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Adaptational Sexuality

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Dennis Hensley: The book is extremely explicit and in some places very homoerotic. Has that been toned down?
Dana Delany: Yeah, it's very much a heterosexual island. It's too bad because Anne Rice has a great homosexual following, but I think Garry Marshall is aiming for a Middle-American audience. There are two things I think about this: In movies, I think, people only want one lover—they want the hero and they want the heroine. They get confused otherwise, even though that's reality.
Movieline interview for Exit to Eden.
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Elements of a character changing when a work is adapted from one medium to another is an extremely common occurrence. Nice Guys might turn into Jerkasses, platonic friends might become love interests, an ally might become an enemy, etc.

One of the most controversial ways of changing a character (much like a Race Lift, and for similar reasons) is to alter their sexuality. This could mean making a homosexual character straight, giving a sex life to someone described as asexual, putting aromantic characters into romantic relationships, making a straight person gay or bisexual, or any combination or variation of the above. It's debatable whether establishing a gay orientation for a character with a previously unknown sexuality counts — presumably, "I'll just tell the missus I'll be home late tonight" would slide right by for a minor male character whose marriage wasn't established in the source material, but would raise eyebrows for a female.

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Sometimes a form of Bowdlerization, when the change is made to appease Moral Guardians or to avoid controversy. Compare Hide Your Lesbians and Promoted to Love Interest. Not to be confused with Situational Sexuality. Sub-trope to Adaptational Diversity.

Note: If a character (most importantly if s/he is based on a Real Life person) is merely speculated to have a certain sexuality and a depiction does not follow that, it does not count as this trope, even if said speculation has been generally accepted as fact through Pop-Cultural Osmosis.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Classi9: In real life, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s homosexuality is a known fact. Some expert even made it one of his reasons behind his semi-permanent depressive disorder, and his brother, who was also gay, discussed it in his biography. In the manga, he is bisexual, or possibly pansexual, as he doesn’t care about someone’s gender so long as they are weak enough to be attractive to him.
  • While Lyrical Nanoha is legendary for the Homoerotic Subtext between Nanoha and Fate, Nanoha was originally in a relationship with Chrono back in the Lyrical Toy Box fandisc for Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • In the manga, Kunzite and Zoisite's sexuality was never addressed but there is a piece of artwork Naoko Takeuchi made whilst hashing out plot points that were eventually dropped that shows Zoisite and Sailor Mercury and Kunzite and Sailor Venus embracing. In the anime however, Kunzite and Zoisite are Yaoi Guys (and in the DiC dub "Zoycite" is a woman). Also Fisheye was never into guys in the manga, again showing romantic interest in Sailor Mercury, but chased men in the anime and once more became female in The '90s English dub.
    • The Cloverway English dub of the original anime did this to Haruka (Amara) and Michuru (Michelle). In the Japanese version and later dubs they are unrelated and an Official Couple. The dub changed them so that they're cousins. In combination with that, the dub edited a scene so Michelle mentions her first kiss was with a boy named Brad and Amara also mentions being attracted to boys. Michuru is Ambiguously Bi but her kissing a boy was nowhere in the Japanese version. The dub, however, accidentally made the cousins come off as gay or bisexual anyway (though with a Kissing Cousins slant) because their scenes together are still heavily romantic even with dialogue changes.
  • Prince of Stride: Alternative: Takeru Fujiwara was a straight bachelor in the visual novel the anime is based on. In the anime, he has been changed to gay, with no romantic interest in the heroine, and is instead heavily implied to have feelings for Riku... As well as any man with attractive and muscular legs.
  • Juri Arisugawa of Revolutionary Girl Utena has a different sexuality in every continuity:
    • In the anime series, she's a closeted lesbian who is secretly in love with her childhood frenemy Shiori Takatsuki,
    • In the manga, she's straight and in love with Touga Kiryuu except in that version, she actually has a torch for Ruka and just sees Touga as a stand-in in Ruka's absence; incidentally, Shiori doesn't even exist in the manga. Part of the reason for this seems to be that Juri in the manga is a combination of Juri from the anime and Nanami (who is in love with Touga and a Clingy Jealous Girl much like manga!Juri). In interviews, Chiho Saito said that since the manga was shorter, she wanted to keep the story as focused on Utena as possible, so she decided Juri's love triangle couldn't be as separate from the main character as it was in the anime. The After the Revolution manga epilogue Saito did 20 years later reversed this decision to an extent, showing a now-adult Juri in a relationship with Shiori.
    • In Adolescence of Utena, Juri is once again in love with Shiori, but also appears to be hitting on Miki at one point.
    • In the movie-manga and Light Novels, Juri's sexuality has never been specified.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew's Minto was clearly into Zakuro, but she also showed attraction to a couple of guys. When making Mew Mew Power, the translators for 4KidsEntertainment realized that there was no way they could write around the lesbian subtext between the two characters, and apparently decided that having Corina be gay would raise fewer eyebrows than having her be bisexual. So while they toned down Corina's romantic feelings toward Renee where they could, they excised any hint that she might have feelings for anyone else, most notably in a scene where the Mew Mews were imagining their ideal man; Mint's imaginary boyfriend was replaced with an image of Renee.
  • Mai-HiME. In the anime, Natsuki repeatedly states that she has no interest in or time or romance, and her close friend Shizuru believes that her feelings for Natsuki are unrequited. That said, Shizuru is Natsuki's most important person, and there are some indications that Natsuki may return her feelings. In the manga, however, Natsuki's most important person is Yuuichi, thereby creating a Love Triangle with Mai and suggesting that Natsuki is heterosexual in this continuity.

