Burt: [flatly] I know.
Burt: I've known since you were three. All you wanted for your birthday was a pair of sensible heels.
Everyone knows these characters are gay (or something else along those lines) except the characters themselves. Any suggestion to the characters that they are gay is met with a too-emphatic statement of their heterosexuality, or even resort to feigned homophobia. If they finally come out of the closet, no one will even pretend to be surprised. Often played for laughs, sometimes not.
Sometimes also falls under the Open Secret category, with somebody who's basically open about their sexuality, but for whatever reason (often fear of some form of legal or employment discrimination) can't afford to confirm it directly.
This is, for some, an example of Truth in Television. While not the norm, this does happen in real life more often than most people would guess. Unsurprisingly those who know a person best sometimes know things about them that they have yet to accept for themselves.
- Shibuya Yuuri of Kyo Kara Maoh! is raising a daughter with his beautiful male fiancé whom he shares a bed with every night in a world where same-sex marriage is taken for granted. He still considers himself straight and conveniently "forgets" that he's engaged on several occasions. A stunning young guy in season three basically plays the Damsel in Distress card hard in order to gull Yuuri into being used in war. Works really well, if not exactly sexually, playing on Yuuri liking to be the hero, and if Wolfram were willing to do this he might actually get somewhere. But he won't, because he's proud and lacks the subtlety to be devious.
- If you're not into Yuuri with Wolfram, there are still multiple other bishies with whom he has abundant sexual tension. Including his bodyguard knight, Conrad, where Yuuri doesn't even try to deny that he enjoys touching him, and who he calls to rescue him when he's being hounded by attractive women. Or the goofy lovestruck Gunter, who is constantly hugging Yuuri. Essentially, Kyo Kara Maoh! is a Shounen Ai harem series with Yuuri at the center, and yet he keeps insisting he's completely heterosexual while being awe-struck by his handsome demon handlers. Or showing no reaction to situations that make the straighter guys' (like Ken Murata's) eyes pop, like when they're at the beach and surrounded by girls in bikinis.
- Sahashi Minato of Sekirei has a harem of beautiful Sekirei with one exception Homura who he openly admit admires as a guy because Homura is stylish and reliable. In universe he is considered married to Homura and the rest of his haremettes, but Minato still consider himself straight. Naturally no one in universe believe him, and as his reputation as a powerful Ashikabi rose he is also believed by his fellow Ashikabi as Depraved Bisexual because he has a male Sekirei.
- Minato has proclaimed his intention to return his harem's feeling all six of them, whether he realize this include Homura or not, he still denies it.
- Homura himself also denies this, in spite of his 'married' status to Minato. Like Minato, no one believes he is still straight. While Homura is perhaps the only member of Minato's harem who didn't join the fun glomping him on occasion, he still shows annoyance when his Ashikabi is getting too close with other harem members. He is also shown as the one who feels offended the most when Higa Izumi accuse Minato for Nepotism and state he and his comrades chose to be with Minato out of their own free will.
- Setsuna Sakurazaki of Mahou Sensei Negima! is so obviously gay for her Ojou-sama Konoka that practically everyone knows it despite her frequent denials. Asuna knows it. Evangeline knows it. Friggin' Negi knows it. Naturally in Chapter 256, when Jack Rakan revealed to everyone present how Setsuna had finally shared her First Kiss with Konoka (by naming a high-level Sword Beam technique, no less), no one reacted besides Setsuna herself.
- In Azumanga Daioh, it's dead obvious that Kaorin has the hots for Sakaki, although she tries to play it off. It gets a massive Lampshade Hanging from Osaka in the 10th anniversary comics (see the page pic).
- The whole premise of Miyuki-chan in Wonderland by CLAMP, which follows the titular Miyuki through a perpetual sequence of Homoerotic Dream after Homoerotic Dream. You'd think having dreams about sexy women doing sexy things to her every night would clue her in, but no.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers: Rainbows are straighter than Subaru, who has a long-standing friendship with the Tsundere Teana, serving together in the Bureau for four years before opportunities for their dream positions presented themselves, and with Subaru almost constantly e-mailing Teana afterward. Subaru also enjoys fondling Teana's breasts while she's asleep, and glomps Teana when seeing her for the first time in a year and a half.
- Ryo MacLean in FAKE. From the get-go, everyone assumes he has a thing for his new partner Dee Laytner except for him.
- Akina Shinozaki, the protaganist of Shinozaki-san Ki wo Ota Shika ni!, lives inside two closets, one to try and hide her growing lesbian infatuation with her new friend Kaede and the other, even more transparent closet, to hide her growing love of geek activities, like watching anime and playing video games.
- Yamashina from Yuureitou constantly says he's not gay while at the same time frequently saying how he prefers boys physiques over those of women.
- Marika from Bokura no Hentai is a trans variant. Growing up she was very feminine which caused her to be bullied by boys.
- When Wiccan of the Young Avengers came out to his parents, their response was to say that they always knew and welcome his boyfriend to the family. The problem is he was trying to reveal that he and his boyfriend were superheroes.
- When Anole was outed by his teammate Rockslide in New X-Men, Loa stated that they "already knew".
