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Queer Character, Queer Actor

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https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bomercharacter.png
The gay Larry Trainor (top left) is played by gay actor Matt Bomer (bottom left).

"I've had to kind of volunteer to play characters that I can relate to because I didn't have any growing up. So the characters I've been playing and am playing now are characters that could've saved me when I was younger and questioning a lot of things. This representation is so important, this visibility is so important."
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When the actor cast to play a queer role identifies in the same way as their character, such as a gay man played by a gay male actor, a trans woman by a trans actress, and so on.

With the prominence of LGBT visibility since the 2000s and especially after the 2010s, this trope has become increasingly desirable, especially to make up for the decades-old Double Standard in Hollywood where straight actors would play queer characters and win awards left and right (such as Hilary Swank winning an Oscar for Boys Don't Cry), while actually-queer actors had to either spend their lives in the closet or come out and watch their careers sink. In fact, many once-acclaimed performances are now looked at more critically because the character would constantly talk about being queer without ever acting on it, or their romantic scenes were tepid at best, all because the actor wasn't comfortable shooting love scenes with a same-gender co-star. Casting a queer actor for such a role helps ensure that they won't be squeamish about a Big Damn Kiss and/or sex scene.

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The casting directors may not have been actually looking for someone queer to play such roles, but the actors were deemed best for the roles which may be because of the genuine portrayal. Note that though the actor and character may both be queer they may not identify the same way. In this way, the trope may be downplayed or sometimes invoked because of the casting directors wanting an openly queer actor in the role and settling for whatever they can find.

However, it is actually illegal in some jurisdictions (including California and New York State) for casting directors to seek out actors of a certain sexual orientation or to even ask about it. This is due to employment laws meant to protect LGBT actors from blacklisting. When this trope is in effect, it's usually because queer actors seek out these roles and can apply their personal experience to the part.

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Of course, this also works in the reverse: queer actors playing straight/cisgender characters, though this is rarer than its inverse, which leads to some questioning of Hollywood standards (queer people can only play queer, but straight people can play anyone).

Transgender actors run into a unique set of problems: when a role calls for a trans character, casting directors often cast cisgender actors and paint them up like drag queens, implying that trans people are just crossdressing. Cis women playing trans women and cis men playing trans men tend to be better received but may still be criticized for taking the role from the pool of trans actors. In fact, transgender actors are very rarely cast for non-trans roles, and if they're able to pass as their target gender, they might even be turned down for trans roles for not looking stereotypically "trans enough."

Interesting instances arise when an actor comes out once already an established character within a universe, and then their character's storyline follows suit.

Subtrope of Actor-Shared Background, and Sister Trope of Disabled Character, Disabled Actor. Not to be confused with Cast Full of Gay, although there can be overlap if the actors playing said cast members are also LGBT+.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime 