    Audio Drama 

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics:
  • The DCU:
    • The all-new version of Alan Scott (the original Golden Age Green Lantern and very much Married With Children in the old continuity) revealed as being in a same-sex relationship on the all-new Earth 2. Word of God says that this was to make up for the fact that his son Obsidian, who was homosexual, was erased from continuity due to the age-down making Scott too young to have adult children.
      • Interestingly, when the original Golden Age version of Alan Scott returned to the DC Universe (alongside his children Jade and Obsidian) following DC Rebirth and Doomsday Clock, a Flashback story set in the 1940s implied that Alan was a closeted gay man. Jimmy, Alan's friend who died back in his origin story, was Retconned into having been his secret lover.
    • The National Comics (New 52-era outside continuity books) version of Rose & Thorn is Ambiguously Bi (it's hinted that Rose's Superpowered Alter Ego tried to seduce her best friend, Mel).
    • The Multiversity:
      • On Earth-36, The Flash and Green Lantern are a gay couple known as Red Racer and Flashlight.
      • The Ray of Earth-10 is gay, in keeping with the theme of each of Earth-10's Freedom Fighters representing different groups who were persecuted by the Nazis.
    • The New 52 drastically changes Maxima from an adult Stalker with a Crush And Test Tube who is obsessed with bedding Superman and other powerful men to a closeted teenage lesbian with a schoolgirl crush on Supergirl.
    • In pre-Flashpoint comics, the last time we saw DEO Agent Cameron Chase, she was in a relationship with a guy called Dylan and expecting his child. In Supergirl (Rebirth) she's dating Dr. Shay Vertitas.
    • Pre-Flashpoint Captain Stingaree was a closeted gay man in a relationship with the Cavalier. His closeted status was even used to blackmail him into acting as an informant and implied to be part of why he's the family's "black sheep", a core component of his character. In the New 52, he's straight and married with children.
    • In DC Comics Bombshells, a number of characters who are either straight or Ambiguously Bi in the mainstream DC universe are depicted as unambiguously lesbian or bi. For example, Big Barda and Kimiyo Hoshi are lovers, Wonder Woman is unambiguously bisexual, Lois Lane is dating Supergirl, and Mera is strongly implied to have had a past sexual thing with Diana.
    • In the DC Rebirth relaunch, Aqualad II (Jackson Hyde/Kaldur'ahm) is gay. Then again, this might be a subversion, as he was a Canon Immigrant from the Young Justice cartoon and all Greg Weisman said on the subject was he wasn't straight. At the time Rebirth started, all he had in a love interest was a relationship with Tula that ended with her falling in love with Garth while he was away, along with some Ship Teasing in Brightest Day that suggested the comic version of Aqualad had an attraction to Lorena Marquez/Aquagirl II. The 2019 revival of Young Justice would indeed see Kaldur with a boyfriend, and Word of God is that he's polysexual.
    • Natasha Irons, the niece of Steel, exclusively had male love interests in the pre-Flashpoint continuity. When she finally made her post-reboot debut in the DC Rebirth Superwoman series, she's established as having had a girlfriend in the past, and later shown to be in a relationship with Traci 13.
      • Traci herself went from dating Jaime Reyes pre-Flashpoint to dating Natasha afterward.
    • The DC Rebirth relaunch of Deathstroke establishes that Jericho from the Teen Titans is pansexual, and has a rather fluid view on sexuality in general. In fact, he was originally planned to be gay when Marv Wolfman and George Perez was developing the character.
    • Ray Terrill, aka the Ray, is gay in DC Rebirth, as compared to his pre-Flashpoint counterpart, who used to have a thing with Black Canary.
    • Gotham Central had Batman: The Animated Series Canon Immigrant Renee Montoya come out as a lesbian. However, the Series Bible for B: TAS had her join the GCPD after her husband died. (Though the bible's canonicity is debatable, as Renee's entry also states that she opposed Batman's vigilante activities, while in the series she supported them, in contrast to her partner Harvey Bullock).
    • Wonder Woman (Rebirth):
      • Barbara Anne Minerva, post-Crisis, was attracted to men and most recently had shown an attraction to Hunter Zolomon (Zoom, the second Reverse-Flash). Here, she's attracted to women, although it's not clear what her sexuality is.
      • Wonder Woman's friend Etta Candy is also strongly implied to be a lesbian, complete with some light Ship Teasing with the aforementioned Barbara. Etta was exclusively depicted as straight prior to this, and even ended up marrying Steve Trevor in the post-Crisis continuity. This also seems to be true of the alternate universe version of Etta from Grant Morrison's Wonder Woman: Earth One graphic novels, who is very intrigued to learn about Themyscira.
        Etta: So let me get this straight. You're from a paradise island of science fiction lesbians? With a side of bondage? Honey, I'll drink to that! Woo woo!
    • In the pre-Crisis continuity, the Justice League of America supporting character Dale Gunn was Ship Teased with both Vixen and Zatanna, and was even briefly in a Love Triangle with them. In the New 52 Vibe series, Dale is instead shown to have a husband named Casey.
    • In his original appearance, Mikaal Tomas, the Starman of 1976, was portrayed as motivated by his lost love Lyssa Jurndaal, and not shown to have any other romantic interests. When he reappeared in James Robinson's Starman, he was bisexual.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Colossus of X-Men fame is straight in the 616 universe, but gay in the Ultimate Universe and in a relationship with Northstar, who's gay in both continuities.
    • Exiles traveled through many of Marvel's multiversal realities, picking up an alternate-timeline Mariko Yashida (Sunfire), who entered into a lesbian relationship with the Mary Jane Watson (Spider-Woman) of another reality. In the mainstream timeline both characters were or are straight (Mariko one of the most important of Wolverine's deceased love interests, Mary Jane Spider-Man's wife). A later version of the team would include an alternate reality Beast, who was the lover of Wonder Man.
    • In X-Treme X-Men an alternate universe Wolverine, here known by his birth name of James Howlett, is bisexual and in a relationship with Hercules, who's been heavily implied to be bisexual in his main universe incarnation but remains Ambiguously Bi.
    • In the Secret Wars relaunch of Runaways, Pixie and Jubilee are stated to have been a couple at one point. Pixie also hits on Cloak and clarifies that she's bisexual ("Anyway, I date boys too!"), but Jubilee's orientation hasn't been stated. The final issue has Jubilee kissing Frostbite, one of her female teammates.
    • Played with regarding the Ultimate version of Jessica Drew being a lesbian. She's actually an Opposite-Sex Clone of Peter Parker and by her own admission has the exact same preferences as Peter: females, especially natural redheads and Jewish girls.
    • Elektra and The Kingpin's wife, Vanessa Fisk, are a lesbian couple in The Punisher MAX.
    • In Marvel 1602, Angel's Silver Age attraction to Jean is referenced, with the twist that Werner is entirely unaware she's a Sweet Polly Oliver, and is in love with "John Grey".
    • In Spider-Gwen, the version of Mary Jane Watson in Gwen's home universe is explicitly bi, and eventually ends up in a relationship with Glory Grant (who also fits this trope).
  • IDW:
    • Transformers have historically tended to be heteroromantic ("sexuality" in the context of giant robots that do not reproduce sexually is one of those thorny issues, so it's generally easiest to stick to romantic orientation). IDW generally has not bought into this, with multiple characters who lacked any romantic partners in Generation 1 material developing romantic entanglements, often with a robot of the same gender identity: Cyclonus with Tailgate, Chromedome with Rewind (and, apparently, Prowl), Blast Off with Onslaught, you get the idea.
    • Jem and the Holograms:
      • The IDW reboot makes Kimber and Stormer from Jem a couple. Kimber in the cartoons was known for having many male love interests. Stormer's sexuality was never hinted at, though. The two were heavy on the Les Yay in "The Bands Break Up" episode but nothing was ever confirmed.
      • Aja is bisexual. In the original cartoon, her only shown love interest was her boyfriend.
  • Other
    • George Fayne was straight and had at least two male love interests in the original Nancy Drew novels. In the 2018 comic book series, George is instead an out lesbian and in a relationship with a girl named Danica.
    • In the Kieron Gillen version of Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt, Cannon is Amicable Exes with Tabu Singh. Neither character was shown to be interested in men in previous incarnations.

