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Out of the Closet, Into the Fire

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"[...]often times it's written in a specific way. 'Let's introduce a gay character and quickly kill them off,' so you have the ride of the complexity of this amazing character, but also [you do] not necessarily deal with them over the course of our entire show. Obviously, that's probably not going to happen in this case, because Rosa is a core member of this ensemble. It's not like she's going to come out and then get hit by a car and get killed off."

An LGBT character chooses to come out, or is Forced Out of the Closet, and is harmed or dies. The world is not a nice place, and once it is revealed they are LGBT+, things go badly wrong. For this trope, once a character has come out they become a Cosmic Plaything, facing hardships from the natural world because they have dared to vocalize being queer.

They have stepped into the line of fire, being persecuted by the god of the story, for coming out. Alternatively, if they've been out but "inactive", once they enter a relationship or decide to transition, etc., they will experience this harm or death then. This character is probably not gonna live to see the next credits roll, and if they do, they will be significantly worse off than when the story started. Sometimes it takes a little longer, but with a noticeable build-up.

This may reinforce the old belief that inherently same-sex attraction is not wrong, but accepting it and acting on it are.

In some cases, any direct violence may be attempts to "straighten" the character or force them to repent, though this is more commonly a Homophobic Hate Crime — examples where a character is physically trying to harm someone for being queer is that trope. Indeed, in works where the creators don't want to outright show murderous homophobia, they may opt for having what could be dubbed infallible bad luck happen instead.

Sub-Trope to Gayngst, Bi-Wildered, Trans Tribulations, Intersex Tribulations, Bury Your Gays, and Coming-Out Story, may happen alongside being Forced Out of the Closet.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Anderson: Psi-Division: In "Half-Life", a transparently gay television host on pre-apocalypse Deadworld makes a pass at Judge Death during a live show because he likes the uniform. This pisses off Death enough that he immediately executes him.
  • Pacific Rim: Aftermath: Hannibal Chau's bodyguard, Xue, is revealed to be gay and engaged to Chau's lead researcher, Elora, and is then gunned down three panels later by Chau himself in a Shoot the Hostage scenario.
  • In Runaways, Xavin and Karolina's only on-panel kiss occurred in the exact same issue where Xavin is taken away, never to be seen again.
  • In Salvation Run the first time Monsieur Mallah and the Brain, a talking gorilla with a gun and a French accent and an immobile brain in a little chamber thing that allows him to talk, die was being blown to smithereens the instant they confessed their love for each other.
  • This is used in the original Watchmen comic to deconstruct ideas about homosexuality in Golden Age comics. A lesbian superhero, Silhouette, is outed and thrown out of her group, then murdered alongside her lover. The killer was punishing them for their sexual orientation, but it was more that, had she retained her identity and the support of her teammates, she would have been safe. In an interview, Silk Spectre comments that two of the other superheroes (heavily implied to be Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice) were understood by their teammates to be homosexual and nobody cared so long as they stayed in the closet and weren't caught.

    Fan Works 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Martineau in Another Country gets caught during some guy-on-guy action and a few minutes later (in the film) he offs himself. In a church, of all places.
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Graham dies almost immediately after he locates his long-lost lover and comes out to everyone.
  • Bonnie & Bonnie: After her relationship with Kiki gets disclosed to Yara's brother, Yara is coerced into an arranged marriage by her father, and has to run away to escape this.
  • In Boy Town, Carl dies when the film decides it's a black comedy near the end and kills off the entire band in a plane crash, ending the possibility of the relationship that was teased for him and making his coming out somewhat moot.
  • But I'm a Cheerleader: The protagonist of the movie is Megan, a God-fearing cheerleader who has never paid her homosexual tendencies any thought until being sent to the True Directions camp. While there, she admits the homosexuality that everyone but her had apparently seen, and falls in love with another of the True Directions members, Graham. But all the while, Megan, Graham, and all of the other campers are subjected to blatant homophobia. Megan's parents also become abusive in threatening to cut her off unless she becomes straight.
  • The Damned (1969) shows the Nazi SA having a gay orgy, only to be massacred en masse by the SS the next morning.
  • Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead: One of the anti-zombie fighters decides to go "screw this!" during the climactic battle and declare he's gay out loud. He only makes it as far as "I am —!" before one of the Nazi Zombies runs him through with a bayonet.
  • First Girl I Loved: After she admits her attraction to a girl, Anne's best friend then does everything possible to sabotage things between them out of homophobia and jealousy. His jealousy even leads to him raping her. After she's photographed while kissing Sasha, the object of her affection, Sasha's mother pressures her into claiming Anne had forced her to (Sasha actually initiated it). Their relationship naturally is destroyed, but it spurs Anne to accept her sexuality by the end of the film.
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post: Cameron is caught while having sex with her girlfriend, and sent to a gay conversion therapy camp as a result.
  • Professor Marston and the Wonder Women: Olive, Elizabeth and William getting outed as a bisexual polyamorous trio results in the latter two being fired. Later, William and Olive's son is beat up for it by other children, while they're told to leave the neighborhood.
  • Rafiki: Kena and Ziki are caught kissing by Ziki's mom, who tells Kena's mom. This starts to snowball afterward, with them running away then a mob attacking the couple after a gossip tells them they're lesbians before they both get arrested.
  • Requiem (2021): After they're found to be lovers, Mary is accused of making Evelyn desire her by magic. She's burned at the stake as Evelyn has to watch helplessly.
  • The Truth About Jane: After she gets outed as gay, Jane suffers mockery by most other students plus a very hostile reaction from her parents and she even considers suicide as a result.
  • Played with in Victim (1961) as Barrett kills himself to prevent him and his partner being outed, which would result in both their deaths after some public shaming.
  • Where the Truth Lies: Vince's suicide has elements of this, though not exactly in the right order: it occurs after Karen begins looking into Maureen's recorded tapes, which eventually leads to her learning about Vince's bisexuality.
  • Your Highness gets extra special mention for Boremont, who reveals his love for Fabious, as Fabious is stabbing him.