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In The Birdcage, the openly gay Nathan Lane plays the gay Drag Queen Albert.
  • In Boy Meets Girl, the openly trans Michelle Hendley plays trans woman Ricky.
  • In BPM Beats Per Minute, director Robin Campillo says he made a point of casting queer actors to play queer characters (although the sexualities of the individual cast members are not necessarily known).
  • Virtually all roles played by Brianna Hildebrand (who is bisexual, though she prefers simply "queer") so far. In fact, she got into a relationship with a woman in the art department on Deadpool 2.
  • But I'm a Cheerleader did have a majority heterosexual cast, but Clea DuVall identifies as a lesbian, and stars as Graham. Ru Paul, who's gay, plays an "ex-gay" counselor of a gay conversion camp (he insists he's straight).
  • In Mean Girls, "too gay to function" Damian is played by gay actor Daniel Franzese, but he only came out a decade after the release of the movie.
  • Tessa Thompson, who is attracted to both men and women, while eschewing the bisexual label, has stated that her character in Thor: RagnarokValkyrie — has the same preferences, but a scene establishing as much in the film was left off the final cut. Director Taika Waititi has confirmed as much himself.
  • Tangerine stars Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor (both trans women) as trans sex workers Sin-Dee and Alexandra.
  • A Fantastic Woman stars trans actress Daniela Vega as trans woman Marina.
  • In French Twist, gay Spanish pop new wave musician and actor Miguel Bosé plays the gay man Laurent meets at the end.
  • Gods and Monsters stars Ian McKellen (who's gay) as gay film director James Whale.
  • In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Ezra Miller (who identifies as genderqueer and pansexual) plays the gay Patrick.
  • Pride (2014) has the likes of Andrew Scott (Gethin) and Russell Tovey (Tim) amongst its cast.
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum has the Adjudicator, who is non-binary. They are played by the non-binary Asia Kate Dillon, who had asked to make the character non-binary to match their own identity.
  • By Hook or By Crook has two trans lead actors (Silas Howard and Harry Dodge), playing the main characters Shy and Val. Both characters are implicitly trans, using male pronouns and words like "guy" and "man" to refer to each other, although the words "trans" and "transgender" are not actually used anywhere in the film.
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire: Adèle Haenel is queer like Héloïse (and was once in a relationship with the film's director Céline Sciamma).
  • Room in Rome: Elena Anaya is a lesbian like her character Alba.
  • Gia: Bisexual actress Angelina Jolie plays the lesbian model Gia Marie Carangi.
  • It: Chapter Two: The gay couple who are victims of a homophobic attack at the beginning of the movie are played by gay director Xavier Dolan and gay actor Taylor Frey.note  For that matter, Xavier Dolan often plays gay characters in his own movies.
  • Blood of the Tribades: Chloé Cunha, who plays the lesbian vampire Élisabeth, is queer herself (in fact, she does queer comedy improv).
  • Jennifer's Body: Jennifer is almost certainly bi or a lesbian. Megan Fox says she played her as a closeted lesbian, while she's bisexual herself.
  • GBF:
    • Michael J. Willett, who is openly gay, as the gay Tanner.
    • Paul Iacono, who mostly identifies as gay but also says he's bi, as the gay Brent.
  • All Cheerleaders Die: Caitlin Stacey plays lesbian Maddie. Stacey's called herself variously lesbian, fluid, and pansexual in reality.
  • Princess Cyd: Katie, who is portrayed as a butch lesbian but also discussed as being possibly transgender, is portrayed by Malic White, an actor who is transgender and uses they/them pronouns.
  • Below Her Mouth: Erika Linder is a lesbian, like her character Dallas. Natalie Krill also has made comments which indicate that, like Jasmine, she's possibly bisexual.
  • My Days of Mercy: Transmasculine non-binary Elliot Page (prior to coming out, but openly attracted to women) plays bisexual Lucy.
  • Charlie's Angels (2019): Sabina is heavily implied to be lesbian or bi (the director has confirmed that she's gay). Kristen Stewart, who plays her, is openly bisexual.
  • Bit: Nicole Maines, like her character Laurel, is transgender.
  • Both Stephen Fry and Rupert Everett (both gay) have played Oscar Wilde in a film (Wilde and The Happy Prince, respectively).
  • Actor Luke Evans seems to deliberately invert this trope. He's openly gay but has never played a gay character onscreen. It's likely that he prefers to be defined by his acting skills rather than his sexuality, and to his credit, he's one of the highest-profile queer actors in Hollywood today.
  • The Crying Game: Jaye Davidson, who's gay, plays the trans woman Dil.
  • Margarita: Nicola Correia-Damude is bisexual and plays a lesbian here.
  • The Craft: Legacy: Both Lourdes and her actress Zoey Luna are transgender.
  • Happiest Season:
    • Lesbian Abby is played by openly bisexual Kristen Stewart.
    • John is played by gay actor Daniel Levy.
    • Harper's ex Riley is played by bisexual actress Aubrey Plaza.
    • Clea DuVall, an open lesbian who directed and wrote this, cameos at the end as Riley's apparent new girlfriend.
  • The Little Hours: Bisexual actress Aubrey Plaza plays bisexual nun Fernanda.
  • Van Helsing has Aleera who's Ambiguously Bi - one of Dracula's brides but shows a lot of interest in Anna. Her actress Elena Anaya is openly lesbian.
  • Downplayed in Thirteen (2003). Tracy and Evie at one point kiss to experiment, and then it evolves into a full-on makeout. Tracy's actress Evan Rachel Wood later came out as bisexual.
  • The Scottish Short Film Authentic is about a young woman coming out to her brother. Nicola Docherty, who also wrote the script, has an attraction to women and men (preferring not to use a label) and based it on her own experiences.
  • Inverted in the Irish film Undefeated in which the gay protagonist's straight best friend is played by Darcy Elizabeth Mullen, who's non-binary. Granted, the character's sexuality is never detailed, but it adds Reality Subtext to Bex reassuring Tristan that it's nothing to be ashamed of.
  • V for Vendetta gives Gordon Dietrich Adaptational Sexuality to be a closeted gay man, possibly to accommodate Stephen Fry now playing him.
  • Moxie: Transgender actress Josie Totah plays CJ, who is also transgender.
  • With a Kiss I Die: Paige Emerson, who's nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, plays Farryn, a bi or lesbian woman.
  • Foxfire: Legs, a lesbian, is played by bi actress Angelina Jolie. Goldie, who is heavily implied to be a lesbian as well, is played by lesbian actress Jenny Shimizu.
  • Rough Night:
  • Unpregnant: Barbie Ferreira is currently dating a woman, and she plays lesbian Bailey.
  • Let It Snow: Dorrie is played by Liv Hewson, a non-binary lesbian, and her girlfriend Kerry is played by Anna Akana, who is bisexual.
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post: Star Chloë Grace Moretz has mentioned she's queer, but hasn't defined her sexuality specifically, and plays main character Cameron, a lesbian teen. Sasha Lane plays one of the lesbian girls being forced to undergo conversion therapy. Quinn Shephard plays Cameron's secret girlfriend. Lane (playing Jane) is a lesbian, Shephard (Coley) has said she's queer.
  • The White Orchid: Olivia Thirlby, who's bisexual, plays Claire, who picks up and then has sex with a woman, who's the only person in the film she's shown as attracted to (she never uses any labels).
  • Victim: Dirk Bogarde was, like his character Melville Farr, a closeted gay man. He not only wasn't out at the time but never actually came out publicly (however, friends knew of his orientation).
  • Steam: Kate Siegel is bisexual, playing Elizabeth, a lesbian. In fact, she came out during interviews for the film.
  • Bloodthirsty: Lauren Beatty (Grey) and Katherine King So (Charlie) play a lesbian couple, while both are queer.
  • Hearts Beat Loud: Sam and Rose are girlfriends in the film. Kiersey Clemons playing Sam is queer, Sasha Lane who plays Rose has said she's a lesbian. Clemons plays lesbians in Dope as Diggy and Easy as Chase too.
  • West Side Story (2021): Anybodys, who is usually portrayed as a tomboy, is explicitly stated to be a trans man in this film, and their actor iris menas is transmasculine non-binary.
  • The 2021 Irish Short Film Boxed In is about a trans man taking up boxing, played by trans actor Jackson Lennon. AJ is also in a relationship with a boy, and Jackson is likewise bisexual. AJ's boyfriend, implied to be trans as well, is likewise played by trans actor Elliot Douglas.
  • Sweet Sweet Lonely Girl: Quinn Shephard, who's queer, plays bisexual Beth.
  • Adam (2019):
    • Bobbi Salvor Menuez, who is nonbinary, plays Gillian. She initially identifies as a lesbian, then bisexual.
    • Leo Sheng plays Ethan, a trans man like him.
    • A number of the minor characters are also played by actors of the same gender or orientation.
  • Yves Saint Laurent: Guillaume Gallienne is bisexual and played the gay Pierre Bergé.
  • She Hate Me: Bai Ling, who's bisexual, plays One, a lesbian.
  • The Batman (2022): Selina Kyle/Catwoman is heavily implied to be in a relationship with her roommate, Annika, and also expresses interest in Batman. Her actress, Zoë Kravitz, is bisexual.
  • Crush:
  • Downplayed in Fear Street. Word of God is that Alice from 1978 is gay but closeted, and secretly has a crush on Cindy. The character is played by Ryan Simpkins, who is non-binary.