    Fan Works 
  • In Earth 717 continuity, Electro is gay, with his boyfriend Henry breaking up with him shortly before his transformation.
  • The Fall of Lord Frieza: Tien, confirmed asexual in canon, is straight and in a relationship with Launch.
  • Advice and Trust: Asuka and Rei, who are canonically straight, are bisexual in this story. Shinji and Asuka being frightened of their inability to have a successful three-way relationship is the only reason for which Rei hasn't hooked up with both of them.
  • In Kara of Rokyn: Zora Vil-Lar, a character who is straight in DC canon, is depicted as lesbian in a relationship with a woman.
  • New Tamaran:
    • All female characters are bisexual, along with Aqualad and Speedy.
    • Amazons, Tamaraneans and Atlanteans are also said to all be bisexual.
  • The Robin And The Hood: Jason is gay, while Bart Allen is Anything That Moves because he grew up in the 30th century, while Tim is demi-sexual.
  • A beacon in the dark: In the original, there are tiny hints of Todoroki's sexuality, with his Implied Love Interest being Yaoyorozu. Here, he is openly attracted to Midoriya. Similarly, Midoriya shows attraction to Todoroki, while he previously only shows interest in women.
  • Crossover Arrowverse fanfiction Flip a Coin has Mon-El. Given the ambiguous wording when he's talking about people he's slept with as well as his mentioned attraction to both Superman and Supergirl, Mon-El is apparently bisexual.
  • In Codex Equus, Golden Scepter, an antediluvian Alicorn Emperor, is portrayed as bisexual whereas his character inspiration, the Emperor of Mankind, was a Truly Single Parent who created the Primarchs by himself using advanced science and technology. Both Written Word's entry and comments reveal that because the Alicorns lived in a Free-Love Future, Golden Scepter took in both mares and stallions as romantic partners at some point in his life, and was a genuinely good lover who gave all his partners the love and respect they deserved. However, he regretted his more "dishonest" actions, and ultimately chose to settle down with a mortal wife and have nineteen Semi-Divine sons, all who were based on the Primarchs, because he wanted to distance himself from his people's mistakes and flaws.
  • Bulma is portrayed as bisexual in the Alternate Universe Fic Hindsight. She has a slow-burning romance with Vegeta, but she also likes women and has no problems being in a quasi-romantic relationship with Lady Unus (Android 18's name in this fic).
  • In canon both Taylor and Rachel are straight. In Wolf Spider they are bisexual and gay respectively.
  • The Distant Finale for Sonic the Comic – Online!, which was written by Nigel Kitching (one of the official writers of Sonic the Comic) heavily implies that Tekno ended up with Amy instead of Shortfuse. In the original Sonic the Comic, Amy teased Sonic in early chapters and Tekno had Ship Tease with Shortfuse.
  • RWBY: Scars lives and breaths this trope, to the point where you could count the amount of non-LGBT characters on one hand. Of the four leads, Weiss is a lesbian instead of only showing interest in Neptune (who is Sun's boyfriend in Scars), Blake is bisexual instead of Ambiguously Bi, and Yang is explicitly bisexual instead of Ambiguously Bi.
  • In Life Is Strange, Max was bisexual, having a history of being attracted to Warren and "skater bros" while also developing something with Chloe. In Fur And Photography, she is more into women, turning down Warren because she "doesn't swing that way" and is more open about her attraction to Chloe.
  • In Golden Threads Tie Us, Severa and Lucina are in a relationship in spite of both girls being straight in Fire Emblem Awakening canon.
  • The Secret Life of Punzie: Rapunzel is only shown interested in men in ''Tangled'. Here Rapunzel is a lesbian.
  • So the Trauma is a oneshot that asks What If? Kim Possible was lesbian instead of straight.
  • In Recovery, Weiss is lesbian and her brief interest in Neptune was a cover.
  • In Rip Her To Shreds, Regina is a closeted lesbian and Janis is also queer. In canon, both are implied to be straight.
  • In My Hero Academia, Izuku has only ever expressed interest in girls and Kaminari is usually portrayed lusting after the other female students alongside Mineta Played for Laughs. In Jade Lightning, Izuku/Mikumo and Kaminari start dating after the Sports Festival.
  • Unbreakable Red Silken Thread
    • Jasmine and Sammy are lesbians in a relationship.
    • Heather is bi-sexual and openly comfortable with it.
    • Lindsay is a situational case, not truly bisexual as much as she enjoys having sex with those she loves regardless of gender.
  • The Chronicles of Karai Getting Her Shit Together:
    • Both Karai and Leo are bisexual.
    • In canon, Shinigami reciprocates Mikey's harmless flirting. Here she is a lesbian, asking Karai if Leo has a sister.
    • In canon, Casey Jones routinely fights Donatello for April's affections. Word of Gay confirms here that he is "gay in denial", spending a lot of his time with Raphael in a bromance and complaining an awful about his handsome classmate.
    • In canon, Mikey has only ever shown interest with girls like Shinigami and Renet. Word of Gay says this Mikey is pansexual.
  • Make A Man Out Of You:
    • Shang is explicitly bisexual instead of Ambiguously Bi.
    • Instead of being a straight woman, Ping is a queer man.
  • In-canon, Marinette and Kagami are both rivals for Adrien's affections. In Marigami Stories, they wind up dating each other when Kagami is the only one who sees Lila for the liar that she is without abandoning her like the rest of her classmates. In-fact, Kagami offhandedly calls Adrien a fool for not recognizing and reciprocating Marinette's affections.
  • In canon, Integra was asexual and remained a virgin her whole life. In Honey and Vinegar, she's married and had multiple children.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, both Marinette and Kagami are both rivals for Adrien's affections. In Spotless, is eventually led to the two of them getting together instead.
  • In Marvel Cinematic Universe canon, Sam Wilson, Steve Rogers, and Bucky Barnes are all implied to be straight, or (in the case of Sam) their sexuality or love life is given no attention in-story. In Bucky Barnes Gets His Groove Back & Other International Incidents, Sam is stated to be gay, and was in a sexual relationship with Riley prior to the latter's death. Steve and Barnes are self-proclaimed "queers" (which in their time referred to anyone who wasn't cisgender hetero-exclusive), and they were in a poly arrangement with Peggy back in the day. Steve and Sam have also both had (undeclared and unrequited) crushes on each other.
  • In White Magnolia, Pink Chrysanthemum, in addition to Mulan being born a man named Ping, he's also gay. Same goes for Shang, who has fallen in love with since he first saw Ping perform as a nándànnote  at his hometown's theater. The Emperor noticed the attraction between them and approves of their relationship, revealing that he himself was once in love with a man, but had to marry his bride to continue the lineage of the royal family.

