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Det. Danny Reagan: Come on, Russell, I don't give a damn if you like men or women or cream-filled donuts, okay? It's 2013. Men marry each other all the time. They put it in the papers, for goodness' sake.
Russell Burke: Well, in my world, it's 1913, and they don't hire fairies to star in the moving pictures!
Blue Bloods, "The City That Never Sleeps"

The tendency of Moral Guardians to be harsher toward homosexuality than heterosexuality. In American media, male/female couples can kiss and make out, but even a slight peck from a same-sex couple is an automatic PG-13, if not an R. And of course, there's no way to include even a tame homosexual sex scene without getting an R or NC-17 rating. Unfortunate Implications of this become even more apparent as gay people become more accepted and equal in society, or at least in the West.

Not to be confused with Hide Your Lesbians, which refers to the tendency to reduce canon gay relationships to subtext. See also But Not Too Gay for the downplaying of sexuality/exclusion of gay affection altogether. Not related at all to Closet Punishment.


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  • CBS announced it would accept a TV ad for the 2010 Super Bowl from a pro-life group, in a change from the network's "no controversy" policy. However, CBS turned down an ad from, a gay dating service. The network has had no problem with heterosexual dating services, such as eHarmony. Of course, there's no way a small site like Man Crunch could have paid for the ad, and so submitted an ad just beyond what would have been acceptable just so they could get publicity for it being turned down.
    • Similarly, the pro-life group had a religious orientation... and skeptics brought up how CBS had earlier turned away an ad from the United Church of Christ that depicted bouncers turning away gay people (among others) from church services.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The third episode of Naruto received unnecessary editing in the English dub; when Naruto attempts to intimidate Sasuke by getting really close to his face, he's unknowingly bumped into by a classmate, leading to an Accidental Kiss. Whilst this is clearly (but briefly) shown for comical effect in the Japanese dub, a mere kissing sound and reaction shot of others was used to avoid an age rating boost in English dubs (despite it being entirely innocent). Later subverted: the screenshot of the kiss remained intact for Sasuke's almost-death collage of flashbacks, and a similar image is used for the fifth English opening as well.
  • The original English dub of Sailor Moon famously tried to hide Haruka/Amara and Michiru/Michelle's relationship by making them cousins... without changing any of the visuals, resulting in these two "cousins" acting unusually close.
  • The English dub of Transformers: Energon, while not really that great to begin with, made a ham-handed attempt to edit out Mirage/Shockfleet's obvious love for his leader. Unfortunately for them, they could only bring it down to Ho Yay levels, as there's no real way to rewrite a blossoming pink heart behind Mirage's transformation sequence after discovering Megatron was still alive.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, the protagonist Judai becomes an Official Couple with Yubel, an intersex draconic monster who was his One True Love in their past life as humans. Yubel's gender is unspecified even in their past life, and in their monster form their voice frequently switches between feminine and masculine, while their body has a female right half with obvious eyelashes, a clothed breast and a curvy figure, and a male left half with a flatter, bare pec and a more angular figure. In the 4Kids Entertainment English dub, however, Yubel is explicitly a woman complete with a feminine voice and an edited clothed breast in place of their bare pec. To make things extra confusing, even after all of these changes, the dialogue between the two is still rewritten to remove the romance and Yubel's past life is given an obviously male voice.

