A.D.A. Serena Southerlyn: "Is this [being fired] because I'm a lesbian?"
D.A. Arthur Branch: "... no?"
— Alternate line reading from Elisabeth Rohm's final Law & Order episode
A character who pulls a flip-flop in terms of proclaimed sexuality or suddenly, for no apparent reason, feels strongly enough about it to become the Token Minority of their particular series for that particular sexuality.
This can be because the author changed his mind about a character, is catering to Fan Wank, or is simply providing Fanservice. In any of these instances it is usually frowned upon. Not that it's entirelyunrealistic, but it's very jarring. When handled well it can be Truth in Television, given that in real life gay people do indeed sometimes attempt to appear heterosexual before coming out, but when handled poorly it can instead come across as a sloppy or cynical Retcon.
Sometimes employed purely as an answer to the assumption that all undeclared characters in fiction must, by default, be heterosexual.
Can be implemented as a quick gag, in which case the characters may immediately become some variation of Stereotype Gay (Flamboyant Gay and Leatherman the most popular), regardless of their previous character traits.
Technically speaking, if no information as to a given character's sexuality has been demonstrated before in a work, either due to that character not getting a lot of screen time or the work simply not focusing on romantic relationships, then any declaration of sexual or romantic feelings would count as this trope.
If this is done via Word of God instead of within a work, it's Word of Gay.
Compare to No Bisexuals. May result in a Straight Gay. Can be forced by introducing Situational Sexuality. Relationship Reveal is a chance to out a character with more buildup. For the race version, see Suddenly Ethnicity.
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Anime and Manga
Shidou Ayane of Baldr Force EXE Resolution is stated to be a lesbian in the first episode, but she's never shown to be. It was probably said to keep fans from shipping her with The Hero. Ironically, in the original H-game, she's one of the main heroines, and is indeed attracted to Toru.
Grell from Black Butler. Toboso Yana eventually made it pretty clear that Grell is actually male-to-female transgender, but many fans still either don't believe it or refuse to.
Reiner Braun from Attack on Titan casually mentions his lack of interest in the opposite sex, in ch. 38. Prior to that, it had seemed as though he might have a crush on Christa. However, this appears to be a case of everyone having a crush on Christa.
Obsidian, a DC Comicssuperhero, is in the modern age written as an openly gay character despite having dated women in the past and having poor luck with them. He's had a lot more success after coming out, having a steady boyfriend in Damon, assistant to Kate Spencer (a.k.a. Manhunter).
Connor Hawke, something of an answer to the Nineties Anti-Hero and something of one himself, was introduced originally as a man with no interest in romantic attachment (due to his being, y'know, a Buddhist monk) in the relaunch of his title Green Arrow. The book attracted a large gay following due to his lack of obvious heterosexual romantic attachment and received praise from both gay and straight sources due to its innovative and mature characterization. Unfortunately, the author, Chuck Dixon, was uncomfortable with people thinking Connor was gay, and in reaction put in several random sexual moments for Connor that came out of nowhere, went nowhere, and sat bizarrely with Connor's established characterization. (The most inexplicable and disturbing instance of same involved Connor making out, for no obvious reason, with the woman who raped his father; this was immediately dropped and never mentioned again.)
The Vertigo Comics miniseries Enigma actually makes the sudden sexuality switch of its protagonist, Michael, a part of the plot - it is revealed that his lover, a sociopath, used psychic powers to alter his sexuality. In the end his lover feels regret and offers to turn him back, but Michael decides that he's happier as he is.
In Scott Pilgrim, this initially appears to be the case for Stephen Stills, at least from Scott's POV, but then Stills points out he came out in Volume 5, while Scott was too busy with the whole evil exes drama to notice (leading the reader to reach for their Vol. 5 to confirm that this does happen, in an out-of-the-way panel).
Chili Storm, rival to Millie the Model, was revealed to be a lesbian in the 2009-2010 miniseries Models, Inc. You'd have to squint pretty hard to see any sign of this in her 20th century stories.
