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These tropes can involve negative attitudes towards or stereotypes about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, and/or gender non-conforming people, and they run the gamut from relatively minor limitations (on clothing choices, mannerisms, jobs or careers and the like) to hostility and violence. The prevalence of queer stereotypes in media at times paints a whole category of people with a very broad lavender brush. While some of them can be seen in other contexts, they have particular implications for LGBTQIA+ people. Some of them are discredited, or are becoming so, but they're present in works made and/or set in earlier periods.

There are a few broad categories of problems these tropes can have:

  • Assumed Heteronormativity: When someone is assumed to be straight unless proven otherwise.
  • Erasure: If queer people aren't mentioned, they disappear. Related to the assumption above.
  • Sexualization: The related ideas that sex is the sum total of queer people's identities, and that all they think about and/or do involves sex.
  • Criminality/Evil/Decay: Queer characters are depicted as evil or in otherwise negative lights, implying that there is a causal link between their queerness and their immorality.

Of course, trying to avoid one can easily lead you to another, like trying to avoid the hypersexuality so much that queer characters have no sexuality (which tends towards erasure). It's rather like steering a boat among shoals — overcompensate and you just run aground somewhere else.

For a more thorough explanation of the concept of homophobia, see the Homophobia page.


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    Tropes That Generally Apply to LGBTQIA+ People 
  • Adaptational Sexuality: A character in a work is changed to fit heterosexual norms when the work is adapted to a different medium. Though this can be a capitulation to Moral Guardians, it nevertheless lends credence to heterosexism (the work is "improved" by making it less queer).
  • Armoured Closet Gay: A closeted gay who's prompted by Internalized Categorism to express homophobia against others and aggressively assert his heterosexual bona fides. Their self-loathing can make the homophobia of such characters particularly vicious.
  • The Beard: When practised by lesbians and gay men, this kind of deception can divert suspicions and thus avoid homophobic bigotry.
  • Bait-and-Switch Lesbians: Two characters are subject to heavy and deliberate Homoerotic Subtext, but are never explicitly confirmed as sexual partners, and one or both of them is in a heterosexual relationship by the end of the show. Despite the title, there are an increasing number of male examples. Tends to trivialize the same-sex romance, as if it's only there to entertain the demographic titillated by the idea of people of the same sex behaving homoerotically together. Since in female examples the mere appearance of an available male often leads to the switch, it can imply that the women are only interested in each other until a man comes along. Commonly associated with Pseudo-Romantic Friendship, in which case it may also imply that they're engaging in lesbian-ish behaviour only because they don't know any better.
  • Bury Your Gays: If being gay is (one of) the worst thing(s) you can be and fiction is only satisfying if virtue is rewarded and vice is punished, then the gay characters deserve to die because they're gay.
  • Closet Gay: A character has to hide their orientation and appear straight.
  • Cure Your Gays: The idea that homosexuality is a form of disease or insanity that can and must be "cured" (In Real Life, it has been discredited by professional organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association). Since it can be used to justify "treatments" that are difficult to distinguish from torture, depictions of this can be particularly squick-making.
  • Gay Aesop: Learning that anti-gay discrimination is bad is the lesson in this type of morality tale. As with all tropes, this can be handled badly or well.
  • Gayborhood: As with ethnic neighbourhoods, the residents live in a concentrated area and have local businesses that appeal to their common interests. If the residents of a Gayborhood are depicted engaging in stereotypically predatory behaviours, such a place (with its large numbers of gays) comes across as threatening to a heterosexual audience.
  • Gay Cruising: Men seeking out anonymous casual sex with other men, oftentimes in public. This trope can be used to highlight homophobia as consenting men having sex with one another are usually targeted by law enforcement unfairly.
