Follow TV Tropes


Mistaken for Gay

Go To

Announcer: I am pleased to announce that there is no trace of the HIV virus in either Kyle Broflovski or Eric Cartman. Together these boys beat their illness. With nothing but each other, and overcoming all odds, these two brave friends...
Kyle: Oh stop! We're not friends! HE'S the one who infected me with AIDS!
Announcer: These two brave lovers found the cure and helped the world!
South Parknote 

A comedy plot line in which a character wrongly believes another character to be gay, either because of misinformation received or because of the supposedly gay character's own misinterpreted words and actions. Once the character is taken to be a homosexual, all his words and actions become laden with innuendo and further misunderstandings, and humor ensues.

This can often be caused with supernatural secrets, such as superpowers or lycanthropy, which aren't immediately obvious, or various other embarrassing secrets.

Almost inevitable for Heterosexual Life-Partners. This plot may be the first time we've heard them explicitly say they're not gay (whether we believe them or not is another matter).

A slight subversion occurs when a character is suspected of being gay and takes this as a compliment, since that person deeply sympathizes with gay people.


For such characters to qualify, they have to be mistakenly assumed to be homosexual, even if the G, H, and L words are not used. However, these characters don't need to retaliate or tell those who have mistaken them that they aren't gay as such characters can easily disprove these mistakes through other means such as a revelation of a straight relationship.

See also Mistaken for Index. When the character probably is gay but is in denial, they're in the Transparent Closet. When the Character is heterosexual but acts like the Camp Gay stereotype they're Camp Straight. Due to the common belief that All Men Are Perverts and A Man Is Always Eager, any male character who isn't shown to jump at the chance to have sex with a woman will be mistaken for gay (if not actually gay) by the audience and possibly by the other characters as well (especially male characters).



    open/close all folders 
  • Subverted in a bit featured in John Mulaney's "New in Town," in which Mulaney confesses that while he is a straight man, he probably shouldn't be, and understand assumptions that he's gay.
  • Happened to Tim Nutt.
    I went to Gay Pride last year. I thought they said beer. "Swing by the parade, there'll be thousands of beers", that's what I heard. It was fun! I was glad I went. Took me a while to figure out what the hell was going on, though. Got down there, full of enthusiasm, "We're here! We're beer! We're here! We're beer! We're... we're... we're what? All of ya? Wooow! You guys are gonna laugh! I heard the wrong word. What do you say we get together Saint Patrick's Day? I'd be more comfortable with that. Or maybe I'll see you at your wedding."
  • Comedian Rip Taylor, who was married to Las Vegas showgirl Rusty Rowe and later divorced, appeared in Washington D.C.'s Capital Pride parade as the Grand Marshal. When referred to as openly gay, Rip sent "Ask the Flying Monkey" host Brent Hartinger an e-mail stating: "You don’t know me to summarize that I am openly gay. I don’t know that you’re not an openly heroin user. You see how that works? Think before you write."

    Comic Books 
  • Several characters mistake Amadeus Cho for The Incredible Hercules' eromenos. This pisses off Cho every time.
  • Astro City:
    • The old women in Crackerjack's boarding house think his secret identity is gay because he's a "theater type" with long hair.
    • Nightingale and Sunbird also face rumors of lesbianism after an unlicensed comic portrayed them as "closer than sisters" and strongly implied there was something going on there.
  • Greg Rucka mentioned a story that he'd like to do but knows DC would never let him: A group of Gotham socialites are discussing their relationships with Bruce Wayne, and one of them eventually confesses that she's never had sex with him. They compare notes, realise that none of them have actually had sex with Bruce Wayne, and come to the inevitable conclusion...
  • In the graphic novel Bikini Cowboy, Rod McCloud observes that Whisky Jill is affectionate towards her Native American friend Tonta and asks if they are lesbians. Whisky Jill and Tonta are disgusted by the idea that they'd love each other in that way.
  • In Black Magick #8, Morgan is in a huff with Rowan because he thinks that Rowan and Alex are an item and that Rowan hasn't told him yet. This causes Rowan to burst out laughing.
  • And as shown in the page picture, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), which has been a Running Gag for years.
  • In Cavewoman: A Wizard, A Sorceress and Meriem, Zordu and Teegan refer to Carrie as Meriem's 'consort'. Leads to this exchange:
    Zordu: Do not worry. Your consort will be well cared for.
    Meriem: What's a consort?
    Zordu: Your lover, of course.
    Carrie: No way! We're both strictly dickly.
    Teegan: Are you sure?
  • In Convergence: The Question #2, Batwoman is jealous that Huntress lives with her ex-girlfriend, Renee Montoya. She's embarrassed when she learns that Huntress is straight and they're just roommates.
  • Empowered had a supervillain team called "Rum, Sodomy, and The Lash". When Emp confronts The Lash, she asks where his teammates are and he sadly explains that Rum had to go to an AA meeting, and Sodomy got tired of explaining that he only represents heterosexual sodomy and quit.
  • In Judd Winick's Green Lantern, when Kyle learns his art assistant, Terry Berg, is gay and having trouble coming out, he asks his editor how he handled it. The editor explains that he didn't, because he's not gay.
  • In Kick-Ass, this happens to Dave Lizewski after he gets beaten up twice while trying to be a real-life superhero, with the kids at school assuming he's a gay prostitute who keeps getting beaten up by his clients. Dave goes along with it for a while since his crush, Katie Deauxma, adopts him as a gay best friend. The situation does not end well. After acting the part of the Gay Best Friend (including spray tanning her topless), he admits it was all a ruse. Katie is furious, and has her boyfriend beat him up, followed by a graphic photo of their sex sent by phone.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: There is a moment in a story when the General Director walks in on them in the worst possible moment and thinks Filemon is proposing to Mortadelo.
  • Ms. Tree: In "Skeletons in the Closet", an underground gay magazine 'outs' Michael and her secretary Effie as a lesbian couple, even though they're not.
  • Happens to Doctor Strange in the miniseries The Oath often enough to qualify as a running gag. First, random street toughs assume he and his friend and servant Wong are a gay couple, then Night Nurse seems to assume that Wong calling Stephen 'master' is sexual in nature (alluded to by her remark about his being unable to pass comment on 'other people's fetishes'). Then Reginald Pavlish, a would-be patient of Strange's in his last days as an arrogant young surgeon offers 'something else' to repay Strange, in what reads very nearly as an inverted Scarpia Ultimatum (Strange turns him down anyway.)
  • Stephan Pastis was able to get one of these jokes into Pearls Before Swine. Rat, being as cynical as ever, stayed in bed due to his view of the world. Pig got in bed with him and Rat tried to get out before anyone saw. Goat eventually came in, resulting in an incredibly awkward moment for the three of them.
  • A regular Running Gag on Quantum and Woody, where Woody insists to anyone within earshot that they're "not a couple."
  • Quicksilver once confessed to his on-again-off-again wife Crystal that he'd begun seeing someone, and it was a man. She was a bit shocked but said she understood. As it turned out, he was "seeing" Doc Samson, a psychologist.
  • In Rawhide Kid: The Sensational Seven, the openly gay Rawhide Kid figures his compatriot the Two-Gun Kid for gay based on his costume — stuff like the kerchief, the mask, the print on the vest. When they talk about it, Two-Gun is mortified and says he has to rethink his look, but Rawhide encourages him to keep it the same, saying that being tough is about standing your ground, being true to yourself, and not caring about what other people think.
  • The relationship between Nico and Karolina in Runaways was complicated by Karolina's crush on Nico. When Nico swore off men after learning that her boyfriend Alex Wilder was The Mole who had betrayed them Karolina believed that Nico had decided to "switch" and subsequently attempted to kiss her and was gently rebuffed. The resulting conversation is extraordinarily awkward as Karolina wonders if the problem is that she is going "too fast," whereas Nico had never realized that Karolina was in love with her in the first place. The Ship Tease between the two characters would be a regular occurrence through the remainder of the original series' run, and they eventually got together in the revived series.
  • In issue 15 of She's Josie, Melody believes her friend Pepper is hitting on her:
    Pepper: Melody, I appeal to you!
    Melody: ♪ Oh you do, Pepper! But I like boys better! ♫
    Pepper: No, no, you ninny! I want your help!
  • The eleventh issue of Spider-Girl involved Mayday Parker being stranded in the past at the time where her father, the original Spider-Man, first encountered Spencer Smythe's Spider-Slayer. J. Jonah Jameson mistakes Spider-Girl for Spider-Man and notes how Spider-Man suddenly appears more feminine, then starts to panic over how people will react to his attacks on Spider-Man if he is a minority. While not explicitly stated, it's implied that J. Jonah Jameson came to the conclusion that Spider-Man is gay.
  • Early on in J. Michael Straczynski's Spider-Man run, when Aunt May discovers the truth about her nephew's super-hero identity she admits that for the longest time due to his sometimes odd behavior and natural sensitivity she thought he was gay.
  • In the Peter David Supergirl title, Linda Danvers's parents get the wrong idea when she attempts to tell them about the huge, identity-altering secret she's been keeping.
    Linda: I'm not gay! I'm Supergirl!
  • The Tick: In issue 6 when Arthur brings The Tick to his apartment for the first time, after the Tick realizes it's his home and not a secret base he immediately asks Arthur if he's "funny".
  • In the first issue of Toxin, Pat tries to tell his buddy that he's become merged with a symbiote. His buddy initially thinks that he's about to come out of the closet.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra: Matt and Foggy are always together, so Phoebe had thought that they were gay.
    • The Ultimates: Exploited by Captain America. After Hulk had disposed of the Big Bad, Captain America told him that he had been talking with the crews of the alien ships, and they said that Hulk was a sissy boy. Blatant Lies, of course, but it was enough to send an enraged behemoth of destruction against those ships, willing to prove that "HULK STRAIGHT!!"
  • Subverted in Young Avengers: Billy's trying to tell his parents he's a superhero but ends up coming out to them in a totally different way - except that he really is gay and his parents think his boyfriend is the perfect son-in-law.

    Comic Strips 
  • Pops up seemingly out of left field in Heart of the City. Heart has an anxiety attack before a dance audition and her friend hugs her to comfort her. A couple of other kids see them and jump to conclusions.
  • One Pearls Before Swine strip has Pig crawling into bed with Rat and Rat trying to get Pig out of the bed before somone sees.... just as Goat walks in and goes "Ohhhhhhh myyyyyyyy" and Rat instantly trying to get the truth out.

