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Gay Cowboy

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Bisexual shepherds, close enough.

The mythos of the American Old West, with its aura of ruggedness, danger and adventure, has appealed to many people over the years, including gay men. While they don't have quite as many stereotypical gay associations as sailors and leather-clad bikers, cowboys are nevertheless an important part of macho gay male iconography.

It's more about the look and feel of the cowboy than the facts, so these men can be found in The Wild West, but also in a Space Western, Cattle Punk, New Old West, Samurai Cowboy, or any other cowboy-flavored work.

This trope covers gay or bisexual men who are Western-flavored characters (ranchers, cattle hands, rodeo performer, and country singers) or just fans of the genre.

This is almost always a flavor of Manly Gay.


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  • Marvel Comics' Rawhide Kid in the eponymous 2003 limited series. His over-hyped sexuality caused the books to be rated inappropriate for minors to read, even though the only indication he was gay was through certain innuendos and implications. While he hasn't been portrayed in such a stereotyped manner since, this is still officially part of mainstream continuity.
  • Jonah Hex:
    • In the 2000 series, Hex faces off against a Gay Cowboy who goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the town where his partner was killed.
    • A bit of Deliberate Values Dissonance in the New 52 All-Star Western, where Hex, transported to the Present Day, takes offence at being called a cowboy, claiming that they're all gay.
    • Jinny Hex, Jonah's great-great-granddaughter and a member of Young Justice (2019), takes after Jonah and is a lesbian, though she exists in the present day, so it's only in concept and she isn't defined by the rejection and isolation of this trope.
  • One arc of Garth Ennis's "Marvel Knights" series of The Punisher featured a gay sheriff in a modern-day Western story.


  • In The Last Rune series there are the minor characters Davis and Mitchell, two gay ranchers who have been together for over twenty five years.
  • Warren from the Mercy Thompson series was a gay cowboy before he became a werewolf.
  • Gemma Files' Hexslingers series, you've got Chess (who also falls under Agent Peacock and somewhat Depraved Homosexual, though he's the hero) Rook (who could either be bisexual or just into Chess, since we never see him with any other men) and Ed, who also seems to be making an exception where Chess is concerned.

    Live Action TV 
  • Roswell, New Mexico:
    Alex: Does the macho cowboy swagger thing ever get old with you?
  • Referenced in The Drew Carey Show when Oswald decides to check out a new bar where the dress code is cowboy gear. Drew lets him go, figuring this is something he'd just have to learn the hard way.
  • The Goodies had the Rhinestone Cowperson in the episode "The Goodies Almost Live".
  • One of Jack's many boyfriends in Will & Grace. There is also a gay Country & Western bar in the episode, complete with "GAY BAR FIGHT!"
  • Paul Lynde played a Lone Ranger-style character in a series of skits on a late-60s variety show — his 'clever disguises' tended to be Mardi Gras eye masks.
  • Alex dresses up like a sexy one in Noah's Arc to surprise Trey.
  • One of the victims in the Criminal Minds episode "In Heat".
  • Brazilian soap opera América had one rodeo cowboy who eventually came out and got a boyfriend, after both suffered through much Gayngst.
  • A Saturday Night Live skit features Elton John as a cowboy, riding into town on a unicorn after mistakenly believing the local bartender (Bill Hader) could make mojitos. He flirts with another, very confused cowboy (Jason Sudeikis) and angrily rejects a flirtatious, clueless saloon girl (Kristen Wiig). At the end, Hader and Sudeikis' characters turn out to be in a relationship with each other to boot.
  • The Man in the High Castle: Ed runs into a gay cowboy while visiting a saloon in the Neutral territories, which are explicitly New Old West. He was a grifter instead of a rancher, but he did wear a cowboy hat.
  • Tiger King: In many of the photos shown of them, Joe and his first husband Brian certainly look like gay cowboys. Downplayed Trope, though, because neither of them was actually a cowboy — they were just boys in Texas with a penchant for cowboy clothing.