    Comic Books 
  • This is supposedly the sole reason why the Rawhide Kid mini Marvel Comics did a while back was in the MAX imprint, even if he was just somewhat hinted to be gay. Through constant and offensive innuendo.
  • John Byrne planted hints throughout the early run of Alpha Flight that Northstar was gay. Nearing issue 50, Northstar started battling a mysterious illness, originally planned as AIDS, which would kill him in issue 50. Editorial interference ensued, possibly because of the rumored edict by Jim Shooter that there were no gays in the Marvel Universe, and Northstar (and twin sister Aurora) were retconned as half-human, half Asgardian elf. Northstar's illness was the result of an "allergic reaction" to the Earth. He departed for Asgard. Of course this revelation came from Loki so some months later we look in on Northstar berating himself for falling for such an obvious lie from the literal God of Lies. Even the local elves were bagging on him in the background.
  • After Karolina came out in Runaways, she was almost immediately put on a spaceship, having suddenly become betrothed to Xavin, a genderfluid Skrull royal (who presented as male as often as female, if not more). When they came back, they were generally portrayed as a happy couple... until volume three contrived a reason to put Xavin on a bus just after they shared their first and only on-panel kiss. Xavin hasn't been seen since, and Karolina moved on to dating Lightspeed, and then Nico. By contrast, Nico and Victor were shown in bed together, and it was explicitly stated that Gert and Chase had a very active sex life. (To be fair, Xavin being dropped wasn't just because of the pairing - it was because Terry Moore had taken over writing duties by that point and disliked the idea of a heroic Skrull.)
  • During his legendary career writing X-Men, Chris Claremont intended to reveal Nightcrawler was the result of Homosexual Reproduction by way of Mystique (his canonical mother) gender-bending into a man to impregnate Destiny. Marvel put the kibosh on the idea as a result of a strict "No homosexuals" policy active at the time. Perhaps in retaliation, Destiny is often depicted as the only of Mystique's lovers she truly cares about. Chuck Austen would go as far as to try and render Claremont's idea impossible by revealing Kurt's father to be a demon called Azazel, reveal widely despised by fans. Claremont would get the last laugh, however, as decades later in 2023, Si Spurrier was permitted to retcon away Azazel's involvement and unambiguously canonize Claremont's original idea, affirming that Destiny is Kurt's mother and Mystique his father.

    Fan Works 
  • Works of slash often raise their ratings for exactly this reason, and homosexual content is often listed as a warning alongside violence and nudity. This system is even present at some fan fiction recommendation pages on this site.note 
    • In revenge, some writers started warning for heterosexual content.
    • Some small fanfic sites that require authors to warn for homosexual content claim that it is just meant for information, despite there being no such warning for heterosexual content.
    • Slash fiction is so prolific now that it's hardly a surprise to see it anymore, as well as general attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ issues improving over time. A specific example of this trope being averted in fandom spaces is Archive Of Our Own, which has a filtering system for specific pairing types (Gen, M/F, M/M, F/F, Multi, and Other) that is separate from their age rating system - on that site at least, the tags for "yaoi" or "slash" rarely get used as there's no need to add it as an additional content warning (if a specific author wanted to rate their slash fiction as being more "adult" than their M/F works, then theoretically they could - but it would be much more noticeable to do so).

    Films — Animated 
  • At the end of ParaNorman Mitch reveals he has a boyfriend. In some foreign dubbed versions, it's changed to girlfriend.
  • In Onward, a lesbian cyclops policewoman mentions her same-sex partner and children. In the Russian dub, the gender of her partner isn't mentioned at all, and the film was banned in several Arab countries.
  • Turning Red got a preemptive case by Disney's Executive Meddling, violently stomping out LGBT content the creators had planned and even storyboarded (while letting drug and pedophilia jokes fly). This has gone truly infamous as these revelations came right after Disney supported anti-trans bills in Florida.
  • When Lightyear was released in Singapore, despite the film lacking any real mature content (it is a Disney and Pixar film after all) the film would receive a NC16 rating by the IMDA, which is basically the Singaporean equivalent to a R rating in the US. This is largely thanks to a single scene in which Commander Hawthorne kisses her wife.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated had examples of this: it showed straight and gay sex scenes with similar action, positions and lighting side-by-side on the screen, then pointed out that the films with gay scenes almost invariably had far stronger ratings (usually NC-17 as opposed to R).
  • In I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, the filmmakers originally planned for the two male leads to kiss there in court, but the MPAA threatened to rate it R if they did. Instead, they just got extremely close.
  • Oddly enough, other PG-13 films like Far from Heaven have featured gay kisses so the MPAA isn't even consistent in that area. This, of course, takes us back to This Film is Not Yet Rated .
  • The film Ma Vie En Rose, about a 7-year-old transgender girl, was given an R rating for this reason, although the "official" reason is "brief strong language."
  • The dark comedy I Love You Phillip Morris had a delayed American release for this reason - distributors supposedly refused to pick it up due to its fairly graphic sex scenes. It was released in more liberal places, like Europe, though. Fortunately, it was ultimately averted as it did eventually receive a release and became rather popular (especially in DVD sales and on streaming sites, like Netflix). It took a while to come out in Australia too, as Moral Guardians are just as big in Australia as in America, if not more so - many things only see edited release there if they are released at all. The Moral Guardians have more pulling power over the media than the general public does.
  • G.B.F. (Gay Best Friend) is rated R despite having no sexual moments or strong language. The Other Wiki notes that the MPAA tends to be harsher on independent movies than major studio-backed films.
  • The queerness in Love Is Strange extends to our main characters kissing and at one point sharing a bed completely clothed. And yet it still received an R rating despite how tame this was in comparison to films with heterosexual content with the same rating! As with My Life in Pink, the "official" reason for the rating is "brief strong language."
  • A same-sex kiss in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was edited out for its release in Singapore and Dubai. The film was later released uncensored in Singapore on Disney+, but with the rating raised to NC16.