  • Annie on My Mind: Liza, along with her teachers Ms. Stevenson and Ms. Widwer, face discipline from the school as a result of being outed as lesbians. Though the board of trustees clears Liza, they still dismiss both teachers for supposedly "influencing" her into homosexuality (they didn't).
  • Arcadia: Shortly after Lilia is found out to be a lesbian, she is killed. Lesbianism is also one of the reasons for Zoe's death.
  • In Armada, Shin and Milo are some of the first casualties of the alien invasion. They die just a few hours after consummating their relationship, while trying to help the other heroes get away.
  • In The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, Veronica and Emily fall in love. Veronica is killed quite shortly after.
  • Black Tide Rising: A gay cop is introduced, given some backstory and then killed. His husband later seemed to have been paired with his husband's straight partner sent to protect him but neither has been heard of since.
  • In Insurgent, Lynn comes out of the closet whilst being fatally wounded.
  • In Rosemary Sutcliff's The Flowers Of Adonis (1969), the otherwise heterosexual Arcadius falls in love with a fellow soldier, who immediately dies off-screen between that scene and the next.
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman, in which the trans protagonist demonstrates her newfound bravery by accepting a suicide mission to pass a message to political revolutionaries. They shoot her, thinking she's working for the government.
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club: Lily is outed when she's seen fleeing a lesbian nightclub during a police raid by a man from Chinatown who knows her, and finds the scarf that she lost in her flight as well. Her friend Shirley tells Lily, who knows there's no point denying it as a man is a gossip who will tell everyone. She refuses to say that she's confused or anyone forced this on her. As a result Shirley and her mom both react badly, with the latter slapping Lily. In response, Lily runs away and takes refuge at the home of a lesbian she's met named Lana, who offers support to her. When her Aunt Judy gets her back, her mom again tries persuading Lily to lie that it was just a mistake, guilt-tripping her that this could endanger her dad's citizenship. Lily still refuses though. As a result she's sent away to Pasadena with her aunt and uncle in hopes being away for a while can make people forget, far away from Kath, the girl she loves.
  • The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali: Rukhsana's mom reacts badly to finding her with her girlfriend. First she orders Ariana out after slapping her, then says Rukhsana disgusts her. When she tells Rukhsana's dad he blames it on them allowing her too much freedom then discusses conversion therapy. Rukhsana refuses to obey, and he slaps her, the first time either of them has ever laid a hand on their daughter.
  • Proud Pink Sky is set in the world's first gay state – though a safe haven for many gay residents, bi, trans, and gender-nonconforming people find themselves sidelined and persecuted.
  • A particularly grotesque version of this in Orson Scott Card's Song Master: Josif, who is bisexual, marries female Kyaren; they have a happy marriage except he warns her that he's attracted to the inhumanly gorgeous male protagonist, Ansset. She tells him that that's fine, she doesn't mind if he sleeps with Ansset; but he still continues to worry about it. Ansset and Josif do end up getting together. Unfortunately, treatments Ansset received as a boy soprano, to delay puberty, cause a weird chemical reaction, making sex intolerantly painful. Josif is hunted down and castrated as punishment for "raping" Ansset. Josif then dies. His wife remarries the next day and in the epilogue is said to be much happier in this more peaceful relationship. note 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Águila Roja: Soledad is a lesbian (or perhaps bisexual, it's never stated) and gets judged by The Spanish Inquisition when Herna'n outs her. Though Lucrecia welcomes her back for her loyalty after her punishments.
  • In Arrow, Sara Lance revealing she's bisexual led to a whole string of problems. Her girlfriend was Nyssa Al Ghul, a member of the League of Assassins and would not accept Sara being back in her home town away from her. Then a quick visit from Sara to Star City leads to her murder at the hands of Malcolm Merlyn and a brainwashed Thea. Sara does get revived, but initially at the cost of her sanity and an unquenchable desire to shed blood, which leads her to join the Legends. She later comes to learn that during her absence, her sister Laurel got murdered. It took a long time for Sara to get her life back on track after this string of tragedies.
  • Babylon 5, which rather unsubtly implies a certain sapphic essence to the relationship between Talia and Susan, doesn't really go all the way to acknowledging that they sleep together until the episode in which Talia's personality is wiped, which is called "death". But had the actress playing Talia not left the show, Kosh had plans to make it better.
  • Cold Case: In the episode "Forever Blue", the cop who calls him and his partner 'the lucky ones' tells his father that his lover is a man and all but admits that he's in love with him, and is then killed. Meanwhile, his partner insists until near the end of the episode that he isn't gay (and to add insult to injury, claims his partner also wasn't 'like that') and lives; his survival is heavily implied to be because he broke things off the night they were supposed to go patrolling together.