  • Gay Guy Dies First: The minority included to be immediately killed off is a queer character. It’s almost explicitly giving the message that creators feel pushed to include them but actively want to erase them.
  • Gayngst: Linking homosexuality and unhappiness/depression/suicide can imply that being gay causes all those bad consequences (rather than the reactions of other people being the cause). Correlation does not equal causation.
  • Gayngst-Induced Suicide: The suggestion that being gay is a good, common reason to kill oneself. Particularly heinous because of its very real effect on LGBT youth.
  • Gay Panic: In TV Tropes, this is when queer plotlines and/or characters that were airing are suddenly changed or dropped entirely, it suggests moral disapproval is behind their disappearance. In Real Life, the phrase refers to a legal defence used to partially or completely excuse crimes such as murder and assault on the grounds that the victim's sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for the defendant's violent reaction. note 
  • Gay Romantic Phase: Treating being gay as some sort of phase one goes through, perhaps to appease moral guardians. It downplays someone's existing sexuality as a "phase" that one goes through, rather than being part of who they are.
  • Get Back in the Closet: When the Moral Guardians get into the editing room, this one helps promote the idea that condemnation of homosexuality is mainstream. It may also be an effort to produce a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?: The creators want to be inclusive, but are too afraid of the Moral Guardians to show gay behavior, so they rely heavily on stated assertions of homosexuality. So long as there is a difference between the romantic behaviors of straights and gays, the work carries the implication that being gay is wrong or bad.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: The familial rejection in this one is supposed to be well-meaning (assuming the family loves the queer person), but it carries the implication that the queer person can and should change.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: The "crusader" part implies a morally-sanctioned combative attitude; the "heteronormative" part implies the enemy is anyone who doesn't follow conventional rules about sex and gender performance.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: When homosexual expressions are forbidden, some authors resort to this to put them in anyway.
  • Homophobic Hate Crime: The unfortunate situation of people being attacked or killed because of homophobia towards them on the attacker's part.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: This can be a way to excuse a homosexual or bisexual relationship as a one-off, as if the character needs an excuse.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: This can be Truth in Television, but when all same-sex couples are assumed to be like this it appeals to outdated gender stereotypes of every romantic relationship needing to have a "man" and a "woman".
  • Out of the Closet, Into the Fire: Coming out will kill, maim, or otherwise harm you. Supports the idea that if you're gay, you should keep it to yourself.
  • Queer People Are Funny: Humour about gay relationships because the participants are gay (as opposed to jokes about couples that could apply to heterosexual couples, i.e. they are tempermentally mismatched, have different tastes, or the like) suggests such relationships are inherently funny or deserve ridicule.
  • Rape and Switch: This is based on heteronormative idea that heterosexuality is the "default" state and thus being subject to sexual abuse causes the victim to become homosexual. It also gives the implication that being gay is inherently unhealthy and interferes with a "normal" sex life.
  • Sexual Deviance Is Evil: A catch-all for tropes where nonstandard sexual behavior (which generally encompasses LGBTQIA+) is conflated with evil or villainous characters.
  • She's a Man in Japan: This is not always homophobic in motivation, but a large proportion of examples involve changing a character's gender or cis/trans status in order to avoid provoking Moral Guardians by having non-cis characters and/or non-straight romantic relationships.
  • Transparent Closet: Can be used to suggest a person is "really gay" and "in denial" about it. Alternatively, it may refer to someone who is trying to pass as straight and fails to do so.