Paul Tobin later stated that despite being gay, Chili did not have a crush on Millie, and that her antagonistic behavior was not being Retconned into Foe Romance Subtext.
Lucy Lane, sister of Lois Lane was depicted as strictly hetrosexual for six decades; in fact she's probably best known as Jimmy Olsen's fickle love interest during the Silver Age and Bronze Age and had later been married to Ron Troupe. As late as 2012 she was going on dates with Clark Kent. Without buildup she was revealed to be a lesbian in the 2014 one-shot Lois Lane #1. Technically the revelation was more of a Transparent Closet moment than coming out of the closet as such, but prior to 2014 there had been no evidence there was a closet at all.
The Firefly fanfic Forward actually subverts this in the "Mosaic" story arc, where River briefly kisses another girl. It turns out that River was in fact quite het, and instead was simply drunk and having a slight mental episode, and the entire incident was foreshadowing the introduction of John Garis/Echo, an agent of the Academy who she was lured into a relationship with in order to keep her mentally stable and to not commit suicide. ....It Makes Sense in Context.
Marge in Bart The General is implied to be a lesbian (or bisexual, at least), as Toadfish tells her "Don't worry Marge, we'll sort out the lesbian problem," and she is once shown having sex with another woman.
In the Star Wars AU series "Sith Academy," Darth Maul is initially portrayed as a stereotypical straight guy who lusts after strippers and beautiful female video game characters. Until one story where he got wasted and slept with Obi-Wan Kenobi. It was supposed to be a one-time joke in the vein of Comedic Sociopathy, but a lot of readers actually LIKED the pairing and so Maul and Kenobi thereafter became the series' Official Couple. Everyone else Maul lusts after continues to be female, however, making this a case of If It's You, It's Okay.
Edilio from the Gone series is revealed to be gay in Fear, along with Artful Roger and the two are together. There's a bit of lead up to this in the novel itself, but not previous installments which make sense, since Edilio does not get very many POV chapters.
Dumbledore from Harry Potter, as told by Word of Gay after the series had ended. As such, the fact that he is gay has little to no bearing on the actual novels. If you read between the lines this was definitely hinted at, especially in his relationship with Grindelwald, and Word of God confirms he was in love with him. She also said in an interview that she'd always known the reason Dumbledore initially went with Grindelwald's plans was because of love, and that this was why Grindelwald didn't tell Voldemort that Dumbledore had the Elder Wand. Word came out from the screenwriters of the Potter films that J.K. even put the kibosh on a throwaway Dumbledore line that mentioned an ex-girlfriend, years before she ever announced it formally.
According to an interview with Anne McCaffrey, this can be executed by making use of a tent peg. Yes, that use of a tent peg.
In her book Commencement, J. Courtney Sullivan avoids the more obvious choice of using Straw Feminist April for this, making her (reluctantly) heterosexual - and gives the coming-out story to the least likely member of her Four Girl Ensemble: Bree, the Southern Belle who arrives at Smith with plans to marry her high school boyfriend - before she meets Lara. Subverted to some degree in that she has difficulty identifying as lesbian/bi and sees Lara as a case of If It's You, It's Okay.
Dono, ex Donna, Vorrutyer in the Vorkosigan Saga probably belongs here. There is no mention of any lesbian tendencies being displayed as Donna, but after his Easy Sex Change, Dono shows interest only in mating with women, and is engaged or about-to-be by the end of A Civil Campaign.
In Sweet Valley Confidential, a spin-off from Sweet Valley High that follows Elizabeth and Jessica at age 27, the twins' brother Steven is suddenly revealed to be gay. He'd spent the entirety of the original books as ostensibly heterosexual, married one woman (Cara) and been engaged to another (Billie), and had a nervous breakdown over the death of another girlfriend. His partner, Aaron Dallas, was also presented as heterosexual in the original series; while Tom McKay, the only out gay character previously introduced, doesn't reappear in Confidential.
