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LGBT Awakening

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A character realizes they're queer after seeing something or being put in a certain situation.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Pichu-kun on Apr 25th 2016 at 2:00:15 PM
Last Edited By:
Pichu-kun on Apr 25th 2018 at 1:39:33 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Sometimes, a character needs a little encouragement to realize (or fully understand) that they are on the LGBT spectrum. Usually this involves falling for someone, but it can even be something as simple as seeing something in the media and realizing it fits them.

There is some Truth in Television in this. Many people don't understand what being gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, etc. are until they see it in fiction or on the news. This is one reason as to why many people believe that LGBT representation in media is important.

Super Trope to Closet Key, which is when feelings for someone provokes the revelation in people.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • Aoi from You're Under Arrest! is on the anti-chikan section of her police force. She was Disguised in Drag to catch people however ended up liking living as a woman and stayed that way full-time.
  • Marika from Bokura no Hentai always felt uncomfortable being a boy but didn't know what to do about it until she saw a trans woman on TV. Afterwards she began to dress up as a princess at home and eventually that expanded to going outside as a girl.
  • Nitori from Wandering Son began wearing feminine clothes and attempting to pass as female after classmates made her put on a headband as a joke. Befriending a kindered spirit, a trans boy named Takatsuki, was also a big component.
  • My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is an autobiographical account of the author's realization of and coming to terms with her sexuality.

Comic Books

Fan Works

  • In the Frozen fanfic Becoming Free, Elsa becomes interested in romance after falling for Freya (not that she realized it at first). Reading classical Greek literature, along with looking at the paintings in her art gallery and putting herself in the characters positions, helped her to realize that she is gay.
  • In the Azumanga Daioh fanfic Warmth Minamo has been repressing her feelings towards her best friend Yukari since high school. Seeing a lesbian couple kissing in the streets gets her to acknowledge her bisexuality and her affections towards Yukari.

Film — Live Action

  • In Mishima A Life In Four Chapters, the famous painting of a bare-chested Saint Sebastian being pierced by arrows that prompts Kimtakes first act of masturbation.
  • The Kevin Klein film In & Out is entirely about this trope. Howard Brackett is a teacher who is outed by one of his former students on national television. Except that Howard doesn't believe he is gay. In fact, he's about to be married to a beautiful woman. However, as his friends start to consider the idea, they notice that the evidence is pretty strong. Eventually, after many shenanigans, Howard finally realizes that the evidence is so strong because it's true.
  • But I'm a Cheerleader has Megan believe that she is straight, more-so because she doesn't fully understand same-sex attraction, until she is sent to a gay conversion camp by her parents. Here she is told that she is a lesbian, and forced to come out in order to start therapy, to the point that she realizes her feelings for one of the other girls there isn't platonic.
  • The Danish Girl was criticised for using this trope, since it portrayed the titular character realising she's trans after being asked to wear women's clothes by her wife (which while technically accurate was portrayed closer to the plot of a piece of fetish fiction than the life of the woman it was meant to be a biography of).

Live-Action TV

  • Supergirl: In season 2, Alex becomes friends with Maggie, a lesbian cop, and tries to console her when she gets dumped by her girlfriend, which Maggie thinks is hitting on her. She initially refutes that she's not gay, but then begins to re-evaluate the situation because of conversations with Winn and her own experience of not liking men and enjoying feeling close to female friends — this especially, the remembering of a romantic discovery that she'd buried, leads her to come out.

Literature

  • Prior to the book, Annie from Annie on My Mind realized she was lesbian. She tried dating a boy a year prior but it didn't work out. Annie herself is the Closet Key to the protagonist.
  • I Am J: J first heard about trans people at age 11 when channel flipping and coming across an exploitive talk show episode about trans women. The next day he began researching being trans online. He stopped researching after being dissatisfied with what he found on SRS. It took six more years for him to start wondering about transition again.