    Fan Works 
  • The Alphabet Story: Elsa believes that Kendar implying that his sister is in love with a woman is suspicious. She comes to a conclusion that he was really talking about himself and that's also why he stopped courting her.
  • In a oneshot called Archer of King Arthur, the knights of the round table start to believe Archer is GAR for the king based on all the looks he sends him when he's not looking.
  • As Christmas inverts it. Garak is blatantly gay yet Kira firmly believes he's straight and interested in Ziyal. Ziyal herself bursts out laughing when she learns this — because seriously, Garak blues his chufa, you can't be more obvious about that!
  • Zigzagged in Ask the Ghostbusters, a fan-made Q&A based on The Real Ghostbusters. When Egon is asked which of his friends he'd date if he was forced to, he describes them all as being "lookers". This causes Peter Venkman to ask him if he was gay and he denies it, but a footnote says that he "was not exactly telling the truth". Eventually, it's revealed that, while he's not gay, he is pansexual.
  • A driving force of the conflict during the start of Assumptions. Everyone assumes this about the athletic, tomcoltish Rainbow Dash. Even her friend Pinkie Pie thinks this, and was hoping to "experiment" with her. One of the reasons she's falling for Caramel, who she'd ignore otherwise, is because he's a nice conversation partner that doesn't judge her.
  • Bequeathed from Pale Estates: In spite of poor Robb's flailing and wailing about his heterosexuality, their Dornish guests firmly believe his best friend Theon is actually his paramour — which is not helped by said friend gleefully encouraging the misassumption. And his new goodbrother actually knows Robb has no interest in the male form, but he blushes so prettily...
  • Happens to Georg in Beyond the Outer Gate Lies.... Due to his fanboying over Dresden and apparent lack of interest in his cute, aggressive apprentice (she's just not his type and too young). The fact he doesn't complain about being portrayed as a girl on TV doesn't help his case, either.
  • The PandoraHearts fanfic Beyond the Winding Road has Oz and Vincent, before Oz can explain who Vincent really is. His mother mistakes Oz's idea for a family meeting as him being about to come out of the closet and Vincent for his boyfriend, and she's accepting to the point of embarrassing. Oz actually does come out in a way, but it's more about identity than sexual orientation.
  • Celadon's New Blossom contains a variant. In it, Ash becomes Erika's student but must be Disguised in Drag. The Pokémon League ends up sending someone to see why Ash changed his ID from male to female. They've come to conclusion that Ash has come out as a trans girl. Ash is cisgender but he doesn't deny this. Erika and Ash go with it and make up a cover story about how Ash realized he was transgender after starting his journey, so he came to Erika to learn how to become more ladylike. Ash acknowledges that this lie will lead to trouble when he goes back to Ash, but he decides he'll focus on the present for now.
  • In the Harry Potter story The Chosen Six, Sirius and Remus moving together into the house next door is enough for the Dursleys to be convinced these two man have to be gay - while in reality they aren't. Although not shown, this misunderstanding probably is only resolved once Remus moves out and Sirius marries his love Diane.
  • Somehow, James inverts this in Co-op Mode by mistaking Taylor mistaking him for gay because of the way she had let him massage her.
  • In Desmond ex Machina, Federico goes to wake up his younger brother only to find him abed with a naked, quite handsome young man and immediately draws the only logical conclusion — as time-traveling shenanigans are a mite far-fetched for anyone. Quite sweetly, the entire family is okay with Ezio being a sodomite in spite of the strongly homophobic context of the Renaissance.
  • A Dragon's Roar: After failing to gain Daeron's attention, Cersei comes to the conclusion that he's gay. Elia laughs off the notion, as Oberyn tried and failed to entice him to his bed.
  • In Coco fanfic Dead Men Tell Tales, the first skeleton Ernesto de la Cruz approaches after his death is a girl named Coleta. She recognizes him but shows no signs of the adoration he expects from girls, making him assume she's a lesbian. The reason she hates him is because Hector denounced him as his murderer.
  • Hilariously enough, despite acting like a stereotypical gay man (and the Double Entendres don't help), Zarbon is revealed to have a girlfriend in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. Even Freeza was shocked to find out he was straight. Course, in turn, Zarbon's surprised that everyone thought he was gay. Despite acting Ambiguously Gay even after being outed as straight. Freeza remains convinced that his "girlfriend" is named Chuck, but Word of God from TFS confirmed that Zarbon really is straight.
  • Fate: Kill: Shirou helps Lubbock walk when he is injured and Lubbock becomes really grateful. Their interaction looks really gay to everyone and Selka and Akame (who have crushes on Shirou) become jealous of Lubbock.
  • Fate/Long Night: When Shirou says he's never had a girlfriend in his life and that he finds Nymeria scary instead of hot, Brandon asks if he's a "sword swallower".
  • Heroes Never Die: Both Bakugo and Izuku are separately mistaken for gay. Bakugo because of his insane focus on Izuku, and Izuku for being unconcerned with all the girls in skin-tight and revealing clothing.
  • In Heroic Myth, Hestia accuses Bell of this after summoning nothing but stunningly handsome men as Servants until he summons Jack.
    Hestia: You summoned another one!? [shakes Bell like a ragdoll] I thought I told you that I can't be surrounding myself with men all the time!
    Bell: I'm sorry! It's not like I can choose who answers!
    Hestia: That's no excuse! Wait…are you hiding something, Bell? Don't tell me you're actually interested in-
  • In the Star Trek: Enterprise fanfic Hoshi's Birthday Surprise, Malcolm Reed accidentally leads Hoshi Sato into a Gayborhood, stating that he "prefers the atmosphere" there. This causes her to think that he's gay, when actually they both have wicked crushes on each other. Hoshi also ends up thinking that Trip is gay when she realises that he and Malcolm interact a lot, so she mistakes the two as being boyfriends.
  • In How I Learned to Love the Wild Horse, Arnold is mistaken for gay by his mother despite her walking in on him having sex because Donna, the woman he's having sex with, is a muscular Tomboy with a pixie cut.
  • In Infinity Train: Seeker of Crocus, the people involved in a train-to-Den City virtual conference to help Specter get the courage to return to the Train can clearly read between the lines that Specter and Paul London might be having a thing for one another from hints that include London's determination to sacrifice himself so that Specter can leave and Specter's...enthusiasm to return so he can make amends. London has to point out that this isn't the case, mostly due to the age difference (Specter is 16, London is nearing 40). Even better for those who read Infinity Train: Knight of the Orange Lily since most of Specter's journeys can be seen as a parallel to a person trying to tell their family that they're LGBT (but uses how Specter wanted to befriend his Ignis partner, Earth) and the co-author revealed that Specter is gay and has a crush on Ryoken.
  • Due to some misunderstandings in I still Say it Looks like a Nail, Xander thinks his uncle Jack O'Neil is gay when he brings up military regulations preventing a relationship with someone named Sam. Later when Xander meets SG-1, he thinks "Sam" and "Danny" are short for "Samuel" and "Danielle" rather than Samantha and Daniel, leading to further misunderstandings.
  • In Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger, when Jaune goes to ask Ren for romantic advice, he walks in on Ren after the latter had just finished taking a shower and was only wearing a towel. He proceeds to drag a half-naked Ren over to his bed before telling him how he feels as though he's formed a close bond with him. Ren misinterprets this as Jaune trying to hit on him before the latter clarifies that he wants advice on dating girls.
  • In Kanto Calling, Ash is so Oblivious to Love that he thinks Misty has a crush on Serena, not him, just because she complimented Serena. He doesn't even notice that Misty is jealous of Serena.
  • The Life and Times of a Winning Pony: In Cadance's Lovely Misadventure, when Cadance was trying to set Shining Armor up with a date and he was trying to say (in a rather roundabout way) he was in love with her, he tried to specify that his ideal date would be in the nobility, and also a close friend. Cadance, knowing that all his other friends were stallions and not realizing he was talking about her, concluded he was into guys. Afterwards, Shining was too mortified to correct the misunderstanding, although Cadance caught on on her own later on.
  • In Loki: Agent of Doomgard Verity implies to her mother that Loki doesn't date women to stop her from playing matchmaker. Loki naturally rather uses this opportunity for trolling and doesn't even try to clear the misunderstanding.
  • Inverted in this Miraculous Ladybug AU post. Chat Noir's strong and open admiration for Ladybug makes her think he has a crush on her, which is problematic since she's gay. When she let's him down gently by revealing her sexuality, Chat says that he's also gay, he just really likes working with her.
  • A Moon and World Apart: Inverted in chapter 7. Rarity initially mistakes Onyx Plate for straight when she first meets him and starts flirting with him, and then apologizes to Twilight for flirting with her "husband" when Onyx informs her he's married. It's not until Twilight gently explains otherwise that Rarity realizes the extent of her error and is mortified, thinking she must have offended him horribly.
  • In Natural Selection, Mako assumes that Nonon and Satsuki are a couple. Both of them are quick to clarify that they aren't.
  • In New Chance, a ten year old Naruto tells Gaara that he thinks Haku and Sai are gay. While the rest of the Konoha 12, Haku and Sai are eavesdropping. His reasons being that Haku likes dressing like a woman a little too much and he mistakes Sai's attempt to make friends as a case of Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?.
    Naruto: Haku and Sai have some serious image issues. I think they're gonna come out the closet one day.
    Haku: [thinking] If we compared the number of fangirls we each had, he'd find out he was wrong.
    Sai: [thinking] Why would I get in a closet?
  • Oblivion has Alexis Terra and Marley Flowers initially subjected to this...until it becomes clear that Marley is a woman.
  • In The Loud House Rule 63 fanfic One Girl with Ten Brothers, after Luke comes out of the closet to his family (and accept him for it), the rest of the Louds admit they always assumed the fashionable Loni would be the gay one.
    "What's that supposed to mean?" Loni asked offended.
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. A Running Gag with Captain Proton thanks to his Heroic Build coupled with his campy Zee Rust Space Rangers uniform.
    Kincaid: Are you aware that the Space Ranger uniform throws serious doubts upon your sexuality? Have you ever tried to roger Ramjet yourself?
  • In Queen of All Oni, after Jade says that Daolon Wong's "in the closet", Ratso assumes it means something else (he's actually literally locked in a closet in the old Dark Hand building).
  • In the Star Wars fic, Quintessence, Anakin and Obi-Wan were captured by natives of a backwater planet and were about to be burnt at a stake, not because they were mistaken as witches as initially assumed, but because the folks thought they were lovers.
  • Ranma ½ fics:
    • In Same Time Next Year, according to Nabiki, Akane's frequent statements about how she hates boys have led to a few people wondering if she's a lesbian.
    • In Vino Veritas? has Ranma, in female form, buying a pregnancy test for Akane. Shampoo runs into him at the store, and assumes that the pregnancy test is for him, due to him being in girl form.
  • In Rising of the Sleeping Soldier, when Motoyasu thinks that Alucard's companions are his harem, he mentally apologizes to Sypha and tells him that they are both male just to mess with him.
    Motoyasu: Well. Huh. Guess you swing that way...
  • In Savage, Ichigo assumed Tatsuki and Orihime were dating from how close they are. The fact Orihime says stuff like "I promised Tatsuki I would come back to her" really doesn't help matters.
  • The Second Try: When Touji meets Kaworu, he wonders if he's gay. However, when Touji asks him, Kaworu is genuinely clueless about what Toji was implying (but he finds his reaction "very interesting" anyway).
    Toji: Hey, you know... the way you're moving and talking... and that smiling... you're not... I mean not that I'd have anything against it... but still...
    Kaworu: I am afraid I do not know what you are referring to.
    Toji: Yeah, sure, never mind.
  • In Shocker: Legit, Shocker comes to the conclusion that Peter Parker is gay — based largely on a comment Peter accidentally makes about wearing spandex.
  • Tangled Up in Indigo's plot kicks off with Afterschool Tea Time learning their fanbase outside of Japan thinks they're lesbians. Yui actually is.
  • In Time and Again, Naruto fumbles his explanation to Sakura about why he's incapable of seeing Hinata romantically (because from his perspective, doing so would make him a paedophile) so she decides that he must be gay, stating that "it does explain some things".
  • In the Bleach / Kill la Kill crossover To My Death I Fight, Isshin Kurosaki reveals that he thinks Uryu is gay just because he sews, and asks if his father knows he's in the closet. When Uryu indignantly says his father was the one who taught him how to sew, Isshin assumes his father is gay too.
  • In Ultra Fast Pony, "A Library With No Twilight", Phil encourages Applejack and Rarity to make out. Both of them yell at Phil—and Applejack is surprised at Rarity's reaction, because she'd always assumed Rarity was gay.
  • Meta example: Undocumented Features was written over many long nights where the three authors would go up to their room and plot, and their classmates thought they were gay (or at least bisexual) because who writes fiction on a Friday night?
  • Frequent in fanfiction. Very. For example, this (in some form) features in this Watchmen fanfiction written for Yuletide Treasure. It features a scene of Ozymandias awkwardly jumping to the conclusion that he's being mistaken for gay during an interview — Not That There's Anything Wrong with That.
  • In the Young Justice (2010) fic We Love Our Two Dads, Superboy and Robin, and eventually the rest of the team, enforce this trope in regards to the public identities of Superman and Batman as revenge for the way Superman treats Superboy (and as for why they involved Batman, Robin was apparently mad at him for something).
  • Painful version in Dark Fic With Pearl and Ruby Glowing when Hector Rivera and Hiccup Haddock are mistaken for gay (individually, decades apart) by a murder cult.
  • The Worst Prisoner: Or at least Mistaken for Bi. Sokka attempts to make Zuko jealous by telling him how handsome and charming Jet was, but all he achieves is making Zuko believe he had a crush on him. Sokka is not amused by this when he founds out.
  • Yin and Yang Series: Fujuju, who's soft spoken and a House Husband.
  • In LittleKuriboh's Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Pegasus is believed to be gay, what with Bakura's Millennium Gaydar pointing at his castle. (His entire personality didn't help.) However, it is later revealed he was married to Cecelia, and that Croquet is the gay one.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Batman and Harley Quinn, Nightwing gets a Raging Stiffie while tied up and in the presence of an underwear clad Harley. Amused, Harley says she's surprised because she had always assumed he and Batman were a couple. Shocked, Nightwing says that is definitely not true, and he and Harley have sex.
  • In the original Ice Age movie, Diego cracks a joke about this when he sees Manny and Sid defending a human baby:
    Diego: I see. Can't have one of your own, so you want to adopt.
  • In Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Barry Allen decides to tell his mother that he's The Flash, but gets embarrassed when she interrupts and says she already knows he's gay and she's not ashamed. He corrects her, then realizes he has bigger problems when she has no idea who The Flash is (the timeline has changed).
  • Monsters, Inc.. - Celia's furious when she thinks Mike's cheating on her with Sulley on her birthday.
  • The Princess and the Frog: During a trolley ride, a guy sitting next to Tiana tries to offer her a flower but, while he's distracted picking the flower, she leaves her seat and he mistakenly offers it to the guy on the other side.
  • In Superman Unbound, Steve Lombardi assumes that Clark is gay (oblivious to the fact that Clark and Lois are dating), commenting that he never seems interested in women, and doesn't follow sports, but stays in shape. Lois turns it on Steve and asks if he's interested in Clark.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The plot of Three to Tango is that Chicago architect Oscar Novak is mistaken for gay and has to keep up the charade because he was hired for the contract of his life on the assumption he was gay so he could act as a safe companion for his new boss's mistress Amy. Hilarity Ensues.
  • 21st Century Serial Killer: Early in the movie, Aaron mentions to his female coworker at the post office that Erin isn't "doing it" for him. After a night out with Charles, in which Aaron couldn't bring himself to kill anyone, to Charles' annoyance, the female coworker has a very different idea of what Aaron meant.
  • Happens in 42 when Ralph Branca tries to coax Jackie Robinson to shower with the rest of the baseball team instead of waiting for the others to finish.
  • Absolutely Anything: Catherine thinks Neil is gay after he has what seems to be a man whom he's hiding in his flat who talks like his lover (actually his talking dog). However, it's oddly enough the day after the two had sex, which you'd think would have told her otherwise.
  • Adam (2019): Or rather, mistaken for trans. Adam gets hit on and picked up while at an LGBT+ club by a woman who's unaware that he's cisgender, thinking Adam's trans like most guys there. Later this also happens with another queer girl, Gillian, whom he dates.
  • American Beauty: The paranoid ex-Marine neighbor wrongly suspects his son and the protagonist (played by Kevin Spacey) of having a homosexual affair after he catches the two together and thinks his son's giving the protagonist a blow job (he was actually just rolling a blunt). As it turns out, he's a closet case himself. His son ends up rolling with it to get out of his father's grasp and when he accidentally reveals he's gay to the protagonist, he puts a bullet into his head.
  • The Art of the Steal: Agent Bick's initial attempt to threaten Francie with Prison Rape misfires slightly:
    Interpol Agent Bick: Let me ask you a question. You ever seen the inside of Sing Sing?
    Francie Tobin: I haven't.
    Interpol Agent Bick: 'Cause I know a lot of guys who would like to fuck you inside there.
    Francie Tobin: You hitting on me?
  • In Bad Boys, Julie thought Marcus was gay from all of Mike's pictures at his apartment.
  • Bad Boys II: At the electronic store Mike and Marcus discusses Marcus' butt injury, while being incidentally broadcast throughout the store, customers miss the context and thought they were talking about anal sex.
  • One of the comedic subplots of Bend It Like Beckham concerned Jules's mother being convinced her tomboyish daughter was a lesbian and her best friend, Jess, was her girlfriend. This is established by having her overhear Innocent Innuendos with incredible serendipity. Probably the most notable moment is when she starts coming up the stairs towards her daughter's room, where she's speaking with Jess about her relationship with the football team's coach -
    Jules: You don't know the meaning of love!
    • This is probably a nod the original script, in which Jess and Jules were actually going to be outright lovers (before Chadha decided that that would be just too alien for a mainstream audience on top of Jess' Indian culture). It's not the only such surviving artifact of that plot.
    • And played both ways, as Jules' non-traditional interests and Gender-Blender Name cause Jess' family to think she's a boyfriend from her description.
  • In Bernie, the title character snaps and kills his friend Marjorie after she pushes him too far. During a later conversation with one of the townspeople, Bernie asks if it's possible for someone to snap under duress and do something terrible that they couldn't possibly have done under normal circumstances. He's covertly referring to killing Marjorie, but the woman he's talking to thinks he's trying to confess to being gay.
  • This didn't seem to affect them in Bringing Up Baby, when Grant goes to the door in Katie Hepburn's dressing gown because there's nothing else to wear, the dignified lady caller wants to know what he's doing in that getup; Grant jumps up in the air, waving his arms, and yells "Because I just went GAY all of a sudden!" While film studios at this time usually got away with having flaming gay characters by contextualizing them as "mistaken for gay" or Frasier-like refined but straight males, in this case and a few others MGM got away with Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • But I'm a Cheerleader: Everyone but Megan knows that she's gay. Also a very butch girl at the reeducation camp Megan's parents send her to "comes out" as straight, having been mistaken for gay just because of her looks.
  • In the film Cashback, the main character and his friend Sean (in a flashback) narrowly avoid being caught looking at a dirty magazine, but fail to hide their erections...
    Voiceover: After that, Sean's mum always thought we were gay.
  • The Children's Hour, and the source play, is about two teachers who are sabotaged by a student when she starts a rumor that they're in a gay love affair. Given that this is the early 20th century it's not taken lightly. Parents remove all the kids from the school, they lose a law-suit against the child's grandmother which causes them to become public disgraces around America, their reputation is ruined, and one of their fiancées dumps them since he believed the lie. The twist ending is, as implied multiple times in the film, that Martha was really gay. Either way she tragically commits suicide.
  • One of the subplots of Class Act is that Duncan Pinderhughes' parents are so confused by the Hip-Hop culture of Blade Brown that they suspect the two might be gay lovers. Duncan's father doesn't realize that's not the case until the very end, when he catches Duncan having sex with Damita.
  • The French movie The Closet subverts this; when a photoshopped picture of the main character at a very gay bar in a very gay outfit shows up at his office, he is seen as gay by everyone despite no outward mannerism changes. This is intentional; the photo is sent by his neighbor in an attempt to use discrimination fears to avoid the impending layoff of the main character.
  • The film Clue features Mr. Green, whose blackmail-worthy secret is that he's gay. In the third ending, the final line of the film is him declaring he's going to go home and "sleep with [his] wife." (He was actually an undercover agent, and pretended to be homosexual to protect his family. Or, this being Hoover's FBI, he was a homosexual who pretended to be a heterosexual pretending to be a homosexual. Interpretations vary.)
  • In Crank: High Voltage, mob boss Don Kim orders Chev Chelios and Venus into his limo for a discussion. Venus' medical condition makes him go into spasms every once in a while, and the spasms make him look like he's trying to hump Don Kim. Enraged, Don Kim has Venus thrown out of the limo, then comments to Chev, "Your friend, has the gay condition."
  • In Cursed (2005), Jimmy becomes stronger and more confident after being bitten by a werewolf, combined with emitting sexual allure. His closeted bully Bo becomes attracted to him and assumes that Jimmy's change in attitude means he's closeted himself.
  • The guys from Dead Man on Campus were mistaken for gay.
  • In the 2006 film DOA: Dead or Alive, Bass Armstrong assumes his daughter Tina is in relationships with Christie and Kasumi when he walks in on Tina and Christie sharing a bed, and later Kasumi giving Tina a shoulder rub. Christie doesn't help when she sort-of hugs Tina and mentions that she Sleeps in the Nude and wants Tina to do the same. After Bass leaves, Tina kicks Christie out of the bed (literally), and the latter is not nude.
  • In Dogma, Bethany assumes that Loki and Bartleby are lovers because of some ambiguous phrasing in Bartleby's conversation. Bartleby immediately denies that they're gay, but technically since neither of them has a biological gender he's not necessarily denying anything, or at least the Slash Fic writers would like to think so ...
  • Happens in the Bollywood film Dostana when the two male leads are trying to get a flat. They run with it, because it was the only way to get the place. It backfires though.
  • A deleted scene in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer has a gag where paparazzi photographs Johnny Storm while he's kneeling in front of Ben Grimm and holding a bouquet.
  • In The Fifth Element, when Father Vito Cornelius opens his front door to find several hulking Mooks there to kidnap him:
    Cornelius: Weddings?
    Right Arm: Not really.
  • Near the beginning of The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, The Great Gazoo sees Fred and Barney lying on top of each other and thinks that they're mating (doesn't help that Gazoo's alien race has no females and they reproduce like amoebas). Talk about a gay old time!
    Fred: Oh, no, Barney and me don't, uh... Get off of me! (shoves Barney off his back and onto the floor)
  • Get Smart:
    • This exchange at the Russian restaurant:
      Max: There was a guy in the bathroom who's really hot.
      99: (surprised) Okay, well...
      Max: No, no, no, radioactive hot. Although, yes, he did have a certain rugged quality that some find appealing.
    • Max is trying to get Shtarker off a table. A minion passing by sees what appears to be "humping" Shtarker. The minion smiles appreciatively. (This scene was actually cut down for the final version of the film; the deleted part of the scene has the mook complaining that the boss is allowed that when he isn't.)
  • In Go, Adam and Zack bicker like an old married couple, causing a girl at the supermarket to think that they're gay. In a surprise reveal, it turns out that they are.
  • The Bollywood film Heyy Babyy has Riteish Deshmukh accidentally offer a flower to a male party guest. He's highly embarrassed at his faux pas, even more so when the male party guest's confusion gives way to a coquettish smile in return.
  • A Played for Drama example in Higher Learning: Remy, a lonely college student, is approached by a young, bald-headed man one night on the campus square. The young man asks Remy to come with him, causing Remy to become suspicious and angrily demand to know if the other guy is a "faggot." As it turns out, the bald kid is actually a neo-Nazi skinhead who has witnessed Remy being bullied by his black dormmates and thinks he'll make a good recruit to the "white power" cause.
  • In Horrible Bosses 2, when Nick, Dale, and Kurt break into the office of Dale's old boss Julia, Nick gets dragged into what he thinks is an AA meeting taking place there; however, it's actually a sex addiction meeting, and Nick's improvised description of his "problem" understandably leads everyone else present to think he's gay. However, Nick (the only one of the main trio who doesn't get laid regularly) is happy to go along with it when he finds out that Julia regularly tries to seduce gay men who come to the meetings with the hopes of "de-gay-ing" them, and he does indeed manage to get laid with her.
  • Hot Bot: Following a series of misunderstanding due to them attempting to keep Bardot secret, including a series of credit card charges to a No-Tell Motel, Limus and Leonard's parents come to the conclusion that they are in a relationship.
  • In I Love You, Man, a guy misinterprets the intentions of Peter (Paul Rudd), which is to say he's just looking for a guy best friend, and promptly kisses him on the mouth.
  • In the movie In & Out, Kevin Kline's character is "outed" as a joke by a former student of his, and spends most of the movie denying that he is gay. The trope is ultimately subverted when it turns out he really is gay.
  • In an early scene in Independence Day, Captain Hiller (Will Smith) ends up with a friend on one knee (demonstrating how to properly kiss ass) and holding a wedding ring box (which had just fallen out of Hiller's locker). At that precise moment, another pilot happens by, sees the situation, and walks off with his hands up in a "don't mind me" gesture.
  • The Island has Lincoln Six-Echo cornering his buddy McCord while the latter is, in Six-Echo's own words, "taking a dump in a can" (i.e., in a bar toilet). Mac even has his jeans down when Six-Echo accosts him … and then a trucker walks right in on them, with Mac even spouting accidental Double Entendre like "let's go back to my place where we can be alone" … but to talk about what's bothering Lincoln, not … well, Not What It Looks Like, as an irritated Mac tells the trucker.
  • In Just One of the Guys, Terry is a high school female posing as a high school male. When she admits her romantic feelings to Rick, he assumes she's (he's) gay.
  • The Bollywood movie Kal Ho Na Ho has this going on between the two male protagonists, played for laughs. First they get totally wasted and pass out in bed together; totally innocent but when the Indian maid walks in she is horrified. Then later she finds them yelling at each other in what looks like a lover's quarrel. Things like this continue to happen, freaking her out more and more. Finally when the man she is actually a maid to gets married to a woman, she is so happy that she actually hits/shoves the obviously gay interior decorator when he gets too close to the groom.
  • Casa Nova in Kayfabe: A Fake Real Movie About A Fake Real Sport is suspected of being gay by several of the wrestlers as a result of his obsession with his oiled physique, his refusal to wear pants in the locker room, and his tendency to refuse to let go of certain holds in the ring because "it's hot". At the end of the film, we meet his beautiful fiancée, Tatiana.
  • In Kick-Ass, after Dave is beaten up and stabbed by thugs and ran over by a car, his classmates believe him to be gay, because he was found with no clothes on. After hearing this, Katie quickly takes an interest in him becoming her Gay BFF, Dave goes along with it to be close to her. This is a remnant from the comic, which went into more detail and revolved around the fact that he was repeatedly found with no clothes on in a bad part of town, which lead people to think he was working as an underage prostitute.
  • Happens with the teenaged Laser in The Kids Are All Right, with the added twist that his parents are lesbians. In actuality, he and his friend are doing drugs.
  • The Layover: The hotel manager where Kate and Meg are staying thinks they're lesbians when they get into a fight.
  • Lethal Weapon:
    • In Lethal Weapon 3, Murtaugh gets confused when Riggs tries to fess up to doing it with Lorna. Riggs refers to her as Sgt. Cole (her rank), but Rog initially thinks he means Sgt. Cole from Traffic, who is her uncle.
    • In Lethal Weapon 4, Murtaugh doesn't understand why young detective Lee Butters keeps trying to butter him up, not knowing that Butters has secretly married his daughter. Riggs, who knows the truth, suggests that Butters is gay. Naturally much Hilarity Ensues until Murtaugh discovers the truth, whereupon he punches Riggs in the face for his prank.
  • In French movie Le Tatoué (The Tattoo), Louis de Funès's character is accused by his wife to be seeing another woman (while in truth, he's spending time with Jean Gabin's character). After lots of denial, he blurts out "No, it's a man!", to the wife's (and eavesdropping butler's) shock.
  • Little Fockers - The principal of the private school Greg is looking at assumes that Jack and Greg are a couple, a situation not helped by a confused account of the events of the night before when Greg helped Jack with a priapism episode.
  • Lost & Found (1999). David Spade's gorgeous neighbor (played by Sophie Marceau) stops by his apartment early in the morning and finds him and his friend shirtless, having just woken up. It doesn't help when his friend makes himself scarce by declaring, "I'll go make the bed!" In truth, he was simply letting his friend stay the night after a bender.
  • In Loverboy (1989), Randy is a pizza delivery boy who ends up hooking up with a rich middle-aged Italian woman named Alex. She basically becomes his Sugar Momma. When Randy's father reads some of the letters Alex sends him and notices Randy receiving expensive gifts brought by a guy, he assumes, to his horror, that Randy is gay (Alex being a gender-neutral name). Near the end of the movie, this saves Randy from a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown by three men he cuckolded when one of them (who turns out to be a friend of his father's) remembers Randy's father telling him about his son.
  • Love And Other Disasters is about a Fag Hag who does this, causing her to be Oblivious to Love with great comedic effect.
  • In Moscow on the Hudson, Robin Williams' character, who recently defected from the Soviet circus, notices a man, to whom he made a passing greeting, following him down the street. When he confronts the man: "KGB?" "No, GAY. I thought we shared a moment back there."
  • In Mr. Right, Francis fights a hitman in an alley. At one point, Francis gets behind his opponent and grabs him around the waist. A man walks up to them, and quickly walks away while calling them disgusting. Francis comments on the man being homophobic as the fight resumes.
  • In My Best Friend is a Vampire, Jeremy's parents misinterpret what's going on and conclude that their son is gay. This being 1980s Texas, they're very relieved when Jeremy introduces new girlfriend Darla at the end of the movie.
  • In My Favorite Wife Cary Grant's character Nick is mistaken for gay after he refuses to sleep with his second wife on their wedding night because his first wife has just returned from the (presumed) dead. Since the movie was made in 1940, they had to do the whole mistaken for gay subplot without ever saying the word "gay" or "homosexual" (in fact, they had to make do without any direct reference to sex of any kind). It's still surprisingly clear, especially when a therapist the (second) wife hired apparently finds Nick trying on a dress.
  • In the first The Naked Gun movie, Det. Frank Drebin had just rendered a baseball umpire unconscious to "borrow" his uniform. He removes the uniform, props the umpire over a table and proceeds to undress himself. Moments later, a janitor walks into the room, sees Drebin and the umpire, says "Whoops! Sorry, fellas!" and nonchalantly leaves.
  • Night of the Living Dorks: At the Wild Teen Party at Philip's house, Ushi sees Philip from behind with his pants down, Wurst kneeling in front of him, and Philip grunting. Wurst is stapling Philip's penis back on, but to Ushi it looks like Wurst is giving Philip a blowjob. Her response is to gather everyone at the party and making them watch her ridicule Philip for supposedly being gay.
  • Once Bitten: When Mark's friends Jamie and Russ attempt to check if his inner thigh has bite marks, it looks like both are checking out his dick. The other boys in the shower think they're gay and flee.
  • In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, James Bond encounters 12 young women who are apparently allergic to the food they work with while staying in Piz Gloria, disguised as Sir Hillary Bray, a genealogist at the London College of Arms. He entertains the women with talk about genealogy at dinner, but he chats so long, trying so hard to stay in character and not flirt, that it leads some of the women to think he's gay.
    Woman: Of course, I know what he's allergic to...
  • Ashley's best friend Dan in Over Her Dead Body who it turns out started to pretend to be gay after he is mistaken for it just to stay close to her.
  • Plan B manages to be a combination of both this and Gay Bravado. Bruno catches Pablo, the boyfriend of his ex Laura, checking him out openly at the gym, which leads him to believe that Pablo is bisexual and pretend to be gay/bi-curious himself to seduce Pablo away from Laura so that he can hook back up with her. However, it turns out that Pablo isn't actually bi and was just checking out Bruno because he looked uncannily like a man in a certain photo of Laura's, and is clearly unsure of what to think about his new friend's subtle and not-so-subtle "flirting" with him. Then all of this is subverted/deconstructed/zigzagged/something when Pablo and Bruno both realize that they've genuinely fallen in love with each other nonetheless.
  • In a deleted scene from Revenge of the Sith (kept in the novelization), Palpatine tries to worsen the growing wedge between Anakin and Obi-Wan by claiming Obi-Wan was seen leaving a certain senator's apartment at an unseemly hour. The obvious insinuation (that Obi-Wan is sleeping with Anakin's wife, Senator Padme Amidala) goes sailing over Anakin's head and he assumes Obi-Wan is sleeping with a different senator he knows (who's a guy). Palpatine wearily specifies that he meant Padme's apartment.
  • In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Robin and his Merry Men encounter Rabbi Tuckman, who misunderstands the name and asks if they're "feygeles".
  • Sam: Cynthia briefly suspects that Doc is actually gay and is attracted to his childhood friend, Sam. She's only half wrong, as Sam is now Samantha.
  • Secrets In The Hot Spring: After Qie save Hsu from a Gang of Bullies in the bathroom, rumours quickly spread on social media that he and Hsu are gay lovers. Neither one is gay. In fact, Hsu reveals that Bat, The Bully he wants to be friends with again, is a girl.
  • In 17 Again, Maggie concludes that Mike is gay after he is obviously squicked by her advances, not knowing, of course, that he's actually the 17 year old version of her father.
  • In Sextette, Sir Michael Barrington (Timothy Dalton) is confused by the media of being gay, and Barrington constantly reinforces this rumor by naively declaring such lines as "Well, yes, I would say so. Always gay, never depressed. Happy and gay. That's my motto", "It's queer to me," he's a "man's man" and that as a coxswain he "coxed the entire crew."
  • In Shampoo, Lester asumes George is gay because he's a hairdresser; in reality, George is The Casanova.
  • This appears in Snakes on a Plane, in which the effeminate, comic-relief air steward states early on that he can't wait to see his girlfriend, resulting in disbelieving remarks from his colleagues. At the end of the film, he is reunited with his girlfriend who turns out to be both real and highly attractive (and also apparently every bit as bubble-headed as he is), while the rest of the characters express their surprise.
  • Tour de Pharmacy: Marty and Adrianna begin a relationship while competing in the Tour de France, though since Adrianna is pretending to be a man so she can compete, the public thinks that they're in a same-sex relationship and hail them as gay icons.
    Lucy Flerng: Marty and Adrian became the first publicly out gay athletes, while simultaneously being in a heterosexual relationship.
  • Water (1985). Michael Caine enters the island's prison and finds its two inmates hiding under the bed as a bomb is about to go off.
    "Are you two digging a tunnel or committing an unnatural act?"
  • Welcome to Marwen: Played for Drama, as Mark was deemed "queer" by some neo-Nazis in a bar when he drunkenly mentioned liking to wear high heels, which they beat him severely for.
  • This happens to our heroes in Wild Hogs every time the bike cop appears. It doesn't help that whenever he spots or overhears them, they tend to be discussing such matters as "being ridden so hard by Woody" or taking naked baths together, as seen here.
  • In Wild Wild West, the train conductor walked in on Jim West and Artemus Gordon having a discussion on the realistic quality (or lack thereof) of the latter's costume breasts. From the angle the conductor viewed them from, it looked like they were feeling each other up — and it wasn't at all helped by their declarations of "touch my breasts." The conductor just gets a squicked look and mutters "I knew it."
  • In Zachariah, a man hassles Matthew and Zachariah for being "faggots," resulting in Zachariah's first duel.

