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Mentor in Queerness

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"But if you want a role model, sure! I'm queer. I'm here."
Shego, I'm Scared Too

So, you're newly out of the closet. Likely in your late teens or early twenties, the world can be a confusing place for a young queer person (especially in pre-New Millennium works). How do you find a date? How do you transition? Where can you meet people similar to you?

Here is where this trope comes in.

The protagonist will meet an older character. Out, proud, and confident, they will help the lead with their troubles and be a shoulder to cry on if things go sour along the story. They also inspire the protagonist and show that not all queer people end up miserable and/or dead.

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A large number of Coming Out Stories have this type of character. They're almost never a Love Interest (and oftentimes they are in a relationship already). Instead, they're more of an older sibling figure and a confidant to the main character. If they're in a relationship then they and their partner might act as a Beta Couple to the lead.

Compare to Cool Big Sis and Big Brother Mentor for more general examples. Lover and Beloved is a usually gay male trope where the lover is also the character's mentor.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bloom Into You, Sayaka, who realized her liking girls was not just a phase after meeting with Touko, seeks advice from Miyako, a lesbian café owner who's in a relationship with Sayaka's own teacher Ms. Hakozaki. It's partly thanks to her conversations with her that she eventually finds the courage to confess her feelings to Touko.
  • In given Uenoyama has a heart-to-heart with his college-aged bandmate Akihiko, during which it comes out that he's crushing on their newest bandmate, Mafuyu. Uenoyama gets uncharacteristically vulnerable, asking Akihiko if he thinks there's something wrong with him. Akihiko calmly reassures him that he's fine, going as far to reveal that he's been with men himself, turning it around and pointing out that Uenoyama won't say there's something wrong with him.
  • Love Me For Who I Am has Satori Iwaoka, the owner of Café Question. Satori's only sibling is Tetsu, but she often acts like a Cool Big Sis to the whole staff of the café, and as a Transgender woman she's often able to empathize with their issues and offer advice and support. In particular, when Mogumo's presence in the first volume leads to a rift between the staff over their standard "I'm a guy dressed as a girl" introduction, she encourages all of them to share their point of view on the issue to come to a compromise. This eventually resolves in Mogumo being able to stay in the café without compromising their identity and helps Mei realize she was a closeted trans girl.
  • In My Brother's Husband, Mike Flanagan, a gay Canadian visiting Japan to meet the family of his dead Japanese husband, ends up mentoring Kazuya, the gay teenage elder brother of a school friend of his niece Kana.
  • Our Dreams at Dusk focuses on an LGBT-friendly drop-in center where people of several age groups regularly converge, and several dynamics like this form naturally between the characters. Tasuku, the protagonist, is particularly drawn to Haruko after seeing her with her wife, Saki. In turn, Haruko recognizes Tasuku is in the closet and looking for community, and she helps bring him into the fold and later becomes the first person he comes out to.
    • Meanwhile, Tasuku wants to become a figure like this to Misora, a younger patron, after remembering how alone he felt when he was younger and frightened by the realization he was gay.
    • While it's hinted that Misora would like to have a relationship like this with Tasuku, Tasuku realizes that the person Misora truly looks up to is "Someone," glowing upon receiving praise from her and admitting his admiration of her mystique and aloofness. Unfortunately, the qualities he admires so much mean that Someone isn't actually that good of a mentor figure, and when Misora reaches out to her after the events of Chapter 9, he's left even more hurt when she is unable to offer him any comfort or advice.
  • Shounen Note, Yuhki Kamatani's pre-Dreams work, has Minoru Aoi, a former soprano who becomes a sort of mentor for the choir as a whole. Minoru is initially introduced as Yutaka's big brother, but one day Mito runs into them wearing a skirt. Upon being questioned about it, Minoru displays a casual, almost fluid relationship to gender. Mito, likewise, is initially introduced as a girl but is uncomfortable with "feminine" things and longs for a deeper voice, hinting him to possibly be a closeted transgender boy. Mito forms a sort of Intergenerational Friendship with Minoru and later is inspired by them to try dressing in a way more comfortable to him.
  • Hana in Tokyo Godfathers was taken in by the owner of a drag queen club when she was younger. Around halfway through the movie Hana goes to "Mother" for help and she's overjoyed to see her again, taking her, Miyuki, and the baby in for the night without question.
  • Wandering Son has Yuki Yoshida, a trans woman Takatsuki meets while out as a boy for the first time. She's the Cool Big Sis for Takatsuki, Nitori, and to a degree Makoto later on.

    Comic Books 
  • In Avengers Academy, Julie Power serves as a mentor to the newly-out Striker, though she is continually frustrated that Striker keeps using his sexuality to draw headlines.
  • In The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars, the older Kya serves as this towards Korra (the title character) and her girlfriend Asami.
  • Dykes to Watch Out For: Samia and a somewhat reluctant Ginger find themselves doing this for Ginger's neo-conservative student Cynthia.

