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Suddenly Sexuality

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A.D.A. Serena Southerlyn: Is this [being fired] because I'm a lesbian?
D.A. Arthur Branch:
Alternate line reading from Elisabeth Rohm's final Law & Order episode

A character who pulls a flip-flop in terms of proclaimed sexuality or suddenly, for no apparent reason, feels strongly enough about it to become the Token Minority of their particular series for that particular sexuality.

This can be because the author changed his mind about a character, is catering to Fan Wank, or is simply providing Fanservice. In any of these instances, it's usually frowned upon. Not that it's actually unrealistic, but many viewers find it jarring. When handled well, it can be Truth in Television, given that in real life, many gay people do indeed attempt to appear heterosexual before coming out, but when handled poorly, it can instead come across as a sloppy or cynical Retcon.

Sometimes employed purely as an answer to the assumption that all undeclared characters in fiction must, by default, be heterosexual.


Can be implemented as a quick gag, in which case the characters may immediately become some variation of a gay stereotype (Camp Gay and Leatherman being the most popular), regardless of their previous character traits.

If this is done via Word of God instead of within a work, it's Word of Gay.

Compare to No Bisexuals. May result in a Straight Gay. Can be forced by introducing Situational Sexuality. Relationship Reveal is a chance to out a character with more buildup. For the race version, see Suddenly Ethnicity.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Shidou Ayane of Baldr Force EXE Resolution is stated to be a lesbian in the first episode, but she's never shown to be. It was probably said to keep fans from shipping her with The Hero. Ironically, in the original H-game, she's one of the main heroines and is indeed attracted to Toru.
  • Nuriko from the series Fushigi Yuugi: a Wholesome Crossdresser and would-be Gender Bender who lives for years in a female role, considers themself female and is firmly oriented toward men. Shortly before leaving the show, Nuriko is retconned into a straight (or bisexual) man with an unusually high interest in the main character, and whose gender issues were explained away as a memorial to a dead little sister. This is heavily debatable, to say the least, and also leading to Pronoun Trouble for the fans: some use "she/her" due to thinking of Nuriko as a Transgender woman, while others use "he/him" as they see Nuriko as a gay/possibly bisexual man.
  • Reiner Braun from Attack on Titan casually mentions his lack of interest in the opposite sex, in ch. 38. Prior to that, it had seemed as though he might have a crush on Christa. However, this appears to be a case of everyone having a crush on Christa.

    Comic Books 
  • Original X-Men member Iceman came out as gay in 2015 when his time-displaced younger self expressed unhappiness about how he had spent his whole adult life hiding it. While not all that much older in Comic-Book Time, Iceman was introduced in real life 1963. Which makes him one of the longest-standing characters formerly depicted as straight to later be revealed as gay.
  • Obsidian, a DC Comics superhero, is in the modern age written as an openly gay character despite having dated women in the past and having poor luck with them. He's had a lot more success after coming out, having a steady boyfriend in Damon, assistant to Kate Spencer (a.k.a. Manhunter). In Justice League of America, he did have a sorta-crush on Atom Smasher long before he was clearly identified as gay, but it may have been too subtle for people to pick up on and/or forgotten by later writers.
  • There were hints in Justice League of America that seemed to suggest that Fire from Justice League International might be bisexual. This was never brought up again.
  • This is one of the major issues (no pun intended) that many fans of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog have with the reboot. Before the Post-Genisis Wave era, Sally has always had her heart for Sonic and even wanted a future with them together. After the reboot, Sonic and Sally not only become Just Friends, Sally, for some inexplicable reason, suddenly has a relationship with Nicole that's implied to be....much too close than necessary, despite the fact that Sally and Nicole were more like sisters beforehand.
  • Connor Hawke, something of an answer to the '90s Anti-Hero and something of one himself, was introduced originally as a man with no interest in romantic attachment (due to his being, y'know, a Buddhist monk) in the relaunch of his title Green Arrow. The book attracted a large gay following due to his lack of obvious heterosexual romantic attachment and received praise from both gay and straight sources due to its innovative and mature characterization. Unfortunately, the author, Chuck Dixon, was uncomfortable with people thinking Connor was gay, and in reaction put in several random sexual moments for Connor that came out of nowhere, went nowhere, and sat bizarrely with Connor's established characterization. (The most inexplicable and disturbing instance of same involved Connor making out, for no obvious reason, with the woman who raped his father; this was immediately dropped and never mentioned again.)
  • The Vertigo Comics miniseries Enigma actually makes the sudden sexuality switch of its protagonist, Michael, a part of the plot—it is revealed that his lover, a sociopath, used psychic powers to alter his sexuality. In the end, his lover feels regret and offers to turn him back, but Michael decides that he's happier as he is.
  • For years, Legion of Super-Heroes fans knew that Element Lad was gay. So they weren't happy when he started dating Shvaughn Erin. Then some of these fans started Taking Over The Asylum, and it turned out that yes, Element Lad was gay. But that was okay because Shvaughn Erin was really a man!
  • In Scott Pilgrim, this initially appears to be the case for Stephen Stills, at least from Scott's POV, but then Stills points out he came out in Volume 5, while Scott was too busy with the whole evil exes drama to notice (leading the reader to reach for their Vol. 5 to confirm that this does happen, in an out-of-the-way panel).
  • Chili Storm, rival to Millie the Model, was revealed to be a lesbian in the 2009-2010 miniseries Models, Inc. You'd have to squint pretty hard to see any sign of this in her 20th-century stories. Paul Tobin later stated that despite being gay, Chili did not have a crush on Millie and that her antagonistic behavior was not being Retconned into Foe Romance Subtext.
  • Likewise, the 2015 Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! series reintroduces Patsy's old pal Tom "Tubs" Hale, who is now depicted as a Bear and the owner of a gay bookstore. Justified in that the original Patsy Walker comic is an in-universe fictionalisation by Patsy's mom, and at one point Tom complains that she wrote him as straight. (The Avengers Annual 2000, "The Cat Came Back!", revealing Tom married fellow Patsy supporting character Nan Brown, is probably Canon Discontinuity, although the Marvel Wiki says they're "presumably divorced".)
  • Lucy Lane, sister of Lois Lane was depicted as strictly heterosexual for six decades; in fact, she's probably best known as Jimmy Olsen's fickle love interest during the Silver Age and Bronze Age and had later been married to Ron Troupe. As late as 2012 she was going on dates with Clark Kent. Without buildup, she was revealed to be a lesbian in the 2014 one-shot Lois Lane #1. Technically the revelation was more of a Transparent Closet moment than coming out of the closet as such, but the issue leaves little doubt as to her orientation. Admittedly the complete Continuity Reboot with the New 52, rendered most of Lucy's heterosexual encounters Canon Discontinuity but even then initially in the New 52 verse she was depicted as straight (those aforementioned dates with Clark.)
  • In Gotham Central Renée Montoya is established as a lesbian. She had been seen dating men previously, and while it never came up in the show the Universe Bible of Batman: The Animated Series (where Renee originated) said that she was motivated to become a cop after the death of her husband. This was eventually addressed in a later issue of Central where her ex-boyfriends were all retconned into being The Beard. Greg Rucka spoke out about this when people accused him of "Making Montoya gay".
    As far as I am concerned, we did no such thing. She was always gay. We were simply the first story to actually say so, and say so in no uncertain terms. We were, I am told, the first comic book story in the DCU to actually have a character say "I am a Lesbian".
  • Living Lightning, a former member of The Avengers, was revealed to be gay as part of a one-off gag involving the Great Lakes Avengers. The writer behind the joke subsequently said in interviews that Living Lightning had always been gay and that any past instances of him dating women were simply him trying to hide his sexuality.
  • The canonicity is questionable, but a Star Trek: Waypoints comic gives a retrospective of Yeoman Thompson's life before she was transformed into a chalky dodecahedron and crushed. She's shown as being married to an alien woman.
  • Nick Spencer's Captain America has Dennis Dunphy, formerly the joke hero D-Man, as Cap's pilot. His A Day in the Limelight story reveals he has a boyfriend.

