Dad...I have something I want to say. I'm glad that you are proud of me...but I don't want to lie any more. Being part of the Glee club and football has really shown me that I can be anything. And...what I am...is...I'm gay. Burt: [flatly]
I know. Kurt:
I've known since you were three. All you wanted for your birthday was a pair of sensible heels.
Everyone knows these characters are gay except the characters themselves. Any suggestion to the characters that they are gay is met with a too-emphatic statement of their heterosexuality
, or even resort to feigned homophobia
. If they finally come out of the closet, no one will even pretend to be surprised
. Often played for laughs
, sometimes not
Sometimes also falls under the Open Secret
category, with somebody who's basically open about their sexuality, but for whatever reason (often fear of some form of legal or employment discrimination) can't afford to confirm it directly.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Shibuya Yuuri of Kyo Kara Maoh is raising a daughter with his beautiful male fiancé whom he shares a bed with every night in a world where same-sex marriage is taken for granted. He still considers himself straight and conveniently "forgets" that he's engaged on several occasions. A stunning young guy in season three basically plays the Damsel in Distress card hard in order to gull Yuuri into being used in war. Works really well, if not exactly sexually, playing on Yuuri liking to be the hero, and if Wolfram were willing to do this he might actually get somewhere. But he won't, because he's proud and lacks the subtlety to be devious.
- If you're not into Yuuri with Wolfram, there are still multiple other bishies with whom he has abundant sexual tension. Including his bodyguard knight, Conrad, where Yuuri doesn't even try to deny that he enjoys touching him, and who he calls to rescue him when he's being hounded by attractive women. Or the goofy lovestruck Gunter, who is constantly hugging Yuuri. Essentially, Kyo Kara Maoh is a Shounen Ai harem series with Yuuri at the center, and yet he keeps insisting he's completely heterosexual while being awe-struck by his handsome demon handlers. Or showing no reaction to situations that make the straighter guys' (like Ken Murata's) eyes pop, like when they're at the beach and surrounded by girls in bikinis.
- Setsuna Sakurazaki of Mahou Sensei Negima! is so obviously gay for her Ojou-sama Konoka that practically everyone knows it despite her frequent denials. Asuna knows it. Evangeline knows it. Friggin' Negi knows it. Naturally in Chapter 256, when Jack Rakan revealed to everyone present how Setsuna had finally shared her First Kiss with Konoka (by naming a high-level Sword Beam technique, no less), no one reacted besides Setsuna herself.
- In Azumanga Daioh, it's dead obvious that Kaorin has the hots for Sakaki, although she tries to play it off. It gets a massive Lampshade Hanging from Osaka in the 10th anniversary comics (see the page pic).
- The whole premise of Miyuki-chan in Wonderland by CLAMP.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: Rainbows are straighter than Subaru, who has a long-standing friendship with the Tsundere Teana, serving together in the Bureau for four years before opportunities for their dream positions presented themselves, and with Subaru almost constantly e-mailing Teana afterward. Subaru also enjoys fondling Teana's breasts while she's asleep, and glomps Teana when seeing her for the first time in a year and a half.
- Ryo MacLean in FAKE. From the get-go, everyone assumes he has a thing for his new partner Dee Laytner except for him.
- Akina Shinozaki, the protaganist of Shinozakisan Ki Wo Ota Shika Ni, lives inside two closets, one to try and hide her growing lesbian infatuation with her new friend Kaede and the other, even more transparent closet, to hide her growing love of geek activities, like watching anime and playing video games.
- When Wiccan of the Young Avengers came out to his parents, their response was to say that they always knew and welcome his boyfriend to the family. The problem is he was trying to reveal that he and his boyfriend were superheroes.
- When Anole was outed by his teammate Rockslide in New X-Men, Loa stated that they "already knew".