    Tropes That Apply to Many Groups, Including LGBTQIA+ People 
  • Bowdlerise: Generally, this involves any editing of language and sexual themes from an existing work and is generally performed by Moral Guardians, or at their request. Specifically for LGBTI people, it means removing queer content from existing works because it is queer, such as removing instances of Boys' Love and lesbians from anime works, effectively turning a seinen anime into a Shōnento "protect" the children in the audience.
  • Condescending Compassion: Among the many groups that can be on the receiving end of this are people with disabilities and members of racial and religious minorities. When directed at homosexuals, it can allow the "compassionate" person to feel superior to those who have the "misfortune" to be queer. Their pity may only last so long as their targets go along with this.
  • Gendered Insult: While not exclusive to queer characters, there's often a homophobic and/or transphobic suggestion to these sorts of insults. The trope can also include instances where trans characters are intentionally misgendered.
  • Internalized Categorism: This can affect members of racial, ethnic and religious minorities as well as women, and the problem can be compounded when a person fits more than one category and believes the worst of more than one group. When a queer person believes all the worst stereotypes about queer people, trouble follows, often for them and occasionally for others.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: The "that" can be any number of things, not only race and religion but also including the enjoyment of unusual hobbies and participation in BDSM play. A backpedaling move to avoid being called a bigot, this trope can come across as insincere, especially if paired with "No really, some of my best friends are gay!".
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X: As the "X" indicates, this can be used with racial or ethnic groups and religious adherents as well as cisgender men and women. In an LGBTI context, some people claim this as a defense against a charge of homophobic bigotry. When it's clear they aren't really that friendly with any gay people, it isn't much of a defense.
  • Values Dissonance: As noted on this trope's page, this problem is very widespread. Even food is not immune: a vegan and an omnivore will look at the same plate of baby back ribs and have vastly different reactions. In the LGBTI context, for some people, tropes that depict queer people in a bad light are offensive, while for others they're simply funny or even true.

    Tropes Specific to Lesbians 
  • Butch Lesbian: One example of taking on the gender conventions of the opposite sex. The expectation that one of these must be paired with a Lipstick Lesbian (a lesbian who dresses and behaves in a conventionally feminine way) is an uncomfortable way to enforce a male/female that is only Truth in Television for some lesbians.
  • Discount Lesbians: Humanoid lesbian characters get an extra layer of Othering by making them also alien, immortal, cybernetic or otherwise not quite human. While this can be a useful trick in a homophobic society, it also suggests being lesbian means being very unlike the normal folk in the audience, and not in a good way.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: In addition to the usual concealment of homosexuality, this one can also imply that lesbian women don't want sex (which is defined as heterosexual sex).
  • Lesbian Vampire: The lack of humanity of Discount Lesbians plus the idea that lesbians are predatory (and must be, since they aren't "natural" and must "recruit" others) plus the association with death and decay. Only in more modern interpretations does it come across as empowering young women by letting them take a level in badass.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Plays on the purported link between homosexuality and insanity, flavoured with the sexist implication of "hysteria", as well as implying that if they're willing to do something as bad as lesbian sex, there's nothing they won't do. Sounds like a toxic trifecta, doesn't it?

    Tropes Specific to Gay Men 
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Based partly on the purported hypersexuality of gays and partly on the idea that being gay isn't inherent in anyone, this trope says that gays "recruit" children and "turn" them gay. Never mind that the vast majority of real-life pedophiles (95% or more, depending on the study) are heterosexual.
  • All Gays are Promiscuous: Essentially All Men Are Perverts plus I'm a Man; I Can't Help It. How bad this one is depends a lot on how the authors define a "normal" or ideal sex life.
  • Always Camp: The idea that certain professions attract drama queens and people with campy sensibilities verge into the stereotype area (when "camp" is equated with "gay"), which leads to assumptions and rumors about people in those jobs.
  • Ambiguously Gay: So maybe that character is gay, but for heaven's sake don't say so. Children may be watching.
  • But Not Too Gay: In an effort to appeal to broad audiences without offending too many people, authors impose limits on homosexual expression that are more strict than those on heterosexual expression. This lends support to the idea that being gay is less acceptable than being straight.
  • Camp Gay: First, this equates "effeminate" with "gay". Second, it implies that men who behave this way are deserving of ridicule. Third, in practice, it can be taken to paint all gays with this broad lavender brush, when it is only Truth in Television for some gays.
  • Club Kid: Young hedonistic gays who spend their nights in dance clubs using copious amounts of drugs (legal and not) and hooking up with as many sex partners as possible. Not a flattering picture of gay youth.
  • Depraved Homosexual: If they're having gay sex, and gay sex is among the worst sins on the calendar, they'll stick at nothing.
  • Flaming Devil: A triple-serving of the lack of humanity of Discount Lesbians plus the caricature nature of Camp Gay plus the stereotypes associating male femininity with evil and male femininity with homosexuality (thus leading to associating homosexuality with evil as well).
  • Gay Best Friend: Since the sex lives of gay friends are either offscreen or non-existent, this reinforces the notion that they shouldn't have sex at all.
  • Gym Bunny: This trope implies that gay men work out or participate in sports because they're vain (and want to perfect their looks) and horny (and are looking for sex partners), and any other reason is an afterthought at best.
  • Straight Gay: Just as Camp Gay can be read as too over-the-top, this trope can be seen as too restrained due to insecurity or a desire to fit in with the mainstream. For some viewers, it also implies that gays are not masculine.
  • Tragic AIDS Story: In cases where gay men are often shown to necessarily suffer from, and ultimately die from, HIV/AIDS.

