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Gayngst-Induced Suicide

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"It's not always the way it is in plays. Not all faggots bump themselves off at the end of the story!"
Michael, The Boys in the Band

A common trope, often done as a commentary on Homophobia, this is when LGBT characters are Driven to Suicide because of their sexuality, either because of internalized homophobia (hating themselves) or experiencing a miserable life because of their "deviant" gender or sexuality: having to hide who they are, not finding a stable relationship, homophobia from other parties, etc.

The trope may be more common in older works, as a matter of Values Dissonance or for an exception to the Hays Code allowing homosexuals to be shown in media, as long as they were miserable. By extension, it is one way for a show to invoke Bury Your Gays but may have worse implications by suggesting that not only must gay characters die but that it must be a stereotypically dishonorable method in suicide, and also that by choosing to kill themselves they are acknowledging how their existence is wrong.

That being said, however, it is still Truth in Television: LGBT individuals are still at higher risk for suicide, even in the Western world. To wit, some 40% of transgender people have attempted suicide, as have 19% of intersex people.

In terms of being Driven to Suicide, this may be considered a Sub-Trope but often has different motivation. The reason for the suicide must be connected to being LGBT+ and so it is more focused on this aspect of the trope, particularly the miseries of gay life and toxicity of society that enables it.

Related to Bullied into Depression.

No Real Life Examples, Please!

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Subverted with trans girl Hishida from Genkaku Picasso. She is Driven to Suicide after being caught in the girls' bathroom. One of her classmates manages to save her and, after the protagonist rallies the class to listen to her story, she's able to go to school as a girl with relatively no issue.
  • Maya from Maya's Funeral Procession kills herself at the climax of the story both because of being in love with Reina, and more importantly finding out the two are actually half-sisters.
  • Natsu e no Tobira has Claude, who is in love with Marion (a boy) and ultimately commits suicide.

    Comic Books 
  • Narrowly averted in New Mutants, where the creative team contemplated having Anole, who was still in the closet at the time, kill himself after being outed. In a dark bit of irony, this was prevented not because someone thought it would be in bad taste, but because Marvel at the time still had rules against open depictions of homosexuality. To their credit, the writers have since admitted that it was probably for the best that they were stopped.
  • In Runaways, lesbian Karolina contemplated suicide at least twice over her sexuality before coming out, but thankfully was unable to go through with it.
  • It's suggested that John Reddear from The Tamakis' Skim was in love with another boy from his Catholic school and is part of the reason he committed suicide at the start of the story.