- Lt. Cecil "Doubtful" Milk in Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, who takes the "Ambiguous" out of "Ambiguously Gay". He can't seem to keep a girlfriend, is hip to the latest fashions, and, despite being the sole survivor of several hot engagements, the sternest word he's ever used is "ghastly". He repeatedly fakes fatal wounds, using his "last request" to goad Captain Darcy into performing romantic gestures towards him; everyone, him included, sees these as hilarious pranks and nothing more. Near the end of the first miniseries he confesses that he wants to be Darcy's bride, with the both of them later agreeing that he had gone temporarily insane from stress. When his uncle tries to specifically broach the subject, Doubtful doesn't seem to be aware that there's such a thing as being gay.
- Also, his last name was Milk. Like...Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California.
- Played straight in Ultra: Seven Days; Cowgirl's friends often tease her about her boyfriend's obvious (and strongly denied) homosexuality, and the fact that he is clearly engaging in a homosexual affair with his sidekick. It's subverted, however, in that the fact that Cowgirl herself also turns out to be gay and in the closet completely floors them...despite the fact that Cowgirl herself is in many ways rather butch.
- Light in A Cure for Love:
Light: I'm not gay.
L: Oh, my apologies, I forgot that you're the sexual scourge of womankind. You obviously only have sex with me because you roll over in your sleep and misjudge the distance. Maybe you're sleepwalking...or maybe the term "sleepfucking" would be more appropriate. Maybe you're completely unaware of what you're doing.
Light: It happens.
- Light again in My Stupid Reality: "The day a man like that retires is the day I come out of the closet...wait, it's not that I'm in the closet, I just meant...it's impossible ok! Never gonna happen."
- In Fever Dreams, Light doesn't like to think of himself as gay even though he's only ever enjoyed having sex with men. He is forced to come out in order to convince Rem that a relationship with Misa would never work.
- Marik in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, as lampshaded to hell and back in the third Evil Council video.
Marik: I'm not gay! [Bakura laughs] What? What's so funny?
Bakura: Come on, Marik, we all know!
Marik: Know what?
Rex: Uh, heheh, yeah, we know.
Weevil: Heheh, yeah, we know.
Pegasus: I definitely know!
Marik: Know what? What the hell does everybody know?
Bakura: Marik, I believe it's time you came out of the closet.
Marik: Oh, what, just because a guy likes to dress effeminately and hang around with another extremely attractive man and read yaoi and flaunt his gorgeous abs and stroke a phallic symbol suggestively in every other scene, that automatically makes him gay?!
- A Running Gag in Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv):
Light: Raye Penber, I couldn't help but notice... [sniff] your hair smells like strawberries.
Light: [looking at porn]
Oh, that girl's got a pretty...face...OH, check out that hot guy in the backgroun—uh, I mean, check out those classifed files in the background... Ryuk: Gay
- As L comments, "It's very creative how you dot your 'i's with hearts."
- Lampshaded again when Near and Rester are trying to get Light to come to Near's "party":
Near: But if you wanted to get [Light/Kira's] attention, then why did you mention girls? Even I think they're yucky.
- In Heir, Draco is the trio's resident expert on clothes. Also Harry and Draco share an awkward bro-hug.
- In Thinking In Little Green Boxes Draco ogles Asgardian!Neville.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic The Model Caretaker, Rarity becomes rather convinced that Fluttershy's closet is very translucent, if not outright transparent, after an openly bisexual Fleur de Lis comments on her flanks when she thinks she's out of earshot and she shows all the signs of arousal you can expect from a Pegasus (while internally screaming at her body for betraying her). In the next chapter, when Rarity suggests that she go on a date with Fleur, she yells that she's not a fillyfooler. While Fleur doesn't say as much, it is implied that she also thinks Fluttershy is gay (she eventually comes out as bi).
- The aptly-titled An Apple Comes Out Of The Closet is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and the only reason her family is upset is because she used a derogatory term for herself. Granny Smith tells Applejack that she knew ever since she came home and declared she was in love with her classmate Rarity.