    Live-Action TV 
  • AJ and the Queen: Series creator and star RuPaul is gay as are most of the actors who play the show's many queer characters.
  • Orange Is the New Black:
    • The show features lesbian Samira Wiley as Poussey, Butch Lesbian Lea DeLaria as Carrie "Big Boo" Black, and trans actress Laverne Cox as Sophia. Then in season 3 Ruby Rose plays a lesbian. She is not only a lesbian but genderfluid too (still using female pronouns though). The last season introduces Dominga "Daddy" Duarte, who is either a lesbian or transgender (it's ambiguous), and played by lesbian Vicci Martinez. The bisexual lead Piper Chapman is portrayed by actress Taylor Schilling, who identifies as queer. McCullough similarly is indicated to be lesbian or bi, while her actress Emily Tarver started a relationship with castmate Vicci Martinez after it ended.
    • In a rare out example in the Brazilian dub, bisexual Piper is voiced by bisexual actress Mabel Cezar, one of the rare out LGBT voice actors in Brazil. Mabel is also married to the voice actress and translator Rayani Immediato, who voices Zirconia in the show.
  • Laverne Cox was later touted as the first series regular trans character to be played by a trans performer on Doubt. She also played "sweet transvestite" Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again.
  • Ryan Murphy regularly employs this trope:
  • Trans woman Rebecca Root plays trans woman Judy on Boy Meets Girl.
  • Mrs. Hudson from Elementary is a trans woman played by Candis Cayne, who is trans. Cayne also played trans mistress Carmelita on Dirty Sexy Money.
  • Buck Vu from The OA is a trans man played by trans actor Ian Alexander.
  • When George Takei came out as gay, a lot of people assumed that his most famous character, Hikaru Sulu of Star Trek: The Original Series was also gay. However, Takei has always adamantly denied this, and Sulu was portrayed as not only straight, but happily married to a woman and, in Star Trek: Generations, the father of a grown daughter who had followed in her father's footsteps. In Star Trek Beyond — albeit after the dimensional... shift — Sulu is shown with a husband and daughter (Sulu here portrayed by straight actor John Cho).
  • Star Trek: Discovery:
    • The show features the franchise's first gay couple, Paul Stamets and Hugh Culber, played by queer actor Anthony Rapp and gay actor Wilson Cruz, respectively.
    • Season Two introduces Lieutenant Commander Jet Reno, who mentions that her wife died during the war with the Klingons the previous season. Reno is played by Tig Notaro, who is also gay. This later leads to a quite amusing scene where Stamets and Reno flirt while possessed.
    • Adira Tal comes out as non-binary to Paul. Blu del Barrio, who plays them, is non-binary as well.
  • TV's first non-binary character, Taylor Mason, is played by the openly non-binary Asia Kate Dillon in Showtime's Billions.
  • Sean Hayes played Jack McFarland on Will & Grace but was not "officially" out during the show's initial run. When he "officially" came out in an Advocate article in the run-up to playing the gay title character in Sean Saves the World he took the position that he had "never been in". With the return of W&G, Jack is at last played by an actor known to have a matching orientation.
  • The Arrowverse has a variety of queer characters played by queer actors:
    • Both averted and played straight with Wentworth Miller, who initially plays the straight Leonard Snart / Captain Cold from Earth-1 and then the gay "Leo" Snart / Citizen Cold from Earth-X. In 2020, Miller announced that he would no longer play straight characters hence why he refused to return for a sixth season of Prison Break.
    • Russell Tovey, who plays the gay Ray Terrill/The Ray, is also gay himself. In fact, Leo and Ray are dating. It's unclear if Ray's Earth-X doppelganger (also voiced by Tovey) was gay, as he's killed before this can be revealed.
    • Averted by Victor Garber, who plays the straight (and happily married) Professor Stein, but the Flash episode "Duet" features an alternate universe where Stein is married to a man.
    • In a similar way, queer actress Maisie Richardson-Sellers initially played the straight Amaya Jiwe (Vixen) in Legends of Tomorrow but in season 4, she got recast as pansexual demon Charlie.
    • Gay villain-turned-good guy Hartley Rathway, aka Pied Piper, is played by bisexual actor Andy Mientus.
    • Supergirl:
      • Season 4 introduces transgender hero Nia Nal aka Dreamer, played by transgender actress Nicole Maines.
      • Chyler Leigh (unspecific LGBT) as lesbian Alex Danvers on Supergirl - though Leigh came out after her character and said Alex's story helped her work it out.
    • In season 7 of Arrow, William Clayton (Oliver's son) as an adult is played by gay actor Ben Lewis.
    • Batwoman (2019):
      • Ruby Rose, who identifies as a lesbian, plays the titular character, who is also a lesbian. The casting call for Kate Kane specifically asked for a queer actress, though the producers had also been prepared to cast a straight actress as a last resort. Ruby Rose's casting fulfilled the original intention.
      • When she left the show, the producers made sure to be clear they were looking for another LGBT actress as the replacement. They ended up casting bisexual Javicia Leslie as Ryan Wilder, the next Batwoman, who's also lesbian.
      • Bevin Bru, who plays Angelique (Ryan's ex-girlfriend) is bisexual as well. Given the above, it's probably a deliberate choice.
  • In Scream: The TV Series, Audrey is Ambiguously Bi, while her actor Bex Taylor-Klaus is pansexual and non-binary.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer - although Amber Benson and Alyson Hannigan were straight actresses playing lesbians, Iyari Limon — who plays Willow's Season 7 girlfriend Kennedy — is bisexual. Gay actor Tom Lenk also played the gay (albeit Ambiguously Bi) Andrew Wells.
  • Scott Thompson of The Kids in the Hall has been openly gay since the '80s, and his most famous character is the "alpha queen" gay socialite Buddy Cole.
  • Following "The Puppy Episode" of Ellen, lesbian Ellen Morgan was played by lesbian Ellen DeGeneres. On her next sitcom The Ellen Show, her character Ellen Richmond was openly lesbian from the start.
  • 13 Reasons Why has Ryan, who is gay, played by Tommy Dorfman, who also identified as gay at the time but has since come out as a trans woman. In the fourth season, Alex (played by queer actor Miles Heizer) also comes out as queer.
  • Several gay actors from HBO's series Looking play gay characters, including (but not limited to) Jonathan Groff, Russell Tovey, Murray Bartlett, and Daniel Franzese.
  • In Gotham, Oswald Cobblepot is reimagined as gay like his actor Robin Lord Taylor.
  • Instinct stars Alan Cumming, who is bisexual, as the gay, happily married Dylan Reinhart.
  • Teen Wolf:
    • Jackson was originally portrayed as straight, only getting involved with female characters. After his actor Colton Haynes came out and returned to the show after leaving some time prior, Jackson similarly became canonically gay.
    • Charlie Carver, who played the gay werewolf Ethan, also came out as gay after the departure of his character. When he comes back, he's in a relationship with the aforementioned Jackson.