  • 2666: The critics assume Amalfitano is gay.
  • In Alexis Carew: HMS Nightingale, Alexis' first officer Midshipman Villar is attracted to Marie, a single mother Alexis rescued from Giron in The Little Ships, but Villar walked in on them sleeping in Alexis' bed on the way to drop Marie off with Alexis' grandfather. Once he finally manages to work around to saying what he thought, Alexis bursts out laughing and explains that no, both of them are straight and they only slept in the same bed because installing a second bunk in the captain's quarters wasn't practical for either of them (Marie had to be able to get up in the middle of the night to deal with her baby, and Alexis is too short to comfortably climb to an upper bunk).
    Villar: You said your sweetheart was French!
    Alexis: Yes, French. A Frenchman. A French man, Mister Villar — a lieutenant in their navy.
  • In The Art of Being Normal, Kate is a closeted transgender girl who is mistaken for a gay boy by most people.
  • Happens to Phury in one of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood books. He kisses Rehvenge to shut the latter up after being "accused" of being gay. The Reverend is not at all thrilled the Brother called his bluff.
  • In Cartwright's Cavaliers, one of Jim Cartwright's new employees assumes he's gay because he's rarely dated women. Jim finally becomes irritated enough to correct him that he likes girls, "I just haven't found one that likes me back." (This is mainly because he's severely overweight.)
  • Cheaper By the Dozen, a memoir about a family with 12 children, includes this anecdote: While on a family trip, the father realizes that they have left one of the young sons behind at a restaurant. Upon returning they find that the nighttime clientele is rather seedier than the daytime patrons. While checking a booth the father is startled when a woman asks if he is looking for a naughty little girl. Flustered the father replies, "No! I'm looking for a naughty little boy!" The woman responds, "Whoops dearie, pardon me!"
  • In The Crystal Cave, 12-year-old Merlin meets Count Ambrosius, who turns out to be his father. Ambrosius gives him a fine set of rooms, a tutor and a servant. Given Ambrosius' seeming lack of interest in women, Ambrosius' brother Uther, who's always having affairs with women, assumes from this considerate treatment that Merlin is Ambrosius' catamite, even though Ambrosius has displayed no interest in boys either.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Harry Dresden has frequently been mistaken for his maternal half-brother Thomas Raith's lover, to Harry's dismay and Thomas' great amusement. Harry uses this to his advantage once when caught snooping in Thomas' apartment. It doesn't help when word gets to the SI division in .005 seconds.
    • In a case similar to the one of the film examples above, Thomas, when he gets a 'real job' as a hair dresser, deliberately poses as a flamboyantly gay European because there is no such thing as a 'good, high class, straight American' hairdresser. Also, it helps to prevent any of his clients from trying to make a move on him, as Thomas is an incubus and is trying to avoid any Accidental Pornomancer shenanigans.
    • The first time that medical examiner Waldo Butters meets Thomas, he immediately thinks Harry and Thomas are a couple—and this is before the events in the first example. Harry tries to convince Butters otherwise. It doesn't work, thanks to Thomas.
  • Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan is temporarily mistaken for gay by her own mother, mostly because she's 23 and hasn't had a boyfriend yet.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey: Before meeting Ana, Christian's family believed he might be gay as they'd never seen him with a woman. Even Ana spontaneously asks him if he's gay during their interview. He's actually just very private about his intimate relationships with women because he's into BDSM and doesn't want it getting out in public; Ana is the first woman he's ever been serious about so he's far more open about their relationship.
  • Jonah, best friend of the title character of MaryJanice Davidson's Fred the Mermaid series is constantly this trope, even by the woman he winds up marrying. He's actually a Camp Straight.
  • Good Omens:
    • Happens to Aziraphale and Crowley several times, but mostly to Aziraphale who apparently gives people the impression that he is "gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide." Not to mention the fact that Crowley seems to have a habit of calling Aziraphale "angel" with other (human) people present, while Aziraphale calls Crowley "dear" on a regular basis. The most notable incident being when Crowley and Aziraphale give Anathema Device a lift in Crowley's Bentley; she worries about whether or not she'll need to use her bread knife to protect herself, but when Crowley calls Aziraphale "angel," she concludes that she hadn't been in danger after all. The most humorous possibly being when a little girl tells Aziraphale, "You are rubbish. And probably a faggot."

