship.
- In Ellen, one of her father's old plumber friends turns out unexpectedly to be Straight Gay.
- Lampshaded on Will and Grace, in the episode "Cop To It," when Jack (who was the host of a talk show on a gay-themed cable channel) received a letter from a closeted 16-year-old boy who lived in a small Ohio town, who wanted advice on how to come out. Jack went to Ohio to visit the boy in person, convinced that if he could get the boy to come out to his family on his show, he'd have all of the ingredients for a heartwarming Very Special Episode. When he got there, he realized that the "boy" was actually a 60-year-old, who was embarrassed that at his age he still hadn't worked up the courage to come out. Jack abandoned the project without any hesitation, convinced that no one in the audience could possibly relate to an older person, until Karen convinced him that a 60-year-old was just as deserving of his attention. (In a Crowning Moment of Funny, he convinced the man to take the first step out of the closet by coming out to a stranger at a bowling alley - unaware that the stranger he chose was the man's son.)
- In a straight example, Michael Douglas guest-starred as a police detective who becomes attracted to Will while investigating the theft of his laptop. He takes Will to a gay nightclub, ostensibly as an undercover operation but really as a date because he finds it hard asking men out.
- Grey's Anatomy has averted this at least twice. Keith David appeared in the first season as a patient with a failing liver who kept flirting with George, and an elderly lesbian couple was featured in "Almost Grown"(7x05).
- A more recent episode had an older gay married couple, one half was played by James Avery.
- Another episode had an older gay couple who had recently become a couple, one of the men had been in the closet and married to a woman for years. They plan to spend the rest of their lives together, but the patient dies.
- The 80s sitcom Love Sidney, in which a Tony Randall played a gay man in his 50s, who takes in a single mom and her daughter.
- Blanche's little brother in The Golden Girls. It's never specified how old he actually is (Blanche never revealing her real age plus the show's generally loose time line doesn't help), but he's at least in his late 40's.
- Dorothy's friend Pat, who actually developed feelings for Rose.
- Robson Arms has a mostly Straight Gay couple; the drama in their relationship comes not from their being gay, but because it's a May-December Romance. Another elderly resident of the eponymous apartment believes them to be father and son.
- In Skins third generation, Frankie's older father is obviously over 50.
- In a short-lived 70's series, The Hot L Baltimore, the residents of the hotel included a middle aged gay couple, George and Gordon.
- In one episode of Casualty, Toby treats one half of an elderly gay couple (initially believing their cover story that they're "brothers-in-law"); there are hints of this trope at play though, as being told that they're actually a couple weirds him out enough that it puts the brakes on his romance with Ben and general Coming-Out Story.
- In The Wire, the hard-ass Deputy Commissioner Rawls is spotted in the background of a gay bar with an uncharacteristic grin. He's in his fifties, and Word of God confirms that he is indeed gay.
- When Rachel Berry's two gay dads finally appear on-screen in Season 3 of Glee, they're both grey-haired and well into their fifties, visibly older than the few parents of other teenage characters shown to date.
- Averted plenty of times on Extras in which there are several Camp Gay and Straight Gay characters, including George Michael and Ian McKellen as themselves.
- Private Practice has Addison's mother come out and have a long-term relationship with a woman.
- In the Dutch documentary series Golden Oldies, in which older people form a choir that sings modern songs, two women, well into their seventies, got married on screen. Especially notable since both women had been married to a man before.
- The ITV sitcom Vicious features Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi as a couple.
"Did you finally tell [your mother] about us?"
"I'm waiting for the right time."
"It's been forty-eight years!"
- In Psych, Lassiter's mother is married to a woman and they both walked him down the aisle at his wedding.
- In Modern Family, Cam and Mitch go to a gay nightclub full of 20-somethings, but they hate it. They eventually spend New Year's at a gay bar where everyone is at least 60.
- On Series/2BrokeGirls Caroline and Max go to the funeral of Caroline's old nanny and discover that the woman was a lesbian and had been in a committed relationship with another woman for many decades. Since the woman never liked her own family very much, she simply chose not to come out to them. Since her family was never interested in her life, they did not find out that she was openly gay until her lover showed up at the funeral.
- Discussed in Metrosexuality. Max is pushing 40 and, in addition to his own angst about getting older, explains a few times that queer culture is incredibly harsh towards old people and that growing old is basically a ticket to loneliness.
- In the Elementary episode "No Lack Of Void", there is a subplot involving Sherlock's old friend Alistair, a senior gay man.