  • Control Z: After she's outed as transgender, Isabela gets bullied, insulted, and ostracized (including losing most of her friends).
  • Doctor Who: In the episode "Midnight", Sky Silvestry, the only character in the episode confirmed to be gay, is possessed and eventually killed.
  • Equal: The police routinely printed the names of gay men whom they arrested, ruining them by doing so as they'd often be fired, evicted or also disowned by their families, and this sometimes caused their suicides.
  • First Day: After Hannah is outed as a trans girl, she gets a lot of mockery on social media, more bullying and soon loses on her newfound friends, Jasmine. However, it's downplayed since most other kids are more curious than hostile, with the negative reaction blowing over quickly.
  • Nicely subverted in FlashForward (2009). The episode in which Janis is confirmed to be a lesbian ends with her lying alone in the street, bleeding out from a bullet to the stomach. In the next episode, she gets to a hospital and is saved.
  • As Santana comes out on Glee, she is disowned by her grandmother and begins to be mocked by classmates, to the point of depression and rape threats.
  • Enforced in an episode of Grey's Anatomy: Meredith and Derek are doing their brain tumor clinical trial and they have reached patient number 5, which all episode is built up for them to have a good feeling about after 1 through 4 died. Just before going into surgery, he sneaks a passionate kiss with his secret boyfriend (they're in the Army) and is discovered by his dad, with their final moments denied. Even though the surgery goes perfectly, the patient still dies, and Meredith's therapist makes it clear that even though they've had breakthroughs because of it, the most tragic part is how the soldier's death prevented him from being able to tell his boyfriend that he loved him.
  • HEX:
    • The show managed to subvert this somewhat. The first episode introduced Thelma, the main character's lesbian best friend. Then it had a demon murder her. Cut to her funeral, at which the priest is talking about how Thelma was very much her own individual and saying it was this individuality which left her isolated and led to her tragic death... at which point Thelma's ghost walks up beside the main character and says: "God, they're loving this. Don't be a dyke or you'll end up topping yourself." Thelma then goes on to be one of only two of the original cast to be left after the show's "Everyone Dies" Ending.
    • Male gay character Tom ends up dying at the hands of the man he fancies, within an episode of him being identified as gay for the first time.
  • In Audience Network's MMA drama Kingdom (2014), Nate is shot and killed in the penultimate episode, only having just accepted himself and come out to his family after three seasons of repression.
  • In Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire General Arcadius dies saving the life of the title character in the first episode of the show after finding the love of his life and his true nature in prison. However, his lover has become a series regular.
  • Last Tango in Halifax has Kate die in a car accident the day after she married Caroline; they're two of the main characters and the only gay ones, which is also kind of odd given where the show is set (Halifax, clerical center of the Calder Valley, which has the highest [lesbian:other orientation] ratio in the world, so it seems like it's straight-washing the place).
  • In the Law & Order episode "Manhood" ADA Stone pursues manslaughter charges against four police officers who deliberately arrived late to back up another officer in a shootout because he was gay. They are acquitted. The episode was remade for Law & Order: UK as "Samaritan".
  • The Spanish soap opera Los Hombres de Paco recently wed one of its most popular pairs, lesbian couple Pepa and Silvia, in one the biggest and most hyped weddings of the year. All went well and the wedding was lovely — and then Silvia was shot when gangsters besieged the reception. Unable to get medical help for hours (and still in her Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress) she slowly and painfully bled to death on the floor as Pepa held her and told her she loved her.
  • The second season of Luke Cage reveals that Cormanche has feelings for Shades and that they had a relationship while in prison, just moments before Shades kills him.
  • Shameless (US): Mickey, at the persistence of his boyfriend Ian, comes out of the closet in front of his homophobic father and his equally as terrible friends. This results in a bloody bar brawl with everyone involved.
  • Siberia manages to have the only two main characters who die both also be the only two non-straight characters. One, Natalie, disappears (and is later confirmed dead) only an episode after it is revealed she might be bisexual, and willing to give a relationship with Annie a chance (Annie later gets shot).
  • Supernatural: An especially egregious example with Castiel. After twelve years of Ship Tease with Dean Winchester, Cas announces he has loved Dean all along and then is immediately dragged to the Empty.
  • The Tudors: William Compton and Thomas Tallis. Tallis originally rejected Compton's advances but eventually gave in. Compton then died of "sweating sickness" in the episode after they had consummated the relationship.