- Hitomi of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is often played as this. Since Everyone Is Gay, but Hitomi had a straight relationship in the series (and made rather memetic remarks when she thought her friends were dating,) many suggest that she's actually very repressed about her sexuality and trying to find a beard. One fanfic went so far as to have a coming-out party where she claims to be straight.
Hitomi: But you're both girls! Girls can't love girls! GIRLS CAN'T LOVE GIRLS!
- In the Discworld continuum, Assassin school teacher Miss Alice Band is very definitely lesbian, but circumstances, such as the fact she teaches at a girls' school, coupled with the moral standards of Ankh-Morpork (it does have some, generally involving muddled thinking and good old double standards) conspire to ensure she cannot come out publicly. This does not stop the Society columnist of the Ankh-Morpork Times and the gossip columnist of the Ankh-Morpork Enquirer from hinting about the existence of a prominent lady Assassin with an Ephebian Island Lifestyle. One of Alice's closest friends, who knows, remarks, "Ma tres chere amie, you are so far back in the closet that you can see the tail of the Coathanger Elk."
- In Mary Renault's The Charioteer, Andrew Raynes is gay and in love with his male best friend. This is obvious to the friend, who's also gay, and to an older guy, gay as well, who acts as a father figure to Andrew. Andrew, however, has no idea, though sometimes he wonders: "This doesn't seem very—very sensible. Other people aren't like this...It makes me feel, in a way, jealous, without knowing what of...Things happen that one can't completely...the feeling of being different..." He does eventually realise, and writes in a letter, "Often before when I have been fond of people I have got somehow caught up in it all round; but I am such an average person, it must be quite common I thought." Given that Andrew is nineteen, that this is England in 1940, that his rigid religious beliefs declare homosexual sex wrong and that his only previous contact with homosexuality has been seeing a boy at his school who "used to bully the little boys, and terrify them into doing what he wanted" get expelled, it's not so surprising that he hasn't got things figured out.
- In City of Glass, everyone seems to know that Alec is gay before he tells them. Except his parents, judging by their reaction to him kissing Magnus in the Accords Hall.
- In the first season of The L Word, Dana and her friends all know that she's gay, but she keeps up a Transparent Closet Masquerade in front of everyone else, dragging a Beard with her to all of her social functions, and so forth.
- Tobias in Arrested Development, who has a habit of accidentally making homosexual innuendo every second or third sentence. He's also shown attraction to Lindsay on a few occasions, making him Ambiguously Bi. The irony here is that Lindsay's actress is gay, while Tobais's actor is not.
- This is the entire premise behind Jonathan in Help Me Help You.
- ...and Josh in Veronicas Closet. (No pun intended. Honestly.)
- ...and Gil in Frasier. There was one episode where he was talking about him and his wife wanting to lose weight in the New Year, so he'd baked "motivational" muscular gingerbread men. The problem was he couldn't stop eating them...
Gil: This is my last little man, I promise. Oh, Gil, who are you kidding?
Frasier: No one, Gil.
- Stephen Colbert's right-wing persona, in a perfect satire, indicates regularly that he's attracted to men while vigorously denying it, and the character's cartoon features a hero modeled after himself who regularly hops into bed with women, all of whom say "You've obviously had hundreds of girlfriends" and just about all of whom turn out to actually be man-eating monsters. In one episode, they show a diagram of his brain; one section is labeled "repressed homosexual urges".
- Six Feet Under had Father Jacknote , who initially was portrayed as a slightly effeminate, fairly liberal, gay-friendly priest. Audience members could be forgiven for expecting him to be outed at some point in the series, but when David suggested Jack might be gay (as he had assumed), he denied it. Still, comments he made in one of his later appearances suggested that perhaps the closet had been transparent all along, and that he had since vacated it. He was caught renting gay porn.
- Devon Banks, Jack's corporate rival on 30 Rock, claims to have been "cured" of his homosexuality, but still seems aroused by pretty much anything with a penis. His closet involves getting engaged to the CEO's daughter, by all appearances mentally retarded.