    Comic Strips 
  • After thirty odd years, Mark Slackmeyer coming out in Doonesbury seemed a bit forced.
  • The same could be said for Lawrence in For Better or for Worse, who enthusiastically hoots at curvy girls with his friend Michael in earlier strips. Though he could be interpreted as an Armoured Closet Gay coming to terms with himself, Word of God on the reason for his coming out was inconsistent and doesn't clarify the matter.
  • Almost parodied when Steve Dallas came out at the end of Outland and eloped with Mark Slackmeyer, after having spent some fifteen-odd years as a sleazy womanizer. However, Steve was retconned back to het when he reappeared in Opus nine years later.
  • Dilbert's Asok, as a protest against India criminalizing homosexuality. As the series never focuses on the characters' love lives other than to point out that most of them don't have one, this will almost certainly never become relevant in any way.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Miss New York in Miss Congeniality makes no mention of her romantic life until she gets eliminated, at which point she addresses the audience and says that she wants to tell any lesbians that may be watching that if she can make it this far, so can they. She then blows a kiss and yells "I love you!" to her girlfriend, who's revealed to be in the audience. Justified, as the film was made in 2000 — people were steadily growing more open-minded, but homophobia was still pretty rampant. Being upfront about it from the start likely would've damaged Miss New York's chances of even getting into the pageant.
  • Invoked in-universe in Bedazzled (2000) when the Devil sabotages Elliot's wish to be a rich, intelligent, and suave man who Alison is head-over-heels in love with by making him gay. Prior to the reveal of this, Elliot appears to be very much into Alison and easily seduces her, only to find himself suddenly unable to kiss her after they discover a man waiting for Elliot in his bed.
  • Played with, and Played for Drama, in Thelma. While Thelma is a lesbian, her love interest Anja has a boyfriend and doesn't show any interest in women prior to meeting Thelma, with whom she becomes almost immediately obsessed. But possibly fully justified in that Thelma's telekinetic powers actually give her the ability to draw and repel people to her when she really wants them, so Thelma's father actually thinks that Thelma pulled Anja towards her and Anja herself had no choice in the matter. It's always ambiguous, though, so there's the distinct possibility that Anja discovers her sexuality, or that she is simply bisexual.
  • In Super Star (1999), One of Mary's friends who seemingly was crushing on her best friend, kisses one of her guy friends on the cheek after winning the competition. His stunned response "you're gay?!" just leads for the former to kiss him on the cheeks 5 more times.

  • There's a joke about a supervisor gathering his four subordinates and telling them that his bosses want him to let one of them go. One of them, a black man, immediately threatens to sue for racism. Another, a woman, threatens to sue for sexism. The third, an elderly man, threatens to sue for age discrimination. Everyone then looks at the fourth employee, a young white guy. He looks sheepish and says, "Um...I think I might be gay."