- Lt. Cecil "Doubtful" Milk in Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, who takes the "Ambiguous" out of "Ambiguously Gay". He can't seem to keep a girlfriend, is hip to the latest fashions, and, despite being the sole survivor of several hot engagements, the sternest word he's ever used is "ghastly". He repeatedly fakes fatal wounds, using his "last request" to goad Captain Darcy into performing romantic gestures towards him; everyone, him included, sees these as hilarious pranks and nothing more. Near the end of the first miniseries he confesses that he wants to be Darcy's bride, with the both of them later agreeing that he had gone temporarily insane from stress. When his uncle tries to specifically broach the subject, Doubtful doesn't seem to be aware that there's such a thing as being gay.
- Also, his last name was Milk. Like… Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California.
- Played straight in Ultra: Seven Days; Cowgirl's friends often tease her about her boyfriend's obvious (and strongly denied) homosexuality, and the fact that he is clearly engaging in a homosexual affair with his sidekick. It's subverted, however, in that the fact that Cowgirl herself also turns out to be gay and in the closet completely floors them...despite the fact that Cowgirl herself is in many ways rather butch.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Andrew Wells finally comes out of the closet in Season 10. However it is somewhat played for drama, as Andrew wonders if it means something is really off with him that everyone else noticed something that big about himself before he did, and it outright took a confidence-boosting potion for him to realize it.
- Light in A Cure for Love:
Light: I'm not gay.
L: Oh, my apologies, I forgot that you're the sexual scourge of womankind. You obviously only have sex with me because you roll over in your sleep and misjudge the distance. Maybe you're sleepwalking… or maybe the term "sleepfucking" would be more appropriate. Maybe you're completely unaware of what you're doing.
Light: It happens.
- Light again in My Stupid Reality: "The day a man like that retires is the day I come out of the closet… wait, it's not that I'm in the closet, I just meant… it's impossible ok! Never gonna happen."
- In Fever Dreams, Light doesn't like to think of himself as gay even though he's only ever enjoyed having sex with men. He is forced to come out in order to convince Rem that a relationship with Misa would never work.
- Marik in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, as lampshaded to hell and back in the third Evil Council video.
Marik: I'm not gay! [Bakura laughs] What? What's so funny?
Bakura: Come on, Marik, we all know!
Marik: Know what?
Rex: Uh, heheh, yeah, we know.
Weevil: Heheh, yeah, we know.
Pegasus: I definitely know!
Marik: Know what? What the hell does everybody know?
Bakura: Marik, I believe it's time you came out of the closet.
Marik: Oh, what, just because a guy likes to dress effeminately and hang around with another extremely attractive man and read yaoi and flaunt his gorgeous abs and stroke a phallic symbol suggestively in every other scene, that automatically makes him gay?!
- A Running Gag in Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv):
Light: Raye Penber, I couldn't help but notice… [sniff] your hair smells like strawberries.Light: [looking at porn] Oh, that girl's got a pretty… face… OH, check out that hot guy in the backgroun—uh, I mean, check out those classifed files in the background…
Near: But if you wanted to get [Light/Kira's] attention, then why did you mention girls? Even I think they're yucky.
- As L comments, "It's very creative how you dot your 'i's with hearts."
- Lampshaded again when Near and Rester are trying to get Light to come to Near's "party":
- Also Mello, who dresses in fabulous outfits and whose first thought upon seeing Takada undress in front of him is to donate her clothes to charity.
- Makoto in 50% OFF has painfully obvious feelings for Haru, but still denies that he's his boyfriend. This may have something to do with the Hilariously Abusive Childhood he suffered at the hands of his father, who is clearly disappointed by his effeminate son.
- In Heir, Draco is the trio's resident expert on clothes. Also Harry and Draco share an awkward bro-hug.
- In Thinking In Little Green Boxes Draco ogles Asgardian!Neville.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfic The Model Caretaker, Rarity becomes rather convinced that Fluttershy's closet is very translucent, if not outright transparent, after an openly bisexual Fleur de Lis comments on her flanks when she thinks she's out of earshot and she shows all the signs of arousal you can expect from a Pegasus (while internally screaming at her body for betraying her). In the next chapter, when Rarity suggests that she go on a date with Fleur, she yells that she's not a fillyfooler. While Fleur doesn't say as much, it is implied that she also thinks Fluttershy is gay (she eventually comes out as bi).
- In Rainbow Dash Comes Out to Her Friends it turns out everyone in Dash's circle of friends automatically identified her as a lesbian, from her rainbow mane and tail, to the fact she moved to Ponyville (a haven for same-sex couples), to the fact she keeps incessantly hitting on and awkwardly invading the personal space of every female around her if she as much as touches a drop of booze.
- The aptly-titled An Apple Comes Out Of The Closet is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and the only reason her family is upset is because she used a derogatory term for herself. Granny Smith tells Applejack that she knew ever since she came home and declared she was in love with her classmate Rarity.
- Hitomi of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is often played as this. Since Everyone Is Gay, but Hitomi had a straight relationship in the series (and made rather memetic remarks when she thought her friends were dating,) many suggest that she's actually very repressed about her sexuality and trying to find a beard. One fanfic went so far as to have a coming-out party where she claims to be straight.
Hitomi: But you're both girls! Girls can't love girls! GIRLS CAN'T LOVE GIRLS!
- In the Discworld continuum, Assassin school teacher Miss Alice Band is very definitely lesbian, but circumstances, such as the fact she teaches at a girls' school, coupled with the moral standards of Ankh-Morpork (it does have some, generally involving muddled thinking and good old double standards) conspire to ensure she cannot come out publicly. This does not stop the Society columnist of the Ankh-Morpork Times and the gossip columnist of the Ankh-Morpork Enquirer from hinting about the existence of a prominent lady Assassin with an Ephebian Island Lifestyle. One of Alice's closest friends, who knows, remarks, "Ma tres chere amie, you are so far back in the closet that you can see the tail of the Coathanger Elk."
