Follow TV Tropes



Go To
Max: Are you into her? Because here I was thinking you were gay.
Michael: We are literally aliens, and you're going to hold me to some outdated binary of sexuality? I'm bisexual, Max. It's not that complicated.

Romance, sex and relationships are often prominent plot points in media texts. So naturally over recent years, the spectrum of sexuality represented has only grown to be more diverse and inclusive. Women marry women, men marry men, but that doesn't mean the characters are always gay.

This trope is when a character who previously presented themselves as straight has attraction with someone of the same sex or gender, in addition to the opposite. This often sparks major Character Development, especially if the protagonist is going through it. They may have preconceived notions about what being attracted to the same sex means and burden themselves with worry. It's especially worrying for them if they're already dating someone but don't know how to tell them. Heteronormative upbringings may lead them to become depressed, anxious, or guilty about their feelings. This trope is similar to No Bisexuals in that the word "bisexual" may not be mentioned, however, this trope is related to the specific confusion that comes when attracted to both sexes.


A character may evoke Gayngst or think they are gay based on their opposite-sex attractions. This, in addition to confusion about bisexuality, can lead them to question themselves. Characters will typically assume said person is gay because bisexuality is less ingrained in society. They may project ideas of sexuality onto the person to compare them with other queer people. In actuality, bisexuals are the most common sexual minority.

A common iteration of the trope is when a character has same-sex relations and creates confusion amongst people who thought they were gay or straight. Characters who struggle with another's bisexuality are often ex-lovers or family members who remember them dating people of the opposite sex, and may question the legitimacy of their sexuality. The bisexual character's attractions further confuse others if they begin dating someone from the opposite sex again.


The trope also applies to characters who previously identified as gay, but begin having attractions to someone of the opposite sex. In some cases, they identify as bi, but later realise they are gay or straight. Note that similar experiences occur when someone realises they are pansexual.

Compare Depraved Bisexual, Ambiguously Bi, Closet Key, and LGBT Awakening.

As this is Truth in Television, No Real Life Examples, Please!.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Blue Period: Ryuuji bears a lot of torment regarding his sexuality (and gender identity), at first outwardly presenting as a gay crossdresser, but later admitting to having romantic feelings for a girl he was friends with in middle school. Ryuuji clearly believes others would naturally be surprised to hear such a thing from someone like him, and laments how things would be simpler if he were just attracted to men.
  • Booty Royale: Never Go Down Without a Fight!: Misora thought she was straight for most of her life, and when she ends up Friends with Benefits with fellow model Akira, she initially doesn't think it really counts, even though Akira points out to her that she's got to be at least bi for it to make sense. Eventually, Misora realizes she's actively fallen in love with the other woman; the author's notes later describe her as a lesbian-leaning bisexual.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Cassanova Was A Woman: Cassanova, who's only been with men before, is initially confused due to feeling attraction for a woman. Her opening voiceover ponders about this, noting that people can be more openly sexually fluid in different ways now, but asks if it's possible to be bisexual/pansexual and monogamous. Later she realizes she's bisexual however and accepts the fact.
  • Chasing Amy: The plot involves the title character, who identifies as a lesbian then begins dating a man, and becomes confused and angsty about it. She gets flack from her lesbian friends and her boyfriend when he learns about her wild past with other men. The word bisexual however is not used, but Amy does seem to be a bisexual woman who just prefers same-sex relationships.
  • Played for laughs and parodied in Jennifer's Body. Jennifer, who has previously only killed boys, including Needy's boyfriend, prepares to kill Needy, prompting them to have this exchange, which is clearly supposed to be based upon a bisexual explanation or coming out. (Especially emphasized because Needy herself seems to be bisexual, judging by her genuine crush on Colin and attraction to Chip, but also her genuine Pseudo-Romantic Friendship with Jennifer.)
    Needy: I thought you only killed boys!
    Jennifer: I go both ways.
  • In The Kids Are All Right, the neglected housewife and one half of a lesbian couple with dead sparks begins a sexual affair with the biological father/sperm donor of her children. Complicating things further is that her wife thinks it means she's straight now.
  • In Victor/Victoria, King Marchand becomes smitten with Victoria, only to discover that "she's" actually a gay female impersonator named Victor and is conflicted afterwards about how he feels. Eventually, King decides to consider Victor to be an exception while his ex Norma believes that he is gay now.