    • The minor bisexual character Caitlin is played by Zelda Williams who's also bisexual in real life.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine has bisexual Rosa Diaz being played by bisexual Stephanie Beatriz (in fact Beatriz coming out prompted Diaz being written as bi too).
  • Modern Family has gay Jesse Tyler Ferguson playing one half of the show’s gay couple, Mitchell. Averted with the other half Cam, played by straight actor Eric Stonestreet.
  • Peep Show has bisexual Robert Webb as the also bisexual Jeremy "Jez" Usbourne, though Webb was not out while the series was airing.
  • Schitt's Creek has gay Daniel Levy playing flamboyant pansexual David Rose.
  • Most of the many queer characters on The Other Two are played by queer actors, including Drew Tarver who plays Carey.
  • The Exorcist: The gay Father Marcus is played by the openly gay Ben Daniels. The lesbian teen Verity in season 2 is played by queer actress Brianna Hildebrand. Ben Daniels also played the bisexual Paul Grayson in Flesh and Bone.
  • Doom Patrol (2019): In a minor case of First-Episode Twist, Matt Bomer's character Larry is revealed to be cheating on his wife with a man.
  • Desperate Housewives: Bob Hunter is played by Tuc Watkins, who came out of the closet in 2013. Bob's husband Lee McDermott is an aversion, being played by the straight Kevin Rahm.
  • Andi Mack: Cyrus, who came out as gay during the series, was played by Joshua Rush, who is bisexual. However, Rush came out after the show ended, making this a retroactive example.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Susie, who has an Ambiguous Gender Identity at first, and comes out as a trans man and changes his name to Theo midway through the show is played by non-binary actor Lachlan Watson.
  • Party of Five (2020): Matthew, who's transgender, is played by non-binary actor Garcia.
  • Dispatches From Elsewhere: Simone is played by Eve Lindley, who's transgender like her.
  • Vida:
    • Ser Anzoategui, who plays Butch Lesbian Eddy, is non-binary.
    • Roberta Colindrez, who plays Nico (a slightly less Butch Lesbian), identifies as queer.
    • Additionally, a number of minor LGBT+ characters are played by LGBT+ actors as well.
  • Lip Service: Heather Peace is a lesbian like her character Sam (which in fact means she's the only one among the actresses on the show).
  • Mad Men: The openly gay Bryan Batt plays Sal Romano, who's also gay but closeted due to the time period, his job, and his marriage.
  • Control Z: Isabela, who's a trans girl, is played by Zión Moreno, who shares her gender.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club (2020): Mary Anne's baby-sitting charge Bailey is a trans girl. The character is played by Kai Shappley, a trans girl who was also the focus of the documentary Trans in America: Texas Strong. According to her mum, Kai was specifically sought after for the role.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Lesbian companion Bill Potts is played by bisexual actress Pearl Mackie.
    • Captain Jack Harkness, who is pansexual, is played by openly gay actor John Barrowman.
    • Midshipman Alonso Frame who flirts with Jack, is played by gay actor Russell Tovey.
  • Hightown: Lesbian Jackie is played by bisexual actress Monica Raymund.
  • The Magicians: Bisexual Elliot is played by openly queer Hale Appleman.
  • Invoked by Darren Criss. He's straight, but after two acclaimed roles where he played gays (Blaine in Glee and Andrew Cunanan in American Crime Story), he announced that he would no longer seek out or accept gay roles, as he realized that every gay male character he plays takes that opportunity away from an actually-gay actor.
  • Empire: Openly gay Jussie Smollett plays the gay middle son Jamal.
  • Trinkets: Elodie is gay, played by Brianna Hildebrand, who's stated she likes both men and women (while just going by "gay"). Sabine too is gay, played by queer and non-binary actor Kat Cunning.
  • Never Have I Ever:
    • Dino Petrera is gay like his character Jonah Sharpe.
    • Lee Rodriguez, who plays the lesbian Fabiola, identifies as queer.
  • The Boys (2019): Nicola Correia-Damude plays Elena, Maeve's ex-girlfriend. She's bisexual in real life.
  • We Are Who We Are:
    • Maggie is a lesbian in a same-sex marriage. Alice Braga, who plays her, has been dating fellow Brazilian actress Bianca Comparato for three years.
    • Jack Dylan Grazer plays Fraser, who is gay or bi, and came out as bisexual in 2021, along with stating his pronouns as he/they.
  • Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams: In "Real Life" Sarah, a lesbian, was played by Anna Paquin, who's bi.
  • Big Sky: Trans woman Jerrie is played by non-binary actor Jesse James Keitel.
  • Quantico: Rick Cosnett as Elias Harper and Russell Tovey as Harry Doyle. Both are gay like their characters, though Cosnett came out after the show ended.
  • Euphoria:
    • Hunter Schafer, like Jules, is a trans woman. Jules is bi too, while she's bi/pan in real life.
    • Bobbi Salvor Menuez is non-binary, just like their character TC.
  • Wynonna Earp: Dominique Provost-Chalkley is queer and her character, Waverly Earp, is bi. Likewise, Katherine Barrell has stated she likes both men and women while her character, Nicole Haught, is a lesbian.
  • Carnival Row: Bisexual Vignette is played by Cara Delevingne, who's pansexual.
  • The Secret Diaries Of Miss Anne Lister: Maxine Peake, who's bisexual, plays lesbian Anne.
  • Law & Order: SVU:
    • Dr. Huang is gay as is his actor B.D. Wong.
    • Kat Tamin is bi. Jamie Gray Hyder has said she'd been with both men and women while choosing not to label herself.
    • Wentworth Miller played attorney Isaiah Holmes for two episodes, who's gay like him.
  • Dark Angel: Trans woman Louise in "Out" was played by trans woman actress Jessica Crockett. It's listed as the first time a trans woman character on any television series was played by a real trans woman.
  • Actress Luvia Petersen is openly bisexual, and has played queer women pretty often. Dax/Cowboy on The L Word was a butch lesbian mechanic and drag king. Jasmine Garza on Continuum is a bisexual like Petersen. Her characters Val McGrath-Dufresne (Ghost Wars), Meg Harris (The Murders) and Mrs. Johanssen (The Babysitters Club 2020) were all lesbians. Brooke on Riverdale was indicated as being bisexual.
  • True Blood:
    • Rutina Wesley plays Tara, who it turns out is a bisexual woman. She became engaged to a woman in 2017, albeit after the series ended, and like Tara had been with men before (though Wesley doesn't label herself).
    • Danielle, a werewolf who's bisexual (or at least willing to get intimate with a woman at times) was played by Jamie Gray Hyder, who's said she has been with both men and women (while also not using labels).
    • Evan Rachel Wood, who's openly bisexual, plays bisexual vampire Queen Sophie-Anne.
    • Gay actor Denis O'Hare also plays the gay vampire Russell Edgington.
  • The Wilds:
    • Mia Healey, who plays closeted lesbian Shelby, describes herself as bisexual.
    • Miles Gutierrez-Riley plays Ivan, who's gay, while he's queer.
  • The Nevers: Vinnie Heaven, who plays Jack Nimble, called him trans androgynous, which is Heaven's gender as well.