- Pretty much the entire premise of In & Out, to the point that the protagonist's buddies bring Barbra Streisand movies to his bachelor party.
- Wally Terzinsky in Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy. Despite his tendencies to masturbate to gay porn, dream about gay sex, and get arrested naked at gay rest stops, it takes wonder-drug GLeeMONEX to get him to finally realize that he's gay.
Psychiatrist (played by Dave Foley): "You're gay. I know it. Your wife knows it. Dogs know it!"
- Lance Delune in The Ladies Man, the leader of "Victims of the Smiling Ass", who likes Greco-Roman wrestling a little too much.
- Stardust: Captain Shakespeare maintains a reputation as a fearsome pirate captain, among his crew as well as the rest of the populace, while owning an extensive closet for crossdressing in the privacy of his cabin. When he's found out, the crew admits that they always knew, but do not particularly mind. The crew knows, but outsiders evidently remain in the dark.
- As Straight Gay as Jack and Ennis of Brokeback Mountain are, they can barely keep their hands off each other when they're together—Ennis' wife Alma finds out about them when she sees them kissing, outside, in broad daylight. Sure, they're in love, but this is 1960s Wyoming.
- Jay of The View Askewniverse's infamous response to being accused of fantasizing about other men during masturbation: "Dude, not all the time!" Among many other incidents, including Silent Bob breaking his silence in one of the deleted scenes of Clerks II to accuse him of being "a deeply-repressed gay man". Word of God is that the character is actually closet bi.
- Then there's this bit in the original Clerks:
Jay: You know, Silent Bob, you're a rude motherfucker, but you're cute as hell. I could go down on you, suck on you, line up a couple other guys and start making like a circus seal. [kneels down and starts pantomiming this] What the hell, fucking faggot? I hate guys. I love women!
- Then there's this bit in the original Clerks:
- Megan in But I'm a Cheerleader! fits this trope perfectly. She never suspected she was gay and strenuously argues the point when confronted about it, saying that she has a boyfriend she's been going out with for two years. When asked if they've had sex, she says she's a Christian. Another character responds, "It's really easy to be a prude when you're not attracted to him, isn't it?" Inverted in the very same film by having one of the lesbians (the butchest one, at that) come out as straight.
- Ray in the first two Scary Movie films.
- The main character of Saved! lives in a heavily conservative Christian town and believes her figure-skating boyfriend is straight. Once she suspects he's gay, she tries to cure him with sex and winds up pregnant, triggering the main plot of the movie.
- "Gay-in-denial Mob tough guy" is pretty much the whole character of Corky's brother Peter in Corky Romano. Even the FBI knows—"latent homosexual" is the core of their profile on him.
- The officious and cruel prefect Denson in Lindsay Anderson's if…. "All this homosexual flirtatiousness—so adolescent", while he looks longingly at blond junior boy Bobby Philips.
- Corky St. Clair in Waiting for Guffman.
- Marc Hall in the Canadian film Prom Queen comes out to his parents when he needs to ask their help to convince the school to let him bring his boyfriend to prom. Their response: yes, I know.
"Marc, your hair? It's blue. And you have a poster of Celine Dion on your wall."
- Possibly played with in The Campaign, in which Zack Galifianakis's character, Marty Huggins, is portrayed as speaking and walking effeminately, often accompanied by his two adorable pugs, who he dotes over more than his own children. His relationship with his wife comes off far more as an affectionate friendship than a loving marriage (she, in fact, proposed to him six times before he said yes), and he seems to have no difficulty at all ignoring her to focus on his Senate race. In fact, she grows so lonely that it takes little to no persuasion for her to be seduced by his political rival. However, none of the other characters even act as if they suspect that he's closeted, even when it would be politically advantageous to them to call him out on it, and he seems genuinely hurt by what his wife does.
- In Another Gay Movie, Nico, an extremely Camp Gay, comes out to his mother, who just responds, "Duh! What took you so long?"
- In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Champ Kind, despite loudly displaying his interests in women, clearly carries a torch for Ron. The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue even mentions that he was later fired from his NFL commentator position for sexually harassing Tom Bradshaw.
- Brent from GBF is so obviously Camp Gay that nobody for a second buys he's straight. Nobody is really surprised when he outs himself. Caprice even describes him as "gayer than a Very Special Episode of Glee". For bonus points, his last name is Van Camp.
- Magicians: The fact that Otto is a latently repressed homosexual with a massive crush on his client Karl is a fact that is blindingly obvious to everyone except Otto himself. It is particularly and uncomfortably apparent to Karl, because Otto's crush frequently manifests itself in ways that border on sexual harassment.
- In Blackbird, Randy's best friends Efrem and Crystal can see perfectly well that he is gay, but he is in denial as he believes it to be a sin.
- In Mary Renault's The Charioteer, Andrew Raynes is gay and in love with his male best friend. This is obvious to the friend, who's also gay, and to an older guy, gay as well, who acts as a father figure to Andrew. Andrew, however, has no idea, though sometimes he wonders: "This doesn't seem very—very sensible. Other people aren't like this… It makes me feel, in a way, jealous, without knowing what of… things happen that one can't completely… the feeling of being different…" He does eventually realise, and writes in a letter, "Often before when I have been fond of people I have got somehow caught up in it all round; but I am such an average person, it must be quite common I thought." Given that Andrew is nineteen, that this is England in 1940, that his rigid religious beliefs declare homosexual sex wrong and that his only previous contact with homosexuality has been seeing a boy at his school who "used to bully the little boys, and terrify them into doing what he wanted" get expelled, it's not so surprising that he hasn't got things figured out.