- Played with in that he is not closeted because of any of the usual reasons, but, rather, is faking his heterosexuality in order to inherit the company through said engagement. He has also admitted that he is gay to Jack, because he knows well enough that Jack can't do anything about it.
- Parks and Recreation gives us Marshall Langman, husband of Marcia Langman, who is obviously Camp Gay but participates full-throatedly in his wife's Heteronormative Crusader Activist Fundamentalist Antics as part of the Society for Family Stability Foundation. (This is a more-or-less Ripped from the Headlines riff on 2012 Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann, whose husband Marcus set off Gaydars across the country.)
- Done for a dramatic reveal in the pilot of Kings. Crown Prince Jack Benjamin tries to hide behind the facade of a party-hard, womanizing career officer, but when he confronts his father about not being appreciated for his military efforts, Silas rips into Jack about his secret, revealing that he's known for a long time. Jack's reaction makes it clear that he's been terrified of the king finding out for a long while.
Jack: Is it my reputation, the "party prince", is that it? None of that matters—dad, it's not who I am—
Silas: Oh, if only it was. What would I give for a playboy who couldn't keep it in his pants, who runs through women? But what I have is a son who shows no interest in them. Oh, you thought I didn't know? I've been keeping pictures of our family out of the free press for years. What you do at night with your boys, after your show of skirt-chasing, is a disgrace.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Andrew Wells. Never actually confirmed, however heavily, heavily implied that not only is Andrew gay, he's in love with Warren. Issue 3 of Season 8 has him saying he's bored since all the Slayers (all female, all very fit) want to do is play strip poker. Combine that with some of his actions in his appearances in Season 5 of Angel and a flashback of him and Jonathan sharing a bed in Mexico in Season 7 and it's safe to say he's gay.
- At first Willow and Tara are this to the viewers, as tons of implications are dished out long before they outright say anything. The rest of the cast who don't interact with the two of them together much are far more surprised to find out. Lampshaded when Faith in Buffy's body figures it out within minutes of meeting them together.
- Jen has a date like this in The IT Crowd episode "Work Outing".
- In Black Books, Fran has a date with a man who was in the navy before he became an antiques dealer, phones his mother five times a day, enjoys Shirley Bassey, and thinks that the linking factor between Elton John, Ian McKellen, and Jean-Paul Gautier is that "they're all fabulous!". Oh, and he stares at his male waiter's arse during the date. Writer Graham Linehan seems to enjoy this trope.
- Salvatore Romano on Mad Men is an interesting case. The character throws out just about every "gay" marker imaginable, and is easily recognized as such by the audience, but, because the show is set in the early 1960s, almost none of his straight colleagues recognize this. His façade is so effective that he's been married for at least two years and his wife barely noticed anything; the only one of his colleagues who is aware of Sal's sexuality is Don Draper, who only knows because he saw Sal half-naked with a bellhop while escaping a fire at a Baltimore hotel. Don keeps the secret; he's not the judging type, and has a secret of his own anyway.
- Tom and Crow on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Debatable though. In ten years, Crow is the one who tends to act rather camp, particularly in the Comedy Central era, and is the Bot on record as having had an erotic dream about Tom and the one who went all giggly at the thought of touching Robert Redford. In contrast, Tom... is curvy and has a good singing voice. As with everything in MST3K continuity, though, Rule of Funny in in full effect.
- Played with in one of the Joel-era episodes. Tom and Crow are discussing how various celebrities "were one", and Joel wondered what they were talking about. Crow tried to work up the courage to tell Joel, but fainted. Tom finally came out and admitted it:
Tom: Joel, Crow and I...are robots. There, I said it.
Joel: Oh. Well, I knew that.
Tom: What? How?!
Joel: [smirking to the camera] It's more than a little obvious.
- Glee provides the page quote. Kurt didn't come out officially until a few episodes into season one.