    Live-Action TV 
  • BBC America took a lot of stick for the edit job they did on Series 3 of Skins. Cook and Effy graphically rutting in a closet? Fine. Naomi and Emily sharing a tender scene by the lake? Cut it.
  • Italian Network Rai 2 has aired Brothers & Sisters at 21.55 because of homosexual content while airing way racier shows (why, hello Desperate Housewives!) at earlier times. This baffles the mind.
  • This is why Willow and Tara were together for a season before kissing on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This may have actually helped — the writers were forced to find other ways to show their love and affection for each other.
  • After Ellen Morgan came out on Ellen every episode of the series received a TV-MA rating regardless of the actual content. DeGeneres complained bitterly about this, noting episodes of The Drew Carey Show and Spin City in which pairs of male characters kissed but didn't receive harsher ratings. She suspects it was because the actors involved in the kissing were known to be straight in real life.
  • Invoked in-universe in the season 3 episode of Glee, "Heart", Where Principal Figgins stops newly out couple Santana and Brittany when they are about to kiss in the school hallway as other students might find it offensive. Santana is quick to point out how unfair this is, citing Rachel and Finn as an example and eventually leaves the office in an angry huff. Also in the third season, a warning for parental discretion was shown during the episode where gay couple Kurt and Blaine lose their virginity to each other, despite there being no graphic contact at all, just a shot of them snuggling in bed and the implication afterwards. However, there was no such warning in previous episodes where characters had sex since the pairings were opposite genders. Fox seems to have learned their lesson, as there was no such warning in a later episode where couples of all stripes hook up after Will's aborted first wedding to Emma, including Kurt and Blaine as well as Santana and Quinn. Santana and Quinn's hookup was entirely off-screen (just the "after" shot of them in bed) but Kurt and Blaine's car makeout was seen in full, well-lit glory.
  • American soap operas have been called out for the double standard they use to treat their gay romances. Notably As the World Turns with gay couple Luke and Noah. Fans instituted a "kiss clock" marking how long it had been since their last kiss. It was over 6 months, in a genre that has people hopping in and out of bed on a regular basis. Guiding Light's gay couple suffered similarly with hand-holding and longing looks being the extent of affection seen. ABC and NBC have made more of an effort to give more than lip service to treating their gay soap couples the same as the straight ones, but even they aren't exempt from this—despite landmark coming-out storylines, gay/transgender characters on One Life to Live, All My Children, and The City (1995) were quickly relegated to the background or left town. In particular, All My Children's Bianca had one disastrous relationship after another, including with a pre-op transexual (this one especially outraged fans as they felt the writers were essentially trying to place Bianca in a relationship with a man), and was even raped (also enraging fans who felt the character was explicitly being punished for being a lesbian).
  • Another in-universe example in Good Luck Charlie where Teddy (dressed as Benjamin Franklin) kisses her boyfriend (dressed as Thomas Jefferson) in front of a family and are promptly fired for the "inappropriate" act. Unlike the Glee example above, this is played for un-ironic laughs. Then again, they later revealed one of Charlie's playmates had two female parents, and several people involved in the production received death threats, even the actress portraying Charlie.