- In City of Glass, everyone seems to know that Alec is gay before he tells them. Except his parents, judging by their reaction to him kissing Magnus in the Accords Hall.
- In the Northern Irish novel, Popular, Cameron comes out at the end of the school year to his group of friends, the most popular girls in the school.
Cameron: You couldn't let me have one surprised reaction, could you?
Imogen: Your favourite musical is Evita, your favourite book is Wicked and you practically faint every time James Purefoy comes on the screen in Rome.
Cameron: I suppose having Evita as my favourite musical is a bit of a giveaway.
Imogen: No, having a favourite musical in the first place was the giveaway.
- In A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie, Hinchcliffe and Murgatroyd, two middle-aged women, live together. Hinch proclaims she doesn't like men, and flies into a vengeful rage when Murgatroyd is murdered.
- In the first season of The L Word, Dana and her friends all know that she's gay, but she keeps up a Transparent Closet Masquerade in front of everyone else, dragging a Beard with her to all of her social functions, and so forth.
- Tobias in Arrested Development, who has a habit of accidentally making homosexual innuendo every second or third sentence. He's also shown attraction to Lindsay on a few occasions, making him Ambiguously Bi. The irony here is that Lindsay's actress is gay, while Tobais's actor is not.
- There's also Barry Zuckercorn, whose frequent homophobic remarks are contrasted with his penchant for hanging out at rest stops and taste for Transvestite hookers.
Barry: Last time they were balls. I really wish they were balls.
- There's also Barry Zuckercorn, whose frequent homophobic remarks are contrasted with his penchant for hanging out at rest stops and taste for Transvestite hookers.
- Captain Holt in Brooklyn Nine-Nine is openly gay, however, while under witness protection, he has to pretend to be straight. This results in him acting much like this, since he apparently believes that "thick, weighty breasts" are the sole standard of female beauty for straight men.
- This is the entire premise behind Jonathan in Help Me Help You.
- ...and Josh in Veronicas Closet. (No pun intended. Honestly.)
- ...and Gil in Frasier. There was one episode where he was talking about him and his wife wanting to lose weight in the New Year, so he'd baked "motivational" muscular gingerbread men. The problem was he couldn't stop eating them…
Gil: This is my last little man, I promise. Oh, Gil, who are you kidding?
Frasier: No one, Gil.
- And they play with it with Frasier himself. In one episode, Frasier has several homoerotic dreams and wonders if he's a repressed homosexual. His father believes that's impossible because Frasier would have had a Transparent Closet—"there's no way you'd be able to keep your yap shut about it".
- Six Feet Under had Father Jacknote , who initially was portrayed as a slightly effeminate, fairly liberal, gay-friendly priest. Audience members could be forgiven for expecting him to be outed at some point in the series, but when David suggested Jack might be gay (as he had assumed), he denied it. Still, comments he made in one of his later appearances suggested that perhaps the closet had been transparent all along, and that he had since vacated it. He was caught renting gay porn.
- Devon Banks, Jack's corporate rival on 30 Rock, claims to have been "cured" of his homosexuality, but still seems aroused by pretty much anything with a penis. His closet involves getting engaged to the CEO's daughter, by all appearances mentally retarded.
- Played with in that he is not closeted because of any of the usual reasons, but, rather, is faking his heterosexuality in order to inherit the company through said engagement. He has also admitted that he is gay to Jack, because he knows well enough that Jack can't do anything about it.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: in later seasons Mac, who was initially Ambiguously Gay, is increasingly portrayed as a gay man with deep-seated internalized homophobia. What's more, Mac's preference for dudes is obvious to everyone but the man himself.
Charlie: I know we've never said this, but Mac's gay right?
*The rest of the gang agrees*
- When Mac finally comes out of the closet, the gang's response: "No shit."
- Parks and Recreation gives us Marshall Langman, husband of Marcia Langman, who is obviously Camp Gay but participates full-throatedly in his wife's Heteronormative Crusader Activist Fundamentalist Antics as part of the Society for Family Stability Foundation. (This is a more-or-less Ripped from the Headlines riff on 2012 Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann, whose husband Marcus set off Gaydars across the country.)
- Done for a dramatic reveal in the pilot of Kings. Crown Prince Jack Benjamin tries to hide behind the facade of a party-hard, womanizing career officer, but when he confronts his father about not being appreciated for his military efforts, Silas rips into Jack about his secret, revealing that he's known for a long time. Jack's reaction makes it clear that he's been terrified of the king finding out for a long while.
Jack: Is it my reputation, the "party prince", is that it? None of that matters—dad, it's not who I am—
Silas: Oh, if only it was. What would I give for a playboy who couldn't keep it in his pants, who runs through women? But what I have is a son who shows no interest in them. Oh, you thought I didn't know? I've been keeping pictures of our family out of the free press for years. What you do at night with your boys, after your show of skirt-chasing, is a disgrace.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Andrew Wells. Before his coming-out in season 10 it was already heavily, heavily implied that Andrew is gay and in love with Warren. Issue 3 of Season 8 has him saying he's bored since all the Slayers (all female, all very fit) want to do is play strip poker. There are also some of his actions in his appearances in Season 5 of Angel and a flashback in season 7 had him and Jonathan sharing a bed in Mexico. When finally confessing he might be gay he follows it up by saying "That can't be right. I would have known before now", before finally identifying as gay after kissing a man.