  • Daja from the Circle of Magic series didn't really have her sexuality explored on page before she realized that she likes women, however in-universe the discovery rather blindsided her and her sister is worried that Daja didn't tell her because she thought she would be judged. Daja states that she just never knew, until kissing another woman turned out so very different from any of her attempts at kissing boys when younger.
  • Edilio from the Gone series is revealed to be gay in Fear, along with Artful Roger and the two are together. There's a bit of lead up to this in the novel itself, but not previous installments which make sense, since Edilio does not get very many POV chapters.
  • Anne McCaffrey has a gay character suddenly turn totally straight in the last book of the Tower and the Hive series, just so that a single woman could get a Last Minute Hookup without introducing yet another character.
  • In her book Commencement, J. Courtney Sullivan avoids the more obvious choice of using Straw Feminist April for this, making her (reluctantly) heterosexual—and gives the coming-out story to the least likely member of her Four-Girl Ensemble: Bree, the Southern Belle who arrives at Smith with plans to marry her high school boyfriend—before she meets Lara. Subverted to some degree in that she has difficulty identifying as lesbian/bi and sees Lara as a case of If It's You, It's Okay.
  • Dono, ex Donna, Vorrutyer in A Civil Campaign probably belongs here. There is no mention of any lesbian tendencies being displayed as Donna, but after his Easy Sex Change, Dono shows an interest only in mating with women and is engaged or about-to-be by the end of the novel.
  • In Sweet Valley Confidential, a spin-off from Sweet Valley High that follows Elizabeth and Jessica at age 27, the twins' brother Steven is suddenly revealed to be gay. He'd spent the entirety of the original books as ostensibly heterosexual, married one woman (Cara) and been engaged to another (Billie), and had a nervous breakdown over the death of another girlfriend. His partner, Aaron Dallas, was also presented as heterosexual in the original series; while Tom McKay, the only out gay character previously introduced, doesn't reappear in Confidential.
  • In The Heroes of Olympus, it's revealed that Nico di Angelo, who'd been a main character for several books at that point, had an epic, confused hatecrush on Percy. It's Fridge Brilliance, though, since the only reason he ever seemed straight was that we saw him from the perspective of Percy, who assumed that the reason Nico was avoiding Annabeth was that he had a crush on her, and was embarrassed about it - but really, he was jealous.
  • In the Baldur's Gate novelizations, there are a few differences from the original games:
    • It turns out Imoen is into chicks. Imoen "realizes her sexuality" when Phaere orders her to sleep with her. In order to keep up their drow disguises and continue with their mission, Imoen couldn't refuse. She had no romantic or sexual inclinations in either direction in the game except swooning momentarily over Haer'Dalis' poetic skill. Of course, Phaere isn't interested in women in the game either, but don't let that stop you.
    • In the game there are implications that Irenicus' destructive sexuality and sensuality are his failed attempts to relive a love he's no longer capable of understanding and, by his own admission, can't even remember. In the novel, he's just a gross pervert.
    • Bodhi, who never showed signs of sexuality in the game, becomes a Vamp.
  • The final installment of the Captain Underpants series reveals that main lead Harold grows up to marry another man and have twins. Justified by the fact that Harold is only eight during the time of the series, an age when most kids aren't really giving any kind of thought to their sexuality.
  • In the officially non-canon novel Mass Effect: Deception, Hendel (who was heavily implied to be gay in Ascension) inexplicably becomes straight, without even the simplest of handwaves.
  • At the end of Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers, the two main characters Chuck and Jerry are suddenly revealed to be lovers, with no indication throughout the rest of the novel. Their supposed Love Interest then says that she has suspected it for a long time after finding a bed in their workshop.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On 30 Rock, Frank meets a cute guy named Jamie and announces that he's now gay. Later, he decides that he's just "gay for Jamie." Several (straight and gay) characters point out to him "that's not a thing", though Liz qualifies it with "unless you're a lady and you meet Ellen DeGeneres".
  • The oft-cited Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who initially only showed interest in boys before deciding she was (exclusively) lesbian. While hints were dropped in "Doppelgangland" with her very flagrantly bisexual alternate (vampire) self, Willow as a character is never really seen considering what her sexuality is or angsting even a little over being with Tara - she just hooks up with her with no elaboration. Word of God is that several seasons earlier, there were plans that either Willow or Xander would end up in a same-sex relationship in the future, but it hadn't been decided yet which of them would. (It ended up as Willow when Seth Green decided to leave the show, ending the Willow/Oz relationship earlier than expected.) The obvious bisexuality of their mirror-universe vampire counterparts was one of the little hints used to leave both possibilities open.
  • Similar criticism befell Jack's coming out midway through season two of Dawson's Creek.
  • Degrassi:
    • Depending on how you see it, Fiona on may be this. On one hand, she was never shown to have interest in girls and had a boyfriend; on the other hand, there was some Les Yay between her and Holly J and she was seen to have flawed relationships with men.
    • Way before Fiona though there was Paige. There was a miniature arc dedicated to her coming out the closet, with her dating Alex. After the break up however she never shows interests in any other female, and even goes back to exclusively dating guys.
  • In Desperate Housewives, Katherine, who has had two husbands and an ex-boyfriend who caused her to have a complete breakdown when he left because "The sex was amazing!", out of nowhere hooks up with a female stripper and leaves for Paris with her after declaring herself a lesbian. Subverted in the series finale which reveals that she broke up with the stripper because she was definitely straight after all.
  • This trope was parodied to hell and back in an episode of The Drew Carey Show, where every single character out of nowhere reveals that they've always been either gay or a lesbian. It was mainly sending up the moment from Ellen. It was also the "Primetime TV Awards bait" parody episode.
  • EastEnders Sonia Fowler tried being a lesbian for a time with flatmate Naomi, despite previously spending years married to Martin Fowler.
  • Ellen Morgan, from the sitcom Ellen, showed exclusive interest in men for the first three seasons, then began "Switching Teams" in season 4, to coincide with Ellen DeGeneres coming out publicly.
  • Dr. Kerry Weaver of ER spent the first three seasons of her run on the show as a confirmed heterosexual, having been previously married and depicted with two different male paramours (Dr. Ellis and the African guy in seasons 3 and 4 respectively). Then along came Kim Legaspi, and the character went from confused to closeted to Token Lesbian in ten episodes.
  • Santana Lopez from Glee. While she clearly had feelings for Brittany and it makes sense for her to be bisexual, Word of Gay confirmed she is actually a lesbian - which doesn't really explain all the hell she put Quinn, Mercedes and Lauren through for supposedly "stealing" Puck, with whom who she was very sexually active throughout the first season. But then again, it fits with the "the mean girl who was desperately together with whatever guy that wanted her, until she was forced to acknowledge that she was in love with her best friend"-stereotype amongst Lipstick Lesbians.
  • Greek: After stealing Casey's boyfriend for a night and getting hot and heavy with Cappie over her first winter break, Rebecca Logan recently went the Katy Perry route...and announced that she was a lesbian to the entire sorority.
  • Jake Straka was suddenly gay in the third season of The Guardian.
  • Home and Away had a storyline where Charlie was assigned to a rape case involving Aden's colleagues Joey and Robbo (Joey being the female victim). Charlie eventually had Joey move in with her (and Leah, VJ and Ruby) to keep her safe from both Robbo and Joey's older brother Brett. This progressed predictably, to the point where Charlie and Joey were outed as a couple when Brett painted the word "queer" on Charlie's car. Charlie then buggered it all up in one month by sleeping with Hugo, and after they broke up (and Joey left the show), she went back to Angelo. So far, she's shown little sign of looking back.
  • Subverting gay tropes is a bit of a theme with Scott Thompson (who is gay) from The Kids in the Hall:
    • There is a skit in which he suddenly reveales he is straight and married to a woman. He makes an announcement where he basically says: "Sorry for coming out as gay, I guess I was just in a hurry."
    • In the show finale his secretary character, Kathy, comes out as a male transvestite, along with the rest of the skit's cast.
    • Another time, he plays a Rated M for Manly action hero star, who promptly goes cruising for young men.
    • In their movie, he plays his other usual role, as a stiff middle-class family man, as a closet case whose sexuality comes off like this... to him alone. When he finally accepts it, he has a big song and dance number, parading down the street in celebration, climaxing with everyone else declaring they don't care and walking off.
  • As the page quote demonstrates, Serena Southerlyn from Law & Order came out at the literal last minute, asking if it's why Branch fired her, seemingly out of the blue and very awkwardly. If you go back and rewatch episodes featuring Serena Southerlyn, she's always been portrayed as very supportive of anything that carries the whiff of a "gay cause", so maybe this was simply foreshadowed way too subtly, especially on a show that doesn't seem capable of subtlety. Word of God states that it was closer to a Throw It In!, and the actress' own idea, that she came up with right before shooting. Fortunately, given L&O's legendary aversion to showing the private lives of its characters or any romance (the aforementioned Claire relationship was established primarily through innuendo and a single line of dialogue from a later episode), the sudden revelation of Serena's sexuality didn't really have any continuity to violate.
  • Tom Friendly, one of The Others from Lost, is revealed to have a gay lover on the mainland during a flashback. This really had no effect on the character at all and, in fact, was revealed after he had already died in the present. It was seemingly hinted at in an earlier episode where a captured Kate is told to take a shower, who then comments to Friendly that she doesn't feel comfortable with him looking at her while she does so. Mr. Friendly tells her that she's not his type. It turns out that this is in fact why he was made gay since fans on message boards joked that Tom was gay because he didn't find Kate attractive. This theory found its way to M.C. Gainey, the actor who played Tom and he decided that actually wasn't a bad idea and started to subtly play the character as gay.
  • Played with in The Mighty Boosh: In Party, Howard remarks on his intentions to "go gay" if he doesn't get some action from the ladies soon, and it turns out he's not only a virgin, he hasn't even kissed someone before. Defending his chastity, he insists that, when he finally gets physical with someone, it'll be forever. Afterward, he and Vince share a Faux Yay kiss to save Vince from being killed by a model's jealous husband. It's Howard's very First Kiss, and after being starved for affection for so long, he's then convinced that he and Vince have been in love with each other all along, (he retcons their bickering as "sexual tension") and declares himself a "massive gayist." It only lasts until a girl he'd been crushing on shows up.