In The Heroes of Olympus, it's revealed that Nico di Angelo, who'd been a main character for several books at that point, had an epic, confused hatecrush on Percy. It's Fridge Brilliance, though, since the only reason he ever seemed straight was that we saw him from the perspective of Percy, who assumed that the reason Nico was avoiding Annabeth was that he had a crush on her, and was embarrassed about it - but really, he was jealous.
On 30 Rock, Frank meets a cute guy named Jamie and announces that he's now gay. Later, he decides that he's just "gay for Jamie." Several (straight and gay) characters point out to him "that's not a thing", though Liz qualifies it with "unless you're a lady and you meet Ellen DeGeneres".
The oft-cited Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who initially only showed interest in boys before deciding she was (exclusively) lesbian. While hints were dropped in Doppelgangland with her very flagrantly bisexual alternate (vampire) self, Willow as a character is never really seen considering what her sexuality is or angsting even a little over being with Tara - she just hooks up with her with no elaboration.
Willow as a character was quite clearly bisexual, but as is common in television (especially in the US) characters are usually stated to be gay rather than bi. Writers prefer to avoid bisexual characters as the orientation has certain connotations in that country. Bisexuality is often associated with porn rather than as a genuine sexual orientation.
Word of God is that several seasons earlier, there were plans that either Willow or Xander would end up in a same-sex relationship in the future, but it hadn't been decided yet which of them would. (It ended up as Willow when Seth Green decided to leave the show, ending the Willow/Oz relationship earlier than expected.) The obvious bisexuality of their mirror-universe vampire counterparts was one of the little hints used to leave both possibilities open.
The supposed suddenness of it has been mocked by Joss Whedon, who points out that the entire season had been foreshadowing that she was gay.
Similar criticism befell Jack's coming out midway through season two of Dawson's Creek.
Depending on how you see it, Fiona on Degrassi, who just came out, may be this. On one hand, she was never shown to have interest in girls and had a boyfriend; on the other hand there was some Les Yay between her and Holly J and she was seen to have flawed relationships with men.
Way before Fiona though there was Paige. There was a miniature arc dedicated to her coming out the closet, with her dating Alex. After the break up however she never shows interests in any other female, and even goes back to exclusively dating guys.
In Desperate Housewives, Katherine, who has had two husbands and an ex-boyfriend who caused her to have a complete breakdown when he left because "The sex was amazing!", out of no where she suddenly hooks up with a female stripper and leaves for Paris with her after declaring herself a lesbian.
and the series final reveals that she broke up with the stripper because she was definitely straight after all...
EastEnders Sonia Fowler tried being a lesbian for a time with flatmate Naomi, despite previously spending years married to Martin Fowler.
Ellen Morgan, from the sitcom Ellen, showed exclusive interest in men for the first three seasons, then began "Switching Teams" in season 4, to coincide with Ellen DeGeneres coming out publicly.
Dr. Kerry Weaver of ER spent the first three seasons of her run on the show as a confirmed heterosexual, having been previously married and depicted with two different male paramours (Dr. Ellis and the African guy in seasons 3 and 4 respectively). Then along came Kim Legaspi, and the character went from confused to closeted to Token Lesbian in ten episodes.
Santana Lopez from Glee. While she clearly had feelings for Brittany and it makes sense for her to be bisexual, Word of Gay confirmed she is actually a lesbian - which doesn't really explain all the hell she put Quinn, Mercedes and Lauren through for supposedly "stealing" Puck, with whom who she was very sexually active throughout the first season. But then again, it fits with the "the mean girl who was desperately together with whatever guy that wanted her, until she was forced to acknowledge that she was in love with her best friend"-stereotype amongst Lipstick Lesbians.
Season 4 underwent critism when Quinn, a girl who had never showed a canon interest in dating anyone but boys, has a one night stand with Santana in a hotel room.
Greek: After stealing Casey's boyfriend for a night and getting hot and heavy with Cappie over her first winter break, Rebecca Logan recently went the Katy Perry route...and announced that she was a lesbian to the entire sorority.
Jake Straka was suddenly gay in the third season of The Guardian.