      Also happens in fanfiction, when fics label Aziraphale/Crowley as slash. The book explicitly states that all angels are sexless by default unless they really want to make an effort and Neil Gaiman has said that while Aziraphale and Crowley were written as having a "love story" in the TV adaptation, them being an angel and a demon means that they don't subscribe to the same gender or sexuality norms that humans do.
    • A briefer earlier example is Mr Tyler's reaction to Sister Mary Loquacious and another nun winking at each other (in fact, to indicate that everything is going as planned, which it isn't, but they don't know that). He saw a Ken Russell film about nuns once.
  • Harry Potter:
    • At the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Snape and Karkaroff get put on stopping people from making out duty. Harry and Ron were trying to get away from the ball for a moment and then started eavesdropping on them. There's a brief moment where Snape is confused as to why Harry and Ron are there.
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Dudley mocks Harry for yelling "Don't kill Cedric!" in his sleep, wondering, "Who's Cedric — your boyfriend?"
  • Jaine Austen Mysteries: In This Pen for Hire, Jaine isn't sure if Cameron is gay or not. He isn't, but he acknowledges that he ticks a few boxes of stereotypes (owns an antique shop, platonic relationships with older women, etc.).
  • In Mississippi Jack, a man mistakes Jacky's riverboat tavern for a brothel. When she tries to set him straight, he assumes that the girls "must take care o' business amongst yerselfs", adding that the idea makes him sick.
  • Split Heirs: Prince Arbol spending so much time with Wulfrith is mistaken for them being lovers, which worries one councilor, inspiring his father Gudge to behead the fellow for suggesting the idea. Gudge is later simply overjoyed to see Wulfrith (Arbol's twin, though he's unaware of this) having sex with Lady Ulbi while in the library.
  • Fitz and Lord Golden (a.k.a. the Fool) in the Tawny Man trilogy. More of a Played for Drama example, as Fitz is deeply uncomfortable with this and at least a little bit homophobic. It doesn't help that the Fool describes himself as being in love with Fitz, though he also states that his feelings are not sexual. More accurately, the Fool's feelings are not necessarily sexual. He tells Fitz that he 'puts no limits' on his feelings, but he knows Fitz isn't interested and therefore it wasn't a conversation that ever needed to happen.
  • Celis in Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle is initially mistaken for a lesbian (and one that Does Not Like Men) due to her saying that she's not good with men. In reality, she just doesn't know how to interact with people in general and men in particular.
  • This happens twice in Why We Took the Car: First at the beginning, when Tschick is convinced Maik is gay, and again, when Isa thinks Maik and Tschick are wearing lipstick after they ate brambleberries.