    Tropes Specific to Bisexuals 
  • Ambiguously Bi: So maybe that character is bi, but for heaven's sake don't say so. Children may be watching.
  • But Not Too Bi: In an effort to appeal to broad audiences without offending too many people, authors impose limits on bisexual expression that are more strict than those on heterosexual expression. This lends support to the idea that being bi is less acceptable than being straight. For bisexuals, this usually works out so that their attraction to one sex (usually their own) is made much less significant to their attraction to the other.
  • Depraved Bisexual: If they're having gay sex, and gay sex is among the worst sins on the calendar, they'll stick at nothing. The presumed promiscuity of bisexuals turns up the volume on this one.
  • No Bisexuals: This trope holds that there are only two choices: straight and gay. It tells bisexuals (and the rest of the culture) that they don't actually exist, and if they don't exist, who needs to worry about mentioning them? Besides, if they don't exist, they can't be offended.

    Tropes Specific to Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex People 
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Associating crossdressing with immediate sexuality, evil or abnormality in fiction can feed the notion that crossdressing is done only by strange or predatory people. Aside from that, it reinforces sexist gender ideals and that differing from those norms is creepy and bad.
  • Crossdresser: Sometimes people who crossdress are held up to ridicule because their bodies don't match their clothing, particularly if their dressing is associated with sexual satisfaction. Transgender people (particularly those who transition after experiencing puberty) can also get tarred with this brush when other people refuse to accept their gender identity. More successful gender presentations, once revealed, may prompt accusations of deception or worse.
  • Drag Queen: Often, cis people will rather respect a drag queen's gender than the gender of an actual trans woman, when really most drag queens just play a character for comedy and only a few are actually trans. This also causes trans women to be seen as a joke instead of a real person. It should be noted that terminology and understanding of gender has changed over time; in the 70s and 80s, many trans women instead identified as 'drag queens' due to not having another word for themselves. (A famous example would be Marsha P. Johnson, the woman who threw the first brick in the Stonewall riot.)
  • "Gender-Normative Parent" Plot: A boy wants to pursue feminine interests, but is pushed to be manly.
  • Incredibly Conspicuous Drag: Because men in dresses are considered funny.
  • Intersex Tribulations: Characters are perceived as unusual because they are born intersex. If not that, then they internalize negative feelings towards being intersex.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Men find masculine women unattractive.
  • Non-Human Non-Binary: The trope has implications that non-binary people are inhuman or are otherwise "other". It can dehumanize non-binary people.
  • Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous: These characters can be powerful escapist characters for trans, intersex and gender-nonconforming people, but can also carry the implication that not fitting neatly into a binary gender makes you not quite a real human being. This isn't helped by the fact that many characters like this have Blue-and-Orange Morality, implying that being outside a strict gender binary is so mysterious and different to the normal human experience that it's incomprehensible to ordinary people.
  • Pink Is for Sissies: When a male character is ridiculed for wearing the feminine color.
  • Sissy Villain: Villains with effeminate characteristics can lead viewers to equate effeminacy (in men) with evil. Since effeminacy is also often equated with homosexuality, this trope can tend to associate homosexuality with evil as well.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: When a character or the narrative insists that women should stay out of action and be a domestic.
  • Supernaturally-Validated Trans Person: Effectively exists as a counter to the idea that a trans person isn't a "real" member of their gender, although it can also come across as transphobic when it's handled poorly (for example if it conforms to transmedicalistnote  or enforces a gender binary — which excludes nonbinary folk, even if it is somewhat accepting of binary trans people).
  • There Are No Girls on the Internet: An assumption that any female-identifying person met anonymously on the internet is actually "a dude", doing it for perverted reasons. In addition to harming cis women, this erases or vilifies large numbers of transgender or non-binary persons on the internet who may have been assigned male at birth but now identify as more feminine or outright female. This can be especially harmful since many trans women begin socially transitioning online before coming out as a woman in the real world.
  • Tomboy Angst: A female character hates being too "masculine".
  • Trans Equals Gay: When one thinks that heterosexuality is the norm, it's easy to believe that gay people must have a gender identity opposite of their assigned gender at birth.
  • Transgender Fetishization: A gender-nonconforming character is portrayed as hypersexualized or is used for more candid fanservice than other characters. Reinforces the stigma that non-gender-conforming people are inherently a sexual topic or only matter in relation to how attracted/disgusted cis people are.
  • Trans Relationship Troubles: Being trans causes drama when it comes to romantic relationships.
  • Trans Tribulations: Transgender characters going through a multitude of hardships, implying being transgender comes with endless misery.
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: This kind of revelation is unsettling because the other person is attracted to the person who's doing the revealing. It can result in violence, even death.
  • Wanted a Gender-Conforming Child: A character wishes their daughter were more feminine or their son were more masculine.