    Fan Works 
  • In Sotto Voce: It's revealed that Zelda's mother, the previous Zelda, had a Single-Target Sexuality for Impa's mother Tikala. She was Forced Out of the Closet and forced to marry a man. Zelda was unhappy and eventually ended up killing herself because she couldn't be with Tikala.
  • Moving:
    • The plot revolves around Karen recovering from her best friend (and implied crush's) Martha's own gayngst-induced suicide several months prior.
    • Karen meets a trans woman named Elizabeth who had tried to kill herself in the past. It was a Bungled Suicide. She's since gotten over her depression and learned not to let other people's opinions bother her.
  • Alluded to in A Shallow End, a Danny Phantom oneshot where Paulina is a closeted lesbian who is in a relationship with the also-gay Dash. Despite not even being out of high school, Paulina is a suicidal alcoholic because she can't see a good future for herself. Paulina's strict Catholic family monitors her life and being a lesbian latina means she'll frequently be the odd one out. Paulina fully expects she'll kill herself eventually.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Senator Brig Anderson in Advise & Consent kills himself, after another Senator threatens to out him in an effort to get him to change his vote on the Leffingwell nomination.
  • The 1919 German film Anders als die Andern (Different from the Others) used this trope to deliberate effect. It was genuinely trying to educate the public about the senseless persecution of gays and included real-life sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld giving a lecture that homosexuality was completely natural. That said, the main character still gets thrown out of school, loses all of his clients, is blackmailed, and eventually commits suicide.
  • Martha in the second filmed version of The Children's Hour hangs herself after her Anguished Declaration of Love to her best friend Karen. The suicide is more complicated than just Martha being depressed over being lesbian, but all the issues come down to her sexuality in the end.
  • In Cloud Atlas, Robert Frobisher is the only named character to commit suicide, which he does after having his career and reputation ruined by being outed as homosexual.
  • Colonel Redl: The protagonist (an Austrian intelligence officer) is both gay and compromised as a spy, so he's basically told to kill himself by his superiors. Redl was also a real person.
  • Eloïse's Lover: Àsia steps into the street and lets a car strike her, distraught after her mother and boyfriend discover her relationship with Eloïse, an issue she'd felt great anxiety over. She later dies from her injuries.
  • Ed Wood's infamous Glen or Glenda opens with a transvestite called Patrick/Patricia having killed herself with the suicide note explaining that she had been arrested for public crossdressing four times and being constantly persecuted was too exhausting, believing that she would be happier and freer in death.
  • Invoked in Heathers. Veronica and J.D. pass off several murders they have committed as suicides by forging Suicide Notes. They make the two Jerk Jocks Ram and Kurt out to be closeted homosexuals, which makes the whole thing more credible and buys the two guys some post-mortem compassion from the rest of the community.
    Kurt's father at the funeral ceremony: I love my dead gay son!
  • In The Last Bus Home, Petie kills himself by running into traffic when a combination of parental homophobia and his band breaking up means he's left with nowhere to live and nothing to look forward to in homophobic 70s Ireland.
  • This is what Aaron from Latter Days tries to do. After being excommunicated from the Mormon Church after he's caught kissing Christian, he found out that Christian getting close to him was nothing more than a 50-dollar bet he had with his co-workers. And then, when he told his mother he was gay, his mother slapped him and said that being gay was unforgivable. Aaron then decided to slit his wrist but didn't die. Viewers and Christian, however, were made to believe he died for the sake of drama.
  • Lost and Delirious: Paulie kills herself when her beloved Tori breaks up with her due to fear of her family disowning her, and dates a guy (probably trying to pass for straight). She insists they're not lesbians, just into each other specifically, but the effect is the same.
  • Inverted with the short film Love Is All You Need which is set in an alternate universe where homosexuality is the norm. The main character, a straight girl, gets viciously bullied over it and eventually slits her wrists in the bath. It's left unclear if she survives.
  • Subverted in the 1931 film Mädchen in Uniform (Girls in Uniform), which ends with a lesbian teenager's classmates preventing her suicide. The original stage play, Gestern und heute by Christa Winsloe, ends less happily, thus fitting the trope.
  • In Ma Vie En Rose, the 7-year-old trans girl protagonist hides in a freezer at one point. Her suicide attempt, however, fails.
  • Normal (2003): This is narrowly subverted at the start when the protagonist, a closeted trans woman, tries to shoot herself on her 25th wedding anniversary. She's talked down by her wife and ends up coming out.
  • Ode To Billy Joe: Many people remember the sixties hit song "Ode To Billie Joe," about a young man who kills himself by jumping off the Tallahatchie Bridge, for reasons unknown. What few people remember is that in 1976, Hollywood decided to make a movie of the song that would explain exactly why Billy Joe jumped. Turns out it was the gayngst.
  • Prayers for Bobby: Teenage Bobby comes out and is faced with his mother's attempts to convert him, he fights against this until the church gets involved and then kills himself. The rest of the film is his mom coming to terms with his suicide and then campaigning against homophobia in the church to stop other kids from killing themselves.
  • Sappho: Sappho kills herself once her same-sex affair collapses.
  • Subverted in Trevor: 13-year-old Trevor attempts suicide over his homosexuality but recovers in hospital, where he meets a cute, friendly candy-striper, Jack, who offers him tickets to a Diana Ross concert. Trevor decides to live — at least "until tomorrow" — and dances up the path to his house.
  • Southern Baptist Sissies: One character hangs himself after his mother finds his Porn Stash.
  • "Boy" Barrett's suicide in Victim (1961). He dies to protect the man he loves: knowing he'll be questioned by police, he hangs himself in his prison cell to avoid revealing a distinguished lawyer's involvement with him.