- At first Willow and Tara are this to the viewers, as tons of implications are dished out long before they outright say anything. The rest of the cast who don't interact with the two of them together much are far more surprised to find out. Lampshaded when Faith in Buffy's body figures it out within minutes of meeting them together, and when Spike just had to see Tara put her hand on Willow's shoulder to realise what was going on.
- Jen has a date like this in The IT Crowd episode "Work Outing". Roy insists that he is gay and Jen refuses to believe it, until he takes them to a musical titled Gay.
- In Black Books, Fran has a date with a man who was in the navy before he became an antiques dealer, phones his mother five times a day, enjoys Shirley Bassey, and thinks that the linking factor between Elton John, Ian McKellen, and Jean-Paul Gautier is that "they're all fabulous!". Oh, and he stares at his male waiter's arse during the date. Writer Graham Linehan seems to enjoy this trope.
- Salvatore Romano on Mad Men is an interesting case. The character throws out just about every "gay" marker imaginable, and is easily recognized as such by the audience, but, because the show is set in the early 1960s, almost none of his straight colleagues recognize this. His façade is so effective that he's been married for at least two years and his wife barely noticed anything; the only one of his colleagues who is aware of Sal's sexuality is Don Draper, who only knows because he saw Sal half-naked with a bellhop while escaping a fire at a Baltimore hotel. Don keeps the secret; he's not the judging type, and has a secret of his own anyway.
- Tom and Crow on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Debatable though. In ten years, Crow is the one who tends to act rather camp, particularly in the Comedy Central era, and is the Bot on record as having had an erotic dream about Tom and the one who went all giggly at the thought of touching Robert Redford. In contrast, Tom... is curvy, wears a (hover-)skirt and has a good singing voice. He also cross-dresses on several occasions. As with everything in MST3K continuity, though, Rule of Funny in in full effect.
- Played with in one of the Joel-era episodes. Tom and Crow are discussing how various celebrities "were one", and Joel wondered what they were talking about. Crow tried to work up the courage to tell Joel, but fainted. Tom finally came out and admitted it:
Tom: Joel, Crow and I… are robots. There, I said it.
Joel: Oh. Well, I knew that.
Tom: What? How?!
Joel: [smirking to the camera] It's more than a little obvious.
- Played with in one of the Joel-era episodes. Tom and Crow are discussing how various celebrities "were one", and Joel wondered what they were talking about. Crow tried to work up the courage to tell Joel, but fainted. Tom finally came out and admitted it:
- Glee provides the page quote. Kurt didn't come out officially until a few episodes into season one.
- His best friend wanted to date him in the beginning, not knowing he was gay.
- Santana to her friends, what with her habit of very quickly dismissing, explaining away, or outright ignoring her relationship with Brittany, despite the two of them practically being glued to each other.
- Robin in The Smoking Room, to a tragic (well, tragicomic) extent: by the time everyone finally tells him that they already know and they don't care, the object of his obsessive crush, Ben-from-the-mailroom, has already come out, dumped his fiancée, and started dating another guy.
- Kenny in The War at Home. He has a crush on his straight friend Larry, the joke being that everybody recognizes his blatantly gay characteristics apart from Larry himself.
- Helen in Drop the Dead Donkey has a Coming-Out Story where she tells her mother she's a lesbian. Her mother already knew. "Rock Hudson, now, that was a shock."
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp", set in 1926 England, Roger, heir to his family's title, is having a romantic relationship with a young footman, Davenport. This is apparently known to both the family and servants, but not commented upon, in the British tradition of avoiding scandal, other than Roger's father snidely observing that there are not likely to be any children in the family.
- In Torchwood: Miracle Day, the steward on a flight being taken by the main characters is repeatedly assumed to be gay, despite his protests. Eventually, he is worn down enough to admit "it was only one time".
- Wyckyd Sceptre, a fictional band in Mr. Show. They completely fail to comprehend the fact that they are gay, despite being confronted with video of themselves having gay sex.
- Brad Bottig, Sue's off-again, on-again boyfriend on The Middle. Brad and Sue seem to be the only two people unaware that Brad is gay.
- Beverley Leslie from Will & Grace.
- Also Jack in the first episode. He's offended that everybody knew he was gay the instant they met him the first time, though he's flamboyantly out for the rest of the series.
- Mad TV:
- In one sketch, Stevie has a Coming-Out Story with his friends and family, despite the fact that they already know, since he's spent three Halloweens as Wonder Woman and was the cop in the George Michael video whenever he played Cowboys and Indians with his brother. The only one who was actually shocked was his lover, Sebastien.
- Two sketches feature the Braveheart parody Marcus McCloud, played by Jordan Peele. At one point during the Scottish rebellion against the English - mistakenly referred to as the British in one sketch - he was forcibly sodomized by a victorious English soldier (or possibly more than one) during a raid. In one sketch, he tries to rally his fellow Scots into battle against the Brit- er, English, and lists off several reasons they should do so - the biggest one being that he was done up the backside by English soldiers. He tried to cover it up by insisting it couldn't have just been him, and also harped on about it as if to firmly deny any implication whatsoever that he enjoyed it. Later, he faces execution by the English, and proudly goes to the chopping block hoping to die a hero, but his rapist is in attendance at his execution and brings it up just as Marcus is giving his last words. After a tangent where he repeatedly swears that he did not enjoy it, after more evidence is brought forth that increasingly throws doubt on his claim, the English release him to live in shame rather than die in honor now that the secret's out. To top it off, the rapist claims he had already raped so many Scottish women that he didn't know Marcus wasn't female until he was done, so it seems he has an excuse.