  • Equal, a 2020 HBO docudrama on the LGBT+ rights movement, portrays many historical LGBT+ people with LGBT+ actors (usually of the same orientation or gender). The cast includes Anthony Rapp as gay activist Harry Hay, Jamie Clayton as Christine Jorgenson, the first well-known American trans woman to get sex reassignment surgery, and Samira Wiley as Black lesbian playwright/writer Lorraine Hansberry.
  • Grey's Anatomy:
  • The Republic of Sarah: Bisexual actress Nicola Correia-Damude plays Alexis Whitmore, who's having an affair with Amy "AJ" Johnson.
  • iCarly (2021):
    • Laci Mosley, who is bisexual, plays pansexual Harper Bettencourt.
    • Pop starlet Double Dutch is revealed to be attracted to women and shares a kiss with Harper in the first season finale. Dutch's actress Poppy Liu identifies as queer.
  • First Day:
    • Hannah is played by Evie MacDonald, who's a trans girl like her.
    • Jack Childs is a fellow trans actor, playing Sarah, who reveals to Hannah he's a trans boy.
  • Abby's: Abby is a bisexual woman, played by queer actor Natalie Morales, who has said her pronouns are she/they.
  • High Fidelity: Rob in the Hulu adaptation is bisexual like Zoë Kravitz.
  • The White Lotus: Armond is portrayed by the openly gay Murray Bartlett, previously of the gay HBO drama Looking. His sexuality isn't acknowledged in dialogue until episode three when Marks asks him if anal sex hurts after learning his father died of AIDS, but promotional materials also show him involved in a tryst with hotel staffer Dillon.
  • Legacies: Josie Saltzman is canonically pansexual in the show, and in June 2021, her actress Kaylee Bryant came out as queer.
  • Veep: The lesbian Marjorie Palmiotti is played by the lesbian Clea Duvall.
  • Y: The Last Man (2021): Elliot Fletcher is a trans man and plays Sam Jordan, who shares his gender.
  • Fantasy Island (2021): In "The Romance and the Bromance" Caitlin Stasey, who is pansexual, played Isabel, a young woman who's a huge fan of Victorian author Rachel Coldwater, traveling into the past where they get into a romance.
  • Roswell, New Mexico: Tyler Blackburn is openly bisexual, and plays Alex Manes, who's gay.
  • The L Word: Laurel Holloman, Leisha Hailey, Katherine Moennig, Clementine Ford, Tammy Lynn Michaels, Guinevere Turner, Jane Lynch, Alexandra Holden, Kelly McGillis, Kristanna Loken, Karina Lombard and Heather Matarazzo are all lesbian or bisexual in real life, as well as playing lesbian or bisexual characters on the show (and Mia Kirshner has hinted at bisexuality in interviews). Amusingly, Leisha Hailey was the only actual (out) lesbian of the main cast (at the time), yet her character was bisexual. Daniela Sea, who played Max (a trans man who's initially identified as a lesbian cis woman) also had a very similar experience, coming out as non-binary and using they/them pronouns, still identifying as lesbian in solidarity with women though saying their orientation is more akin to bisexual. This continued in its Sequel Series The L Word: Generation Q, adding new characters, mostly queer women but one trans man too, while most are played by actors of the same orientation or gender. Minor characters such as Rebecca Dowery (played by Olivia Thirlby, who's a bisexual woman like her) also followed this.
  • For the People: Anya, a lesbian, is portrayed by pansexual Caitlin Stasey.
  • Lovecraft Country: Monique Candelaria is two-spirit like Yahima and pansexual (it must be noted that "two-spirit" is an umbrella term to describe LGBT+ Native American people that can mean many different things, so they might not be a specific match).
  • 4400:
    • Theo Germaine, who plays trans boy Noah, is nonbinary.
    • Dr. Andre Davis is trans, as is his actor, T.L. Thompson.
    • Wilder Yari, who portrays Jessica Tanner, Keisha's girlfriend, is queer.
    • Kausar Mohammed is queer like her character Soraya.
  • The Umbrella Academy (2019): Elliot Page came out as transgender in 2020, and so will his character Viktor.
  • Yellowjackets:
    • Openly queer Jasmin Savoy Brown plays the teenage Taissa, who is later married to Simone.
    • Liv Hewson, who is gay and nonbinary, plays Van, a girl involved with Taissa when they're young.
  • The Haunting of Hill House's lesbian protagonist Theo is played by Kate Siegel, who's bisexual.
  • The Brittas Empire: Russell Porter (who plays the gay Tim Whistler in the series) is gay in real life. However, Tim Marriott (who plays Gavin Featherly, Tim's boyfriend in the series) isn't.
  • Feel Good: Mae Martin plays a fictionalized version of herself. She's already openly bisexual at the start, then comes out as nonbinary as well (like Martin did, going by either they/them or she/her).
  • Don't Look Deeper: Transmasculine actor Harvey Zielinski plays Abel, who is a trans man it's revealed.
  • Gossip Girl (2021): Zión Moreno is a young trans woman like her character Luna La.
  • Humberly González has played queer characters on In the Dark, Utopia Falls, Trapped: The Alex Cooper Story and Jupiter's Legacy while she is queer herself, though she only came out in the wake of her role playing Sophie on Ginny and Georgia, stating these roles weren't sought out specifically. They did help her come out though, since they portrayed LGBT+ women as normal and made her feel confident in her own queer sexuality.
  • Twenties: Jonica T. Gibbs is, like Hattie, a lesbian (with the same butch style as well).
  • Two and a Half Men: Evelyn Harper is bisexual, but her actress, Holland Taylor, is a lesbian.
  • The Strain: Lesbian Nikki Taylor is played by bisexual actress Nicola Correia-Damude.
  • Burden of Truth: Star Slade, who's queer, plays Luna, a lesbian.
  • Emily Rios is a lesbian who's played lesbian characters twice. Maria on Men of a Certain Age was a recurring character. Later on The Bridge (US) she portrayed Adriana Mendez, a reporter (and both are also Mexican-American). Regarding the latter she gushed about getting to play a woman like herself, even in a minor role, and the directors accepting her input that Adriana's sexuality be just incidental without being the focus of her entire character.
  • American Gods (2017): Yetide Badaki who plays the Depraved Bisexual goddess Bilquis came out as bisexual herself in 2021 and credited the show with helping to be open about her sexuality.
  • The Sex Lives of College Girls:
    • Leighton's actress, Reneé Rapp, identifies as queer herself (though not a lesbian, as she is currently dating a man).
    • Alicia's actress, Midori Francis, is herself also queer.
    • The gay Travis is played by Betti, a genderfluid drag performer.
    • Tova's actor, Vico Ortiz, is also non-binary.
    • Coach Woods, who is a lesbian married to another woman, is played by Jillian Armenante, who is also married to a woman and has two children with her.
  • Downplayed in Normal People. In the book, Joanna was a lesbian, and a Deleted Scene showed her with a girlfriend. Her actress Eliot Salt also has a girlfriend.
  • Conversations With Friends: Lesbian Sasha Lane plays Bobbi, who's also a lesbian.
  • Everything's Gonna Be Okay: Josh Thomas, Adam Faison, and Vico Ortiz are all LGBT+ (Thomas and Faison are gay, while Ortiz is genderfluid) and play LGBT characters (although in Ortiz's case, they play a cisgender lesbian.)
  • Queen Sugar:
    • Nova Bordelon is bisexual and her actress, Rutina Wesley, was engaged to a woman at one point.
    • Micah starts questioning his sexuality in season 6. His actor, Nicholas L. Ashe, came out in 2020.