  • Although it was probably a one-time thing, the threat that his wartime liaison with another man will be made public drives Brig Anderson to suicide in Advise & Consent. The man with whom he had the liaison subsequently jumps off a bridge.
  • Alexandre's suicide in Les amities particuliares (Special Friendships) (1943) after being cruelly separated from his boyfriend by hypocritically-moralizing priests.
  • Subverted in Mary Renault's The Charioteer — the main character believes Ralph is about to commit suicide but manages to interfere in time, resulting in a relatively happy ending. Considering the book was published in 1953, when homosexuality was still illegal in the UK, this came as a genuine surprise.
  • 13-year-old Manuela's suicide in Das Kind Manuela (or Das Maedchen Manuela, novelization of Mädchen in Uniform) after being punished for declaring her love for a female teacher and told she can't see the teacher again. It more closely fits the original play in its ending and was written by the playwright.
  • In The Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, a Witch Hunt to root out homosexual students at Eton College leads Geoffrey Wildeblood to jump into a nearby lake to drown. His lover, John Babcock, realizes then that he could never risk anyone finding out about his bisexuality, which later leads to him being blackmailed by his employee, Seamus Muadhen/James Moon, after spotting Babcock leaving a brothel.
  • Attempted by a few different characters in the Last Herald-Mage Trilogy. Tylendel says that between difficulty with his Traumatic Superpower Awakening and the homophobia of the rest of his family he would have either been disowned and kicked out or killed himself without the support of his twin brother. After he dies, his boyfriend Vanyel tries repeatedly to kill himself, particularly after realizing that one of the people he's expected to trust absolutely is disgusted by him. Vanyel's aunt takes him to recuperate and be trained with the help of her friends, one of whom relates a backstory in which he and his lover were cast out and he accidentally killed his lover in an argument, then slit his wrists before Van's aunt found him and took him to a Non-Heteronormative Society.
  • Ashley's suicide over his homosexuality in Lord Dismiss Us (1967).
  • 10-year-old Serge's suicide in Quand mourut Jonathan (When Jonathan Died). Serge's mother decides to keep him away from his adult lover, Jonathan. Serge runs away to go to Jonathan, but on the way realizes he'll never make it and jumps in front of a car.
  • Susan Silverman tells Spenser about one of her psychotherapy clients: a gay teen, who realized he's gay but thinks he should try to be straight instead. Eventually, he commits suicide, and the parents sue for "wrongful death"; her insurance company decides to settle out of court. (Susan wanted to go to court, partially to see if she could get 'confirmation' that she did all she could to get the teen to accept himself for who he was.)
  • Spellster: Ceri, a bisexual trainee, kills herself after she's outed to the administration toward the beginning of In Pain and Blood.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Following the public humiliation of being revealed to be a transgender woman—including her boyfriend declaring "You make me sick! You're a freak!", The City (1995)'s Azure C. wanders the streets in a HeroicBSOD before ending up in a cheap motel room, preparing to blow her head off. Luckily, her boyfriend tracks her down and talks her out of it.
  • In the Cold Case episode "Best Friends", an interracial lesbian couple are trying to drive to safety as the white girl's brother pursues them, only to find that the bridge ahead is washed out. With nowhere else to go, the pair decide to drive off the bridge and kill themselves. It unfortunately doesn't work out quite as intended; one of the girls survives the crash, and then has to spend the rest of her life dealing with the fact that she did.
  • In the first series of Damages, Patty Hewes tries to force her miserably closeted gay rival Ray Fiske to settle his client's case in her favour, and join her firm, by blackmailing him over his sexual orientation. She genuinely seems to think that he'd be happier either working with her or getting outed, but his response is to eat a gun in her office, seriously shocking her.
  • Equal: It's mentioned that some gay men Forced Out of the Closet by the police killed themselves as this would usually ruin them.
  • In the ER episode "The Crossing", a catastrophic train derailment is caused by a young woman who parked her car on the tracks. In a cruel irony, she's barely injured, but now has to cope with the fact that she caused countless deaths and injuries because she herself couldn't deal with her anxiety over being gay.
  • Fellow Travelers: Gay people who are Forced Out of the Closet by the Lavender Scare purges frequently kill themselves in the early 1950s. At the time, being outed generally meant social ruin. This is shown at the start of "Your Nuts Roasting on an Open Fire", in which it's mentioned that there's an average of one suicide per week.
  • In Glee, Karofsky gets bullied at his new school when he is Forced Out of the Closet, and in less than a week, he feels so terrorized that he chooses to hang himself, but survives.
  • In an episode of Grey's Anatomy a teenage lesbian couple with strict parents think they won't be allowed to be together in life so lie down on train tracks together; when they are being treated at the hospital it turns out their parents are mostly OK with it: they'd never come out and assumed the parents would separate them. One of the girls' mother is shown to be a bigot, though, attacking Maggie — a black doctor — for putting the ideas in her daughter's head before she arrived, but they do get a happy ending.
  • In Season 3 of House of Cards (US), Michael Corrigan — the show's only gay character — commits suicide after Frank and Claire Underwood try to strong-arm him into renouncing his principles.
  • Agatha Christie's Poirot: In Hallowe'en Party, we learn that Beatrice White and Elizabeth Whittaker were lesbian lovers, but once their relationship was found out, Beatrice drowned herself, leaving Mrs. Whittaker heartbroken and alone.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Season 7 had Mary Louise and Nora, members of the Vampire/Witch Hybrids known as The Heretics, kill themselves in a fiery car crash while escaping from a vampire hunter, Mary deciding she'd rather die with her lover than spend the rest of their lives running or separated in the stone.
  • The Wilds: Shelby's friend/love interest Becca's suicide seems to have resulted in part from her anxiety over their shared attraction after Shelby had rejected her.

  • "Narcisse Noir" by Ali Project is about a girl remembering her first love, her brother's gay lover. He and the brother drown themselves.
  • Heather Dale's version of the Irish folk song "I Never Will Marry" reinterprets the song into a Grief Song about a lesbian romance that ended with one woman's death. The protagonist is singing about her lover who killed herself instead of marrying a man.
  • A verse in Against Me!'s "True Trans Soul Rebel" references suicidal ideation, and possibly Self-Harm, in trans people.