    Film — Animation 
  • In the comic of Superman: Red Son comic, Wonder Woman is attracted to Superman. In the Superman: Red Son film, she turns him down because she's lesbian.
  • In Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, Etta Candy is an out lesbian.
    Etta: Next stop: Themyscira. And hopefully an Amazon who likes 'em thick.
    Wonder Woman: If we survive this, I can make a few introductions.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Atomic Blonde: The protagonist's heterosexual affair with a male French agent in the graphic novel is turned into a same-sex romance in the film.
  • Barbarella: The Black Queen in the comic books is a Psycho Lesbian who only shows interest in getting it on with Barbarella and ignores Pygar. She was changed to a Depraved Bisexual for the movie, still showing interest in Barbarella but also Pygar, even having dreams about him, which suggests she prefers him to Barbarella. Barbarella is not adverse to female attention herself in the comics, but she's clearly not interested in the Black Queen in the film. She's also openly promiscuous, but in the film has to be coaxed into sex (though is quite eager once she experiences it for the first time). This is Played for Laughs, however.
  • Confirmed for Gaston's comic relief sidekick LeFou by Word of Saint Paul in the Live-Action Adaptation of Beauty and the Beast (2017). Josh Gad even admitted to being proud of playing the first openly gay Disney character. How "open" he comes across is up to viewer interpretation in the actual movie.
  • The unnamed gay protagonist of Truman Capote's novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (whom Holly calls by her brother's name, 'Fred') becomes the film's straight love interest Paul. They also eliminated all signs of Holly's bisexuality. Famously referenced in Seinfeld, when George's attempt to bluff through a book club meeting, having only seen the film, fails spectacularly when his girlfriend has to tell him, "George... Fred's gay."
  • Truman Capote's unmade script for the The Great Gatsby would've had Nick as a closeted homosexual and Jordan as a vindictive lesbian.
  • In the novel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Rebecca Gillies was a passive-aggressive Alpha Bitch who was setting her claws on Mark Darcy. In the film version, she was changed to a nice Brainy Brunette with a crush on Bridget.
  • Cabaret: Christopher Isherwood's autobiographical collection of short stories Goodbye to Berlin never hides the fact that the protagonist was gay, but when they adapted it into the film they turned the main character bisexual, had him hook up with the cabaret singer Sally, and had them being the official couple for the majority of the play, with a token mention of his attraction to men at the beginning and the end of their relationship. This apparently pissed off Isherwood to the point that he wrote Christopher and his Kind in an effort to (pardon the pun) set the record straight. This book was given a movie adaptation in 2011, starring Matt Smith. Watching the two movies back-to-back is actually a really good case-study of the LGBT movement's progress in the last forty years.
  • In Tennessee Williams' 1955 play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Brick's friend Skipper killed himself after drunkenly confessing his love, and Brick's own feelings are rather violently conflicted and ambiguous. The 1958 film strips out this aspect, which some critics have suggested leaves the central conflict of Brick's character somewhat muddled.
  • The documentary The Celluloid Closet was supposed to feature a sequence detailing Biopics where the subject was known to be gay or bisexual but was nevertheless portrayed as straight. It was cut due to rights issues. Some of the films meant to be featured were:
    • The Agony and the Ecstasy: Charlton Heston denied the film rights because he insisted that his portrayal of the famous sculptor Michaelangelo as straight was historically accurate.
    • Alexander the Great, starring Richard Burton. Despite popular belief, no ancient sources state Alexander had homosexual relationships or that his relationship with Hephaestion was sexual. The only person specifically mentioned as Alex's eromenos was Bagoas, a eunuch who had been Darius' courtesan and "was afterwards loved by Alexander" according to historian Quintus Curtius.note  It is possible he was bisexual as he seems to have married Roxana out of love but other than Greek culture at the time there is nothing to say he was. Due to this, the documentary would have been operating on popular belief.
    • Hans Christian Andersen, starring Danny Kaye (the filmmakers were denied the rights to this because the studio mistakenly thought the documentary would claim that Kaye was gay, rather than Andersen).
    • Night and Day, starring Cary Grant as a straight Cole Porter.
  • The first film adaptation of the play The Children's Hour, These Three, changed the story of two teachers having their lives ruined due to rumors that they are having a lesbian affair to rumors that one of them slept with the others' fiance. This is because The Hays Code outlawed even the slightest hint of homosexuality. Even the title had to be changed (to These Three) because the stage play was so well known as a work that dealt with lesbianism. There were other changes as well such as Martha not being Driven to Suicide.
  • The Color Purple did not include the lesbian relationships detailed in the book. In the book, Celie explicitly has a crush on Shug and they eventually have a (brief) relationship, however, in the movie, this is mostly reduced to subtext.
  • Ron Woodroof, the straight homophobic protagonist of Dallas Buyers Club, was likely bisexual in real life.
  • The film Emmanuelle portrays the titular character's mentor, Mario, as ostensibly straight. In the original novel, upon which the movie was based, Mario was bisexual, with a strong inclination towards other men.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes portrayed the relationship between Ruth and Idgie (which is quite clearly a lesbian union in the book) as friends, with strong implications of romance.
  • Get Carter: Peter the Dutchman is a misogynistic homosexual in the book.
  • The Handmaiden: In the Fingersmith novel Gentleman was gay, and his interest in Maud was entirely monetary. His movie equivalent Fujiwara has an overwhelming desire for Hideko.