    Music Videos 
  • Stolen City's music video for the song "Faces" revolves around a transgender girl who is the victim of bullying. She's played by trans actress Jamie O'Herlihy. Ironically when the video came out, a lot of people didn't realize she was supposed to be trans.note 
  • Most of the actors/performers in the video for Mary Lambert's "Know Your Name" are LGBT+, like Sara Ramirez as the love interest.
  • t.A.T.u. were infamously portrayed as a lesbian couple, both in their music videos and in their actual music, live performances, and general public image. Even though it was all an act, one member, Julia Volkova, is actually bisexual in real life.

    Podcasts 
  • Night Vale Presents has a bit of a history with this...
    • Welcome to Night Vale: Cecil Palmer and Carlos are played by gay actors Cecil Baldwin and Dylan Marron.
      • Marron's casting fixes what the creators saw as a tone-deaf mistake in originally casting straight series co-creator Jeffrey Cranor in the role.
    • Alice Isn't Dead: Protagonist Keisha is played by queer actor Jasika Nicole.
    • The Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air): Julian the Janitor is played by Neutral Milk Hotel alumnus Julian Koster, who came out as "not straight" in the end-of-season Q&A.
  • Unwell Podcast: Kathleen Hoil, the voice actor for Abbie, is also nonbinary.

    Radio 
  • Round the Horne had a recurring sketch featuring two Camp Gay men named Julian and Sandy. They were respectively played by Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams, both of whom were also gay in real life, with the latter also describing himself as asexual.
  • Doctor Who Redacted stars trans actress Charlie Craggs as trans podcaster Cleo Proctor.