Home and Away had a storyline where Charlie was assigned to a rape case involving Aden's colleagues Joey and Robbo (Joey being the female victim). Charlie eventually had Joey move in with her (and Leah, VJ and Ruby) to keep her safe from both Robbo and Joey's older brother Brett. This progressed predictably, to the point where Charlie and Joey were outed as a couple when Brett painted the word "queer" on Charlie's car. Charlie then buggered it all up in one month by sleeping with Hugo, and after they broke up (and Joey left the show), she went back to Angelo. So far, she's shown little sign of looking back.
There was a skit on The Kids in the Hall in which Scott Thompson (the Camp Gay) suddenly revealed he was straight, and married to a woman. He made an announcement where he basically said: "Sorry for coming out as gay, I guess I was just in a hurry."
Subverting gay tropes is a bit of a theme with Scott in general, but he gets some mileage from this one. For instance, in the show finale his secretary character, Kathy, comes out as a male transvestite, along with the rest of the skit's cast. Another time, he plays a Rated M for Manly action hero star, who promptly goes cruising for young men. In their movie, he plays his other usual role, as a stiff middle class family man, as a closet case whose sexuality comes off as this... to him alone. When he finally accepts it, he has a big song and dance number, parading down the street in celebration, climaxing with everyone else declaring they don't care and walking off.
As the page quote demonstrates, Serena Southerlyn from Law & Ordercame out at the literal last minute, asking if it's why Branch fired her, seemingly out of the blue and very awkwardly. If you go back and rewatch episodes featuring Serena Southerlyn, she's always been portrayed as very supportive of anything that carries the whiff of a "gay cause", so maybe this was simply foreshadowed way too subtly, especially on a show that doesn't seem capable of subtlety. Word of God states that it was closer to a Throw It In, and the actress' own idea, that she came up with right before shooting. Fortunately, given L&O's legendary aversion to showing the private lives of its characters or any romance (the aforementioned Claire relationship was established primarily through innuendo and a single line of dialogue from a later episode), the sudden revelation of Serena's sexuality didn't really have any continuity to violate.
Tom Friendly, one of The Others from LOST, is revealed to have a gay lover on the mainland during a flashback. This really had no effect on the character at all and, in fact, was revealed after he had already died in the present. This has been subtly hinted at in an earlier episode when Friendly was still alive and kicking. Friendly was assigned to watch over Kate, who The Others have captured. Kate is told to take a shower, and comments to Friendly that she doesn't feel comfortable with him looking at her while she does so. Mr. Friendly tells her that she's not his type.
And it turns out that this is in fact why he was made gay, since fans on message boards joked that Tom was gay because he didn't find Kate attractive. This theory found its way to M.C. Gainey, the actor who played Tom and he decided that actually wasn't a bad idea and started to subtly playing the character as gay.
Which isn't the only possible explanation why she might not be "his type," of course. Mr. Friendly probably knows that she's a murderer, and The Others include a black woman who's much closer to Tom's age than Kate is.
Played with in The Mighty Boosh: In Party, Howard remarks on his intentions to "go gay" if he doesn't get some action from the ladies soon, and it turns out he's not only a virgin, he hasn't even kissed someone before. Defending his chastity, he insists that, when he finally gets physical with someone, it'll be forever. Afterward, he and Vince share a Faux Yay kiss to save Vince from being killed by a model's jealous husband. It's Howard's very First Kiss, and after being starved for affection for so long, he's then convinced that he and Vince have been in love with each other all along, (he retcons their bickering as "sexual tension") and declares himself a "massive gayist." It only lasts until a girl he'd been crushing on shows up.
Michael in My Family spends the first nine series being solely attracted to women, then suddenly becomes gay in Series 10.
Especially jarring since he spent all of those series between puberty and coming out directing most, if not all, of his intelligence towards the task of getting heterosexually laid.
In a textbook case of Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends, one story arc in My Name Is Earl, involving several men vying for the attentions of the same woman, ended tidily when Stuart suddenly became more interested in his gay secret admirer Kenny.