  • The Robert Wise version of The Haunting (1963) has an Ambiguously Gay/Ambiguously Bi female character. The Haunting (1999) makes the same character openly bisexual. In the 2018 Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House the same character is introduced as checking out a girl at a bar, her utterly ignoring the guys who checks her out, and her and the girl ending up in bed. So full circle one guesses.
  • It: Chapter Two reveals that Richie is gay, and has been in love with Eddie since they were children.
  • Shows up from time to time in the James Bond franchise:
    • The film version of From Russia with Love eliminates Rosa Klebb's scene from the book of outright trying to seduce Tatiana. In the movie Klebb plays uncomfortably with Tatiana's hair while talking of "a labor of love".
    • Pussy Galore's lesbianism is downplayed in the film version of Goldfinger, where she merely tells Bond she is "immune" to his charms. Tilly was also a lesbian in the book and in love with Pussy, but is depicted as purely heterosexual in the film.
  • The film adaptation of David Gerrold's autobiographical novel Martian Child had the openly gay Gerrold played as straight by John Cusack, giving him Amanda Peet to flirt with.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: In Norse Mythology, Loki is an Extreme Omnisexual who Really Gets Around and fathered (and mothered) several children, but his movie counterpart was not involved in a romantic/sexual relationship on screen and is childless.
  • Willy Rumson, the antagonist of One Fat Summer was shown to have two girls in his gang he would readily hit on, as well as making a pass at Michelle Mark's (mostly to get under Pete Marino's skin). In the movie adaptation Measure Of A Man, however, while he still makes passes at a few of the female characters, the climax of the movie has Bobby discover Willy on a secluded section of beach having a quiet moment with his boyfriend.
  • The biopic Killer Nurse depicted serial killer Charles Cullen as a necrophiliac, despite there being absolutely no evidence he was one in real life.
  • In the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Harding was as heavily implied to be gay as was possible in 1960s literature, depicted as effeminate and forced into the asylum for unnamed sexual acts, and getting a long speech about the ridiculousness of the society that condemned him. In the movie, however, he's reduced to a background character who gets at most three lines, which might not count as this trope if not for the fact that his appearance is totally different—and far more masculine—as well. Book readers usually don't even recognize him until the nurse uses his name.
  • The Other Boleyn Girl (both the film and the book) portray George Boleyn as gay. In real life, he was a notorious womanizer due to his shrew of a wife. In the book, he is having an affair with a male courtier while in the film it is mostly subtext, his wife challenging him about why he never sleeps with her.
  • In Power Rangers (2017), Trini the Yellow Ranger is hinted to have been in a relationship with another girl, and the movie's creators have said that she's at a point where she's questioning her sexuality. It is confirmed that she's not straight, at least.
  • Supposedly, the producers wanted to remove all homosexual allusions from the film adaptation of Queen of the Damned, so Louis (Lestat's long-suffering fledgling) wasn't included in the movie despite playing a fairly pivotal role in the book, and Lestat was given a female love interest in Jesse (who showed absolutely no interest in him in the book).
  • In Rope (the original play) Brandon, Philip, and Rupert were explicitly gay. In Alfred Hitchcock's film adaptation (which was made in 1948) it was reduced to subtext between Brandon and Rupert with Brandon also referring to a past relationship with Janet implying he's possibly bisexual.
  • Saving Mr. Banks makes no mention of P.L. Travers's girlfriend even though the two were living together when Travers wrote the first Mary Poppins book.
  • In the movie of A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche's story about her ex-husband's suicide changes from homosexuality (as in the play by Tennessee Williams) to "weakness".
  • In the film adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Peter Gulliam is portrayed as gay, and though he was never said to be explicitly straight in the novel it's never elaborated on. Not that it makes much of a difference in either since his sexuality is relevant for all of six seconds. Word of God for the movie is that they made him gay because the idea of him being closeted fit in well with the themes of secrecy and concealment throughout the entire story.
  • The Tomie films portray the title villain as a Depraved Bisexual who has several Schoolgirl Lesbian lovers. This is in sharp contrast to the manga, where Tomie outright hated other girls, and was very contemptuous and territorial around them.
  • In the original graphic novel for Alena, the title character is bisexual; she has a romantic encounter with Josefin but later falls for Fabian, a boy. In the movie, Fabian is now Fabienne and Alena falls for her instead. There is no indication of any interest in boys in the film.
  • Thirteen Women: In the film, Hazel Cousins is a married woman who kills her husband and goes to prison. In the original book, Hazel is a virgin who remains so simply because she is considered too beautiful; men are either too intimidated to approach her, assume she is married or engaged or believes that she will break their heart. Hazel eventually becomes a lesbian after she is seduced by the wife of the doctor treating her for tuberculosis. Hazel starves herself to death in a sanitarium while suffering the heartache of having been abandoned by her lover Martha.
  • Director, Danny Boyle and actor, Robert Carlyle both say they consider Begbie from Trainspotting to be an Armored Closet Gay. Something Irvine Welsh didn't intend when writing the book.
  • V for Vendetta: In the book, Gordon is straight and he has a relationship with Evey. Here, he's gay and hides himself through having pretty young women like her over to his house, as the regime persecutes gays. Possibly this was done to match up with Stephen Fry's orientation, along with lending more drama.