- His best friend wanted to date him in the beginning, not knowing he was gay.
- Santana to her friends, what with her habit of very quickly dismissing, explaining away, or outright ignoring her relationship with Brittany, despite the two of them practically being glued to each other.
- Robin in The Smoking Room, to a tragic (well, tragicomic) extent: by the time everyone finally tells him that they already know and they don't care, the object of his obsessive crush, Ben-from-the-mailroom, has already come out, dumped his fiancée, and started dating another guy.
- Kenny in The War At Home. He has a crush on his straight friend Larry, the joke being that everybody recognizes his blatantly gay characteristics apart from Larry himself.
- Helen in Drop the Dead Donkey has a Coming-Out Story where she tells her mother she's a lesbian. Her mother already knew. "Rock Hudson, now, that was a shock."
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp", set in 1926 England, Roger, heir to his family's title, is having a romantic relationship with a young footman, Davenport. This is apparently known to both the family and servants, but not commented upon, in the British tradition of avoiding scandal, other than Roger's father snidely observing that there are not likely to be any children in the family.
- In Torchwood: Miracle Day, the steward on a flight being taken by the main characters is repeatedly assumed to be gay, despite his protests. Eventually, he is worn down enough to admit "it was only one time".
- Wyckyd Sceptre, a fictional band in Mr. Show. They completely fail to comprehend the fact that they are gay, despite being confronted with video of themselves having gay sex.
- Brad Bottig, Sue's off-again, on-again boyfriend on The Middle. Brad and Sue seem to be the only two people unaware that Brad is gay.
- Beverley Leslie from Will and Grace.
- Also Jack in the first episode. He's offended that everybody knew he was gay the instant they met him the first time, though he's flamboyantly out for the rest of the series.
- In a Mad TV sketch, Stevie has a Coming-Out Story with his friends and family, despite the fact that they already know, since he's spent three Halloweens as Wonder Woman and was the cop in the George Michael video whenever he played Cowboys and Indians with his brother. The only one who was actually shocked was his lover, Sebastien.
- Dean Craig Pelton from Community. Also a closeted Furry and very fond of playing dress-up in costumes ranging from Macho Camp to Drag.
- Thomas from Downton Abbey. It turns out that half the people at the Abbey had some idea, but wanted to avoid any scandal.
- In Aquí no hay quien viva's first seasons, the people at Apartment 1B are a gay couple that hide their sexual orientation (particularly Fernando, while Mauri is more willing to share the news). A couple of years into the series, Fernando gives a present to Mauri for their anniversary: reuniting all of the neighbors and telling them that they are together. Of course, they all knew already.
- Simon Marchmont of Posh Nosh
- Rod in Avenue Q.
- Roy Cohn in Angels In America does this right to the face of the doctor who diagnoses him with AIDS.
Roy: I don't want you to be impressed. I want you to understand. This is not sophistry. And this is not hypocrisy. This is reality. I have sex with men. But unlike nearly every other man of whom this is true, I bring the guy I'm screwing to the White House and President Reagan smiles at us and shakes his hand. Because what I am is defined entirely by who I am. Roy Cohn is not a homosexual. Roy Cohn is a heterosexual man, Henry, who fucks around with guys.
- The leader of the missionaries in The Book of Mormon is this played for laughs, claiming that he managed to take his gayness and "turn it off". He obviously didn't.
Elder McKinley: Nooooo
~! 'Cause then you're just keeping it down, like a dimmer switch on low, as if nobody needs to know! ...Just realize you've got a curable curse, and turn it off! Now how do you feel?
Elder Price: The same.
Then you've only got yourself to blame! You didn't pretend hard enough. Imagine that your brain is made of tiny boxes, then find the box that's gay and CRUSH IT
Elder Price: No, no, I'm not having gay thoughts.