In Noah's Arc, Guy shifts to having affections for Trey out of the blue. There were no real hints leading up to it in the first season, and in fact in one scene he's overheard having sex with his wife. To many it definitely felt like a retcon.
Hunter from the US version of Queer as Folk. Since he entered the show as a prostitute and then showed a particular interest in Brian when they first met, everyone assumes that he's gay. Until he falls in love with a girl and comes out as straight to his foster parents.
Bev from Roseanne is revealed as a lesbian near the end of the series, in order to provide irony with her being a conservative prude. Prior to her coming out episode, she had a husband and a boyfriend, the latter of whom she seemed very interested in.
The last episode one-ups it by revealing that Jackie was gay, not Bev. Doesn't get more sudden than that. And they managed that by explaining that all or most of the series was a book Roseanne was writing, with gay Jackie/straight Bev being how it was in the "real" world. This had in fact been hinted at, but went over most people's heads. At one point, a character describes what they view as a stereotypical lesbian. Jackie in the background laughs, then realizes they were describing her.
Even earlier in the show, one of the supporting characters who was up until then married to one of Dan's buddies declared herself to be a lesbian after he walked out on her. Despite the fact that she would sometimes boredly say how she's "going back to men" this week, the word bisexual was never once used.
Though Nancy is never labeled a bisexual, the other characters do call her out on flip-flopping by asking, "Can't you be kicked out of the club for this?" To which she responds, "You just don't get how it works. Please don't label me. I am a people person."
Todd from Scrubs might qualify for this in a quite different way. Before he came out as bisexual he was the most stereotypically "straight" character on the show (i.e. constantly making lewd comments at whatever female crossed his path). After he came out, however, he acted exactly the same, except now he directs lewd comments at guys too. In his own words:
Janitor: What the hell are you?
The Todd: I'm The Todd!
Although Todd's possible homosexuality had been foreshadowed before. He had been accused of being gay ("Then how come I work out so much?") and joined the female nurses in their protest of Turk and JD kicking out Colin Farrell's character.
Seinfeld had Susan, which prompted George to re-examine himself as a representative of the male sex. And then she suddenly turned straight again when "it didn't take".
Also George has one after getting a massage from a male therapist. He struggles with having things like men popping into his sexual fantasies until it kinda just ends after the episode.
In True Blood, as of season four, Tara started dating women exclusively, after spending the past three seasons dating or being interested in men only, including Sam and childhood friend Jason. This was implied to be the result of trauma, since in the last season she had been raped and kidnapped by a male Yandere vampire.
Frank on The Vicar of Dibley came out as gay during a radio show as part of a gag about no one listening. However, he had only shown interest in women before this announcement, and still continued to show interest in both sexes after it.
As most people will know, later in the series a lesbian relationship between them is strongly implied, though intentionally not made explicit; the one time the question was directly put to Xena and Gabrielle, the episode ended before they could answer.
Interestingly, one of the producers said early in the show that she never expected people to see a lesbian relationship between Xena and Gabrielle because people always assumed she and her girlfriend were related and never thought they were in a relationship. As a result, she figured that even if there were legitimate lesbian undertones in the show, no one would actually see them. Clearly, she was mistaken.
Skins inverted this with Mini, who was shown to be at least bisexual in the fifth series, with numerous unrequited "girl crushes" on her best friends, but as of the sixth series, there was no sign of that, and she exclusively hooked up with boys (mainly, Alo).
Invoked by Barney about his brother James in How I Met Your Mother. In season 2 episode Single Stamina, after James and Tom's wedding, Barney says to his friends he decided not to include James's "hetero college" phase in his best man speech. However a flashback in season 3 implied that James was in the closet that times.
Once Upon a Time: Throughout Season 2, it's implied that Mulan loves Prince Philip, but can't declare her love for him because he has found Aurora, his "true love", and so she shows her care the only way she can: by putting her life on the line for him. Then in Season 3, Mulan finally decides to reveal her feelings to the one she loves and goes to...Aurora! It's telling that a number of fans try to rationalize that, despite the dialogue during her meeting, she really meant to declare her love to Philip because of all the previous buildup in Season 2 (and was overturned in one conversation in one episode of Season 3).