    Literature 
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • Some of the Missing Adventures portray the Doctor (mainly shown as asexual in the classic series) as bisexual or omnisexual. For instance, the First Doctor Missing Adventure "The Plotters" involves a sequence where the First Doctor gripes about the outrageously gay King James I's interest in his crossdressed female companion over him, acting jealous and complaining that on his home planet "I had been considered quite a looker". The "Shada" novelization also gives the Fourth Doctor a few lines that allude to him having an interest in men, such as saying the villain is trying to kill "[Clare and] all the other lovely girls. And all the lovely boys".
    • The original pitch for rejected book Campaign would have made Ian bisexual through placing him in a romance with Alexander the Great—the pitch document even specifies that "his feelings about bisexuality could provide a good forum for modern viewpoints, seen through a Sixties mentality". The book that eventually got written is so far removed from the original pitch that these elements were excised except as backstory, with the only remaining parts being Alexander calling Ian 'my beloved', and a scene where Ian talks to Susan about how beautiful he found Alexander, saying that he got drunk with him and 'gave him my all'. Both of these happen fairly early on in the story when it's still possible it could be purely historical and are soon abandoned once it goes into a metafictional Jigsaw Puzzle Plot—possibly even subverting this trope as it turns out the more important relationship Ian had on Alexander's campaign was with a Persian Queen who seduced him, while the Alexander relationship is firmly restricted to innuendo and Susan being Shipper on Deck. (Ian does get involved in a married relationship with another version of himself in the Great Fire of London, though this is influenced by Law Of Narrative Causality and it probably isn't gay if it's with yourself.)
    • The Target novelisation of "The Power of the Daleks" goes out of its way to give Lesterson, who in the serial was Married to the Job and seems to display a mild sexual fascination with the Daleks if anything, a crush on Janley that he tries to ignore. It seems to be mostly there so Janley's beauty can be described through Lesterson's internal monologue.
    • The Target novelisation of "Invasion of the Dinosaurs" makes Professor Whitaker into a giggling Sissy Villain implied very heavily to be gay (such as gushing over how when he masters time travel he will collect Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward from history to keep to himself, and saying admiring things about the physique of the tied-up Doctor). His onscreen portrayal was not at all like this.
    • The novelization of "Shada" also gives Named by the Adaptation Victim of the Week David an internal monologue where he thinks about going to a gay club and worries that being a Cilla Black fan is a bit stereotypical. Part of the reason he gives the Villain of the Week a lift is because he finds him attractive.
  • In the Tomoe Gozen Saga Jessica Amanda Salmonson re-imagines the title character as a lesbian.