  • Boy Meets Boy: Kyle has had relationships with both boys and girls and struggled with his identity and attractions a lot, claiming to be either gay or entirely straight. When he does finally confess to be attracted to both and Paul suggests he's bisexual, Kyle refuses the word, insisting that he doesn't like it, and ends up label-less.
  • Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating: Aisling insists that Hani has to be just a confused lesbian after coming out as being bisexual, despite Hani's insistence otherwise.
  • Just Juliet: Lena's friends and parents are all confused when Lena realizes she's bisexual through her attraction to Juliet, mostly just calling her "gay" despite Lena being clear on her bisexuality.
  • Downplayed, but present in Running With Lions. Sebastian becomes self-conscious about his sexuality after breaking up with his girlfriend and realizing he also likes men. He tries to hide it from his parents and strangers, and is even a bit uncomfortable on a queer-inclusive team. Coach Patrick made the team a safe space for queer athletes, and the straight players have no problem with the gay/bi ones.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Atypical: Casey experiences distress after realising she has feelings for Izzie. Things become especially difficult because she is still dating Evan, and doesn't know who to talk to about her feelings. When she and Izzie begin publicly dating, she has a hard time grappling with her sexuality and struggles to be open about it even in queer-friendly spaces.
  • The Bisexual is a sex comedy series built on this. In the first episode, Leila breaks up with her longtime girlfriend and begins exploring her heretofore unexplored attraction to men, which confuses basically everyone she knows, from her jealous ex to the male coat-check clerk she goes home with and is surprised when she has trouble opening a condom because she's never needed one before.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Everybody refers to Willow as "gay now" instead of bisexual. This includes Willow herself, which has led to some discomfort with the series from a modern perspective (since it feels like her longstanding relationship with Oz is just being thrown in the trash).
    • In their first domestic squabble, Willow accuses Tara of assuming she's just using her for college experimentation.
      Tara: I trust you. I just ... (looks down) I don't know where I'm gonna fit in ... in your life when...
      Willow: When ... I change back? Yeah, this is a college thing, just a, a little experimentation before I get over the thrill and head back to boys' town. (pause) You think that?
      Tara: Should I?
      Willow: I'm really sorry that I didn't establish my lesbo street cred before I got into this relationship. You're the only woman I've ever fallen in love with, so ... how on Earth could you ever take me seriously?
  • Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Darryl is initially confused when he's attracted to White Josh, as Darryl's always been attracted to women and has even married one, so he just assumes he's also gay. He later has an epiphany and realizes he's "both-sexual." After properly learning the term "bisexual", he sings a coming-out song called "Gettin' Bi" about bisexuality, even calling out people who think he's just gay.
  • Oz: Beecher gradually realizes that he's bisexual as he falls in love with Keller. He initially struggles with the realization, but eventually accepts and embraces his feelings.
  • In Pose, Angel outright asks her lover Stan if he's gay and he says he's not and he sees her as a woman. Later when Stan's wife finds out she also asks him if he's "a homosexual".
  • Roswell, New Mexico: Max is initially confused when he hears that Michael has feelings for Maria, having assumed that he was gay due to his years-long hangup over Alex. Michael rather bluntly sets the record straight:
    Max: Are you into her? Because here I was thinking you were gay.
    Michael: We are literally aliens, and you're going to hold me to some outdated binary of sexuality? I'm bisexual, Max. It's not that complicated.
  • Schitt's Creek: After David and Stevie sleep together, she becomes confused about David's sexuality after assuming he was gay. He explains his pansexuality to her using types of a wine as a metaphor.
  • Scrubs has an episode where Carla and Elliot suspect that the reason The Todd acts like such a womanizing pervert all the time is because he is actually gay and trying to hide it, especially after finding out that he hasn't actually slept with any of the women he claims to have slept with. They confront him about it and he tearfully comes out of the closet... and then proceeds to act exactly as perverted as always, except towards men instead. Later, he reveals to the two of them that he's really not gay, he was just pretending because "chicks dig gay dudes". After the two women leave in disgust, he looks around, checking out the men and the women equally.
    Janitor: What the hell are you?
    The Todd: [shrugs] I'm The Todd.
Of course, calling him bi isn't really accurate either, since he'll pretty much have sex with literally anything. Like one of the mattresses in the on-call room. And he fantasizes about one of the other mattresses while he does it.
  • Sex and the City: One infamous episode revolves around the topic of bisexuality. Carrie meets a group of bisexuals at a party. One of them is played by Alanis Morissette, and the two kiss while playing Spin the Bottle. Carrie still can't fathom bisexuality, especially among males, and thinks bisexual men are just gay men in denial. This is while dating a bisexual man who is comfortable with his orientation and only shows overt attraction to Carrie during the episode. Carrie leaves the party shaking her head at those crazy kids and dumps him off-screen (presumably) because of his sexuality.
  • Sex Education: Ola befriends Lily when she starts attending school. After having a dream about kissing her, Ola becomes perplexed about her sexuality and doesn't know how to tell Lily.
  • Six Feet Under:
    • Claire believes Russell is gay when she first meets him, likely due to stereotypes about male artists. He later reveals he isn't gay, and the two begin a relationship. David is surprised upon hearing about their relationship, as he too believed Russell was gay when he met him. David and Keith think Russell is probably just denying his homosexuality by dating Claire, something David did in high school. Russell tells Claire about having sex with Olivier, and she angrily says something along the lines of "I thought you weren't gay?". Russell discusses the prospect of being bisexual, but Claire is in denial of it.
    • Claire and Edie have a romance stopped short by Claire's discomfort around woman-on-woman intimacy. Edie feels exploited and humiliated, while Claire is still ambivalent about her feelings towards Edie.