    Tropes Specific To Asexuals and Aromantics 
  • All Women Are Prudes: Several asexual traits (In particular sex repulsion) are portrayed as universal among women, which erases the fact that there are differences between asexual and allosexual women.
  • Alone Among the Couples: Single characters who stumble into a situation where they are surrounded by couples are almost never happily single and hence almost always in a position in which they are envying the couples to some extent. This also reinforces the idea that singlehood is something undesirable, which results in asexuals and aromatics being pressured into finding a sexual/romantic partner they sometimes don't want at all by friends and relatives.
  • Better than Sex: Properly handled, it can create a moment relatable to asexuals who have sex (or experienced it at some point in their lives), but genuinely find other activities more enjoyable. Poorly handled, it can deride the very idea of something being more enjoyable than sex and/or people sincerely preferring another activity to it.
  • Black Jezebel Stereotype: Black people are stereotyped as being a sexually promiscuous population, resulting in asexual people being even less likely to be believed about their orientation if they happen to also have dark skin.
  • Celibate Eccentric Genius: Asexual and aromatic behavior are depicted as going hand in hand with lack of interest in platonic socializing, high intelligence and interest in intellectually stimulating activities. The personalities of real-life asexuals and aromatics are much more diverse than that. The fact that asexuality and aromanticism don't always overlap mean that even partner-seeking socializing can still be engaged in.
  • Deconfirmed Bachelor: Never wanting to get married is quite common among asexuals and aromantics, especially if the two orientations overlap. The belief that members of those populations "just haven't met the right person yet" is also quite widespread. It's hence extremely easy for that trope slip into asexual or aromantic erasure, especially if the narrative is closer to "this character had never fallen in love before, until they met that person" than to "this character dated plenty of people, but this is the first time they meet someone they want to settle down with."
  • Everyone Must Be Paired: Asexuals and aromantics are much more likely to be happily single or in relationships that qualify for Heterosexual Life-Partners or Platonic Life-Partners. This makes narratives that insist upon having every single member of the cast in a romantic and/or sexual relationship by the end of the story a mix of erasure and something on par with having every single final pair be heterosexual in a setting that has been shown to allow for same-sex pairs on some level.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers: Being unable to sexually satisfy a partner is portrayed as a major character flaw that can only be redeemed via being improved upon and implies the absence of other character traits that are desirable in a romantic partner. This one can actually hurt both sides of a relationship involving at least one asexual person, as asexuality affects both one's capacity to perform satisfactorily and one's ability to enjoy sex. Asexuals identifying as such to cover up that they are lousy lovers and/or because they have yet to have sex with a satisfying partner are also common misconceptions.
  • Madonna-Whore Complex: Women who want sex are Whores. Therefore, women who don't desire sex are treated as perfect, holy, pure, and an Embodiment of Virtue with no real agency or personality... in fact, so perfect and pure that they're the only women men should want to marry and have sex with. The idea that asexual women are ideal breeding partners also carries the implication that asexual women secretly do want sex, deep down... which has the logical conclusion that asexual women are also Whores. In reality, whether a woman desires or doesn't desire sex has absolutely nothing to do with her moral character, and asexual women are sincere about their lack of desire, not 'guarding their virtue' or 'waiting for the right man'.