Parodied in 3rd Rock from the Sun, where in one episode a documentary is being filmed in the Solomon's house. When one of the cameras catch them talking in secret risking their exposure as aliens, Dick lies and says that what they're trying to cover up is the fact that Sally's been a lesbian the whole time, which complicates things for her since she's in a relationship with Officer Don. At the very end of the episode Sally kisses Don and claims that the act suddenly made her realize she actually is straight.
After thirty odd years, Mark Slackmeyer coming out in Doonesbury seemed a bit forced.
The same could be said for Lawrence in For Better or for Worse, who in earlier strips used to hoot at curvy girls quite enthusiastically with his friend Michael.
Almost parodied when Steve Dallas came out at the end of Outland and eloped with Mark Slackmeyer, after having spent some fifteen-odd years as a sleazy womanizer. However, Steve was retconned back to het when he reappeared in Opus nine years later.
Dragon Age II's Anders did not appear as anything but straight in his first appearance in Dragon Age: Origins DLC, Awakening. He flirted with all the female party members (including the PC), and even his character biography included a line about wanting to settle down with a girl. In Dragon Age II it's revealed he is bisexual, but only to male players who have a chance of pursuing him. Female players do not have a hint of him being bisexual.
Elk/Endrance of the .hack//G.U. Games. Haseo can be this depending on who he sends a certain postcard to.
Revolver Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid went from wolf-whistling at Sniper Wolf and ambiguously molesting Meryl as well as flirting with Snake, to having violent and unending Single-Target Sexuality for Big Boss. Still, the relationship was touching and well-written enough that this is generally regarded as an improvement.
Interestingly enough, Shepard his/herself can be played this way. It's more prominent with a male Shepard, as male/male relationships are only available in the third game.
Bobwhite. In this interim comic, one of the rejected story ideas involves Ivy suddenly being retconned as a lesbian. "Also I've always had a crush on Marlene, all of a sudden."
Gamzee in Homestuck was unique amongst the shipping-obsessed trolls to have shown no romantic or sexual attraction to anyone of any kind, even the trolls's platonic romances. Later on, a flashback showed Gamzee suggesting that he and Tavros make out. Due to Tavros being dead and Gamzee being murderously crazy, it remains to be seen if this will be brought up again. Less of a case than most since trolls are a culture for whom the term "bisexual" doesn't even apply, let alone make sense, and any given troll being depicted as "male" or "female" is just for characterization (and fanservice)* ignoring for a moment that thus far, all non-platonic romances, as well as non-platonic hate-romances, have been between pairs of trolls who have been depicted as opposite sexes, except for two "homosexual" relationships including Gamzee and one that's across species.
Main character Italy Ishida from The Lounge, who while having a bunch of sexual encounters with her female friend Aya (which were usually played for laughs), also showed interest in men including the main male character Max, which made it seem like she was bisexual, or that her sexuality didn't matter. Later on she declared that she was only a lesbian and a bunch of other times Italy and Aya had sex were retconned in to justify their new relationship.
Given that in his earlier appearances in human form he explicitly comments on dealing with the sexual urges he feels toward human women, Artie of Narbonic turned out somewhat like this. The decision to establish him as gay just seemed very hastily and poorly executed..
The revelation in Skin Horse that "Sweetheart prefers girls!"seemed to come out of nowhere, but in retrospect merely adds another dimension to what's always been her closest relationship anyway. Meanwhile, Tip's interest in Artie is presented as "open to experimentation" meets Even the Guys Want Him. It does raise some questions about Sweetheart's slightly unfortunate taste in women.
In Anachronauts, Nel (female) falls in love with Una (female) soon after they meet. By the time the second arc starts, Nel has dedicated herself to being the best assistant and friend possible to Una. When Una finds out due to some Applied Phlebotinum and a few coincidences, she decides that the relationship she's had with Nel has been love all along and she'd simply failed to realize it until then.