  • The protagonists of Bare: A Pop Opera, Jason and Peter, are a gay couple at a Catholic boarding school. Jason ultimately dies of a drug overdose in an implied suicide, though Peter survives to admonish the school for driving him to it.
  • In The Children's Hour, two schoolteachers, Martha and Karen, have their lives and reputations irrevocably shattered after one of their beastly students spreads a rumor that they are lesbian lovers. After a bitter confrontation with the student's grandmother, and even after the women lose their court case for slander, the big twist is that Martha really did have those feelings for Karen but never knew how to articulate them until they were spoken by someone else. Karen is accepting of her friend and suggests they move away and start a new life together. In both the 1960 film and theatre version of the story, Martha kills herself before the night is through. The 1930s film adaptation These Three averts this as Martha is straight and doesn't attempt suicide.
  • Fun Home: Throughout Alison Bechdel's autobiographical musical is the contemplation of her closeted gay father's death and its later ruling as suicide. She deals with this during accepting her own homosexuality, a contrast to the bright colors and upbeat songs. It aimed to be a heartwarming family story, but was still nicknamed the "lesbian suicide musical" by its marketing team.
  • The play Gestern und heute is about a teenage girl at an all-girls school who fell for her female teacher. She ended up committing suicide in the end.
  • Invoked in Heathers. JD kills Kurt and Ram, two heterosexual football players, but frames their deaths to look like a suicide pact. He also forges a suicide note claiming that the two were gay lovers and death was the only way for them to be together. (Everyone buys this and JD is never caught.)
  • This seems to be a favorite trope of Tennessee Williams, much of the anguish motivating the protagonists of his two most famous plays, A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof revolves around gay men who commit suicide.
  • Implied to have been the case in Love in Hate Nation with Harriet's piano-playing girlfriend. After Harriet is killed by Asp in electroshock therapy, her girlfriend kills herself. It's never stated outright if the events are connected, but it's implied.
  • McQueen opens on Alexander McQueen as he debates killing himself, and this underscores the whole play, with one interpretation being that Dahlia coming to him is an imagined Manic Pixie Dream Girl version of himself who reminds him of his loves and ambitions, but does so by taking him on a journey physically from West to East London, but figuratively from the present backwards through his life to his birth. The fact that it is a Girly Girl who appears, and how she helps expose his complicated feelings for women, also relates that it is in some ways philosophising on his sexuality. The play is set around 2008, the real McQueen killed himself in 2010, listed as gay-related (likely a combination of depression and his mother's recent death).

    Video Games 
  • Katawa Shoujo:
    • In the alpha version of Katawa Shoujo Misha, who has unrequited feelings for her best friend Shizune, falls into a depression and kills herself by standing in front of a car. The alpha is incomplete, as many of the arcs were vastly rewritten and it was accidentally leaked, but there's no apparent way to stop this. She dies in both the bad and good endings. Misha is an example where her gayngst is only a part (albeit a major part) of why she committed suicide. She also had many self-esteem issues.
    • In the final product some of Misha's lines imply that she's suicidal, but she doesn't attempt it.
  • In the Japanese My-HiME computer game, if you as the main character choose to date Natsuki Kuga, her best friend Shizuru Fujino is so hurt that she kills herself.

  • Cuanta Vida has BLU Sniper Liam and RED Spy Gabry, who are in a gay relationship. After Gabry is killed taking a bullet for Liam, Liam commits assisted suicide.

    Web Original 
  • The short movie Heterophobia is about a Bizarro Universe in which homosexual relationships are the norm and heterosexuality is punished by society. The story is about a teenager who fell in love with a boy, but she's bullied because this goes against homosexuality and in the end she's Driven to Suicide. Basically the story is an analogy of this trope but with an inverted Point of View, reinforcing the toxicity of its causes.
  • A satirical video from The Onion reports on presidential candidate Rick Santorum launching an anti gay campaign against his boyfriend broke up with him and married another guy. In the end, he curses his ex for ruining "something so beautiful" (which the news anchors believe referred to the institution of marriage) and throws himself off the cliffs of Lake Erie, but was fortunately rescued by local fishermen.

    Western Animation 
  • Happens in one episode of South Park ("Cartman Sucks"). Butters gets sent to a straight camp after being Mistaken for Gay and many of its young residents commit suicide because of the harshness of being told they are confused.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Gay Related Suicide


Jason Confronts Peter

Jason tries and fails to get his boyfriend to run off with him. His refusal is the final straw that leads him to overdose.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / GayngstInducedSuicide

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