  • Michael in My Family spends the first nine series being solely attracted to women, then suddenly becomes gay in Series 10. Especially jarring since he spent all of those series between puberty and coming out directing most, if not all, of his intelligence towards the task of getting heterosexually laid.
  • In a textbook case of Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends, one story arc in My Name Is Earl, involving several men vying for the attention of the same woman, ended tidily when Stuart suddenly became more interested in his gay secret admirer Kenny.
  • In Naeturvaktin, Georg, after his wife and child leave in the season finale, suddenly reveals he is extremely overcome with lust towards Daníel, describing in detail how he wants to taste his innocence and consume him. Justified in that Georg is established to be highly repressed and completely insane, and Olafur is initially amazed by the suddenness but soon concludes it explains a lot.
  • In Noah's Arc, Guy shifts to having affections for Trey out of the blue. There were no real hints leading up to it in the first season, and in fact, in one scene he's overheard having sex with his wife. To many, it definitely felt like a retcon.
  • Hunter from the US version of Queer as Folk. Since he entered the show as a prostitute and then showed a particular interest in Brian when they first met, everyone assumes that he's gay. Until he falls in love with a girl and comes out as straight to his foster parents.
  • Roseanne:
    • Nancy, a supporting characters who was up until then married to one of Dan's buddies, declared herself to be a lesbian after he walked out on her. Despite the fact that she would sometimes boredly say how she's "going back to men" this week, the word bisexual was never once used. The other characters do call her out on flip-flopping by asking, "Can't you be kicked out of the club for this?" To which she responds, "You just don't get how it works. Please don't label me. I am a people person."
    • Bev is revealed as a lesbian near the end of the series, in order to provide irony with her being a conservative prude. Prior to her coming out episode, she had a husband and a boyfriend, the latter of whom she seemed very interested in.
    • The last episode reveals that Jackie was gay, not Bev. Doesn't get more sudden than that. And they managed that by explaining that all or most of the series was a book Roseanne was writing, with gay Jackie/straight Bev being how it was in the "real" world. This had in fact been hinted at but went over most people's heads. At one point, a character describes what they view as a stereotypical lesbian. Jackie in the background laughs, then realizes they were describing her.
  • Todd from Scrubs might qualify for this in a quite different way. Before he came out as bisexual he was the most stereotypically "straight" character on the show (i.e. constantly making lewd comments at whatever female crossed his path), but there were some hints that he's not entirely straight either (joining the female nurses in their protest of Turk and JD kicking out the Mr. Fanservice Guest Star). After he came out, however, he acted exactly the same, except now he directs lewd comments at guys too. In his own words:
    Janitor: What the hell are you?
    The Todd: I'm The Todd!
  • Seinfeld:
    • Season 4 has Susan, which prompts George to re-examine himself as a representative of the male sex. It was later reversed, as she suddenly turned straight again when "it didn't take".
    • Also George has one after getting a massage from a male therapist. He struggles with having things like men popping into his sexual fantasies until it kinda just ends after the episode.
  • In True Blood, as of season four, Tara started dating women exclusively, after spending the past three seasons dating or being interested in men only, including Sam and childhood friend Jason. This was implied to be the result of trauma since in the last season she had been raped and kidnapped by a male Yandere vampire.
  • Frank on The Vicar of Dibley came out as gay during a radio show as part of a gag about no one listening. However, he had only shown interest in women before this announcement and still continued to show interest in both sexes after it.
  • Skins inverted this with Mini, who was shown to be at least bisexual in the fifth series, with numerous unrequited "girl crushes" on her best friends, but as of the sixth series, there was no sign of that, and she exclusively hooked up with boys (mainly, Alo).
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Throughout Season 2, it's implied that Mulan loves Prince Philip, but can't declare her love for him because he has found Aurora, his "true love", and so she shows her care the only way she can: by putting her life on the line for him. Then in Season 3, Mulan finally decides to reveal her feelings to the one she loves and goes to...Aurora! It's telling that a number of fans try to rationalize that, despite the dialogue during her meeting, she really meant to declare her love to Philip because of all the previous buildup in Season 2 (and was overturned in one conversation in one episode of Season 3).
    • This is done even more jarringly with Ruby and Dorothy in a season 5 episode. Ruby even mentions to Dorothy in that episode that she had an ex-boyfriend who she killed. By the end of the episode, she's using "true love's kiss" to wake Dorothy from a sleeping curse. At this point, the audience hasn't seen much of Ruby for several seasons, we've only just met Dorothy, and neither character is seen again that season, which gives the sudden reveal a bit of a "check off the 'token gay character' box and move on" sort of feeling. Appropriately enough, Mulan is there to give advice to Ruby as she comes to terms with her feelings. The same-sex nature of the relationship is not treated as anything unusual within the context of the story.
  • Parodied in 3rd Rock from the Sun, where in one episode a documentary is being filmed in the Solomons' house. When one of the cameras catch them talking in secret risking their exposure as aliens, Dick lies and says that what they're trying to cover up is the fact that Sally's been a lesbian the whole time, which complicates things for her since she's in a relationship with Officer Don. At the very end of the episode, Sally kisses Don and claims that the act suddenly made her realize she actually is straight. For bonus points, the main gag for her character is that her true form is very masculine (at least as far as they have genders) and she makes almost no attempt at acting feminine; declaring her to be a Butch Lesbian simply because she found out it was a thing really wouldn't have been much of a stretch.
  • On Rookie Blue Gail has been in relationships with two of the male characters and there is no sign that she might be gay or bisexual until season 4 where she starts falling for Holly, a female lab technician. They get together at the end of the season and are briefly a couple at the beginning of season 5. It is clear that Gail is on an emotional roller coaster and is very much confused by her feelings.
  • In Season 8 of Murdoch Mysteries, Dr. Grace, who has previously been attracted to George Crabtree and Leslie Garland (who's male), is in a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship with Lillian Moss, with suggestions that Miss Moss may want it to be something more. This comes to a head in "Toronto's Girl Trouble", when a Corrupt Cop accuses them of being "sapphists". Inspector Brakenreid tells Dr. Grace that he doesn't know if this is true and doesn't want to, but she needs to cut down the scandalous behaviour that led to the accusation. She responds by going to Miss Moss's home and kissing her. (It could be argued that this was hinted at way back by her somewhat crush-like hero-worship of Dr. Odgen when she first appeared.)
  • In Supergirl Alex is suggested to be heterosexual, having gone on dates with men before and going on an unsuccessful one in order to get close to a suspect. By season 2 she comes out as a lesbian and immediately starts dating a woman and nearly gets married to her. Justified since the show changed networks from CBS to CW where if the show stayed in the same one she probably would have remained heterosexual or come out sooner.
  • In Doctor Who, companion Captain Mike Yates started out flirting with Jo Grant and calling a pretty female Chinese soldier a 'dolly', and later ended up flirting with the Brigadier and implicitly seducing Global Chemicals' tea boy - although BBC rules at the time prevented any explicit mention of same-sex attraction, so it was kept to innuendo. The Doctor Who Expanded Universe finally confirmed him to be bisexual, decades later.
  • Della Wells and Holly Curran in Night and Day. Although their short-lived 'relationship' was largely a ploy by the girls to make Josh Alexander jealous and want to be with Della, there were several ambiguous moments, including when Della told Holly that she was in love with her.
  • In Crossroads, Bradley is partnered with Tom, with their initial stories emphasizing Bradley wanting Tom to come out. There is no indication he is interested in women. After some months, Bradley begins an affair with his boss' lonely wife. She goes so far as to express surprise after their first time. He tells her he's been with women before.
  • In Six Feet Under, Keith is partnered with David, with their initial stories emphasizing Keith wanting David to come out. There is no indication he is interested in women. Several years into his relationship with David, a woman Keith works for as a bodyguard seduces him. When David finds out, Keith casually explains that he has sex with women sometimes.
  • In Book Of Daniel, Peter is out to most of his family, but closeted to his bishop grandfather. At his behest, Peter begins dating a girl at church. After a few dates, she takes him into the backseat of her car and begins kissing him. Initially, he is unsure but soon has sex with her. When his father finds out, Peter just says he was horny.
  • Egoli featured a couple, Braam and Krynauw. Years after coming out and finding happiness with a man, Braam briefly fell in love with a woman and left Krynauw, only for the two men to reconcile after viewer backlash. Several years later, the relationship ends when Krynauw suddenly begins sleeping with women as part of his shift to being a major antagonist.
  • Holly Oaks has a long history of heretofore heterosexual characters falling into emotional and sexual relationships with their own gender, including Craig, his girlfriend Sarah and her father's girlfriend Zoe, Doug, and Ste. Bisexuality was never mentioned, with those involved either deciding they were gay, didn't want to think about their sexuality, or just felt they had had a one-off experience. Gay male characters repeatedly have sex with women if their storylines need baby drama. The most egregious example of this type of writing was Harry, who was initially introduced as straight, then reintroduced as gay, and finally, after years of only being interested in men, had a fling with an old girlfriend, leading to her pregnancy. Rather than leading to an exploration of sexual identity, this flip-flop was done solely so that he could be murdered by a serial killer who targeted "bad dads."
  • In The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Amy and Ashley's mother Anne has always been seen as straight, but after being married to their unfaithful dad in an on/off relationship for 20-something years, Anne comes out that she really is gay in the series finale. When she tells her daughter Amy, Amy is very upset and believes her mother Anne is saying that because her dad George is trying to have a good excuse as of why he cheated.