Theatre

Web Comics

  • In Khaos Komix Amber began having Homoerotic Dreams involving her and the Senshi after watching subbed Sailor Moon episodes with her friends. It also helped reveal her crush towards her friend Nay.
  • Played for Drama in Exiern. Typhan-knee describes how s/he originally realized s/he was gay (or a trans woman; the comic is ambiguous on this point due to multiple writers and a Gender Bender spell that turned the biologically male character into a woman in the first chapter) when he failed to get aroused by two women he intended to rape during a raid as a tribal rite of passage, but then was aroused when he went after a farmboy.
  • Tedd from El Goonish Shive didn't know being nonbinary was a thing until Grace taught him about being genderfluid.

Feedback: 56 replies

Apr 25th 2016 at 9:18:49 PM

The name sounds too similar and can be confused with Closet Key. Maybe since they aren't being pressured or forced out of the closet, it could be Stepping Out Of The Closet or Beckoned Out Of The Closet? Or maybe if they discover they are lgbt it could be LGBT Discovery?

Apr 25th 2016 at 11:35:47 PM

The title "Lgbt Discovery" would cover both this and Closet Key.

Apr 26th 2016 at 1:37:43 AM

  • Capitalized (lgbt, tv).
  • Examples section
    • Corrected spelling (girls -> girl's).

Apr 26th 2016 at 8:41:13 AM

^^ For some reason my intended name didn't come through. I fixed it. But, still, this is a prototypical name that can be changed.

Apr 27th 2016 at 5:00:37 AM

Just making sure, this is when they come out of the closet? Or when they find out theyre lgbt? I feel like those are 2 different situations.

Apr 28th 2016 at 3:37:07 AM

It doesnt sound like they would be in the closet if they never had a reason to. But, maybe Finding Out Youre In The Closet? Discovering Youre In The Closet?

I think I will make an index LGBT Discovery that can cover these kind of tropes.

Apr 28th 2016 at 6:05:32 AM

Being "in the closet" means you're hiding your gayness. Or am I wrong? (From Closet Key, maybe being "in the closet" just means being gay? Dunno, "coming out of the closet" means making your gayness known... right?)

Apr 28th 2016 at 11:09:13 PM

If you're "in the closet", then you know you're LGBT+ but keeping it a secret. If you don't know, you can't be in the closet. Because being in the closet is about hiding yourself. Visualize it.

Apr 29th 2016 at 4:02:47 AM

^ so from that, I guess Closet Key is someone who helps you go out of the closet?

Apr 29th 2016 at 12:05:47 PM

^^^^ Well, Closet Key doesn't make much sense either if the character literally didn't know beforehand.

Dec 22nd 2016 at 9:29:54 AM

Compare Late to the Realization and The Reveal?

Dec 22nd 2016 at 11:29:14 AM

Non Romantic Closet Key? or, in a different vein, The Gay Apple Drops (though it could also cover Closet Key, I guess, it implies that it's an outside realisation)

Dec 22nd 2016 at 11:31:57 AM

And to resolve the confusion above, the Closet Key is a person that helps a character realize they're LGBT. That's the trope, though it sounds like it should be the person who convinces them to come out, usually it's both.

Dec 22nd 2016 at 4:31:30 PM

Maybe LGBT Self-Discovery, for clarity's sake.

TV:

  • The Vicar Of Dibley: "Dibley Live" has Frank relate how he first realized he was gay when he fell in love with a male farmhand.

Dec 22nd 2016 at 4:36:09 PM

Webcomics:

  • Played For Drama in Exiern. Typhan-knee describes how s/he originally realized s/he was gay (or a trans woman; the comic is ambiguous on this point due to multiple writers and a Gender Bender spell that turned the biologically male character into a woman in the first chapter) when he failed to get aroused by two women he intended to rape during a raid as a tribal rite of passage, but then was aroused when he went after a farmboy.

Dec 23rd 2016 at 5:37:58 AM

Would Real Life examples be okay? I think they would, based on the fact it is still representation when the stories are made public, which is the intention of the trope (I think, description does need work).

Dec 24th 2016 at 4:12:23 AM

Still Needs A Better Name.

The current name Outside Source Closet Key is a Bad Snowclone because someone reading it will have no chance of realizing what it's about unless they know what a Closet Key is.