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Couch Potato" (a spoof of Eminem's "Lose Yourself") has the line, "But I only watched Will & Grace one time, one day. Wish I hadn't, cause TiVo now thinks I'm gay!"
  • A fake interview with Eminem makes Slim Shady pretty weird...
  • The song Secret by The Veronicas:
    You could call me six times but still I won't pick up the phone
    You could spend all your money on me but still I'll say no
    You could write a million letters everyday confessing to me
    That I am the girl of your dreams
    But nobody ever asked me
    I never looked at you that way
    'Cause I always thought you were gay
  • Bo Burnham's song "My Whole Family (Thinks I'm Gay)". The twist is that not only is he gay, but he has a boyfriend, all while insisting he's straight.
  • The entire premise of the Stephen Lynch song "If I were gay" (VERY NSFW)
    But if I were gay
    I would give you my heart!
    And if I were gay
    you'd be my work of art!
    And if I were gay
    we would swim in romance...
    but I'm not gay — so get your hand out of my pants.
  • Trap rapper Playboi Carti has sometimes been mistaken for being gay: rumors about him being gay or at least bisexual surfaced on late 2017 after his ex-girlfriend Rubi Rose liked an Instagram comment that called him out. Rose herself however debunked the false rumors just a month later. These rumors resurfaced again when Carti changed his aesthetic to a vampire films-inspired one to match his long-awaited sophomore album Whole Lotta Red. Carti himself references these old rumors in the song "New Tank".
    I got me some thots
    They thought I was gay
  • Folk singer-songwriter Fred Small made a point of avoiding any references to gender in his lovesongs, so that listeners could interpret them as being about a person of any gender they liked. This, plus a number of overtly pro-gay rights songs, led to a lot of speculation among fans that Small was gay, and he studiously avoided confirming or denying it. He "came out" as straight in 1993, in response to the wave of homophobia over the issue of gays in the military, because he felt it was important that straight allies make themselves known. (His last album does contain one song, "Reverie's End," in which his lost love is definitely a woman because he recalls imagining she was pregnant.)
  • Sloppy Seconds' song "I Don't Wanna Be A Homosexual" is all about this trope.
  • Amusingly, the woman who inspired Weezer's Pink Triangle turned out to be a case of this by Rivers Cuomo. She wore the titular triangle on her backpack (rather than on her sleeve) as a show of support for gay rights, but wasn't a lesbian herself.


  • Subverted in Angels in America: Joe walks in on Louis crying in the bathroom and in the ensuing conversation Louis assumes Joe is gay. He's completely right, but Joe just hasn't wrapped his mind around that yet.
  • In the opening number to Be More Chill, main character Jeremy and his best friend Michael are subject to homophobic bullying from Armoured Closet Gay (bisexual, actually) bully Rich, who first writes on their backpacks the word "boyfriends" split up, and later calls Jeremy gay for signing up for the school play (even though he does the same thing).
  • This is a fear of many in Billy Elliot due to Billy's love of ballet. Michael, Billy's less-flamboyant (in public, anyway) friend... seems to be Mistaken For Straight.
    Billy: It says..."Billy Elliot is queer."
    Father: ESQUIRE!
  • Elder Mckinley in The Book of Mormon does this to Elder Price, assuming that he is gay after expressing discontent with his new life in Africa. Price isn't actually, and continually tries to tell Mckinley this. Mckinley, on the other hand...
  • In Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Jamie's teacher Miss Hedge assumes that his mom and her close friend who's helped to raise Jamie after his father left are dating.
  • In Jasper In Deadland, Gretchen assumes Jasper is gay when he insists the girl he's trying to rescue is just his friend.
    Gretchen: So you're gay? You're her gay BFF.
    Jasper: No, I'm not gay. I'm very straight, and we're best friends.
    Gretchen: "Best friends" with a girl and you ain't tappin' it? That's a new one.
  • The musical Rock of Ages includes a character who is mistaken for gay through most of the show, which leads to the best line in the play: "I'm not gay! I'm just German!" The character's named Franz, and he's currently (as of November '09) played by Tom Lenk, who is gay.
  • In the musical Something Rotten!, this happens to Nick and Bea twice, while Bea is disguised as a man.
  • In Twice Charmed, Prince Charming says that he loves the maiden at the ball, but the Grand Duke thinks he's referring to him.

    Video Games 
  • 2027: When Daniel first leaves the safe house in Paris, a woman sitting outside will begin hitting on him, then inquire about Xander (Daniel's work partner and platonic friend). She'll immediately assume there is something more going on, and will become disappointed.
  • Valygar in Baldur's Gate II is mistaken for gay by quite a number of characters. When he denies it, they delight in mocking him, which includes him being called a "fruit" by Cernd.
  • Two characters from Bar Oasis gets this treatment. Vic suffers this treatment twice. First Desree though Vic was gay because he was "interested" in Haruki Murakami's work. Then Vicky accuses him of being gay. Vicky also accuses the Boss for being gay due to the "No dating customers" philosophy. One should note that Vicky runs a gossip rag that pegged them both as gay.
  • Deus Ex: Invisible War: If playing as a male Alex, the player can use this to their advantage when trying to break into the Minister of Culture's apartment. If the player convinces him he wants to come over to be a chamber boy, he'll give access to the place, allowing the player to raid it.
  • Speaking of Nippon Ichi games, there's this little exchange in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
    Laharl: ...What? What's the problem now?
    Aramis: ...Thank you, Your Highness.
    Laharl: H, Hmph...! Well, it is part of my job as the Overlord...And don't bother to thank me. If you want to show your gratitude, you can repay me with your body.
    Etna: Hmmm... I never knew you were like that...
  • In Faris' recruitment event in Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia, Zidane confuses the others by flirting with "him" as much as he does with any of the female party members. Cloud speculates that Zidane has "switched sides" until Faris admits that she's a woman—which Zidane had already realized when he and Bartz were giving her first aid.
  • In Far Cry 4, Pagan Min mentions that people often make this mistake about him, since he is very flamboyant and wears a bright pink paisley suit (described in-game as making him look like a "metrosexual pimp") but is by all indications straight, having only ever loved one woman. Apparently he chose the style to honor his British mother and annoy his Triad crime lord father. He personally has no problems with homosexuality and apparently accepts them in his Royal Army.
    • There's some Real Life subtext to this: The reveal of Min's character design drew complaints online, as some commenters complained about Ubisoft using the old Depraved Homosexual villain cliché in 2014. Thus, Min's remarks about people assuming he's gay just because he wears a pink suit can be seen as a Take That, Critics! to the complainers.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening:
  • This happens twice in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia as well.
    • The first example happens in Leon and Kamui's supports. Due to Kamui asking Leon about his relationship with Valbar, Leon assumes that it must be because Kamui was hoping for a shot with him if he ever moved on from Valbar. Kamui tries to correct him, but eventually just gives up.
    • Te other example occurs in one of the Memory Prisms, where Clair teases Fernand about being into her brother Clive.
  • Grand Theft Auto V:
    • When Michael and Trevor show up at Tracey's audition for Fame and Shame, Lazlow thinks the two are her two dads.
    • The Triads mistake Michael and Trevor for a gay couple due to their being seen alone together during various parts of the story. When Franklin shows up, they begin to wonder if he's their other boyfriend or adopted son?
    • After he starts hanging out with Michael, it's mentioned that some people back in the hood thought that Franklin had been whoring himself out as a rent-boy to rich white guys in Vinewood.
  • In Kindergarten 2, during the mission "Flowers for Diana," Cindy has the player deliver a Love Letter to Felix. Initially, Felix assumes the letter is from the protagonist and awkwardly tries to turn him down before the misunderstanding is cleared up.
  • Makai Kingdom delivers us this particular little gem in a dialogue between Zetta and King Drake the Third:
    Zetta: Aren't you the one who attacked me in my sleep?
    Drake: ...Only because I wanted your junk.
    Zetta: ...You sick bastard... I didn't know you swung that way.
    Drake: What the hell?!! No, no, no, no! I wanted your money, you-your valuables!
  • Metal Gear:
    • Briefly in Metal Gear Solid, in the long cutscene when Snake and Otacon first meet. Snake is checking whether or not Otacon is suffering from FOX-DIE. Otacon just assumes Snake is coming onto him. Later in the scene, he interprets Snake's confusion over what he means by how Meryl, despite being dressed as a soldier, is 'still all woman' as Snake being "dense", although this is a possible subversion because what Otacon actually means is that Meryl still has to use the ladies' bathroom.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, if you take pictures of the Vulcan Raven doll or one of the male pinups and send them to Otacon at the end of the Tanker chapter, he will question Snake's sexuality.
  • Persona 4:
  • In Puyo Puyo, Schezo's tendency to completely mess up his speech leads to him being mistaken for being gay on at least three occasions.
  • Raidou gets this a lot in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon, partly because he spends a lot of time looking for men (specific ones, for detective-work-related reasons) in the neighborhood of Tokyo where the gay prostitutes hang out. Tae also thinks he and Narumi are a couple at one point (granted, so do many of the fans).
  • In an optional scene in Chapter 9 of Rakenzarn Tales, Kyuu and Kite happen to run into each other and decide to go get some lunch. As it would happen, some of the Negima girls are at another table in the same cafe, see them together and jump to this conclusion, thinking it was a Rescue Romance deal. Eventually, one of the girls loses her patience and yells at the guys to start making out, much to their confusion.
  • In Rune Factory 4, Frey walks in on Doug practicing his proposal with Dylas in his reverse proposal event and wonders if they fight all the time to hide their feelings for one another.
  • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne has the Ambiguously Gay Manikin shopkeeper. Truth is, he's offended he's been mistaken for "a queer".
  • Shin Super Robot Wars: Rai is thought to be gay by a good number of characters because his teammate Ryusei was going around telling them so. Rai responds by punching Ryusei in the face so hard that nobody questions his sexuality anymore. Thankfully Ryusei isn't like this anymore.
  • In the PC-98 exclusive Touhou Fuumaroku ~ the Story of Eastern Wonderland, the samurai Meira introduces herself and her intentions to "take" Reimu (in a fight to gain her powers). Reimu mistakes this for a marriage proposal and accepts, much to Meira's confusion. By the time she figures it out and explains herself, Reimu's stopped listening altogether.
  • Mick in The World Ends with You apparently has so little confidence that he assumes Neku gives Mick his patronage because he's gay for him.
  • Zigzagged in The Urinal Game: The reason for not peeing next to someone is so you don't get mistaken for perving on the other men, but the player character's orientation isn't revealed.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In the second case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, you can either accuse Marvin Grossberg of his obvious connection with Redd White, or...
      Phoenix: It's not something I can claim to understand... But you and Mr. White are lovers, aren't you!
      Grossberg: W-w-what! My boy!
      Phoenix: You sent that painting to him! As a sign! A sign of undying love!
      Grossberg: M-m-my boy, please! You're letting your fancies run away with you! Where do you get these bizarre ideas?
      Phoenix: I... I don't understand how you could...
      Grossberg: That's because I'm not, we're not... Don't be ridiculous! Enough. I'll swallow my pride and tell you all.
      Phoenix: (I knew it! They are lovers!)
      Grossberg: N-no! We are NOT lovers!
    • If you show Larry a picture of Ron DeLite during the segment where he's scolding himself for being a womanizer, he'll assume that you're offering to hook the two of them up and will apologetically tell you that he can't switch orientations.
    • When Apollo encounters Klavier for the first time, he can't help but be stunned by how closely he resembles Kristoph. Klavier misinterprets his staring.
      Klavier: I must say I'm used to being inspected by the ladies... But this is the first time I've felt this way with a man.
  • Little Busters!: At one point when Riki and Kyousuke are having one of their typical Ho Yay-filled scenes - Kyousuke reaches around Riki's collar to take off a piece of lint, leaving their faces very close - Mio comes across them. She, well, interprets the scene as any Yaoi Fangirl would. The conversation doesn't help - when she asks if she's interrupting, Kyousuke says that she somewhat is, and then asks her to join. At first she's very pleased by it all, and even thanks Riki at being able to see something so beautiful, but realises on her own that she misinterpreted the scene. All this time, neither Riki nor Kyousuke ever figures out what she was thinking.
  • Jumin from Mystic Messenger is speculated at several points to be gay because of his constant rejections of women.