  • Deconstructed in Dept Heaven Apocrypha, in which a character's revelation that he's bisexual, not straight, is the cause of a lot of problems in his relationship with his loved one.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Age II's Anders did not appear as anything but straight in his first appearance in Dragon Age: Origins DLC, Awakening. He flirted with all the female party members (including the PC), and even his character biography included a line about wanting to settle down with a girl. In Dragon Age II it's revealed he is bisexual, but only to male players who have a chance of pursuing him. Female players do not have a hint of him being bisexual. The dialog of his recruitment quest is even altered to remove all mention that a male character was once his lover.
  • Elk/Endrance of the .hack//G.U. Games. Haseo can be this depending on who he sends a certain postcard to.
  • Revolver Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid went from wolf-whistling at Sniper Wolf and ambiguously molesting Meryl as well as flirting with Snake, to having violent and unending Single-Target Sexuality for Big Boss. Still, the relationship was touching and well-written enough that this is generally regarded as an improvement.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Shepard his/herself can be played this way. It's more prominent with a male Shepard, as male/male relationships are only available in the third game (whether this is true for female/female depends on how you count single-gender aliens).
    • Kaidan isn't open to being romanced by a male Shepard until Mass Effect 3 despite being a romance option for a female Shepard in the first and (potentially) second games.