    Live Action TV 
  • Clarke Griffin from The 100 is straight in the books, but bisexual in the TV series.
  • The 2015 BBC miniseries adaptation of And Then There Were None added heavy implications that Emily Brent was attracted to her maid Beatrice which gave her additional incentive to spurn Beatrice when she became pregnant and also made William Blore's victim a gay man with some subtext that Blore himself might be an Armoured Closet Gay.
  • Anne with an E's version of Aunt Josephine is a lesbian who was in a longtime relationship with a woman named Gertrude.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow:
      • Nyssa al Ghul (Nyssa Raatko in the original comics) is a lesbian. More significantly, she was in a relationship with Sara, the first Black Canary. This would indicate that Canary is likely either bi or pansexual in the show, though the creators avoided putting an exact label on her sexual orientation. In the original comics, Black Canary is generally depicted as heterosexual and the longtime lover of Green Arrow, though longtime writer Gail Simone has stated she considers Canary to be bisexual, even if it's never been made canon. (Although, strictly, the Canary who was in a relationship with Nyssa isn't the series's version of Black Canary from the comics, but her sister.)
      • Curtis Holt (Michael Holt/Mr. Terrific in the comics) is gay, with a husband. In the comics, Michael's primary motivation as a hero was the death of his wife and their unborn child.
    • In the Legends of Tomorrow episode "Camelot/3000", Queen Guinevere regards King Arthur as a good friend and has The Big Damn Kiss with Sara Lance
    • During the crossover event Crisis on Earth-X the Earth-X version of Leonard Snart is in a relationship with Ray Terrill. In the comics, Leonard Snart has been shown to be heterosexual.
  • The Boys (2019): Popclaw is a closeted lesbian in the comics, but straight (or at least only shown having sex with men) in the show.
  • Doom Patrol: Prior to becoming Negative Man, Larry Trainor was a closeted gay man, and was having an extramarital affair with one of his fellow airmen at the military base where he was stationed.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In the books, Daenerys occasionally has bisexual relations with her handmaid Irri as a kind of stress relief, but in the show, she's discomforted when she gets a little too into Doreah's tutoring on lovemaking in "The Kingsroad".
    • In the novels, Xaro Xhoan Daxos is noted to only have eyes for his pretty slave boys, even when Daenerys is around. In the show, he has no such preference, and a deleted scene shows him with a female lover.
    • The Tyrells are much more liberal about sexuality in the show. In the books, the Reach is the heartland of both chivalry and the Faith, both of which put a premium on chastity and heterosexuality.
      • In addition to playing The Vamp rather than the Princess Classic, Margaery offers to let Loras help consummate her marriage, implies she's experimented widely herself and strolls right into her brother's chambers during one of his trysts, none of which is even implied in the novels.
      • Likewise, Olenna declares openly that Highgarden doesn't view "a discreet bit of buggery" as a scandal and even teases Tywin that he might just be Armored Closet Gay.
    • In the books, Ramsay's relationship with the first Reek, and his subsequent torture of Theon to turn him into a Replacement Goldfish for Reek, is full of homosexual undercurrents and Ramsay shows no interest in women and is thoroughly incapable of attracting any woman into a consensual relationship, with Ramsay and his men preferring to rape and torture with abandon. In the show, the homosexual undertones with Theon/Reek are downplayed (though still very much present) and he consensually attracts Monster Fangirls who share in his sadism until he tires of them, and the only person he explicitly rapes is Sansa Stark on her wedding night.
    • The show entirely side-steps the (unconfirmed) hints from the novels that Brynden Tully might be gay or asexual.
    • Although she is quite kinky, Asha Greyjoy takes only male lovers in the books and has a monogamous relationship with a man named Qarl, but Yara has thus far only been depicted having sex with a woman in the show, though it's still entirely possible she's bisexual, as Gemma herself suspects. "Stormborn" more or less confirms the bisexual angle.
  • Chuck Bass of Gossip Girl is a Depraved Bisexual in the books, but is straight The Casanova in the TV series.
  • Gotham:
    • James Gordon's fiance, Barbara Kean, is reimagined as a bisexual woman who used to date Renee Montoya.
    • The Penguin has romantic feelings for the Riddler.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: Ofglen is a lesbian here, and was in a same-sex marriage. Her sexuality is not mentioned in the book at all.
  • Francis Urquhart from the original House Of Cards is heterosexual, while his Transatlantic Equivalent, Frank Underwood, is bisexual.
  • Jeryn Hogarth is a straight male in the comics, but in the Jessica Jones live-action show, Hogarth is Gender Flipped into a lesbian woman.
  • Amanda from Lost in Austen gets Trapped in Book Land, specifically in Pride and Prejudice. Miss Caroline Bingley is a closeted lesbian in this version. (True, there are some Les Yay moments in the book when Caroline gushes about how perfect Miss Darcy is, but it's done mostly for Mr. Darcy's benefit.) Her coming out to Amanda was triggered by Amanda's 'Sorry, I'm Gay' gambit on Bingley who found her refreshing and was hitting on her, but she shipped Bingley/Jane which is consistent with Jane Austen's pairing. Amanda wonders what Miss Austen would have thought and whether she had any idea who she had created in Caroline Bingley.
  • The NBC sitcom Love, Sidney made waves when it was first announced, as it would be the first major television show to feature an openly gay main character. However, the show later faced criticism from the gay community because aside from some very subtle Sub Text, Sidney's sexuality was never mentioned outside of the pilot (a TV movie based on a short story by Marilyn Cantor Baker).
  • The Magicians has main character, Quentin Coldwater, as mostly straight but Ambiguously Bi. The Magicians tv series makes him fully Bisexual.
  • ITV's Poirot (1989) and Marple (2004) make some of the exclusively straight cast members gay, for example in Five Little Pigs, The Body in the Library and Cards on the Table (in the last one it was done to at least three characters). In A Murder Is Announced, a subtle lesbian subtext in the original novel is made much more explicit.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Once Upon A Time reimagines Mulan as a bisexual woman who is in love with Aurora.
    • The show's vision of Red Riding Hood was also revealed to be bisexual after she formed a relationship with Dorothy Gale.
  • In Pretty Little Liars, Emily Fields went from bisexual in the books to a lesbian in the television series, likely to avoid the Unfortunate Implications of the former, where she ends up with a guy.
  • The ITV adaptation of Christopher Brookmyre's Quite Ugly One Morning turned gay police officer Jenny Dalziel into the (male) main character's love interest—an odd and unnecessary move, considering his actual love interest from the book wasn't even Adapted Out (though her role was significantly reduced).
  • Riverdale:
    • Moose in Archie Comics has never been presented as anything but straight. In Riverdale he is sleeping with Kevin behind his girlfriend's back and hiding his bisexuality due to being an athlete.
    • Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz have only ever been interested in boys in the comics, here they're interested in each other.
    • Jughead is ace in the comics but not in the TV show.
  • In the books Roswell High and the first TV adaptationRoswell, everyone is straight. In the 2019 readaptation Roswell, New Mexico, Michael and Isobel are bisexual and Alex is gay.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017): "The Penultimate Peril" reveals that Jerome Squalor is bisexual, and that Babs from Heimlich Hospital is in love with a woman (implied to be Mrs. Bass from Prufrock Prep). In the books, neither Jerome nor Mrs. Bass showed any evidence of same-sex attraction, and Babs's sexuality was never specified (not that it's important, as the books imply that she was killed by Count Olaf without the Baudelaires even getting to meet her properly).
  • Eretria is bisexual in The Shannara Chronicles, flirting with Amberle at one point, and having a past relationship with a Canon Foreigner villainess.
  • Irene Adler, who is straight in the original Sherlock Holmes canon, is a self-professed lesbian in Sherlock, though she does suffer from If Its You Its Ok where Sherlock is concerned.
  • In the TV adaptation of She's Gotta Have it, Nola Darling is changed from straight to pansexual, and one of her many lovers is a woman.
  • Honorable mention: prior to Starz taking on co-production duties, the UK series Torchwood was farmed around to the Fox network. It was reported in the media that had a Fox series been made, the pansexual character of Captain Jack Harkness would have likely been rendered straight for the series. Not surprisingly, the Fox deal fell through and soon after not only did cable network Starz get the rights, but the subsequent season ramped the sexuality (and the gay aspects of Jack's character) Up to Eleven.
  • In 13 Reasons Why, Tony, Ryan, Courtney, and Alex are all gay. The Adaptation Expansion of the series caused this since in the book very few details were provided about them, whereas the TV series gives all of them backstories.
  • In order to illustrate how good Blackadder's lawyer is, Blackadder Goes Forth makes a spirited attempt at convincing us Oscar Wilde was the most heterosexual man in Britain.
  • Hooded Justice was speculated to be gay in the original Watchmen comic. In The HBO series, about the only thing Hollis Mason's In-Universe speculation got right was HJ being romantically involved with Captain Metropolis — only that was an extramarital affair, as the HBO version of Hooded Justice, Will Reeves, was married to a woman at the time, making him bisexual rather than gay.