- Thomas MacLaine of Deadly Premonition is an unsubtly effeminate Shrinking Violet of a man. Of course, that's not so much the surprise as to who he happens to be involved with. That and the fact that he's not only a homosexual, but a transvestite.
- In don't take it personally babe, it just ain't your story, Akira discovers, much to his embarrassment, that everybody in his class knew about his homosexuality before he even knew about it himself, and they aren't shocked or even very interested. Even worse, one of his own mothers' reaction is the Japanese equivalent of "lol finally" on the AmieConnect post he used to officially come out.
- Louni Quickfingers of Embric of Wulfhammer's Castle . There is a very humorous optional scene during one side quest to explore a supposedly-cursed inn. Should you bring Louni as your bodyguard, there is a brief exchange between her and the Duchess regarding how Louni's lifestyle (as an adventurer *cough*) has made her something of an expert on the innards of closets.
- Pizza in Illusionary Trauma is gay for Oreo Cheesecake. When Hershey points this out to him, the former blatantly denies this.
- Mr. Garrison, in earlier episodes of South Park. Since then, Garrison's touched every single point of the GLBT spectrum: first being a man in denial, then a Camp Gay, transgender man-to-woman, Camp Lesbian, transgender woman-to-man, and back to Camp Gay (or possibly still attracted to women) again.
- Xandir from Drawn Together, until he comes out in the third episode. In an episode where he has to struggle with telling his parents that he's gay, Xandir asks Captain Hero and Toot to pretend to be his parents. Captain Hero doesn't mince words:
Captain Hero: Well, son, I think I can speak for the both of us when I say... [with Toot] Uh, duuuuh!
- Xander Crews from Frisky Dingo. The huge gay porn collection and the posters of male celebrities all over his house are kind of a give-away, but he still insists that he's 100% straight. He does seem to like women, likely making him a case of Bi the Way, but a repressed attraction to men is pretty obvious, too; among other things, he pretty quickly turned to doing gay porn after losing his fortune.
- Gus the android in Tripping the Rift is at his most Camp Gay when insisting he's not gay.
- Waylon Smithers from The Simpsons. Mr. Burns is probably the only one who's actually fooled. Most of the time.
So, Smithers, what are you doing this weekend. Something gay, no doubt? Smithers:
What?!! Mr. Burns:
You know, light and fancy free
! Mothers, lock up your daughters! Smithers is on the town! Smithers:
Oh! Of course.
- Riley Freeman plays with this on The Boondocks. Everyone but Riley knows Gangstalicious is gay. Riley concludes that Gangstalicious can't be gay because he likes Gangstalicious's music and he's not gay. Gangstalicious's new fashion line convinces Granddad that Riley is gay. Huey takes advantage of Granddad's suspicions to get his own room and then, at the end of the episode, Riley, who is EIGHT, tearfully confesses his homosexuality to Granddad, thinking that he must be gay because he was a fan of Gangstalicious. The jury is still out on him.
- The Larry 3000 on Time Squad, starting in the episode "Blackbeard, Warm Heart", in which Larry announces unashamedly to a pirate crew that people have called him a sissy for his entire life while he reclines in a lacy pink bunk bed, among other things. The closet became more and more transparent until it reached its peak in "Ex Marks the Spot", which centered around Larry trying to "win back" his time cop partner Tuddrussel after he thought Tuddrussel and his ex-wife Sheila were falling in love again. (This episode implied that Larry had had sex with Tuddrussel for the first time, so his anxiety ran especially high.)
- The Venture Bros.: Shore Leave and Sky Pilot from the O.S.I. were this when they briefly appeared during the season three finale, having apparently transformed into born-again Christians who'd banished their "demons" through prayer and faith. As it turned out, they were faking it so the Hunter Gathers could get Brock enlisted in the fight against un-unionized supervillains.
- After this, Shore Leave drops the act, and even states "I'm out and I'm proud."
- Coach Daniel Stopframe from Moral Orel. He doesn't outright state it, but he still makes no attempt to hide his bisexuality.