    Web Comics 
  • Bobwhite. In this interim comic, one of the rejected story ideas involves Ivy suddenly being retconned as a lesbian. "Also I've always had a crush on Marlene, all of a sudden."
  • Homestuck:
    • Gamzee was unique amongst the shipping-obsessed trolls to have shown no romantic or sexual attraction to anyone of any kind, even the trolls' platonic romances. Later on, a flashback showed Gamzee suggesting that he and Tavros make out. Trolls in Homestuck are all bisexual due to the fact that biological sex doesn't influence their reproduction, but since he'd only ever shown interest in Tavros and platonic interest in other male trolls, many fans revised their suggestion to assume that he was gay (similar to the lesbian troll, Kanaya). Then it became a huge shock when he was revealed to be in a Destructive Romance with Terezi.
    • Near the very end of the comic, after John's retcon, Dave, who despite a fair amount of Gay Bravado had only expressed interest in women is revealed to be bisexual and in a relationship with Karkat. John even wonders if his timeline-altering powers had somehow caused Dave to become gay, but Dave tells him he's thinking about it the wrong way, and that's how he was all along.
  • Main character Italy Ishida from The Lounge, who while having a bunch of sexual encounters with her female friend Aya (which were usually played for laughs), also showed interest in men including the main male character Max, which made it seem like she was bisexual, or that her sexuality didn't matter. Later on, she declared that she was only a lesbian and a bunch of other times Italy and Aya had sex were retconned to justify their new relationship.
  • Narbonic:
    • Given that in his earlier appearances in human form he explicitly comments on dealing with the sexual urges he feels toward human women, Artie turned out somewhat like this. The decision to establish him as gay just seemed very hastily and poorly executed. On the other hand, Artie used to be a literal Intelligent Gerbil. Being confused about his sexuality is kind of understandable in the circumstances.
    • The revelation in Skin Horse that "Sweetheart prefers girls!" seemed to come out of nowhere, but in retrospect merely adds another dimension to what's always been her closest relationship anyway. Meanwhile, Tip's interest in Artie is presented as "open to experimentation" meets Even the Guys Want Him. It does raise some questions about Sweetheart's slightly unfortunate taste in women.
    • After Artie, Tip enthusiastically jumps past bisexual to Extreme Omnisexual.
  • Parodied in the Sore Thumbs strip when Cloud Cuckoo Lander Harmony blithely decides to break up with her Strawman Conservative boyfriend and become a lesbian upon seeing a woman rip a nightclub to pieces with her bare hands, only to switch back later.
  • Monique in Sinfest, after the author began changing the story to fit a more serious feminist philosophy instead of the more light-hearted, sex and stereotype-based humor of previous strips. Where she had originally taken pride in her ability to use her sex appeal to flirt and get male attention, she's rejected men altogether and has decided to become a lesbian instead.
  • Common among the Hormone Addled Teenagers consorting with Succubi in Dangerously Chloe. Teddy is an enforced example as his Succubus-based female body emits magical pheromones so powerful they induce instant lesbianism (or at least bisexuality) in just about every girl who confronts her. Lacy is a more comedic example: as the child of a lesbian couple, she always assumed she was also a lesbian like her moms. Exposure to a naked boy and a roomful of beefcake shots forced her to reconsider this assumption.
  • In Rain, when the titular character is hanging out with Emily and Kylie, the trio are discussing prom and how difficult it would be to bring their friends together to their extremely homophobic school. Ky suggests that they instead have their own prom, which Emily considers a good concept, even if she'd rather go to the big school prom, and admits that she'd consider taking a girl. This comes as quite a shock to Rain and Ky, especially since Emily is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend's child, but she explains that she's actually Pansexual. Cue the two imagining her cuddling with a frying pan.
  • At the end of Avalon, Ceilidh and Pheobe end up in a relationship together. As both of them had been persuing male love interests before and Pheobe spent most of the first year denying rumors of lesbianism, it's apparently a case of them coming to terms with being bisexual.