- Dean Craig Pelton from Community. Also a closeted Furry and very fond of playing dress-up in costumes ranging from Macho Camp to Drag. Although it's played with; in one episode, Pelton struggles with and is offended by the implication that he must come out as gay in order to improve the school's reputation... because his sexuality is far too complex to be summed up as merely homosexual. He actually appears to be very very omnisexual.
- Thomas from Downton Abbey. It turns out that half the people at the Abbey had some idea, but wanted to avoid any scandal.
- In Aquí no hay quien viva's first seasons, the people at Apartment 1B are a gay couple that hide their sexual orientation (particularly Fernando, while Mauri is more willing to share the news). A couple of years into the series, Fernando gives a present to Mauri for their anniversary: reuniting all of the neighbors and telling them that they are together. Of course, they all knew already.
- Simon Marchmont of Posh Nosh
- On Game of Thrones, Renly Baratheon is in a sexual relationship with his brother-in-law Loras Tyrell so obvious that one night Renly's wife Margaery offers her brother's help to "get you started, I know he wouldn't mind… or I can turn over and you can pretend I'm him!" Renly claims ignorance of what she's talking about.
- On Shadowhunters, Alec's crush on Jace was common knowledge to pretty much everyone, even before Alec was ready to admit it to himself.
- Her Wolff Lipp a member of The League of Gentlemen. Just Herr Lipp. Its a little too transparent for anyone's liking.
- The Librarians (2007): Frances is bisexual, widely assumed to be so by pretty much everyone, but deeply in denial about it on account of being a conservative Catholic.
- In Halt and Catch Fire, Haley is still mostly in the closet by the time the series ends, with her older sister Joanie being the only person to whom she has explicitly come out, but Joe, Cameron, Donna, and Gordon have all figured it out by then.
- Rod in Avenue Q. He loves Broadway musicals, lies about having a Girlfriend in Canada to deflect suspicion, and is clearly in love with his best friend and roommate, Nicky. When he comes out, no-one was aware it was even supposed to be a secret.
- Roy Cohn in Angels in America does this right to the face of the doctor who diagnoses him with AIDS.
Roy: I don't want you to be impressed. I want you to understand. This is not sophistry. And this is not hypocrisy. This is reality. I have sex with men. But unlike nearly every other man of whom this is true, I bring the guy I'm screwing to the White House and President Reagan smiles at us and shakes his hand. Because what I am is defined entirely by who I am. Roy Cohn is not a homosexual. Roy Cohn is a heterosexual man, Henry, who fucks around with guys.
- The leader of the missionaries in The Book of Mormon is this played for laughs, claiming that he managed to take his gayness and "turn it off". He obviously didn't.
Elder McKinley: My hetero side just won! I'm all better now!
Elder Price: ...Well, Elder McKinley, I think it's okay that you're having gay thoughts, so long as you don't act on them.
Elder McKinley: Nooooo~! 'Cause then you're just keeping it down, like a dimmer switch on low, as if nobody needs to know! ...Just realize you've got a curable curse, and turn it off! Now how do you feel?
Elder Price: The same.
Elder McKinley: Then you've only got yourself to blame! You didn't pretend hard enough. Imagine that your brain is made of tiny boxes, then find the box that's gay and CRUSH IT! ...kaaaay?
Elder Price: No, no, I'm not having gay thoughts.
Elder Cunningham: It works!
- Near the end of The Children's Hour Martha expresses concern that even a child noticed her feelings for her best friend Karen, though in reality Mary was just spreading second-hand rumors as Malicious Slander. Martha's aunt noticed her attraction to girls even before Martha did, saying she was always "unnaturally" overprotective of her friends as a child.
- Thomas MacLaine of Deadly Premonition is an unsubtly effeminate Shrinking Violet of a man. Of course, that's not so much the surprise as to who he happens to be involved with. That and the fact that he's not only a homosexual, but a transvestite.
- In don't take it personally babe, it just ain't your story, Akira discovers, much to his embarrassment, that everybody in his class knew about his homosexuality before he even knew about it himself, and they aren't shocked or even very interested. Even worse, one of his own mothers' reaction is the Japanese equivalent of "lol finally" on the AmieConnect post he used to officially come out.
- Louni Quickfingers of Embric of Wulfhammer's Castle . There is a very humorous optional scene during one side quest to explore a supposedly-cursed inn. Should you bring Louni as your bodyguard, there is a brief exchange between her and the Duchess regarding how Louni's lifestyle (as an adventurer *cough*) has made her something of an expert on the innards of closets.
- Pizza in Illusionary Trauma is gay for Oreo Cheesecake. When Hershey points this out to him, the former blatantly denies this.
- Mr. Shank from the Borderlands DLC The Secret Armory of General Knoxx is very obviously gay and romantically involved with his Dragon, Chaz, despite his efforts to stay in the closet. For instance, he does commercials for a penis-enlarging drug called "Engorge!", claiming that it's a big hit with his girlfriend "Chazmina". You also fight him in the shower room of a prison. On the other hand, he was Moxxi's second husband, so it's possible he's actually bisexual, unless he was trying to use Moxxi as The Beard.