Deconstructed in Dept Heaven Apocrypha, in which a character's revelation that he's bisexual, not straight, is the cause of a lot of problems in his relationship with his loved one.
LoadingReadyRun parodies this in "The Worst Homosexual", in which womanizer Morgan suddenly declares that he's gay, because, "the only way I could be this much of a mad, pimping playa is if I was covering for something". He spends the remainder of the episode trying to be gay, but fails miserably.
Lexington, of Gargoyles, did show interest in a random group of human-turned-gargoyle girls in 'The Mirror' and chased after Angela when she joined the clan, but was also the first to stop chasing after her. It's been hinted that his sexuality wasn't pinned down until the Angela-meets-the-Trio episode, and Greg Weisman has offered that Lex was just going along with what was expected of him as a young man to do, before he realized his heart wasn't really in it. That is how it happens for many real life queer individuals, so it works.
Patty in The Simpsons seems like this at first when she comes out. She dates Skinner for a while and seems to enjoy it, dumping him because of her sister rather than her sexuality (though it's possible to read her relationship as being a form of The Beard knowing what we know now). The hints had actually been there for a while, the earliest one was in Season 4, where she's one of the people who went to the local burlesque house that Marge's group shame into getting to tear it down, just two seasons after she dated Skinner and long before it became official in Season 16. The series even hung a lampshade on this, with her commenting "There goes the last lingering trace of my heterosexuality" upon seeing a naked Homer — admittedly in a non-canon (even for this show) "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween Episode, and another episode where the main family was watching a gay pride parade, and the float for the "Still in the Closet" gays featured two hands waving out, with one voice (obviously Smithers) chanting, "We're gay! We're glad!" and another voice, obviously one of Marge's sisters following up: "But don't tell Mom and Dad!"
Mr./Ms. Garrison on South Park is the embodiment of this trope, starting out as a closeted homosexual, token homosexual, heterosexual woman (after her sex change), a lesbian, and finally a man again (his current sexuality hasn't been confirmed yet, but the gay men of the town gathered for a meeting in "The F Word" and Garrison wasn't among them, so it is assumed he is a straight man). This is even lampshaded when she tells her class about her sudden change to lesbianism, after she comes right out and says she's gay, and Stan asks, "Again?" Chef probably put it best a long time ago: "There's a huge difference between gay people, and Mr. Garrison" since he's also had sex with animals and tried to rape children.
Jimbo was similarly outed as a homosexual during a discussion about f-word privileges. Garrison's use of the term was uncensored, and everyone else got bleeped. Then Jimbo said it. Hilarity Ensues.
Truth in Television: There are plenty of instances where people have "discovered themselves" later in life after dating someone of the opposite sex they're accustomed to. Even more justified for young people who are just starting to explore sexuality.
Transparent Closet or Armoured Closet Gay: Sometimes, sexuality is the least visible to the person manifesting it. Beyond simple denial, if being gay or bi simply doesn't register as an option, the wake-up call may seem sudden indeed.
Chris Birch, a British man claims he "woke up gay" after suffering a stroke.
Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. When she died in 2012 her obituary revealed that she'd been in a long-term relationship with another woman. Her close associates knew about her orientation, but she kept her personal life intensely private and the general public had no clue. Also, she was briefly married to a male astronaut in the 80s.
There's a joke that goes like this:
Boss: "Alright Everyone, due to budget cuts, we have to lay one of you off"
Asian employee: "If you lay me off, I'm gonna sue you for racism"
Senior employee: "If you lay me off, I'm gonna sue you for discrimination against age"
Female employee: "If you lay me off, I'm gonna sue you for sexism"
Everyone turns to the white, young, male who starts sweating
Young Male Employee: "Err... I've been feeling kinda gay lately?"
Chirlane Mc Cray, wife of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, formerly identified as a lesbian, even authoring an essay for Essence Magazine in 1979 entitled "I Am a Lesbian". Later retracted this, stating, "In the 1970s, I identified as a lesbian and wrote about it. In 1991, I met the love of my life, married him."