    Web Original 
  • In Anachronauts, Nel (female) falls in love with Una (female) soon after they meet. By the time the second arc starts, Nel has dedicated herself to being the best assistant and friend possible to Una. When Una finds out due to some Applied Phlebotinum and a few coincidences, she decides that the relationship she's had with Nel has been love all along and she'd simply failed to realize it until then.

    Web Videos 
  • LoadingReadyRun parodies this in "The Worst Homosexual", in which womanizer Morgan suddenly declares that he's gay, because, "the only way I could be this much of a mad, pimping playa is if I was covering for something". He spends the remainder of the episode trying to be gay but fails miserably.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in an episode of American Dad! where Stan's friend's wife announces she's leaving him because she's a lesbian. When he protests, she says "You don't just become a lesbian! It's not like someone shot an experimental ray into my head and suddenly I'm gay!" Of course, Stan did just that; he's trying to get his friend, who's an atheist, to convert to Christianity by putting him through a Job-like situation.
  • Randal in Clerks: The Animated Series apparently has the power of inducing this, as it's revealed in Episode 5 that every woman he's dated switched teams shortly after breaking up with him. He takes this as a sign that he is the "ultimate male". And all of the lesbian characters in this episode were hilariously voiced by male actors—one of whom was Kevin Smith himself. This is a Mythology Gag to Chasing Amy, another part of The View Askewniverse.
  • Lexington, of Gargoyles, did show interest in a random group of human-turned-gargoyle girls in 'The Mirror' and chased after Angela when she joined the clan but was also the first to stop chasing after her. It's been hinted that his sexuality wasn't pinned down until the Angela-meets-the-Trio episode, and Greg Weisman has offered that Lex was just going along with what was expected of him as a young man to do before he realized his heart wasn't really in it. That is how it happens for many real-life queer individuals, so it works.
  • The final episode of Legend of Korra has Korra and Asami revealed as being bisexual and romantically involved with each other, with no prior (or at least obvious) indication that this is the case. The creators discussed having them come out and start dating in the third season, but were worried the network wouldn't allow that. Instead, they had a number of more implicit Ship Tease moments throughout the final two seasons, leading into the final shot of the show, where they hold hands and look lovingly into each other's eyes. Naturally, this became another Broken Base aspect of the series, with some fans being overjoyed that the Les Yay they imagined was there was actually foreshadowing a canon relationship, while others were totally blindsided and saw it as a dumb last-minute twist that gets far too much credit for being one of the first LGBT romances in a Western kids' show. And others were supportive of the reveal but wondered why it couldn't have been made more explicit with an on-screen kiss (or even an off-screen kiss), considering that this was the final episode anyway.
  • Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny: Wing and Wong in Season 1 were two very minor villains who don't exhibit any signs of being a couple. They're not given names, and one of them says "Our mother never taught us manners," leading many to believe they're brothers (and that was probably the original intention, too). Then in season 2 they're brought back and are suddenly revealed as a couple in love, hugging to "prove" it. They stick around the rest of the season and do a handful of couple-y things to remind the audience, but their relationship is so underdeveloped that a lot of viewers finished the season mistakenly thinking that either them saying they're a couple was just part of a sympathy plot by their boss, or that Wong is actually a girl due to a pregnancy joke that goes nowhere.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Patty seems like this at first when she comes out. She dates Skinner for a while and seems to enjoy it, dumping him because of her sister rather than her sexuality (though it's possible to read her relationship as being a form of The Beard knowing what we know now). The hints had actually been there for a while, the earliest one was in Season 8, where she's one of the people who went to the local burlesque house that Marge's group shame into getting to tear it down, just two seasons after she dated Skinner and long before it became official in Season 16. The series even hung a lampshade on this, with her commenting "There goes the last lingering trace of my heterosexuality" upon seeing a naked Homer — admittedly in a non-canon (even for this show) "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween Episode, and another episode where the main family was watching a gay pride parade, and the float for the "Still in the Closet" gays featured two hands waving out, with one voice (obviously Smithers) chanting, "We're gay! We're glad!" and another voice, obviously one of Marge's sisters following up: "But don't tell Mom and Dad!"
    • Lisa's music teacher Mr. Largo. In the past, there was never any hint of him being gay beforehand and he was among the teachers watching Edna Krabbappel's striptease with the balloons. However, in season 17's "See Homer Run" he is seen in a car with Waylon Smithers the most prominent homosexual character, and he says that they're just carpooling. Since then he's been portrayed as a homosexual in nearly every gag focusing on him.
  • The Smurfs are supposed to be a One-Gender Race or genderless. Yet, right after Smurfette's transformation into being a real Smurf, it's Hello, Nurse!.
  • South Park:
    • Mr./Ms. Garrison is the embodiment of this trope, starting out as a closeted homosexual, token homosexual, heterosexual woman (after her sex change), a lesbian, and finally a man again (his current sexuality hasn't been confirmed yet, but the gay men of the town gathered for a meeting in "The F Word" and Garrison wasn't among them, so it is assumed he is a straight man). This is even lampshaded when she tells her class about her sudden change to lesbianism after she comes right out and says she's gay, and Stan asks, "Again?" Chef probably put it best a long time ago: "There's a huge difference between gay people, and Mr. Garrison" since he's also had sex with animals and tried to rape children.
    • Jimbo, if you consider the fourth-wall breaking joke in "It Hits the Fan" to be canon.
    • Satan, if only in the sense that his first appearance included his son, Damien, who was relegated to background shots after Satan was shown to be gay. Word of God says that Satan came out sometime since Damien's birth. (For the record, Damien's mom has never been addressed.)
  • In Todd's first appearance in BoJack Horseman he's implied to have had a tragic romance with a Mexican gangster named Gabriella, and in his second episode he's Skyping in his underpants to his Japanese 'girlfriend'. When he uses the machine from Family Matters that turned Steve Urkel into Stefan Urquelle, he becomes a smooth ladies' man. By Season 3 he'd rather play with his old girlfriend in a laundry basket and pretend to be ghosts instead of sleeping with her, and comes out as asexual at the end of the season.