    Web Animation 
  • The ACTUALLY HAPPENED video My Parents Think I Am Gay But I AM NOT is about a teenager whose parents mistake him for dating his male best friend. Despite his protests, his parents don't believe him. They even mistake his girlfriend for a beard. Even when he comes clean about what he and his friend were doing, his parents still think he's gay.
    So I got myself together and told my parents. That night Jim and I were just playing, playing just a video game. I'm a gamer. Gamer, not gay!
  • Bowser's Kingdom follows this trope an odd number of times, because Kamek is constantly calling Hal (and sometimes Jeff) gay:
    • Episode 2:
      • Jeff and Hal flashbacked the time they took flying lessons from Kamek. When it failed, Kamek said "What are you, gay?!"
      • Hal got close to a squished Jeff so he can mourn for him. Jeff got revived and thought Hal was gay. When Hal spoke later in the episode, Jeff said "Shut up, gay face!"
      • When Jeff was squished again and Hal was mourning for him again, Kamek passed say and said "See! I knew you were gay!"
    • Episode 6:
      • Hal was apparently leaving during his jobless period. A Mouser came by and took the sack he was carrying. Hal notices this, and said "He took my sack!". Kamek heard him and said "What are you, gay?!"
      • When Jeff mentioned to Hal that Donkey Kong kept asking him to eat bananas, Hal said, "And they say I'm the gay one."
    • Episode 10:
      • During the scene of Hal explaining why there are no subtitles for the speakable characters from episodes 8 and on, someone was apparently fiddling with the subtitles. The subtitles eventually turned into "I secretly love Kamek." when Hal said "Sometimes I really, really hate this place." Kamek saw this and said "I knew you were gay!"
    • The Movie:
      • Not as close to the trope itself, but when Jeff and Hal (disguised as Mario and Luigi, respectively) were making there way inside Peach's palace, the Toad there said hi to them (he mistook them for Mario and Luigi), and blushed when he said hi to Hal (Luigi), and said "Ya know, I had a great time last night." Hal then asked "Are you insinuating that I'm a gay?"
    • Episode 666:
      • When Jeff was trying to tell Hal about the zombie invasion, Hal wouldn't listen until Jeff told him that the zombies called Hal gay.
  • In the Cartoon Hooligans episode "The Rumors About Spider-Man and Deadpool", when Deadpool inadvertently pulls off Spider-Man's suit leggings, Spider-Gwen happens upon them before running off crying. Immediately afterwards, Captain America and Iron Man also happen upon them, and Iron Man decides to post a picture of the "couple" on Instagram with the tags "#SpideyPool", "#HahGay" and "#Bromance", over their vehement denials.
  • In an early episode of Red vs. Blue, Church gets this from Caboose after trying to explain that the Freelancer the Blues hired is actually his girlfriend after her voice-changer fails. Caboose mistakenly still thinks Tex is a guy and that Church is gay, leading Church to respond with "Yeah, that's right. I'm a gay robot".

  • One of the most used Running Gags in Acception is people assuming Arcus is gay. The fact Arcus is as Camp Straight as you can be, with his love of glitter, rainbows fashion and so on, doesn't help.
  • This was an ongoing subplot in Avalon, especially the first year. Early on, Joe tells Ceilidh that her new friend Phoebe is gay (a rumor started by a bitter ex-boyfriend); the amount of time the two spend together leads to a rumor that Ceilidh is also a lesbian, which is compounded when her probing for a definite answer, without being too direct, makes Phoebe think so as well. The "lesbian" subplot is essentially forgotten after the story's halfway mark, until the undrawn ending, in the synopsis of which Phoebe confesses her love for Ceilidh, who, in the next "scene," ambiguously mentions "new relationships".
  • Bobwhite. Marlene does a brief internship with Jen, a director who's a big deal in the independent film circuit. They're a great match on the set. Then Jen gives Marlene a big kiss, only to realizes seconds later that Marlene didn't like her that way. (The real irony is that Marlene took this internship in the first place to get away from relationship drama.)
  • Building 12— Joe and Alex are mistaken for this. Note that this is a variation as they are lovers, but Alex is actually a girl.
  • Eerie Cuties: Nina jumps to the conclusion that her sister, Layla, is a lesbian when she walks in on her giving Brooke a kissing lesson. Then runs off before they can explain and tells Cess and Laura about it, who stage a rally in front of the entire school to humiliate Layla. Eventually, even her mom gets wind of it, much to Layla's chagrin.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Tedd gets this at times from the football players that are shown. The Jerk Jock gives him a hard time; the other toes a more Politically Correct line. Neither really help Tedd feel better. At least neither know of his favourite hobby.
    • In addition, George assumed that Justin and Elliot were a couple. This is not the case, though Justin certainly wishes it was.
    • This trope is the natural assumption about the extremely effeminate Noah, on the part of readers and characters, resulting in mild surprise/awkwardness when he talks about his girlfriend.
      Noah: You are surprised that I have a girlfriend?
      Elliot: What? No, not at all!
      Noah: It is okay if you are.
      Elliot: I ASSUMED NOTHING!
      Noah: Of course not.
    • Of course, Noah also freely admits that he can make straight men see rainbows.
    • After Elliot and Sarah's breakup, and the fact that they're still friends, is mentioned on Elliot's web show, rumors start to circulate to the effect of Elliot being gay. What these people don't know is that the very thing that sparked the breakup, on Elliot's side, was his budding feelings for Susan. Interestingly, Elliot doesn't give a damn when he finds out, merely saying "Eh, let them think what they want."
    • In the Magic tournament storyline, Tedd assumes his opponent Larry is gay, based on the reasonable grounds that Larry is blatantly hitting on him. Nope, Tedd's just that girly.
    • Catalina thinks that Susan's misandry means she might be playing for the ladies' team, and asks her out. Susan's a little saddened to turn her down.
  • In Girl Genius, Sanaa thinks that Othar may have other reasons for wanting to save Gil, like being his boyfriend.
  • Good Cheese: Mitch is mistaken for being gay by a lot of the cast. Part of it stems from his effeminate behaviour (for example, wearing nail polish), but the catalyst for the rumours was a photo of him and a friend being rather close. It turns out that his friend was gay, but Mitch is shown to be attracted to women when, at the end of the story, he kisses the female Mara.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court's Kat has been mistaken for gay by Paz, thanks to a conversation in which Kat extolled Paz's virtues. For the record, Kat has actually had a boyfriend, even if he did turn into a bird and Paz is getting over the shock of finding that her crush has a crush on ''Chang'e'', of all people. In the next chapter she's wearing a flower in her hair, apparently in an attempt to seem more girly. And then they decide to give a relationship a try
  • Last Res0rt cranks it up a notch; sure, Addy and Jigsaw end up caught on camera, but Jigsaw is a vampire and thus was feeding on Addy, not sleeping with her, so Jigsaw ends up having to play along...
  • In Luminary Children, Cameron mistakes Rex and Rick for boyfriends. However, after the amount of Ho Yay between them up to that point (which, by the way, is approximately five pages after their introduction), most people would.
  • Ménage à 3 has a very comedic instance here. (For the record, Gary isn’t gay.)
  • Jae-min from Orange Marmalade, due to his He-Man Woman Hater nature, was mistaken for gay by a large group of people and also his best friend (who was worried Jae-min had a crush on him). Si-Hoo's obsessive and highly suggestive nature isn't helping his case and seems pretty determined to "have him".
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Nale, disguised as Elan, worries about this when Vaarsuvius catches him and a male police officer (actually a shapeshifted Sabine) snogging passionately. However, given that V rarely notices or even understands gender, they probably didn't think much about the police officer's sex, and was more concerned with him not being Haley.
    • Tsukiko thinks she is mistaken for bi due to misinterpreting the Monster In The Darkness's comments that she "does both" (actually referring to doing both Arcane and Divine magic).
      Tsukiko: I didn't know the Crypt Thing was female!
    • Earlier, on Elan and Nale's first meeting, Nale's comments on Elan's handsomeness (or rather, his own handsomeness) lead Elan to ask "Are—are you hitting on me? Because whatever you heard about what happened at summer camp—"
  • A running gag in Penny and Aggie with Aggie has several people (and, at one point, her best friend) believe or play with the idea she is gay. Also done with Penny. Turns out, Aggie is a lesbian, and Penny is bi, at least for Aggie.
  • In Sandra on the Rocks, teenage gamers Alex and Marie's post-workout exhaustion combined with their video game trash talk gives one online listener the impression that not only are the two of them getting it on (not that Marie would mind), but that Alex regularly has sex with guys as well.note 
  • Subverted in Shortpacked!. Robin believes that the reason that Ethan doesn't show any interest in her is because he's secretly gay. However, when she confronts him about this, it turns out that Ethan actually is gay, but just didn't realize it; unfortunately for Robin, she just helped him work it out.
  • String Theory (2009): Phineas.
    Phineas: No, no, no. Don't. Be. Dense. I know you, Dr. Herville Albert Schtein.
    Schtein: Oh God. You've got a weird crush on me, don't you?
  • TwoKinds has Keith and Natani. It gets confusing because Natani considers herself male but is in fact not. Natani is actually two people sharing two bodies as part of a medical procedure to keep them alive, one male and one female. So whether it's really a 'mistake' or not is something the characters themselves aren't sure of because no one has a word or customs for defining the gender of a binary being, though they're usually offended anyway, on principle.
  • Umlaut House had a bit of a Running Gag where Saundra, ironically one of the straightest characters, was mistaken for a lesbian by strangers. Though there was an Alternate Universe where her counterpart was a lesbian (and attempted to seduce her).
  • Sydney in an early Unintentionally Pretentious. While she acknowledges the act of leading Mia in public to be innocent, she believes people see two girls walking together arm in arm and extrapolate to sexy results, and suggests that she get a guide dog for her benefit.
  • Played for Drama in Weak Hero when, as part of their ongoing bullying campaign against Stephen, the students of Eunjang Middle School wonder if he's in love with his best friend Gray and make unsavoury comments about it. Gray, usually The Stoic, is visibly rattled when he comes across their mockery.
  • Yoon Sung from Welcome to Room #305 gets mistaken for gay when he gets offended over men making homophobic remarks. His sister is lesbian and at the time he felt guilty for being so homophobic towards her in the past.