    Theatre 
  • The show Hedwig and the Angry Inch has the titular character of Hedwig who is possibly a trans woman but could also be Camp Gay. Hedwig is usually played by gay or effeminate men because of this. In fact, when the rather masculine Taye Diggs took over the role, upset critics and fans rioted.
  • The 2018 Broadway production of The Boys in the Band features an entirely queer cast, including the likes of Matt Bomer (Donald), Zachary Quinto (Harold), Andrew Rannells (Larry), Charlie Carver (Cowboy), and Jim Parsons (Michael). It was later adapted into a movie on Netflix with the same cast.
    • The original off-Broadway production (and 1970 film adaptation) featured Kenneth Nelson (Michael), Leonard Frey (Harold), Frederick Combs (Donald), Keith Prentice (Larry), and Robert La Tourneaux (Cowboy).
  • In the original Broadway run of Avenue Q the puppeteer of the resident closeted homosexual Rod, John Tartaglia, is a gay man in real life, who's currently happily taken by his partner, Devin Neilson, who's also known as Tumblebrutus from the American tour of Cats.
  • Miya Rurika came out as gender-free after their retirement from the Takarazuka Revue. Their character Sweetheart in Baddy is depicted with an Ambiguous Gender.
  • The Broadway production of Deaf West's Spring Awakening has the bisexual Andy Mientus and gay Joshua Castille play Hanschen and Ernst, who has a seduction and makeout scene.

    Video Games 
  • Dorothea in Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Josephine in Dragon Age: Inquisition are bisexual like their English voice actress Allegra Clark.
  • Also from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, we have the bisexual Lindhardt, who is played by the openly gay Chris Patton.
  • The openly gay Cam Clarke plays the bisexual option Sky from Jade Empire, whom the male playable character can enter a relationship with. He also voices a male Corrin from Fire Emblem Fates, who can enter into a relationship with another bisexual man, Niles. Likewise, he voices Tesshu in the third Tenchu game, which has an unlockable Gag Dub language option called B-Side that changes the story so that Tesshu's quest involves getting back together with his boyfriend(s).
  • Lev in The Last of Us Part II is a trans man like his actor Ian Alexander.
  • Tyler in Tell Me Why is usually credited with being the first playable trans character in a video game from a major developer. His voice actor, August Aiden Black, is also a trans man. In addition, DONTNOD Entertainment enforced this by making sure to cast trans voice actors for the voiceovers in other languages.
  • Zoe from Monster Prom is framed as an allegory for a trans woman's experience: she's an ancient eldritch being who has discovered that she's much happier and more fulfilled living as a high schooler, and many of the issues she faces in trying to self-actualize parallel common trans experiences (such as being deadnamed, either maliciously by bullies or by people who misguidedly want her to go back to the way they remember her). Her voice actor, Casey Mongillo, is trans femme non-binary.
    • In the sequel Monster Camp, Casey Mongillo returns to voice Milo Belladonna and Hex, both of whom identify as nonbinary they/them. Additionally, Ciaran Strange, a trans masc singer/songwriter/actor/graphic novelist, provides the voice for non-binary playable character Sawyer.
  • Mongillo also voices Floofty from Bugsnax, a non-binary pseudo-muppet scientist with, what can be presumed to be, a very detached opinion of gender as a construct considering their incredibly analytical nature.
  • With Rune Factory 5 being the first game in the series to offer same-gender romance options, Alice and Lucy share their bisexuality with their respective dub VAs, Allegra Clark and Erica Lindbeck.
  • Bisexual Allegra Clark provides the voice of the canonically non-binary Bloodhound in Apex Legends.
  • Also from Apex Legends is Lesbian Jock Valkryie, voiced by the openly pansexual and genderfluid Erika Ishii.
  • In Heart of the Woods, which added voice acting in a later patch, Tara Bryck is a trans woman, like her VA, Stephanie Arata.
  • In Borderlands 3, gay couple Sir Hammerlock and Wainwright Jakobs are portrayed by J. Michael Tatum and David Wald, respectively, both of whom are gay in real life.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: Claire is voiced by Maddie Taylor, both of whom are trans women.
  • Spider-Man (PS4) sees Black Cat, who was revealed to be bisexual in 2002, was voiced by bisexual voice actress Erica Lindbeck.
  • Likewise, Psylocke, who's also canonically bisexual, was also voiced by bisexual voice actress Erica Lindbeck in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.
  • Friday Night Funkin': B3 Remixed: Biddle3 voices Shaya Dearest, both of whom are trans women.
  • In Guilty Gear -STRIVE-, The agender Testament is portrayed in English by the transfeminine voice actress Kayleigh McKee.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Like her character May Marigold, Kdin Jenzen is a transgender woman.
    • Arryn Zech revealed on a livestream that Blake Belladona, just like herself, is bi.
  • Hazbin Hotel: Gay porn star Angel Dust is voiced by an asexual Michael Kovach.
  • Helluva Boss:
    • Pansexual imp Blitzo is voiced by a gay actor Brandon Rogers.
    • Millie's sister Sallie May is a trans woman and is played by trans voice actress Morgana Ignis.
  • Queer Duck is gay, and so is his voice actor Jim J. Bullock.
  • In gen:LOCK, genderfluid character Val/entina Romanyszyn is voiced by non-binary actor Asia Kate Dillon. The creators' first choice for the role, Tatiana Maslany, turned down the role on the grounds that this trope should be in place.