Dec 24th 2016 at 2:18:23 PM

Agree, the name must go.

  • The Kevin Klein film In And Out is entirely about this trope. Howard Brackett is a teacher who is outed by one of his former students on national television. Except that Howard doesn't believe he is gay. In fact, he's about to be married to a beautiful woman. However, as his friends start to consider the idea, they notice that the evidence is pretty strong. Eventually, after many shenanigans, Howard finally realizes that the evidence is so strong because it's true.

Dec 25th 2016 at 5:49:39 PM

Film

  • But Im A Cheerleader has Megan believe that she is straight, moreso because she doesn't fully understand same-sex attraction) until she is sent to a gay conversion camp by her parents. Here she is told that she is a lesbian, and forced to come out in order to start therapy, to the point that she realizes her feelings for one of the other girls there isn't platonic.

Dec 25th 2016 at 9:47:25 PM

Its not atrope. Its just a plot. Why should it be a trope rather then say someone seeing something on tv that makes them realize that they are straight? Or reading something in a book that makes them realize that they don't want to go to college? Or seeing a movie about the police, and realizing that they want to be a cop? Just not realizing something about yourself until you read something in a book, or see it on film, or see an advertisement is not a trope. Its far too broad to be a trope.

Dec 26th 2016 at 3:10:22 AM

^ It's a Sub Trope of Closet Key, and quite a significant one seeing as that trope is now mostly recognized as being for a character.

Dec 26th 2016 at 10:46:24 AM

^^ A plot is a trope. In fact, we've got a whole index of plots that are tropes. It's called Plots.

Dec 27th 2016 at 10:12:46 AM

You know, instead of making this a sibling of Closet Key, it might make sense to make it the supertrope. That would allow much more sensible names (among other things). Like...Discovering You Are Gay. Then you could add a sentence to the description like:

Supertrope of Closet Key, when the discovery is triggered by feelings for a specific person.

Jan 1st 2017 at 3:26:53 PM

Live Action TV

  • Supergirl 2015: In season 2, Alex becomes friends with Maggie, a lesbian cop, and tries to console her when she gets dumped by her girlfriend, which Maggie thinks is hitting on her. She initially refutes that she's not gay, but then begins to re-evaluate the situation because of conversations with Winn and her own experience of not liking men and enjoying feeling close to female friends — this especially, the remembering of a romantic discovery that she'd buried, leads her to come out.

Jun 5th 2017 at 6:22:08 PM

Jun 11th 2017 at 10:12:19 PM

This was discarded for no apparent reason.

Jun 22nd 2017 at 8:22:53 AM

Why'd this get discarded again?

Jun 22nd 2017 at 9:12:18 AM

Jun 22nd 2017 at 9:18:44 AM

^^ there are some tropers who don't contribute to anything in TLP but discard half of all drafts they come across. They don't listen to being asked to slow down, it's probably time to bring it up for the umpteenth time again.

Nov 21st 2017 at 9:03:00 AM

This has been discarded two or three times. Why? It's not identical to Closet Key, as that trope specifically involves a person. Is it identical to a separate trope?

Nov 21st 2017 at 9:06:55 AM

If it happens again without the troper commenting beforehand, report them. That seems like trolling.

Nov 21st 2017 at 9:29:34 AM

I edited the description for grammar and changed the "compare to" to "Super Trope to" because this is the super-trope and they are not the same.

Nov 22nd 2017 at 11:09:54 AM

Bump for more examples, if any.

Nov 30th 2017 at 4:26:26 PM

Discarded again without commenting beforehand. Reporting to ATT. This is ridiculous since it isn't hard to voice a complaint prior to discarding it. For the record, it was AHI-3000.

Nov 30th 2017 at 5:52:36 PM

It was AHI-3000 every time. He discards basically all drafts with 5 bombs, and even though I've asked him to slow down and maybe read the discussions to see if it's appropriate at least twice he's still doing it.

Nov 30th 2017 at 6:13:45 PM

Possible page quote:

"I'm so evil, and skanky. And I think I'm kinda gay."