    Real Life 
  • Chris Birch, a British man, claims he "woke up gay" after suffering a stroke.
  • David Bowie was notoriously inconsistent about his sexual orientation. In a 1972 interview with Melody Maker he came out as gay, then in a 1976 interview with Playboy he stated, "It's true — I am a bisexual", while he backtracked on this in a 1983 interview with Rolling Stone, claiming "I was always a closet heterosexual". He was in long marriages and fathered children with women, though also reportedly had same-sex relationships, thus "Bisexual" seems the most probable.
  • Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. When she died in 2012 her obituary revealed that she'd been in a long-term relationship with another woman. Her close associates knew about her orientation, but she kept her personal life intensely private and the general public had no clue. Also, she was briefly married to a male astronaut in the 80s.
  • Chirlane McCray, wife of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, formerly identified as a lesbian, even authoring an essay for Essence Magazine in 1979 entitled "I Am a Lesbian", but she later retracted this, stating, "In the 1970s, I identified as a lesbian and wrote about it. In 1991, I met the love of my life, married him."
  • Sinéad O'Connor's first marriage in 1987 was to a man, and then in 2000 she came out as a lesbian, or, as she put it, "I'm a dyke." A year later she married again, to another man. She later backtracked from her remark, claiming, "I’m three-quarters heterosexual, a quarter gay."
  • According to an interview with Anne McCaffrey, this can be executed by making use of a tent peg. Yes, that use of a tent peg.
  • Former MySpace girl and MTV star Tila Tequila has flip-flopped on her sexual orientation a few times. She initially described herself as heterosexual during her early MySpace days, and then included a surprise announcement during the first episode of her MTV dating show A Shot at Love that she was bisexual and the show would feature male and female contestants. After the show ended she stated MTV pressured her to select male contestants, and that, "I finally realized that I’m lesbian. Not bisexual. I love women." She dated women exclusively for several years and was engaged to heiress Casey Johnson. By 2013 she was back to dating men and gave birth to her first child. Around that time she adopted her self-described "alt-right queen" persona and actively condemned the LGBT community.
  • Still more Truth in Television than it really should be, especially for women. A lot of women are either explicitly or implicitly told that sex isn't something they should enjoy: so when they don't, they don't question their sexuality. They may only question it after a nasty breakup. Can definitely also happen to men as there are plenty of cultures that place no value on enjoyment of sex for any gender.


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