    Web Videos 
  • Carmilla
    • Elise Bauman, who is bisexual, plays lesbian Laura Hollis.
    • Natasha Negovanlis, who is pansexual, plays lesbian Carmilla Karnstein.
    • Kaitlyn Alexander, who is non-binary, plays non-binary LaFontaine.
  • Dee from Couple-ish is a non-binary character played by Kaitlyn Alexander, who is also non-binary.
  • Bisexual Taliesin Jaffe plays a bisexual character, Mollymauk Tealeaf, in campaign two of Critical Role. Similarly, Ashly Burch and Mica Burton guest star in several episodes as dwarven fighter Keg and aasimar druid Reani, respectively. And like their players, they are also bisexual. AF Flowers from the Monsterhearts one shot and their player A. G. Beardsley (credited on the show as Ally Beardsley)'s pronouns are both they/them. (Beardsley is non-binary).
  • The short film Out is about a gay teenager coming out to his parents. He's played by trans actor Archer Bradshaw, who also identifies as bisexual.
  • Shield of Tomorrow has main cast members Sam de Leve (non-binary) and Amy Dallen (bisexual) playing Commander Junil Rue (non-binary) and Doctor Throlo Sh'shirros (some flavor of sapphic), as well as recurring guest Xander Jeanerret playing Counselor Tristan Peylore (both gay).
  • The Irish web series Teen Life has a transgender character Calum played by Jackson Lennon (credited as Jackson Ellis). He also stars in the film Boxed In, based on his own experiences transitioning as a teenager.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: Implied with Prince Gumball, who is voiced by Neil Patrick Harris. As Marceline and Princess Bubblegum are confirmed to be bisexual and lesbian respectively, the same can likely be said for their Rule 63 counterparts.
  • In Big Mouth, the gay characters Matthew MacDell and Aiden are voiced by actual gays Andrew Rannells and Zachary Quinto, respectively. Also, the Old Queen in the episode "Guy Town" is voiced by Harvey Fierstein. In the fourth season, transgender character Natalie is voiced by Josie Totah, who is also transgender.
    • Missy's cousin Lena and her voice actress, Lena Waithe, are both lesbians.
  • Human Resources: Natalie's sister Nadja and her girlfriend Danielle are both voiced by queer actresses, Sabrina Jalees and Ariana De Bose.
  • Big City Greens: One of the gay couple, Alexander, is voiced by gay actor John Early.
  • Thomas in City of Ghosts is non-binary and is voiced by transgender child actor Blue Chapman.
  • In the 2019 reboot of Clifford the Big Red Dog, one of Samantha's moms, Dr. Mulberry, is voiced by Maggie Cassella, an openly lesbian actress.
  • Centaurworld: Camp Gay Zulius is voiced by openly gay actor Paveesh Cheena.
  • Clarence: Jeff's two moms, EJ and Sue, were voiced by real-life lesbians, Lea De Laria and Tig Notaro.
  • Craig of the Creek:
    • Angel is agender and used "they/them" pronouns, voiced by non-binary actor Angel Lorenzana.
    • J.P.'s sister Laura is a lesbian, just like her voice actress, Fortune Feimster.
    • Honeysuckle Ranger Raj's voice actor, Paveesh Cheena, is gay.
  • The lead character of Disenchantment, Princess Bean, is hinted at throughout the first two seasons and firmly established in the third season to be bisexual. Her voice actress Abbi Jacobson is herself bisexual.
  • In Drawn Together, Xandir, a gay man, is voiced by Jack Plotnick, who is also gay.
  • In The Ghost and Molly McGee, one of Molly's teachers, Mrs. Roop and her voice actress, Jane Lynch, are both lesbians.
  • Hey Arnold! has Mr. Simmons voiced by Dan Butler, though his relationship with Peter is made subtle.
  • Raye Rodriguez, the series creator of High Guardian Spice voices the transgender Professor Caraway. On the flip side, transgender woman Julia Kaye voices Snapdragon, who is confirmed to transition eventually. Sage's lesbian cousin, Anise, is played by lesbian actress Haviland Stillwell.
  • Kipo And The Age Of Wonder Beasts: Asher is non-binary, just like their voice actor Rhea Butcher.
  • In The Legend of Korra, Janet Varney, who plays the title character, is bisexual, and in the series finale Korra ended up in a relationship with Asami.
  • The Legend of Vox Machina:
    • The genderqueer tavern keeper in the first episode is portrayed by the nonbinary Mason Alexander Park.
    • Bisexual halfling paladin Lady Kima is voiced by openly bisexual Stephanie Beatriz.
  • The Loud House:
    • Bisexual actor Alyson Stoner voices Luna's girlfriend Sam.
    • Transgender actor Maddie Taylor voices transgender pageant host Dana Dufresne. In fact, her character transitioned with her.
  • Madagascar: A Little Wild: Odee Elliot, a non-binary okapi, is voiced by the non-binary actor Iris Menas.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: Lesbian Black Strategy (of the Hue Troop) is voiced by asexual Erica Mendez.
  • The Owl House:
    • Raine Whispers is non-binary and uses "they/them" pronouns, just like their voice actor Avi Roque. And in "Them's the Breaks, Kid", teen Raine is voiced by non-binary actor Blu del Barrio.
    • Amity Blight is lesbian and her voice actress Mae Whitman came out as pansexual in August 2021.
  • Q-Force:
    • Real-life gay actors Sean Hayes, Matt Rogers, and Gabe Liedman voiced the gay characters Steve Mayweather, Twink, and Benji.
    • Real-life lesbian actresses Wanda Sykes and Fortune Feimster voiced the lesbian characters Deb and Louisa Desk.
    • Transgender Stat is voiced by transgender actress Patti Harrison.
  • On Ridley Jones, Fred, a non-binary bison, is voiced by the non-binary Iris Menas. Meanwhile, Ismat's fathers Aten and Kosi are voiced by openly gay actors Andrew Rannells and Chris Colfer.
  • In the 2021 reboot of Rugrats, Betty DeVille who is a lesbian, is voiced by Natalie Morales, who is bisexual.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Double Trouble, the non-binary mercenary introduced in the fourth season, is voiced by Jacob Tobia, who is also nonbinary.
    • Showrunner Noelle Stevenson, a non-binary person in a relationship with a woman, voices Princess Spinnerella, who is not non-binary but is also in a relationship with another woman.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Harvey Fierstein plays Karl in "Simpson and Delilah". Karl isn't expressly identified as gay but he does kiss Homer.
    • John Waters plays John in "Homer's Phobia".
    • Scott Thompson plays Grady in "Three Gays of the Condo", "Homer and Lisa Exchange Cross Words", "Flaming Moe" and "Werking Mom".
  • Steven Universe:
  • Steven Universe: Future: Shep is a transgender, non-binary character using "they/them" pronouns, similarly to their voice actor Indya Moore.

In-Universe Examples:

Live-Action TV

  • Parodied in sketch show Smack the Pony where a sketch involved two actresses who have to play a lesbian scene. The straight actress is queasy about it all and wants to get it out of the way as quickly as possible. But the lesbian actress keeps inventing excuses for reshoots.
    "No, I'm not happy with the way I did that. sorry! My fault! But can we do just one more take?"

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