  • Holland's debut Music Video "Neverland" is rated R because it features him kissing another man.
  • Kidz Bop, a CD compilation series that features children covering number one hits, is infamous for Bowdlerizing songs that were never intended for kids in the first place. Their "clean" version of bisexual Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" removes all mention of the LGBT community, despite being the entire point of the song. Furthermore, their cover of Halsey's "Bad at Love", where she describes her failed relationships with both male and female lovers, has only the males sing the parts about the females.

    New Media 
  • At one point on Bing image search, you wouldn't get any results for anything with the words "gay" or "lesbian" in it unless you turn Safe Search off completely (which requires you to say you're 18), though that appears to no longer be the cases, even with Safe Search set to strict.
  • Google Instant won't automatically complete most gay-related searches (including those that are still not NSFW or inappropriate for minors) until you hit Enter. Gay news websites are treated as gingerly as sites with adult content. Until 2014, Google wouldn't autocomplete queries containing the word "bisexual" either.
  • At one point on Craigslist, the "male seeking male" personals page was marked for adult content (meaning both that it was restricted and that racier posts needn't be flagged), whereas the straight and lesbian personals were kept clean, only the "casual encounters" page being marked. Presumably due to complaints, all personals but "strictly platonic" are now marked adult.
  • Amazon once marked any book with the keyword "Gay & Lesbian" as adult, meaning that unless a search included those keywords or other "adult" keywords, any books marked with that keyword were excluded, whereas keywords like "homosexual" or "homosexuality" were fine, with the effect that the only books dealing with homosexuality that showed up on general search were right-wing polemics. Amazon first claimed they'd been hacked, then that a single employee had accidentally done it. Whether that is an example of this trope is debatable, since some believe it wasn't deliberate on the company's part.
  • censored the words "gay" and "homosexual" on its forums for a few weeks in 2006.
  • YouTube pulled a 16-second sponsoring ad that featured two men in their underwear in an emotional embrace, saying it "promoted mature sexual themes" and was "non-family safe". It was an excerpt from a Perfume Genius music video YouTube still hosts. The other man in the video is recognized by some as the Manly Gay "Bear" porn star Arpad Miklos, but this would not likely be recognized by a random viewer who has never seen an Arpad Miklos porno.
  • Internet search filters in some schools, especially religious ones, prohibit the search of 'gay', 'lesbian', or anything along those lines.
  • On this very site, any time LGBTetc or otherwise are so much as alluded to on a show meant for kids, it almost always gets labeled as Getting Crap Past the Radar. Though this isn't necessarily due to the tropers' view on the subject, and refers more to the actual/perceived behavior of censors at the place and time the work was made. For instance, Adventure Time was forced by censorship to leave most of the queerness within the series as subtext for most of its run, causing more obvious references to genuinely lean into that trope in earlier seasons.
  • After Yahoo bought Tumblr, it has set a rather unnecessarily complicated tag blocking system to make it "kid-friendly". Among the deleted tags? "Gay", "lesbian", "bisexual", even simply "LGBT". "Straight" isn't blocked, and neither are far more explicit tags like "rape". This turned out to be an aversion though: the real reason those were blocked was that most things tagged with them were Not Safe for Work (as in pornography) and they risked getting the Tumblr app pulled from app stores because of it. It's now possible to search those tags again, with most NSFW stuff left out. (Question 2 is the relevant one.)
  • On Neopets, discussing controversial topics is banned. Such topics originally included, alongside politics and religion, LGBTQIA+ issues of all kinds. Oddly, such rules remained in place even after players gained the ability to set their genders as "other" (a feature added in May 2016), with the accompanying editorial making it quite clear that the option was added so nonbinary people could use it... even though they weren't allowed to mention their identities outside of that profile option. One short animation from 2018's Advent Calendar also featured two random unnamed characters who are implied to be transgender. However, despite the presence of the option and animation, such topics still weren't officially allowed to be discussed until a forum rule change made during December 2020; although users rarely got in trouble for mentioning such things in the last couple of years before the rule change, they still had to tread lightly, and in the end the rules were updated in response to an incident involving a bigot using said rules to attack others (which had become a recurring problem).