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Masculinity is based on how much a man wants sex. The implication is that if a man isn't constantly seeking out sex (often to an extent that most allosexual men don't reach), that's because there's something wrong with him. In addition to being hateful to asexual men, it is derived from a sexist idea that sex is something men are compelled to try to take from women, with the manliest men being the ones who are most successful at it, and less successful men being worthy of hatred and mockery.
  • Nature Adores a Virgin: Applying various aspects of this trope to asexuals is a very common way to misunderstand the orientation: fact that asexuality doesn't always mean virginity or even sex-repulsion aside, it gives those who are virgins, which include many sex-repulsed aces, the type of attention that they often don't want to get. At a broader social level, this trope also erases some the struggles asexuals face in real life, due to creating an assumption that they have an easier time in environments that frown at sex outside of wedlock than they actually donote .
  • No Love for the Wicked: An aro-ace character is villainous, with their lack of interest in romance and sex being a sign of their villainy.
  • Playing Hard to Get: The presence of "pretend you're not interested" among known seduction methods results in many claims of asexuality not being taken seriously because they are mistaken for an extreme form of the method.
  • Sex Is Interesting: A work adds in loads of sexual characters under the impression that sexuality is the only thing that makes a story worth telling. The implication is that people who don't want sex are too boring to matter. Related to this is creators arguing that characters need to have, and fulfil, sexual desires to be a Rounded Character, or that you can't have a full life without having sex.
  • Sexless Marriage: If a married couple isn't having sex in fiction, it frequently means one of the following: they don't love each other anymore, it's a Marriage of Convenience in the first place, the couple is unable/unwilling to sleep in the same bed or at the same time for whatever reason or at least one half is in a situation that prevents them from having sex even if they wanted to. As a result, a marriage in which the couple is having sex is portrayed as inherently going better than one in which the couple isn't, leading to a real-life assumption that marriages in which at least one partner is asexual are never as happy as those involving two allosexual people who regularly have sex.
  • Sour Prudes: People who don't engage in much sex are portrayed as looking down on people who have significantly more sex than they do. This results in a "asexuals don't want anybody to have sex" stereotype, when in reality even asexuals who don't engage in sex at all can be favor of other people having the amount of sexual activity they wish, as long as said sexual activity doesn't involve them.
  • Token Romance: Insistence on tacking a romantic subplot onto every story, regardless of how well it can be executed or how it fits the setting or genre, sends a message to aromantic people that if they don't have a love interest, their story is not one worth telling.
  • Virginity Makes You Stupid: Between the assumption that all asexuals are virgins and the fact that a number of them actually are, the association between virginity and stupidity/naïvety results in asexuals getting treated as if they have those traits by others.
  • Virgin-Shaming: Social stigma against virgins becomes even more of a problem when an orientation that often results in little to no interest in sex exists.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Sex as a stress reducer can range from ineffective to counter-productive for asexuals. It's also frequently suggested as a "solution" to the asexuality itself.

Alternative Title(s): Queerbaiting