  • In the play Cock, John is perplexed by developing feelings for a woman after having only ever been attracted to men and still being in love with his off-and-on boyfriend. Throughout the play, it's unclear if his attraction to F is a case of Single-Target Sexuality, latent bisexuality, or a desire to feel normal via a conventional and socially accepted heterosexual family. John's love of F is immature, easy, exciting, and new, while his love of M is fraught and messy but deeper and filled with history, and it's ambiguous as to who he ought to choose.

  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl gradually goes through this arc with Paulo, the main cast's resident macho girl-crazy boy. He's introduced as exclusively interested in girls (especially the female lead Lucy) and has been shown on-screen dating three of them, but by his junior year of high school he's confused and angered by his growing interest in boys. He even goes through the fear of thinking his attraction might make him gay, lashing out at the openly gay Matt because of it. He's finally able to fully accept his bisexuality and reconcile with Matt, and among his friend group he comes out to friend/love interest Daisy (who herself is bisexual).
  • Ennui GO!: In the "Gauntlet" mini-arc in Vol. 2, Officer Espinosa is propositioned by Izzy's twin sister Adelie (except she's actually Izzy pretending to be Adelie) and, exhausted by the craziness, accepts and actually enjoys the affair. Afterwards, she begins questioning her sexuality, because she had only been attracted to guys before. Of course when she eventually moves to Key Manati, later comics show that she has more or less accepted she's at least bisexual (i.e. she has a one-night-stand with Hiro in "R and R" and accepts a threesome between a man and his girlfriend as a bribe in "Speeding").
    Officer Espinosa: (talking to Darcy, who's a lesbian, in a sauna) Now, I've always considered myself as straight. And I HATE your girlfriend [Izzy], don't get me wrong. But when we had sex, I really liked it. What does that mean? Am I gay? Bi? I just don't know.
  • Kiss It Goodbye: Aruka, a lesbian, doesn't think Yukimi likes her romantically back because Yukimi's dated guys before, and gets slightly confused at first when Yukumi states that people can like both, implicitly alluding to her own sexuality before it's revealed that she's a biromantic asexual.
  • Ménage à 3: Sonya originally identifies as straight, and is very confused by how much she enjoys being seduced by Zii. She never does accept the idea of being labelled as gay — hence her long-lasting Catchphrase/Overused Running Gag, "I'm not a lesbian!" — but she eventually comes to terms with the idea of being bisexual, at least tacitly.
  • Pixie Trix Comix: The trope is heavily Played for Laughs with Aaron, who really cannot handle the idea that he’s anything other than straight, despite having lots of sex with Julian. For that matter, he can't handle the idea that Julian is anything but straight either, despite Julian being openly gay. Aaron classifies all the sex they have as "just two straight guys bro-in' out".

    Western Animation 
  • Big Mouth: When Andrew begins to have feelings for men, he thinks he might be gay. What confuses him more is that he still has feelings for women. He's informed that it's normal during puberty to have an attraction to men and women, and becomes less confused about his attractions.