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering's Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Guidmaster's Guide to Ravnica doesn't feature the game's first gay character, who is a Guildmaster of Ravnica, on the cover. Instead, it features an unnamed character.

  • LEGO's "Everyone is Awesome" set is based on the Progress Pride Flag and was released in June 2021. However, queer LEGO fans have noticed that the set is online-exclusive and rated 18+ despite its relative simplicity. LEGO responded to the criticisms by saying that the mature rating is due to the set being a display piece and not a toy, though cynical folks believe it was to keep Moral Guardians at bay, likely the same reason it's not available in stores.

    Video Games 
  • The American release of Wild ARMs 2 turned Caina into a woman because he was in love with Vinsfeld. They didn't do that to Brad and Billy though, instead downplaying their relationship. That didn't work out.
  • Mass Effect was guilty of this for two whole games. In the first game, you can romance a genderless but female-presenting alien, Liara, who has become a mascot for the Discount Lesbians trope since the relationship is only gay from a human perspective. In the second game, you can have a fling with a pansexual human female, Kelly, that does not grant you any recognition on the romance achievement. It takes until Mass Effect 3 for gay relationships to be granted equal standing; it is also the first game in the franchise to allow any kind of male same-sex romance.
  • Mortal Kombat has this in-universe, with Kung Jin, a gay man, getting scornful treatment from the rest of his clan. Mortal Kombat 11 establishes that Kung Lao, his cousin, is outraged by this, dismissing his clan's treatment of Jin as "shameful".

    Western Animation 
  • There was a spin-off of the PBS television show Arthur called Postcards from Buster. It is remembered for little more than the fact that one episode got banned for showing an (implied) lesbian family. The parent show would eventually subvert this full force in Season 22 when Mr. Ratburn and his boyfriend eventually got married, though played straight when Alabama Public Television refused to air the episode.
  • The infamous gay marriage episode of The Simpsons (season 16's "There's Something About Marrying") became the first episode on American TV to get a content warning before the episode started note  and was rated TV-14 for strong sexual themes (in this case, gay marriage). This is coming from a show that regularly contains child abuse, gambling, death, alcohol abuse, juvenile delinquency, sex, attempted murder, explicit animal blood and gore, and other humor that is usually considered cruel or dark, yet often gets away with a TV-PG rating. Older episodes with gay content have gotten away with just the TV-PG ratings, so the content raters aren't consistent in this area.
  • An openly gay character was one of the reasons the third season of Braceface didn't air in the US.
  • The series finale of The Legend of Korra ends with Korra and Asami becoming a couple, though the fact that they never kiss, merely hold hands, had some viewers argue that this was ambiguous. Creator Konietzko wrote that the same-gender relationship is canon and that while Nickelodeon was supportive of this decision, "there was a limit to how far [they] could go with it"- meaning no kissing, even though every heterosexual romance in both this show and its predecessor got one.
  • When PopGirl in the UK started censoring 6teen so younger viewers could watch it, they stopped airing the episode where Nikki had a lesbian co-worker and the episode where Jen developed a "girl crush" on her new boss. Oddly, they still aired the episode where a gay cowboy bids on Jonesy. Cartoon Network in the US didn't air the lesbian co-worker episode even once.
  • In the The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Love", there is a skit where a Lemony Narrator talks about the "science" of love. The ending of the skit, where a man and a woman fall in love with members of the same sex and the narrator says "there are no rules to love, so let's just dance", was cut in Poland despite being the entire point.
  • When Cartoon Network in the UK aired the Steven Universe episode "We Need To Talk," the scene where Rose and Pearl dance was cut for being too sexually suggestive (and some of Rainbow Quartz's movements were edited as well). You might be mistaken for thinking they were taking out any romantically charged content regardless of sexuality, but later in the episode, Greg and Rose dance similarly and then kiss and this remained, which came off as very hypocritical and a tad homophobic, according to the show's LGBT fanbase. Especially given the channel's reasoning behind the actions ("In the UK we have to ensure everything on air is suitable for kids of any age at any time. We do feel that the slightly edited version is more comfortable for local kids and their parents").