- Inverted in Fans!, where Shanna pretends to be a lesbian from high school until well after college so badly that, when it's over, Will and Jackie haven't even noticed.
- Nanase in El Goonish Shive, until the Opposite-Sex Clone of her former boyfriend shows up, which forces her to confront her feelings. Justin had already guessed, while Sarah finds out while she and Grace are hiding behind the couch at the birthday party, intending to surprise Susan and Nanase. Grace was unsurprised, saying that she thought it was obvious that Nanase and Ellen had feelings for each other. Also, Susan had started to pick up on these feelings before Nanase had, working it out when Nanase mentions Ellen's V5 pheromones which Ellen didn't have anymore. A flashback reveals that she'd suspected her of being gay since sophomore year.
- The Spider Cliff Mysteries: Barlow's matrimonial plants in The Third Vault. Or maybe not.
- Ethan in Shortpacked! is a bit of a strange case, since his personal revelation comes the day after apparently great sex with a hot woman. But then again, while Amber kept telling Robin that Ethan was gay, neither of them actually knew that at all. Amber made it up to get Robin to give up on Ethan, and when Robin tells Ethan that he's supposed to be gay, that's when the epiphany hits him. Given that Ethan's a Straight Gay, this is more of an Accidental Truth on Amber's part than a Transparent Closet.
- Penny and Aggie:
- Sara doesn't realize she is gay and aggressively accuses nearly everyone else around her of being a closeted homosexual (despite having fantasies about Lindsay Lohan), until she kisses Marshall and discovers/admits to herself that she is gay.
- Stan, as well, to the point where people discuss it at length, in the same room.
- Misfile: Some people believe that Emily is living in the closet, partly because Emily makes sure to constantly remind them that she isn't gay. It should be noted that the "girl" she's attracted to is psychologically male, so the situation is… unique. Due to this, debate rages on and off of the Misfile forums on whether Emily qualifies as straight, gay, bi, or just Ash-sexual. Anyway, the only two cast members who seem to have considered the question are Missi and Emily herself. (For people to believe Ash is the lesbian is much more viable; unfortunately, the only person to realize that completely on her own is the niece of the devil.)
- Angela explains in Punch an' Pie how she came out as bi to her friends: "They knew before I did. There's nothing like a loud chorus of 'Christ, FINALLY' to take the wind out of your sails."
- Keti from Footloose since An was revealed to be female, who still loudly denies having any feelings for her, despite the Luminescent Blush whenever they're in the same room, even as she's dragged her friends into tailing her on a cross-country foot trip into a pirate lair.
- Matt, from Concession.
"You've been in denial. Everyone else has figured this out and grown to accept it. Everybody but you."
- Marluxia from Ansem Retort. Everyone in the series has figured out that he's gay, and when he finally announces it, the only reaction is being told that this is less interesting than Seinfeld re-runs.
- Colin of the Friendly Hostility/Other People's Business universe. As Fox points out:
"Sorry, but it's like that 'pope is secretly Catholic' shocker."
- These exact words are used in reference to Sweden from Scandinavia and the World.
- See this strip. "The nicest closets have glass doors."
- Inverted early on with Monette, although it didn't last forever. (She eventually realized she's bisexual.)
- Played With: a minor character named Mikaela, who was friends with the group in a flashback arc, was very obviously into girls (at least, it became obvious when she was drunk). However, she was so close to Davan that PeeJee was surprised to learn that she wasn't into guys too.
- Mecha Maid's attraction to the title character is incredibly evident to everyone but Spinnerette herself. When she finally gets the nerve to ask Mecha Maid whether or not she's attracted to her, Mecha Maid chooses to lie and tells her that their relationship is strictly friends. Spinnerette doesn't buy it, though, and when she confronts her again, Mecha Maid finally admits it.
- Spinny herself is an... odd case. She showed absolutely zero signs of any sort of attraction to girls until "Bottom Lefty" (the bottom left of her newly-grown hands) started getting grabby with Mecha Maid. Folks who knew her pointed this out, since Bottom Lefty ran almost purely on her subconscious and had to be "reigned in" sometimes, showing that the attraction was mutual. She wasn't having any of it for a while, until she decided to "give it a shot" under the caveat that if it didn't work, it wouldn't wreck their friendship and superhero partnership. They're now a perfectly happy couple and totally open about their relationship, in-costume at least, though Spinny's still not totally sure if she pulled a Bi the Way on herself, or if it's just that Mecha-Maid's special.
- Ménage à 3 is a Sex Comedy with a lot of not very bright characters who are generally a bit confused about sex…
- The trope is Played for Laughs as a Running Gag with the clearly and actively bisexual "I'm not lesbian!" Sonya. Then, just as she's maybe begining to get over her confusion, another character delivered the same line to her.
- Sleazy producer Nathan is at one point in simultaneous extramarital relationships with Amber and Dillon, but denies to the latter that what they're doing is "gay".
- Lavali of Sandra on the Rocks previously tried to conceal her lesbianism from her brother Alex and her parents (and doubtless from others), presumably out of simple shyness and embarrassment at the idea of talking about sexual matters with family. However, Alex points out gently that it wasn't hard for him to guess, and she did a really awful job of keeping it from their parents (who seem to be a pair of liberal-minded old hippies). It does later turn out that their friend Marie hadn't noticed, but Marie can be a bit oblivious sometimes.