    Web Videos 
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall's "Athena #1" review, Linkara officially announces that he is straight, to counter accusations that he dislikes women being objectified in comic books because he is gay (rather than feminist disagreement with the concept of boob windows and constant ass shots).
  • This is a VERY long Running Gag of the ComedyShortsGamer.
  • In "If Straight People Had to Come Out", gay people assume everyone is gay by default, so when one guy is revealed to be straight, his friend says, "Oh! You're straight?!".
  • Jack Vale Films has a recurring prank called "I'm Not Gay", where Jack acts as though random men are hitting on him and tells them he isn't gay.
  • Noob:
    • It plays around with that trope due to having a cast including a Yaoi Fangirl and an Effeminate Misogynistic Guy who happens to be a very dedicated Hero-Worshipper. Only the webseries gave a somewhat definitive answer to the situation, with the guy affirming that he's being a Celibate Hero (and claiming to avoid relationships with women), but the very same episode showed that he and the "hero" in question are on a much more friendly basis than they used to be. Later, upon witnessing one of the consequences of that friendship, the girl's reaction was basically "I can't picture this happening unless these two slept together at some point.". The actual situation hence seems closer to The Not-Love Interest.
    • Its Spin-Off Neogicia has a female protagonist who shares a room and is Heterosexual Life-Partners with an openly lesbian woman that currently does not have a girlfriend and is the most vocal of the two concerning how close they are to each other. The perfect recipe for making people that don't know them personally misread the situation. The protagonist herself has very heterosexual crush... on the emperor of her faction, which gives her plenty of pre-existing competition.

    Western Animation 
  • 6teen:
    • Jonesy and Wyatt were mistaken for a gay couple by two girls they were trying to hit on. Jonesy was not amused.
    • Nikki makes a new friend in one episode and there is strong evidence that the girl has a crush on Nikki. Nikki tries to ask her if she is gay, awkwardly stumbling over her words in an effort to avoid offending her. The girl thinks Nikki is trying to ask her out, and declines because she already has a girlfriend.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Uncle", Ocho informs Gumball that his uncle is Mario. Gumball declares "MARRY ME!" as Teri and Masami walk by, and Teri casually remarks "Called it". Masami tells Teri that she owes her $20.
  • Ace and Gary, the members of The Ambiguously Gay Duo fight villains who believe that both members of the duo are gay and scheme to out them as such. According to Word of God, these villains are only half right but, it's unknown which member of the duo is the mistaken one.
  • American Dad!:
    • In an episode, Terry has to fly under the gaydar to keep his bigoted father from finding out he's gay; in the process of pretending, he claims Francine is his girlfriend and Greg (his actual partner) and Stan are "the homos from across the street". Terry's dad goes right along with this despite Stan's absolute lack of performance (he sees Stan wolf-whistle an attractive woman and snarks "Yeah, whistle a showtune, you fairy!").
    • There was also that time Stan created his own theatrical one-man show about Abraham Lincoln and his fictional bodyguard played by Stan. It's a hit because of all the gay subtext Stan doesn't seem to notice.
      Stan: You guys are really grasping at straws here.
  • In Archer:
    Woodhouse: This is Sterling Archer, my...
    Stinky: None of my business. Consenting adults and all that.
    Archer: Wha...HEY! No one is consenting to anything!
    Stinky: None of my business.
    • Happens again when Archer accompanies Pam to her sister Edie's wedding. Edie assumes he's a gay gigolo that Pam hired because she didn't want to show up without a date.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Turkey in a Can", Bob's Thanksgiving turkey keeps mysteriously being sabotaged by someone in the family, forcing him to keep going back to the butcher to buy a new one. This leads the butcher to believe that Bob keeps coming back to flirt with him, at first offering to set him up with a friend but he eventually gets worn down by Bob and offers to go on a date or sleep with him. Meanwhile, Bob is flustered at being flirted with at all, and continually insists he just wants to get a turkey and go home. However, on Bob's last visit it's heavily implied that the butcher wasn't too far off in his assumptions...
    Butcher: Oh my God, we're doing this!
    Bob: No, we're not.
    Butcher: Hey, what do you wanna do? You wanna go to the beach?
    Bob: No. Maybe. Wait, I'm straight. I mean, I'm mostly straight. You should call Tony.
    Butcher: Let's grab a coffee. No, let's just have sex! Oh God, this feels so great!
    Bob: I should just-, sorry I gotta go cook this. Also, I'm married. But if I wasn't... Who am I kidding, you're out of my league! It would never work.
    Butcher: What are you talking about?!
    Bob: I really gotta go!
    Butcher: I'm gonna see you tomorrow!
    Bob: Probably not... I'll call you!
  • The Season 3 finale of BoJack Horseman has Todd Chavez's ex-girlfriend, Emily, point-blank ask him if he's gay, reassuring him that it's fine if he is. Genuinely surprised, Todd immediately says he's not, but then adds that he doesn't think he's straight either, and then concluding that he doesn't think he's "anything". Emily tells Todd that that's okay too.
  • Clerks: The Animated Series:
    • The series reveals what few fans there are in-universe all think that Dante and Randal are a couple.
    • Additionally, the third episode had Dante forced to "admit" he was gay in order to save the entire town of Leonardo from being destroyed.
  • On The Cleveland Show, Junior changes his style and starts going by "C.J." in an attempt to be cooler. He winds up befriending a girl from another school and asking her out to her prom...only for it to come out that she's a lesbian, and thinks he's one too. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Critic: Jay Sherman's boss thinks he's gay, and that Jay has a huge man-crush on him, despite Jay's repeated insistence that he's not gay. Then again, considering Jay's ex-wife compared his sex appeal to that of a dead mackerel, it probably wouldn't be that good anyway.
    Jay: You don't think I'm gay, do you?
    Doris: No man in his right mind would sleep with you.
    Jay: Thank you!
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: In Operation: S.N.O.W.I.N.G. Jimmy reveals his plan to use a boyfriend helmet on Lizzie prompting a confused Lizzie to ask "You want a boyfriend?" before Jimmy clarifies he modified it to work on girls.
  • Daria:
    • Kevin and Mack were briefly mistaken for a couple while attending a bridal expo together. They were actually there to see their respective girlfriends in a fashion show.
    • Played for Drama in "Is It Fall Yet?" when Jane befriends Alison. Alison gets Jane drunk (note that Jane is too young to drink) and comes on to her, claiming that she never hits on straight chicks. Jane briefly begins to question her own sexuality, but eventually realizes that Alison was trying to do just that to help seduce her.
    • Briefly in "Lane Miserables" when Jake answers the front door assuming it's one of Quinn's dates and sees a woman at the door.
      Jake: Wow, I really don't know my kids!
  • On Family Guy, Peter tries to help a co-worker.
    Peter: Derek, how are you getting to the picnic?
    Derek: I don't know. I don't have a ride.
    Peter: Hey, John, you got a two-seater, don't you?
    Peter: Hey, Derek, maybe you go with John?
    Derek: For the last time, I'm not gay!
    John: Thanks anyway, Peter.
    Peter: We'll get him.
  • The Fred's Head episode "Fred TV" revolves around a reality show editing Fred's life to make it sound like he's hiding the fact he's gay. They promise to fix their mistake in the next episode...only to not only make the implications worse, but imply his parents are homophobic and have thrown him out on the streets.
  • Futurama: This happens to Kif Kroker in "Amazon Women In The Mood" when he, Bender, Fry, and Zapp Brannigan are sentenced by the Femputer to death by "snu-snu". While Fry and Zapp switch moods ranging from glee to terror, Kif just shows absolute terror and when Zapp sees the terrified looks on Kif's face, Zapp says "what are you gay?" to Kif when its clear that Kif is in love for Amy but has been having trouble confessing his feelings for her throughout the episode due to anxiety.
  • Gravity Falls: In one episode, The Men in Black agents Powers and Trigger disguise themselves as a married couple during their investigation of the supernatural incidents occurring at Gravity Falls. They eventually drop the act, but bicker Like an Old Married Couple when they get into an argument on where Trigger left Powers' phone. Tambry walks in on the agents and then immediately walks out while telling them that she is "not even gonna ask" after seeing the agents bicker in a closet combined with the fact that Trigger's wearing a dress at the time.
  • Kaeloo: A Parental Bonus. Episode 139 follows a super hero called Ratman (a squirrel) and his sidekick (a duck) who share an apartment. Their nosy neighbor visits their apartment and it's all but implied that she has mistaken them for a couple.
  • King of the Hill:
    • Bill Dauterive spends an episode purposely being mistaken for gay much like one of the examples above, as the trendy salon he is hired by only employs women and gay men, thinking straight men simply don't have what it takes to be good hairstylists. He blows his cover when an extremely attractive female customer flirts heavily with him and says it's a shame he's gay. Of course, when he "comes out" to her (loud enough for the whole salon to hear), she immediately becomes disgusted with him (and herself, for letting a straight man style her hair).
    • Dale thinks that John Redcorn is gay. The same John Redcorn that his wife has been sleeping with behind his back for over 10 years, and is very obviously the real father of his son. In fact, this actually started when Redcorn was about to confess to the affair out of guilt but was stopped from doing so by Hank.
      Dale: [to Hank] I was gettin' a weird vibe in there. You think he's gay?
    • And Peggy's hairdresser from "Good Bye Normal Jeans": everything about him from the way he acted and dressed just screamed Camp Gay, but as it turns out, to Peggy's and the viewers' surprise, he has a wife and child.
    • In the episode "My Own Private Rodeo", Hank tries to help Dale mend fences with his estranged father Bug, who is, in fact, a gay rodeo rider; when Hank shows up at the Rodeo, Bug jumps to conclusions:
      Bug: (intrigued) Oh my god, Hank. Are you gay?
      Hank: (shocked) What?! No! I sell propane!
    • Hank spent much of the early seasons worried about Bobby possibly being gay especially when he took up modeling, this fear was put to rest in "Naked Ambition" when Kahn informs him that he caught Bobby and Connie half naked together, after Kahn leaves Hank laughs and breathes a sigh of relief. Later in the episode after Khan has erected a giant fence between their houses, Hank lets Bobby borrow a ladder so he and Connie can kiss.
    • In the "I'm With Cupid" episode there's a Valentine tradition of girls giving carnations to the boys they like. Bobby gets two, so he lends them to his best friend Joseph, since it'll make the latter seem more desirable to a crush he has. Course, when Joseph moves to return them, one of their classmates sees the act and assumes Joseph is confessing his attraction to Bobby. On the plus side, said classmate simply says the act took courage.
  • A Parental Bonus joke in The Looney Tunes Show episode, "Jailbird and Jailbunny"; Bugs and Daffy escape from jail and Bugs wants to turn himself in, but the police officer he talks to doesn't recognize him since Daffy dyed his fur to disguise him. Bugs asks the cop if he's not an escaped convict, why is he chained to Daffy? The cop's response: "Your personal lives are your business."
  • In Mike Tyson Mysteries, Mike thinks Yung is a lesbian when he sees her watching the WNBA. It doesn't help her case when Marquess also enjoys watching the WNBA.
    Mike: Oh, my God! Are you a lesbian?
    Yung: No, I'm not a lesbian.
    Mike: You're a lesbian and you're afraid to come out to me.
    (Mike looks at the empty beer cans, cigarette butts, prescription medications and bottles, and a bong around the living room)
    Mike: Is that why you drinkin' and druggin', because you have so much shame?
    Yung: This is all Pigeon's, not me.
    Mike: Yung, I will love you no matter who you choose to lay with.
  • In one episode of My Gym Partner's a Monkey when Adam almost accidentally kisses Jake while fantasizing about kissing Kerry:
    Jake: Don't get me wrong, Adam; I know I'm quite a looker, and I like you and all... (comically deeper voice) but not that way.
  • The Rocko's Modern Life episode "S.W.A.K." involves Rocko trying to stop Heffer, who's a mailman in this episode, from delivering a love letter to his crush Alicia, who is also a mailman. Naturally, the one answering the door turns out to be her giant, overprotective elephant brother who throws a massive tantrum when he sees the contents of the letter. He only calms down when he mistakenly assumes that Heffer is the mailman the letter is adressed to.
    Heffer: [reading] "To my mail carrier. You are like a ray of golden sunshine. With each delivery, you bring a glimmer of joy that warms my heart. Love Rocko." I think you're special too Rocko! [hugs him]
    Alicia's Brother: You mean you... and you? That's so sweet!
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Homer's Phobia", Homer ended up overreacting to many small silly things Bart was doing (such as wearing a Hawaiian shirt, or putting on a ladies' wig and singing the Shoop Shoop song) and taking it to mean that contact with an openly gay shopkeeper (played by John Waters) was making Bart "turn gay". After several attempts to make Bart "man up", Homer gives up and says that he's okay with whatever Bart wants to be. When Lisa finally explains it to him, Bart's reaction is "He thinks I'm gay?!"
    • In "Lisa's Date With Destiny", Lisa asks Milhouse to pass Nelson her note due to being too nervous to ask him out. During class, Milhouse discreetly passes the note on to Nelson, which reads, "Guess who likes you". Nelson turns back and sees Milhouse waving to him from the back row. Cue off-screen beating and Milhouse being carried to the ambulance via stretcher.
    • Played for laughs in another episode, where in an attempt at copying Bart's 'El Barto', Homer (helping build homes for the homeless) paints 'El Homo' on a wall in big letters. Cue a man coming up to him and saying something along the lines of "I wish I had your courage!". Homer then realises what he's painted, and panicking, hastily begins to paint over it.
    • The trope was often averted with Smithers in earlier seasons, during his conversations with Mr. Burns.
    • Happens often with Lenny and Carl.
    • Homer once said he thought Sideshow Bob was "out loud and proud".
    • In "Last Exit to Springfield", Homer mistakenly thinks that Mr. Burns' attempts at negotiating with him and offering a bribe are Burns coming onto him. He storms off, saying although he's curious about it, he doesn't go for these "back-door shenanigans".
    • Mr. Burns is also subject to this when he's trying to improve his image by going on a Howard Stern knock-off radio show, coupled with a heavy dose of Have a Gay Old Time.
    • In "Glorious Grandpa", Marge thinks Abe is gay after finding his old wrestling wig in his room, and starts trying to set him up on dates with men.
  • South Park:
    • Butters is quite feminine and gentle, so even his mom thought he was gay and gambled on his sexuality with his dad. Butters' sexual orientation was also the entire point of "Cartman Sucks", where he got sent to a Pray Away the Gay camp for being "bi-curious".
    • One hilarious instance of this, is someone assuming Heterosexual Life-Partners Terrance and Phillip are gay. That someone, is Phillip himself.
      Terrance: Wow, Scott really hates us Phillip.
      Phillip: Yes, perhaps he's homophobic.
      Terrance: ...But we're not gay, Phillip.
      Phillip: We're not?!
    • In "Tonsil Trouble", Cartman gets AIDS from a botched blood transfusion and then passes it on to Kyle intentionally. Throughout the episode, people repeatedly assume that Cartman and Kyle are gay lovers (see the page quote) when they find out that they both have AIDS. Earlier, the doctor who diagnoses Kyle asks him repeatedly if he's absolutely sure he hasn't been having unprotected anal sex.
    • Happens again in Cartman Finds Love between Cartman and Kyle. To keep Kyle from going out with the new girl for a few naïvely racist reasons, Cartman spreads the rumor that he and Kyle are (or at least were) dating. Funny enough, everyone seems to believe it pretty easily.
    • In "Tweek x Craig", the entire town believes the two are a couple after the new Asian students make Yaoi art featuring them. Tweek and Craig fail to get people to stop shipping them together and they decide to go along with it after seeing how happy their "relationship" makes everybody. Interestingly, this actually ends up developing into a real gay relationship, as cemented in "Put it Down" two seasons later, where Craig calls Tweek "babe" and "honey" even when there is nobody they know around and thus no need to hold up a charade.
  • Star Wars Resistance: In "The New Trooper", Kaznote  is so relieved when Neeku pops out of the maintenance shaft under the floor when he thought he was going to get cornered by stormtroopers that he tells Neeku that he could kiss him. Neeku misinterprets this and responds that he doesn't feel the same way.
  • Time Squad: This happens to Buck Tuddrussel at least twice in the series. He has had a lot of blatant subtext with Camp Gay robot Larry 3000. The subtext is so thick that other characters think that theres something going on between them. Tudrussel and Larry have been mistaken for ancouple engaged to be married by Albert Einstein, who refers to Larry as "the missus" and then Dr. Sigmund Freud approached Tuddrussel and Larry's "relationship" like he would towards a married couple. Tuddrussel has shown attraction towards multiple women in the show though.
  • Total Drama:
    • Revenge of the Island has an odd variant: Lightning constantly mistakes Jo for a guy. Things get very awkward when, in a thinking-they're-about-to-die situation, Jo confesses that she's never kissed a guy.
      Lightning: Hey man, it's cool. Lightning doesn't judge.
  • Happens quite a few times in The Venture Bros. There's the doctor mistaking Brock for Rusty's partner, the hicks calling Dr. Orpheus gay in the diner, Rusty accusing Dr. Orpheus of trying to seduce him...
    • Pete White gets this the most, because of his eccentric style, his lucky pink shirt, and because he rooms with Billy Whelan. In Every Which Way But Zeus, he's called out by, of all people, Shoreleave. When Billy's mother is introduced, Billy even has to confess to Pete that he told her they were gay—it was just easier than trying to explain two straight men living together.