    Fan Works 
  • Being unashamedly bisexual/pansexual, Minako is this to the rest of the Senshi in But You Won't Have To Do It Alone. She admits that she can't relate to her friend's gayngst well, being that she never had any issue with her sexuality, but she's always there to be a shoulder for sympathy or advice.
  • Long-time gay Miss Alice Band is this to new Assassins' Guild graduate Jocasta Wiggs in Discworld fics by A.A. Pessimal. in fact, there is a possibility Alice acts as a mentor and a discreet help to young Assassin students who have reason to suspect boys will not feature more than incidentally in their lives. (She was, however, professional enough as a teacher to wait till after Jocasta had graduated. She knows where the line is and not to cross it.)
  • In Denounce the Evils, Harley has been living as a woman for a while now. James asks her for advice about his gender questioning.
  • Moving is a one-shot fic for The Children's Hour film where Karen, drifting aimlessly after her best friend Martha's Gayngst-Induced Suicide, ends up rooming with a woman. The woman is a trans lesbian who takes Karen in and helps her come to the realization of her own bisexuality.
  • Implied in the Land of Oz one-shot The Road Built in Hope. Dorothy stays with a lesbian couple in San Francisco for a while. Dorothy is a bit young for romance, but her affections for Ozma are likely to develop as she ages.
  • In A Song of Grumbling & Cotton Candy, Pizzazz calls her groupie Clash and her girlfriend Blaze upon drunkenly asking Jem out on a date. Clash actually cheated on Blaze with Pizzazz once, but Pizzazz is still in heavy denial over being lesbian and has no clue how dating women works.
  • Warriors Rewrite: Firepaw is trans, as is Redtail. As a result, Redtail offers to be there for advice for the younger cat.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • In But I'm a Cheerleader, which takes place in a gay conversion camp, Lloyd and Larry are an older gay couple who met at the camp. They help sneak the characters out of the camp and into the local gay bar and generally introduce the kids to what life is like as an out person. When Dolph and Megan are thrown out of the camp, they even take them in until they can live on their own.

    Literature 
  • Two of Annie's teachers reluctantly play this role in Annie on My Mind. They're closeted and in a Secret Relationship. After both they and Annie are Forced Out of the Closet, Annie begins opening up to them about her relationship with Liza. In Annie's case, she uses them as a basis on how she doesn't want her life to be. Annie doesn't want to stay closeted forever.
  • I Am J:
    • After running away from home for a few days, seventeen-year-old trans boy J meets Marcia. She's a trans woman who visits the motel looking for runaway teens to give them advice. Marcia recommends that J visit a shelter for LGBT teens. She's a bit character who only appears in that one scene, but she has a major impact on J's Coming-Out Story.
    • Chanelle, who goes to J's high school, is a twenty-year-old trying to graduate (with the cut-off age being twenty-one). Chanelle is a trans woman herself, and she acts as J's older sister-esque friend who helps him where his cisgender Childhood Friend Melissa cannot.
    • J meets Zak, an older trans guy, at a support group for transmasculine people. He helps inspire J and is his sole male friend.
  • Just Juliet: Scott offers to serve as this for Lena, helping her discern her sexual orientation and answer questions which she has to the best of his ability. She's very grateful for it.
  • These Words Are True and Faithful: Because of the age difference between Sam and Ernie, Ernie mentors Sam, primarily in the BDSM scene, but also in gay life in general:
    “What do you mean, why? You really are new at this, aren’t you?”
    “So enlighten me.”
    “You see, gay guys aren’t supposed to be young and hot like you are and also educated professionals like you are, and if you are, you broke one of the gay commandments, so everybody has to put you in what they think’s your place.”

    Live-Action TV 
  • Age-inverted in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Middle-aged Daryl only realizes he's bisexual when he realizes he's attracted to the much younger White Josh, who has been out since he was twelve. Despite being younger, White Josh serves as Daryl's mentor thanks to his much more profound experience with being gay.
  • Love, Victor: Simon, who had gone through his own coming out journey in the original movie, serves as a mentor to closeted Victor, giving him advice through messages on Instagram. In the episode "Boy's Trip," Victor takes a trip to New York to visit Simon, and Bram and the rest of his & Simon's friend group fill the role of supporting Victor.
  • In Pose, Blanca finds herself pressed into service as Damon's queer mentor because he is so virginal that he barely even knows how to kiss someone properly.
  • Subverted on Schitt's Creek. Jocelyn enlists the Camp Gay David in talking to a gay student who isn't fitting in. The boy rebuffs his advances because he has no interest in fitting in their conservative small town.
  • Sense8: Trans lesbian Nomi helps her gay clustermate Lito come to terms with their identities and sexualities at multiple times throughout the show.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: In the third season and onwards, middle-aged gay male couple Paul Stamets and Hugh Culber end up as surrogate queer parents to the teenage non-binary character Adira Tal.
  • Supergirl: Maggie serves as this for Alex when she comes out, with this role and the related fact that they're in very different positions in life being reasons that Maggie gives for initially turning down Alex despite being attracted to her.
  • Marc on Ugly Betty sometimes served as a mentor to Justin, who was in the Transparent Closet until Season 4.
  • Mildly age-inverted on Will & Grace. Jack is younger than Will but was out before Will and even realized that Will was gay before Will did.

    Theatre 
  • In Tennessee Williams's Vieux Carre, the Nightingale serves as this to the Writer, a stand-in for Williams. (The play is heavily autobiographical.)

    Video Games 
  • In A Normal Lost Phone the main character Sam seeks community in an online forum called Be You and finds guidance and comfort in several of the older members, including Harry, a trans man who lives in her city.

    Web Comics 
  • Batman: Wayne Family Adventures: Kate Kane (a lesbian) gives her cousin's adopted son Tim Drake (who is bisexual) advice on pursuing and dating someone of the same sex in the "Better and Brighter" two-parter.
  • Remy's diary in Tiger, Tiger details his relationship with Arno, the stoic, older owner of a tavern where gay men regularly convene. At first it seems like the two only had a one-night stand but it's revealed that Remy saw Arno several times, with Arno becoming a confidant that the still-closeted Remy frequently voiced his troubles to, such as his increasing infatuation with Jamis. Arno is also the one who introduces the idea of Maldoror as a sort of patron god to people "rejected by the world" (the implication being that this includes gay people) as a way to comfort Remy.
    Arno: But if the world will not have us, at least we have each other. You are so afraid of what the world will think of your true self, but if the world will not accept you the way you are, because you don't love the way they want you to love, in my opinion, that world isn't worthy of you.

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