- Broken Plot Device gives us Zig. While it takes some time for it to be outright stated, there are many, many hints of varying subtlety, such repeatedly looking at his friend Sid's butt and non-specifically discussing it with his Robot Buddy. Apparently, none of his friends said anything because they thought it was cute.
- Zigzagged by The Nostalgia Critic. He goes between In Touch with His Feminine Side and I Want to Be a Real Man regularly, likely because he was Raised as the Opposite Gender, and it depends on how he's feeling if he'll be embarrassed about crushing on guys or open about it.
- Janet Varney's character in Burning Love, to truly comical extremes. She claims to have gotten onto the titular dating show to meet a man, but keeps making incredibly suggestive remarks about the other female contestants and how attractive she finds them. She continues insisting that she's straight even after casually commenting that she would like to take a shower with another woman.
- Of the Open Secret kind in Critical Role. There is not a doubt in anybody's mind that the fabulous and flamboyant Gilmore is gay, and smitten with Vax to boot. Still, the closest anyone's ever come to confirming it is Matt's one-off joke in Episode 24:
Vax: Where would testicle advantage count?
- Parodied with Jonathan from The Most Popular Girls in School, who is constantly making very sexual comments about the football team and hanging around their locker-room but insists he isn't attracted to males. Tanner, who's openly gay, finds this especially irritating, while his boyfriend Tristan finds it hilarious.
- Private Franklin Delano Donut from Red vs. Blue. He frequently acts in a flamboyant manner and makes sexual innuendos, especially about gay sex, though he doesn't seem to realize the nature of these innuendos. He is shown with stereotypically "gay" characteristics and has pink armor, though he insists that it is "lightish red", a metaphor for his cluelessness or repression of his sexuality. As most of the show's characters are based on tropes, Donut follows this one to a T.
- Apparently, Laura was this in the backstory of Carmilla the Series, judging from this conversation with her father.
Sherman: Do you remember what I said the first time you told me you were a lesbian?
Laura: "Oh, thank God you finally said it."
Sherman: No, the other thing.
- Mr. Garrison, in earlier episodes of South Park. Since then, Garrison's touched every single point of the GLBT spectrum: first being a man in denial, then a Camp Gay, transgender man-to-woman, Camp Lesbian, transgender woman-to-man, and back to Camp Gay (or possibly still attracted to women) again.
- Xandir from Drawn Together, until he comes out in the third episode. In an episode where he has to struggle with telling his parents that he's gay, Xandir asks Captain Hero and Toot to pretend to be his parents. When he "comes out" to them, their reaction is a syncronized "Uh, DUUUHHHHH!!" Xandir berates the two of them for not taking it seriously and tries again, which starts an episode-long, over-the-top, dramatic soap opera that ends up getting most of the cast killed. When Xandir finally comes out to his parents for real, he is expecting another soap opera, but instead he just gets another "Uh, DUUUHHHHH!!".
- Xander Crews from Frisky Dingo. The huge gay porn collection and the posters of male celebrities all over his house are kind of a give-away, but he still insists that he's 100% straight. He does seem to like women, likely making him a case of Bi the Way, but a repressed attraction to men is pretty obvious, too; among other things, he pretty quickly turned to doing gay porn after losing his fortune.
- Gus the android in Tripping the Rift is at his most Camp Gay when insisting he's not gay.
- Waylon Smithers from The Simpsons. Mr. Burns is probably the only one who's actually fooled. Most of the time.
Mr. Burns: So, Smithers, what are you doing this weekend. Something gay, no doubt?
Mr. Burns: You know, light and fancy free! Mothers, lock up your daughters! Smithers is on the town!
Smithers: Oh! Of course.
Mr. Burns: [on taking Marge on an expedition] What do you think, Smithers?
Smithers: I think women and sea-men don't mix.
Mr. Burns: We know what you think.
- Patty was one as well, to Homer anyway. Marge, however, was surprised to find out (despite once witnessing Patty making out with another girl a few feet from her).
- Riley Freeman plays with this on The Boondocks. Everyone but Riley knows Gangstalicious is gay. Riley concludes that Gangstalicious can't be gay because he likes Gangstalicious's music and he's not gay. Gangstalicious's new fashion line convinces Granddad that Riley is gay. Huey takes advantage of Granddad's suspicions to get his own room and then, at the end of the episode, Riley, who is EIGHT, tearfully confesses his homosexuality to Granddad, thinking that he must be gay because he was a fan of Gangstalicious. The jury is still out on him.
- The Larry 3000 on Time Squad, starting in the episode "Blackbeard, Warm Heart", in which Larry announces unashamedly to a pirate crew that people have called him a sissy for his entire life while he reclines in a lacy pink bunk bed, among other things. The closet became more and more transparent until it reached its peak in "Ex Marks the Spot", which centered around Larry trying to "win back" his time cop partner Tuddrussel after he thought Tuddrussel and his ex-wife Sheila were falling in love again. (This episode implied that Larry had had sex with Tuddrussel for the first time, so his anxiety ran especially high.)
- The Venture Bros.: Shore Leave and Sky Pilot from the O.S.I. were this when they briefly appeared during the season three finale, having apparently transformed into born-again Christians who'd banished their "demons" through prayer and faith. As it turned out, they were faking it so the Hunter Gathers could get Brock enlisted in the fight against un-unionized supervillains.
- After this, Shore Leave drops the act, and even states "I'm out and I'm proud."
- Coach Daniel Stopframe from Moral Orel. He doesn't outright state it, but he still makes no attempt to hide his bisexuality.