  • "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other," aka "The Gay Cowboy Song". Originally by Ned Sublette, it received its widest exposure when Willie Nelson covered it in 2006.
  • Masked country singer Orville Peck has identified himself as gay. His image, lyrics and music videos frequently feature queered versions of cowboy and western tropes. Perhaps not surprisingly, he has also covered "Cowboys Are Frequently..."
  • Lil Nas X got famous from his country trap song "Old Town Road" which featured him dressed as a cowboy, and he came out as gay in 2019.
  • Randy Jones, the Cowboy of the Village People, was one of the two gay members of the group.
  • There was an underground cowboy song called "The Lavender Cowboy", who, according to the lyric "had only two hairs on his chest" (which line was usually followed by two plucks from the violin).
  • There's a Brazilian song, called "Cowboy Viado" or "Fag Cowboy". It goes like "He rides, I know he rides, He rides the horse just to raise his tail".
  • Also from Brazil, comedy group Casseta & Planeta did the gay country song "Dois Cus" (Two Assholes) that certainly invoked this trope.
  • Alice in Chains' song "Queen of the Rodeo" is a subversion; the subject of the song is simply a transvestite.
  • "Cowboy Love" by Reverend Horton Heat
  • "C.S. Cowboy" by the Axis of Awesome, the result of two of the bands' members believing the initials stood for 'Crime Solving'.
  • In the musical production called Fairy Tales, the song "Illinois Fred" tells the story of two men sitting at a bar encountering a cowboy named Illinois Fred, who enjoys antiques, Patsy Cline music, dancing, and taking men into the back of his truck the radio.
    "The cowboy just stood there in Levis and chaps/'till Randy said, 'hey, sit on down, have a beer.'/From the way that he smiled/When he walked over to us/ I said to myself this guy must be a ... Yankee".
  • Roy of the Vengaboys is gay.
  • When Dog Fashion Disco's producers irritated lead singer Todd Smith by pressuring him about the state of their upcoming concept album, DFD released two joke songs, one of which was called "Hank Steel the Real Queer Cowboy". The band was barely able to finish the song for laughing.
  • While Taiji Sawada was likely heterosexual (or at most bisexual or bicurious) in Real Life, he attained the status of Sex God by combining the cowboy and Leather Man / Badass Biker aesthetic onstage (especially with X Japan, but in his solo works as well) and in photoshoots and the like.
  • A common topic among Grant MacDonald's songs, most infamously the many-entried "Ram Ranch" series of songs.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Parodied in one The New Yorker cartoon: two senile old cowboys are sitting on a porch, and one yells to the other, "Were we gay?"
  • Brazilian cartoonist Adão created in the 1980s a strip about two gay cowboys, Rocky & Hudson (get it?), which even had an animated adaptation.

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    Video Games 


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In 6teen, Jonesy decides to spend Valentine's Day holding an auction to win a date with him. However, he forgot to specify "girls only". Once a man dressed as a cowboy places a bid, Jonesy has to start bidding on himself to avoid having to go on a date with him. The bidding war lasts until Nikki decides to bail him out by bidding an insane amount of money (on the condition that she doesn't have to pay it, of course).
  • On King of the Hill, Dale's estranged father is a rodeo-cowboy (it's a gay rodeo). When he tries to come out to Dale, Dale believes that he is confessing to being a secret agent for the government and that his "partner" is of the Buddy Cop variety. This is partly because Dale had always been under the impression that his father was a real ladykiller who Really Gets Around with beautiful women, and partly because Dale is Dale.
  • The South Park episode "Chef's Salty Chocolate Balls" features a film festival, and Cartman's famous line about gay cowboys eating pudding. Matt and Trey actually said before Brokeback Mountain came out that "if they eat pudding, we're going to sue".
  • Family Guy has used this stereotype a few times:
    • One cutaway gag refers to the famous quote "it's legal so long as you don't do it in the street and frighten the horses". Two horses are waiting outside a tent wondering why their masters are late getting up that morning. One horse, overcome by curiosity, looks inside. And is indeed frightened by what he sees.
    • In the season five episode "It Takes a Village idiot and I Married One", Peter sings a song about [[Bowdlerize Cowboy Gay Sex]] (on DVD and cable, it's "butt sex") inspired by Brokeback Mountain.
  • Smithers from The Simpsons a couple times;
    • In "El Viaje Misterioso De Nuestro Jomer" he shows up at the chilli festival wearing a pink and white cowboy outfit with a neon sign on the back saying "Hot Nashville Nights".
    • In The Simpson Family Smile-Time Variety Hour segment of "The Simpsons Spin Off Showcase", he dresses as a cowboy and sings about whipping it good with a liquorice whip.

    Real Life 
  • The American Gay Rodeo Association.
  • The reputation surrounding super-selective Deep Springs College, one of the last men's colleges in the US, where so-called "cowboy intellectuals" split their time between ranch labor and the western canon (they've now gone co-ed — the first female students have been attending since the fall of 2018).
  • The cowboy from the Village People. He was a macho man.
  • This poem.
  • This was actually significantly more common in real life than most people realize. While the archetypal cowboy is straight, historians have noted that some cowboys were gay or bisexual men moving from the city out to the country to escape persecution. So this is among the most circular examples of Truth in Television out there, with the gay version of the cowboy having slipped into obscurity to such an extent that the idea of a gay cowboy became novel when re-introduced. Homosexual behavior was surprisingly open and acceptable in the Old West. Then again, this was before modern gay and/or bisexual identifies were codified, and much of what they did seems to have been basically excused as sitch sexuality (to be fair, that may have been what was going on in some cases, but saying it was true in all of them is a stretch).


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Gay Caballero


Gay Cowboys eating Pudding

Thats what all independent movies are

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