  • The titular couple of Cosmo Jarvis's "Gay Pirates" end up forced to walk the plank.

    Video Games 
  • In 2ECONDS TO STARLIVHT: My Heart's Reflection, one of two prequel visual novels to Noisz Starlivht, Hakuno's school accidentally sends her both male and female uniforms. As a transgender girl, she puts on the female uniform and tries to go to school presenting the way she's always wanted to...and it goes horribly wrong as she's harassed by classmates who perceive her attire as "Creepy Crossdresser boy" and teachers who insist she put on the male uniform instead or face disciplinary action. When she's cornered by a pair of bullies, she's saved only by a timely intervention by Sumire, who knew the two bullies for years but later cuts ties with them in disgust over them harassing a harmless trans girl, which leads to Hakuno and Sumire becoming best friends.
  • The Dragonborn expansion of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim introduces an NPC gay couple. They are dead by the time you get to Solstheim.
  • In Deadly Premonition, Thomas suffers a rather gruesome death after flipping out and showing himself as Depraved Homosexual (in-game, forcing the player to fight him).
  • In Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out!, taking the Gay Option results in a Non Standard Game Over. Not that the result seemed rather bad, compared to most things that cause game over in these games.
  • Mass Effect 2 has Nef, who naturally dies a horrible death as a result of her attraction to Morinth. She's dead before Shepard has even heard of her because Shepard's already hunting Morinth by that time.
  • In The Orion Conspiracy, Devlin discovers that his dead son Danny was gay. Devlin was surprised because he and Danny had been so distant from each other that Devlin simply did not have a clue. He also finds out that Kaufmann is gay and that he was Danny's boyfriend. Kaufmann and Devlin get into a shouting match because Kaufmann thinks Devlin disapproves of the relationship. Devlin, on his part, feels that he would not have held that against Danny. Sadly, Kaufmann is found dead and disemboweled shortly afterward. Devlin finds out later that Captain Shannon killed Danny and Kaufmann. Why? Because Shannon blames Devlin for the death of Shannon's wife, and so he murdered Danny for revenge. Shannon killed Kaufmann to frame Devlin. Naturally, Shannon is planning to kill Devlin.
  • In Phantasmagoria 2, Trevor is the last out of four characters to be murdered, and specifically because Curtis loved him the most. However, this is so he can die right after admitting that he loves Curtis and right before they can kiss. The female love interest survives, apparently remembering that she was, in fact, a character in the game after disappearing from the last half of it or so.
  • In Prey (2017), Chief Danielle Sho and crew member Abigail Joy were revealed to be in a sapphic relationship. Shortly after the period in which the player gains access to the Crew Quarters which contains the pieces which reveal this, Abigail's body is found murdered. The player optionally meets Sho, who is spacewalking outside, at a window and informs her of her partner's death.
    • This trope could be seen as inverted with Danielle herself. Not only she's one of the very few people who survived the initial Typhon outbreak, she's also the only character whom you can't kill. Her situation is quite perilous, though, with implication that she's likely to die eventually.
  • The first time the player encounters Eli Wilkerson in State of Decay, he's snuck out during a Zombie Apocalypse to pursue his secret relationship with his boyfriend. The second time, zombies have mauled him for this and the player gets to put a bullet in his head before he turns.
  • In Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror, Mara and Elsa are revealed to be a lesbian couple and are subsequently killed.