Willow Rosenberg, commenting on her Evil Counterpart, as well as foreshadowing future seasons, on Buffy The Vampire Slayer

  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Played With regarding Willow Rosenberg, one of the series' main protagonists. While in previous arcs, she had an unrequited crush on her friend Xander Harris, after discovering an alternate version of herself that had been turned into a vampire, she later begins a sexual relationship with other women in future seasons. The show is ambiguous whether or not this was the event that triggered it, but at the time Willow had never even considered the possibility.

Dec 1st 2017 at 12:02:48 PM

The case of Willow was Closet Key, I thought. Her alternate-universe vampire self hinted at a potential but I thought she only said that as an unfortunate joke that later became more serious. I'm pretty sure it was Tara who made her realize that, yes, she's seriously gay. I'm just saying that it seems like too much overlap to be this rather than the subtrope.

Dec 1st 2017 at 12:08:51 PM

I'm actually not that clear on how the relationship between the two tropes works (even after reading through the lengthy debate above), so I just decided to throw the example out there and see if it was agreed with.

Dec 1st 2017 at 12:22:30 PM

Maybe it's worth explaining more in the description. This is a more broad concept than Closet Key, since it isn't just about a character showing them that they're gay.

Sometimes, a character needs a little encouragement to realize (or fully understand) that they are on the LGBT spectrum. Usually this involves falling for someone, but it can even be something as simple as seeing something in the media and realizing it fits them. It could be the case that this character simply has never seen an actual LGBT person before, and so after they see LGBT culture(s) in a Show Within A Show or experiencing a gay pride parade for the first time, they realize their actual sexuality falls in the LGBT spectrum.

And then to use lakingsif's explanation above for the see also section:

This is a Super Trope to Closet Key, which is when romantic or sexual feelings for a person helps a character realize they're LGBT.

Dec 2nd 2017 at 11:50:23 PM

Yeah, I'd say since Willow meeting vampire Willow didn't make her think she might be gay, it's just Closet Key.

Dec 7th 2017 at 10:16:37 AM

Is it okay if I add those suggestions to the description?

Dec 7th 2017 at 2:12:54 PM

Does this do anything that Coming Out Story doesn't cover?

Apr 9th 2018 at 8:02:14 PM

I think the current name is okay, but maybe there's a better possibility. Unfortunately, the only suggestion I have is longer and less clear than the current name.

Apr 9th 2018 at 10:16:00 PM

In Mercy, the sequel series to Sunstone, Anne has an awakening to her bi side during a metal concert involving Miriam, a female symphonic rocker.

Apr 18th 2018 at 11:20:29 PM

Comic Books

  • In Great Lakes Avengers: Mis-Assembled, Flatman realizes that he is gay after Living Lightning comes out to him after thinking that "GLA" stood for "Gay and Lesbian Alliance".

Theatre

  • The play Stop Kiss is about the aftermath of one woman realizing that she has strong feelings for her new female friend.

Apr 19th 2018 at 12:39:34 AM

I'd suggest "What Is This Thing You Call LGBT" (from What Is This Thing You Call Love), but that isn't allowed, right? (At least I understand the trope better that way, if I get it right)

Apr 19th 2018 at 11:32:18 AM

^ Snowclones aren't accepted much nowadays.

Apr 23rd 2018 at 9:05:13 PM

"Many people don't understand what being gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, etc. are until they see it in fiction or on the news."

I think people with mental disorders (or is it "mental challenges"?) also know their own conditions this way...

Apr 24th 2018 at 1:17:31 AM

What has that got to do with anything?

  • The Danish Girl was criticised for using this trope, since it portrayed the titular character realising she's trans after being asked to wear women's clothes by her wife (which while technically accurate was portrayed closer to the plot of a piece of fetish fiction than the life of the woman it was meant to be a biography of).

Apr 25th 2018 at 1:39:33 AM

^ were you responding to me?

If so, then I'm saying that this trope's process also works on people who are mentally challenged, not just LGBT. I'm not asking to broaden this, though.

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