- Possibly subverted by Mary Lillian "Moolah" Ellison and Mae Young, who lived together at Ellison's retreat in South Carolina for 16 years, the friendship ending only with Ellison's death in 2007. The only other person regularly at the house was a younger female wrestler whom the two older ones had trained. It can't be confirmed if Ellison and Young were in anything more than a platonic relationship, but given their hard-living, outspoken ways (both were infamous "bad girl" characters for the majority of their careers) and the Les Yay overtones that commonly swirl around the WWE Divas, it wouldn't be surprising. Both Ellison and Young were in their late sixties when Young came to live with Ellison.
- Revolver Ocelot of the Metal Gear series, who's been carrying a torch for Big Boss since the 1960s. In Metal Gear Solid 4 he notably grabs and kisses Old Snake during a fight. Of course, everyone is gay for Big Boss.
- For that matter, Big Boss himself is bisexual, according to Word of God.
- Morris and Armand in Cute Knight Kingdom are definitely over 40 at least.
- From the Puyo Puyo series comes the Camp Gay Oshare Bones, stated in Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary to be at least 150 years old. However, he does happen to be undead.
- Shigure Tachibana from Morenatsu is 68. But not surprising in a Queer Media Visual Novel where almost Everyone Is Gay.
- In Alpha Protocol, the 60+ year old Conrad Marburg is implied, though not outright stated, to be homosexual.
- Depraved Bisexual Reaver (voiced by Stephen Fry) is well over 50 by Fable III.
- In Video Game/Fallout3, arms-dealing couple Flak and Shrapnel are both exactly 50, according to the game's guide. Also, Carol and Greta are both well over 200 years old.
- Friendly Hostility features an adorable middle-aged gay couple (Hans and Mr. Cohen) who own the sandwich shop that Bootsie works at.
- Questionable Content has Marten's father Henry, and his partner Maurice. Dora's immediate response to meeting Henry is the observation that Marten is going to be hot when he goes gray. Henry gloats over this indirect compliment to Maurice, who happily agrees.
- In Something Positive:
- Obviously, every single real life gay person who lives to see his or her fiftieth birthday defies this trope.
- Israeli singer Korin Allal came out at 46, rocker Yehuda Poliker came out at the age of 60, Israeli singer Yehudit Ravitz came out when she was 53, and director and former actor Tsedi Tsarfati came out at the age of 70.
- James Randi came out at the age of 81, and married his long-time partner Deyvi Pena at 84.
- Sir Ian McKellen.
- Ellen DeGeneres
- Sir Derek Jacobi. Oddly, he and McKellen had had secret crushes on each other when they were at Cambridge (they were in the same year), but for various reasons they didn't realise this for over fifty years.
- Sir Elton John, bonus points for now raising his sons with his husband in his sixties.
- Stephen Fry.
- Lily Tomlin, who married her partner of 40 years, Jane Wagner, in 2013.
- George Takei
- Rudolf Brazda, the last gay concentration camp inmate, who died at the ripe old age of ninety-eight.
- Melvin Dwork, a gay WWII veteran who got his discharge from the military changed from dishonorable to honorable.
- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
- Tim Gunn (born in 1953).
- Worth noting that he is a Homoromantic Asexual, not that it changes much.
- The Swedish diplomat Sverker Åström, who came out publicly at the age of 87. When asked why it took him so long to come out, he pointingly reminded the journalist that for the majority of his Life, he was under Swedish law either a criminal or mentally ill.
- David Ogden Stiers came out in 2009 at the age of 66.
- Bertrand Delanoë, the current mayor of Paris, came out in 1998 at 48.
- Faith No More keyboardist Roddy Bottum, come July 2013.
- Actor Jon Polito.
- Klaus Wowereit (since 2001 the Governing Mayor of the federal state of Berlin, and very famously out) and Guido Westerwelle (current German Foreign Minister and leader of the neoliberal party before that) were born in 1953 and 1961. Their respective husbands are over or close to 50, too.
- Actor Richard Chamberlain, known for playing TV heartthrobs such as Father Ralph de Bricassart and Dr. Kildare was outed in 1989 at the age of 55, but officially came out in 2009.
- Fred Schneider of The B-52's, who is 61. He is a notable example because he's become more Camp Gay than he ever used to be.
- Jim Nabors, who is 82, recently married his partner of thirty-eight years.
- Artists Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore got married in their late 60s.
- Many older couples were among the first to get married when gay marriage became legal in their states, since they'd been together sometimes for decades before being able to tie the knot.
- Director John Waters
- Actor and Broadway performer B.D. Wong.
- Edith Windsor was in her eighties when she got DOMA overturned.
- French stand-up comedian Muriel Robin is 58, talk-show host Laurent Ruquier is 51; the TV & radio host and specialist of royals Stéphane Bern is 50. Didier Lestrade, journalist and co-founder of French gay magazine Têtu, is 56. All except Lestrade (obviously) came out publicly quite late in life.
- Pierre Bergé, French businessman, philanthropist, and long-time partner (and business partner) of fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent, is now 84.