    Podcasts 
  • Criss Angel and David Blaine are presumably straight in real life, but in the fiction of Interstitial Actual Play the two of them are ex-boyfriends. By the end, they're clarified as gay and bisexual respectively.

    Theater 
  • For the stage adaptation of High School Musical, Ryan was made gay. In the film he is Ambiguously Bi at most, being very flamboyant and fitting many gay stereotypes yet falling for a female character.
  • A Very Potter Musical has the Sorting Hat (which is a hat, but voiced by a man) in love with the Scarf of Sexual Preference (again: an object, but voiced as male). Scarfy declares Harry to be metrosexual and Ron to be bi-curious.
  • Mozart's first true opera, Apollo et Hyacinthus is based on a myth involving a gay love triangle (Apollo and Zephirus are both in love with Hyacinthus). Rufinus Widl, the librettist who adapted the myth for Mozart, didn't think this would go over well with an eighteenth-century audience, so in his adaptation Apollo and Zephirus are both in love with Melia, Hyacinthus' sister, while Apollo's just best friends with Hyacinthus.
  • In the Reduced Shakespeare Company's Shakespeare's Long Lost First Play (abridged), which blends characters from all the Bard's works, Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing and Kate from The Taming of the Shrew end up together. When Richard III has his hump temporarily cured by magic and becomes Richard II, he becomes gay (a reference to claims about the earlier Richard by Thomas Walshingham) and starts a relationship with John Falstaff.
  • Some productions of Cabaret make the Emcee bisexual, with one of the women he has a threesome with during the "Two Ladies" number being a man in drag instead. Some go as far as implying he will eventually die in the concentration camps for his sexuality.
  • Glinda in the The Wicked Years books is Ambiguously Gay. She's married to an older man but it was for the money and they have a Sexless Marriage. She doesn't show any particular interest in boys, instead having a Single-Target Sexuality towards Elphaba. The Wicked musical changed her to Ambiguously Bi as they kept the Homoerotic Subtext with Elphaba but added in a Love Triangle with Fiyero.
  • Uncle Fester is usually depicted as being straight but The Addams Family stage musical has him saying that he has no specific sexuality before declaring his love for the moon.
  • The writer of Be More Chill admits he removed any reference to Michael's girlfriend from the book to make him Ambiguously Gay for Jeremy.

    Video Games 

    Webcomics 
  • In Arthur, King of Time and Space, Sir Kay (noted for his boorish behavior towards women in the original stories) is in a relationship with Bedivere in the contemporary and space arcs (in the baseline arc, he's still noted for his boorish behavior towards women, explaining in one Fourth Wall Breaking strip "Yeah, like we're going to be openly gay in the Middle Ages. We probably don't even realize ourselves.") And contemporary and space Tristram is still in the canonical relationship with Isolde... only Tristram's female.
  • Learning with Manga! FGO: Official materials for Fate/Grand Order state that Mash Kyrielight's feelings for the female protagonist/Gudako are meant to be platonic, compared to how she canonically has a crush on the male protagonist/Gudao. Learning with Manga instead has Mash and Gudako portrayed as sexually-involved girlfriends with Gudako molesting both Mash and Olga being the only thing keeping them from being an Official Couple, and even then Mash averts Single-Target Sexuality by getting aroused by Olga (while in a Paper-Thin Disguise of Gudako, but Mash later insists that she keep wearing it) and a VR version of herself.

    Web Original 

    Web Video 
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a Setting Update of Pride and Prejudice. Colonel Fitzwilliam in the book likes Elizabeth a lot and flirts with her, which might make Mr. Darcy a bit jealous. Fitz Williams in this vlog version is gay, and he and Lizzie become great friends. The authors did lots of changes for this adaptation (set in the modern-day USA, they had very diverse cast with Age Lifts and Race Lifts). Word of God claims that they didn't want to involve Fitz in any romantic plot lines and therefore decided to give him a boyfriend. It worked.
  • In Lovely Little Losers, a loose modernized adaptation of Love's Labour's Lost, two of the main male characters are a gay man and a bisexual man, and theirs is the main romance of the story. It probably goes without saying that that was not the case in the 16th-century play.

    Western Animation 
  • Young Justice depicts Beast Boy's mother Marie Logan as a lesbian. It's only mentioned in the tie-in comic series and Word of Gay. The closest thing to a hint in the actual series is the fact that Marie apparently doesn't have a husband or boyfriend and was vulnerable to Queen Bee's mind control, which only happens to those who are attracted to women, which was unfortunately how she died when Queen Bee used it between seasons to make Marie commit suicide.
  • Static Shock. Richie/Gear is based on a character from the comics who was gay, though he didn't share that character's full name. He was portrayed as straight during the series but declared gay by a writer sometime after it ended.
  • Word of Gay from Greg Weisman stated that Irma Lair of W.I.T.C.H. was supposed to be a lesbian, though the only real hints towards this was Irma's suggestive hand positioning when she passes out with Cornelia in one episode and the fact that, by the end of the series, Irma's the only one without a boyfriend.
  • In Freedom Fighters: The Ray, Ray Terrill is gay, drawing on the Ray of Earth-10 in The Multiversity over his straight pre-Flashpoint version.
  • In The Batman vs. Dracula, Dracula is trying to resurrect his dead wife, named Carmilla Karnstein. There aren't a lot of well-known vampiresses to use for a Mythology Gag, but given what Carmilla is best known for...
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: In the original version, Sven ends up having a romance with Romelle. In this incarnation, Shiro is revealed to have had a boyfriend named Adam on earth. It was confirmed in a convention that Shiro is gay.
  • In the original English version of Beast Wars, Tigatron and Airazor are pretty clearly boyfriend and girlfriend. Airazor's a dude in the Japanese dub. The romantic relationship is still there, however.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Spinnerella and Netossa are Happily Married lesbians, unlike in She-Ra: Princess of Power, which would not have been able to get canonical non-straight characters on the air in 1985. The Grand Finale also confirms Adora and Catra are lesbians with the two of them becoming an Official Couple, while the 1985 series saw them both attracted to Sea Hawk.
  • In Cleopatra In Space , Akila's parents are lesbians, unlike in the titular graphic novels, where they were heterosexual.


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