    Real Life 
  • Ever since Tears for Fears first formed in 1981, there has been rampant speculation that band members Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith are a gay couple despite the fact that they both identify as straight and both have been married to women for most of their adult lives. These two Pretty Boys (Smith bordered on Dude Looks Like a Lady when his hair was long) who openly embraced their feminine sides were widely perceived as being effeminate during The '80s. The British press had utilized terms such as "wimps" and "painfully sensitive" to emphasize the duo's total lack of machismo. Orzabal and Smith have brought up in interviews that they liked to visit a gay vegetarian disco when they were younger, so of course this also fed the rumours (including a variation which surmises that they are mostly straight, but they were bi-curious with each other during their youth). Even in the 21st century, the closeness and intensity of their bromance could be mistaken for an actual romance; in 2005, a guest on a French talk show outright asked the group if they were gay.
  • Voice actors Jeff Nimoy and Quinton Flynn unknowingly walked right into a yaoi movie together, which led to some speculations. However, they turned the accusations to their advantage and made a hilarious song out of it.
  • In the seventies a rumor started as a joke caught hold, that Jim Nabors and Rock Hudson were going to get married. Both were gay, but there is no evidence that the two were ever in a romantic relationship.
  • Plenty of actors known for playing flamboyant and/or villainous roles get this. Michael Sheen, Claude Rains, David Tennant, Tom Hiddleston... wait, the Britishness may be playing into this. Of non-Brits, John Leguizamo is frequently mistaken for gay. Conrad Veidt also gets this, especially for Casablanca.
  • Inverted in at least one Not Always Right story. (With a bit of Logical Fallacies to sweeten the deal.)
  • Patrick Stewart had fun with The Guardian over this.
  • Gina Gershon played a bisexual character in Showgirls and a lesbian in Bound, and was apparently so convincing in her portrayals that she often gets hit on by women. She laughed it off in an interview, stating, "I kinda wish I could be a lesbian. So many girls come up to me all the time, I keep thinking, 'God, I should be a lesbian.' But unfortunately, I'm straight."
  • In 2005, New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza held a press conference to declare his heterosexuality.
  • KT Tunstall was mistaken for gay after her Eye To The Telescope album; many of the songs are ambiguous in this regard, and the cover art depicts her wearing a pair of rainbow suspenders.note  Despite her statements to the contrary, many people think she's just in the closet.
    • This perception of KT wasn't helped when she posed for a photoset with fellow singer Joss Stone. Somehow Joss appeared ultra-feminine; Tunstall somewhat butch and mannish in mens'-style clothing. Possibly completely accidentally, the result looked like a butch-femme partnership and fuelled rumours that both heterosexual singers were in a relationship - with each other.
  • Around the time that Melanie C, formerly of the Spice Girls, put her first solo album out, her stylists started putting her in some very soft-butch clothing for record art and press photoshoots, and even threw in some rather Les Yay-loaded poses with female models. This naturally led to an awful lot of prurient tabloid speculation, which made a definite contribution to her unhappy mental state at the time.
  • Former astronaut Michael Collins references this trope in his memoir Carrying The Fire when he describes how NASA started having simultaneous sleep periods for astronauts after Gemini 5; he says they had to be careful about the terminology because someone might misunderstand if they heard that a crew was "sleeping together."
  • Musician Billy Squier's 1984 video for "Rock Me Tonite", directed by Kenny Ortega, featured him waking up from a bed with satiny pastel sheets and dancing effeminately around the room in a pink tank top (not quite the concept he had told Ortega he wanted to do). While the song was his most successful single ever, it was also his last hit single. Everyone thought he was gay, he could no longer sell out concerts, and the video is widely considered one of the worst ever since it ruined his career.
  • Because of his overall looks and flamboyant personality, singer Mika was thought to be so. He later put the rumors to rest stating he's not straight, but then again he's not gay nor bisexual either (His declarations seem to place him somewhere among the lines of either polysexual or pansexual with the typical "no labels" argument). Later on, in August 2012, he came out as gay.
  • Seattle actor Jeremy Adams, who played a Camp Gay character in Mark Siano's cabaret show Modern Luv, is heterosexual in the real world.
  • Bert and Ernie. On the one hand, Word of God may never have been ignored so much. On the other hand, all those Talking in Bed sketches only hurt their case. The Sesame Workshop's official line has for years been "They are not gay, they are not straight, they are puppets. They don't exist below the waist."
  • Being an unmarried politician over the age of thirty usually leads to automatic gay rumors. US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is a commonly cited example, one of the few bachelors to pursue the presidency, and has frequently denied being gay. A friend and fellow Air Force officer was interviewed about this and stated Graham is "Nothing but heterosexual. There are stories that I cannot share to prove it but he is."
    • This was more of an issue in The '60s and The '70s, where being gay was at first illegal note  and then socially unrespectable. British politicians of the era who were gay tended to benefit from the sympathies and covert understanding of their fellows; political luminaries of the time, such as Lord George Brown (Labour), Jeremy Thorpe (Liberal) and one Prime Minister, Edward Heath (Conservative), were simply described using ambiguous terms such as "confirmed bachelor" and their gayness was accepted by the Establishment, which closed ranks around them.
  • Jonathan Davis, lead singer of the rock band Korn had this problem early in the band's career, because of his flamboyant way of dressing during concerts, including wearing dresses. The band even had fun with this belief by making a troll conspiracy video. However, Johnathan is married with children, and he had a reputation with female groupies beforehand. Clearly, this has been a problem for him going as far back as highschool, if the song "Faget" is any indication. "I'm just a pretty boy. I'm not supposed to fuck a girl."
  • Glenn Erickson, author of the DVD Savant film column, once shared an anecdote that while attending UCLA, he started receiving mail praising his stand on gay rights. Turns out another Glenn Erickson, a member of the Gay Student Union, had written such an article for The Daily Bruin. Erickson considered writing a clarification, but decided he'd rather be mistaken for gay than mistaken for a homophobe.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic got hit with this in the late '90s. He recounted that some of his mother's friends told her "Well, he's almost forty, and he's not married, and he lives in Hollywood. You know what that means."
  • During the 2015 Academy Awards, Graham Moore, the winner of Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game, stated in his speech, "When I was sixteen years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong." Given the film he'd written was about a closeted gay man who was driven to suicide by his orientation, many news outlets interpreted it as him coming out as gay. He later clarified that he is straight.
  • Paul McCartney, "The Cute Beatle", was subjected to some of this in the early 1960s - a time when it was potentially a very damaging rumor. Most famously, Tony Sheridan - a singer that The Beatles recorded with before getting famous - assumed he was gay because of his well-shaped eyebrows. He figured that no straight guy had eyebrows like that. Notably, to this day, some people believe that he had an affair with John Lennon, despite his consistent denials.
  • Franz Ferdinand have spent their whole career having to point out that none of them are actually gay or bisexual, due to the very blunt and convincing male-homoerotic lyrics of "Michael" on their first album.
  • During Operation Julie, a drug investigation by UK police in The '70s, a group of undercover officers on surveillance risked attracting hostile local attention when they were assumed to be members of a 'gay cult'. So several female officers where brought in, including one Sgt Julie Taylor whose name was eventually given to the operation.
  • A fatal example of this trope happened with Daphne Wright, who murdered Darlene VanderGiesen because she was convinced VanderGiesen was trying to start a relationship with her ex-girlfriend. VanderGiesen was in fact straight and she and Wright's ex were just good friends. The Forensic Files episode "Hear No Evil" covered it.
  • A mother and daughter uploaded a photo to Facebook (link in Spanish) and received a very offensive comment calling them "disgusting lesbians." They responded very elegantly making it clear that a stupid fanatic like that did not deserve his attention.
  • Blue Peter presenter Valerie Singleton, (in 2018, now 81 years old) has said that she was utterly frustrated that the rumour about her being lesbian took such deep root that it could never be properly denied, and said living with it for thirty-odd years got pretty hard. She points out that during her time on the show, the love affairs she really wanted to keep secret were with star radio DJ Pete Murray and her co-star Peter Purvis. Fortunately, the assumption she was gay prevented intrusive people from looking any further. Val was also - erroneously - reported in British Newspapers to be having an affair with singer Joan Armatrading (who genuinely is lesbian).
  • The Thin Blue Line symbol appears at first glance to be a simplified version of the leather pride flag, causing more than a few mistaken perceptions when the symbol first became trendy among police officers and their supporters.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger related that, when he was a teenager, his parents thought he was gay because he cut pictures of shirtless male bodybuilders out of magazines and taped them up all around his room.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Mistaken For Lesbian


Accel World

The girls on the bus looked VERY interested in the conversation they were having.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / MistakenForGay

Media sources: