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Kurt: Dad... I have something I want to say. I'm glad that you are proud of me... but I don't want to lie anymore. Being part of the Glee club and football has really shown me that I can be anything. And... what I am... is... I'm gay.
Burt: [matter-of-factly] I know.
Kurt: Really?!
Burt: I've known since you were three. All you wanted for your birthday was a pair of sensible heels.

Alice is a lesbian, and everyone seems to know this but Alice. Anyone who even suggests to her that she might be into girls gets a prompt rebuff and a too-emphatic statement of Alice's heterosexuality. If she finally does come out of the closet, no one will even pretend to be surprised. Often played for laughs, but sometimes not. Can overlap with Milholland Relationship Moment if Alice spends a lot of on-screen time biting her metaphorical (or actual) fingernails, afraid of what their loved ones will think, only to find that Everybody Knew Already and have already accepted her as she is.

This sometimes also falls under Open Secret, where Alice is basically open about her sexuality and/or gender identity, but for whatever reason (often fear of some form of legal or employment discrimination) won't confirm it directly. See also Not That Kind of Partner.

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. Studies have shown that people are able to guess the orientation of strangers with a better-than-random-chance level of accuracy. And unsurprisingly, those who know a person best sometimes know things about them that they have yet to accept for themselves.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Air Master: Mina is in a transparent closet in the early episodes. She is very obviously crushing on Maki, and her friends don't fail to tease her about it when it shows, which is often, but she still tries to deny it. She drops it by episode 5 when she starts flat-out admitting that she is in love with Maki.
  • 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.
  • Marika from Bokura no Hentai is a trans variant. Growing up she was very feminine which caused her to be bullied by boys.
  • Ryo MacLean in FAKE. From the get-go, everyone assumes he has a thing for his new partner Dee Laytner except for him.
  • I Think Our Son Is Gay: The title focuses on a housewife who suspects her son, Hiroki may be gay. Reasons for this include a Freudian Slip about wanting to have a boyfriend, leaving his book of male nudes on top of his desk, and blushing like mad when his male classmate Daigo texts him. All of this occurs in the first three chapters. Hiroki vehemently denies anything is unusual and tries to cover up his slip ups, and his mother opts to wait and let him come out himself.
  • Kotone from Love Me For Who I Am is a closeted lesbian who Does Not Like Men (or even being touched by males, period). She also shows interest in her non-binary friend Mogumo becoming more feminine. As a result, Mogumo guesses that she's lesbian.
  • 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.
  • The whole premise of Miyuki-chan in Wonderland by CLAMP, which follows the titular Miyuki through a perpetual sequence of Awkwardly Gay Dream after Awkwardly Gay Dream. You'd think having dreams about sexy women doing sexy things to her every night would clue her in, but no.
  • Setsuna Sakurazaki of Negima! Magister Negi Magi is so obviously gay for her Ojou 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.
  • Sekirei:
    • Sahashi Minato has a harem of beautiful alien girls, with one exception: Homura, who he openly admits he 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 considers himself straight. Naturally, no one in-universe believes him, and as his reputation as a powerful Ashikabi rose, he is also believed by his fellow Ashikabi to be a bisexual because he has a male Sekirei. Minato has proclaimed his intention to return his harem's feelings, all six of them. Whether he realizes this includes Homura or not, he still denies being anything but straight.
    • Homura himself also denies being in love with another man, in spite of his 'married' status to Minato. Like Minato, no one believes he is still straight.
  • Akina Shinozaki, the protagonist 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.
  • Many of the characters of Watamote have this to varying degrees. It's most obvious with Tomoko, who thinks groping your friend's breasts to relax is totally normal, and Ucchi, whose crush on Tomoko is evident to everyone but her.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • 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 - he appreciates Xander's over the top reaction to the news because even if everyone else already knew, it's still a big deal to him.
  • When Anole was outed by his teammate Rockslide in New X-Men, Loa stated that they "already knew".
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 50% OFF: Makoto 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.
  • 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 at her is that 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.
  • In the Elsanna/Disney Princess Crack Fic college AU Biology Homework, Aurora Dormir is not gay, she's just a very, very supportive ally.
    "So here's the thing. If I were actually to [make love to her roommate], and whatever other stuff might come up, and Ariel were to fall asleep in my arms or whatever…"
    "Yes?" hissed Elsa.
    "…do you think she'd be upset the next morning when I explained I wasn't gay?"
  • In the Life Is Strange fic Bloom, Chloe hasn't officially come out to her mom as a lesbian, but between her butch demeanor and the posters of half-naked women covering the walls of her room, she figures it's pretty obvious.
  • Light of Death Note is pretty much universally gay in fanfics, and generally doing a terrible job of hiding it.
    • 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.
    • My Stupid Reality
      Light: 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.
    • A Running Gag in Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv):
      • One of his first encounters with an enemy FBI agent.
        Light: Raye Penber, I couldn't help but notice... [sniff] your hair smells like strawberries.
      • And then there's the Music Video. (Warning: severe Auto-Tune ahoy)
        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 classified files in the background...
        Ryuk: Gay.
      • 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":
        Near: But if you wanted to get [Light/Kira's] attention, then why did you mention girls? Even I think they're yucky.
      • 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.
  • 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."
  • Clumsy seems to be living in one in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf series in regards to his Single-Target Sexuality with his friend Brainy.
  • Farewell to Life the Way We Knew It: In hindsight, the all-girl band The Misfits aren't that surprised that their groupie fangirl Clash is a lesbian.
  • Girlfrenemies: Briar and Ashlynn have long suspected that Apple was lesbian and that she was in love with Raven. Lizzie also guessed it but felt Apple was so closeted that she wasn't even aware of her feelings. As it turns out, the actual issue is that Apple herself didn't realize this until after she started fake-dating Raven:
    Apple: "What made you think I had feelings for Raven?"
    Ashlynn: "Well you never seemed that interested in boys. Even Daring. You like him well enough, but we never got the feeling that you were attracted to him."
    Briar: "But you were really friendly with Raven. Way more than you needed to be. I know she's a big part of your story and all, but come on now. You were always looking for reasons to talk to her or be around her, and you were way more touchy-feely with her than anyone else."
    Ashlynn: "So Briar and I put two and two together, and last week our suspicions were confirmed."
  • In the Harry Potter fic Heir, Draco is the trio's resident expert on clothes. Also, Harry and Draco share an awkward bro-hug.
  • How Do I Admit I'm Falling Apart: After Sonic comes out as trans, Tails admits that he guessed it already.
  • The series Kingdom Hearts Ψ: The Seeker of Darkness has a running gag involving Kairi being in denial about her bisexuality, which she eventually realises after Terra brings it up amongst a few other things that they all knew but seemingly agreed not to talk about. When she brings this up with Sora and Riku, they admit that they've known for years, and don't care because she's already chosen them.
    Kairi: Well… I guess if nothing else, I finally understand why I think boobs are so awesome. note 
    • It's mentioned elsewhere that Selphie was in a similar position about being aromantic, and ironically Kairi figured it out some time before she did.
  • Subverted in Metamorphosis (EndOfAbraxas). Yumi worries that her attraction to women is obvious, but Sei tells her that, as a gay woman herself, she just has a good gaydar.
  • 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).
  • Supergirl (2015) fanfic my youth is yours: Following Alex realizing she's a lesbian and revealing it to Kara, Kara tells Lena. Lena saw it coming miles away. She mentions a time Alex brought a boyfriend home for Thanksgiving, despite obviously having more chemistry with the random neighbor girl who brought over a pie. Kara didn't notice because there was pie.
  • In Operation Granger Hermione has been looking at girls' breasts in order to find out who's been sending her love letters. Unfortunately for her, people notice, and make assumptions.
    Hermione: But there haven't been that many people who noticed, surely?
    Ginny: Hermione, Ron has noticed.
  • Hitomi of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is often played as this. Since Het Is Ew, 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 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.
  • In So you time travel to the future and your classmate gets punched..., the future Chloe calls Adrien out on denying he's bisexual, telling him that he's so clearly not straight and she's known for years. Adrien admits that she has a pretty good point.
  • Sparkling Shimmer: Apparently, the only one who wasn't aware Sunset into girls was Sunset herself. When she confesses, Flash admits he had seen it coming, and Fluttershy says the rest of the Rainbooms had suspected something.
  • In the Troll Fic Supper Smash Bros: Mishonh From God, this is clearly meant to be the case with the "author" Sara. She has a number of sensual moments with her female friends (watching her friend Lauren try on new clothes, for example), every other author's note is dedicated to her talking about how she's absolutely straight and not a lesbian, and she outright admits that the only reason she's dating Link is because he's a guy and she's (allegedly) straight. Lauren's chapter in the first fic confirms that she and Sara were dating in "real life", and the ending of the original trilogy sees Sara finally admit it herself.
  • In Thinking In Little Green Boxes Draco ogles Asgardian!Neville.
  • In The True Love Loophole, Apple is very obviously in love with her roommate Raven. This is noticeable to everyone who bothers to look twice at their relationship. Despite this, Apple herself is completely ignorant on her affections for Raven to an absurd degree. This has to do with the compulsory heterosexuality viewpoint she grew up with, combined with her general ignorance towards romance and sexuality.
  • 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?!
    Bakura: ...kinda.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Alex Strangelove, the titular Alex has never had sex with his girlfriend despite them having dated for years. This, in addition to him having some metrosexual traits, causes multiple people to ask him if he's gay which he strenuously denies until he realizes that he really is gay after being unable to have sex with his girlfriend or another woman despite his best efforts.
  • 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 Terry Bradshaw.
  • In Another Gay Movie, Nico, an extremely Camp Gay, comes out to his mother, who just responds, "Duh! What took you so long?"
  • Better Than Chocolate: Maggie is pretty obviously lesbian, though at first she thinks her family are completely oblivious. It turns out that her brother's aware early on (he saw her having sex with Kim on the couch) then her mom too figures it out when she finds them together wearing only their lingerie getting up hurriedly from bed. Because of this, Maggie never specifically has to come out in the end with them, and both are accepting of her sexuality.
  • Blue Jean: It turns out some schoolmates of Lois already suspect that she's a lesbian (though she has kept herself closeted), bullying and mocking her for this, which leads to a fight. It turns out that Jean's sister is also well aware she's a lesbian, which she is largely accepting of.
  • 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.
  • 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 most butch one, at that) come out as straight.
  • 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.
  • "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.
  • In Good Satan, when Jesus is caught in-bed with another man, various other characters ask if this means that he's "out", implying that Jesus' sexuality was an Open Secret to everyone other than God.
  • G.B.F. According to Caprice, Brent is "gayer than a Very Special Episode of Glee". Nobody is really surprised when he's revealed to be gay, especially not his mother. Tanner's dad and stepmom were also well aware he was gay before Tanner came out to them.
  • I Can't Think Straight: Leyla, as noted by Yasmin as she looks over her collection of k.d. lang CDs and lesbian-themed books. Yasmin also brings up Leyla's dissatisfaction with Ali. Tala is also this to some degree, as Lamia noted how close the two girls were and attempted to put a stop to it. She's also previously been in love with a girl.
  • 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.
  • Pretty much the entire premise of In & Out, to the point that the protagonist's buddies bring Barbra Streisand movies to his bachelor party.
  • Jenny's Wedding: Jenny's brother Michael is the only one of her family members who'd already known she's a lesbian. In fact, he knew this since high school. He acts the most accepting to her from the start.
  • 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: You're gay. I know it. Your wife knows it. Dogs know it!
  • Kiss Me (2011): Lasse says to Elizabeth that in retrospect he'd kind of always known that Mia is into women, he just didn't want to acknowledge the fact.
  • Lance Delune in The Ladies Man, the leader of "Victims of the Smiling Ass", who likes Greco-Roman wrestling a little too much.
  • 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 Make the Yuletide Gay, Gunn is afraid to come out to his parents and forces his boyfriend to pretend to be just a friend when he unexpectedly visits his home for Christmas. When Gunn finally tells his parents that he's gay, his parents reveal that they knew all along and were even betting on when he'd come out to them.
  • The film Me Him Her is about a man realising he's gay and exploring his sexuality. He comes out to various people who have underwhelming responses compared to what he expected.
    Cory: I know you’re gay.
    Brendan: How long have you known I’m gay? ... So that’s like five, almost six years. Why didn’t you tell me?
    Cory: Why didn’t I tell you your sexual orientation?
    • He comes out to his parents rather dramatically, standing on top of a cliff half-naked and bellowing that he's gay. They have a similar unsurprised reaction.
    Mrs. Ehrlick: It's okay buddy! We've been waiting for this since you were fifteen!
    Brendan: You knew I was gay?
    Mrs. Ehrlick: Yes honey!
    Brendan: Why didn't you tell me!?
    Mr. Ehrlick: Why didn't we tell you you were gay?
  • A New York Christmas Wedding: In the final timeline, Jenni admits her love to Gabby, which she'd already sensed.
  • Kerwin from Partners (1982) thinks of himself as deeply closeted, and takes pains to stay that way. In fact, almost all his coworkers know he's gay. Benson figured it out almost as soon as they met.
  • Bruno from Plan B is an unusual case in that he doesn't strenuously insist that he's heterosexual and is perfectly fine with joking to his friends about being boyfriends with Pablo. However, it's very clear that he's only fine with implications that he may not be entirely heterosexual if they're presented entirely as jokes or as being done just to trick Pablo into breaking up with his ex-girlfriend Laura so he can get back together with her. As a result, he still thinks of himself as a straight man who's only interested in Laura even while coming up with increasingly flimsy excuses to kiss Pablo or subconsciously snuggling closer to him in his sleep and is legitimately shocked when Victor, after hearing about what happened between him and Pablo, asks him when he started liking guys.
  • 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 Céline Dion on your wall."
  • 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. When he gets shipped off to be de-gayed, she tells her friends, and while her female friends, who apparently never entertained the possibility because he was a good Christian boy, are shocked and disgusted, Roland nonchalantly says, "What? Wasn't like it was some kind of secret. The guy was like a one-man gay pride parade."
  • Scary Movie: A Running Joke with Ray. Throughout the movie he does many questionable things such as tucking his shirt like a Camp Gay, describing a male character as having "long hair", a "pretty little mouth", and a "perfect ass", and wants to go to prison so he can meet some sex-starved convicts. He has a girlfriend, Brenda, who is clearly The Beard — he makes out with her regularly, but his Wrong-Name Outburst shows he would rather be making out with a Brendan. Despite everybody with two brain cells to rub together being able to see it, he's deeply in denial.
    Bobby: That's right Cindy - I'm gay. And in case you haven't noticed, so is Ray.
    Ray: (confused) What? I ain't gay.
    Bobby: What are you talking about? You took me to that club.
    Ray: So? They play good music.
    Bobby: Well, what about our trip to San Francisco then?
    Ray: I wanted to go shopping.
    Bobby: [on the verge of crying] But... you made love to me.
    Ray: No hohoho, first of all you sucked my-
    Bobby: Whatever, Ray!
  • 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 cross-dressing 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.
  • Summerland (2020): Frank quickly realizes the woman whom Alice talks of from her past is the person she loved. He doesn't mind it, though Alice is more than a little anxious at first.
  • Uncle Frank: Frank's mother says she knew already that he was gay when he's outed, chalking this up to maternal intuition.
  • 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.
    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!

  • At the start of Adachi and Shimamura, Adachi is in the closet. Very poorly in the closet, as she constantly has homoerotic dreams and fantasies about her female classmate Shimamura and can regularly be seen oogling her from a distance. She mostly fools only herself, and does so with downright hilarious amounts of mental gymnastics:
    I had a dream where I kissed Shimamura. It's not like I'm into that. I think I just want to be closer with Shimamura. But it's definitely not like that! There's no deep meaning behind that kiss. I'm not saying I'd never kiss her, but I'm not saying I absolutely want to, either? If there were no one else within a 5-kilometer radius from Shimamura, and she was in a deep sleep and an all-knowing deity just happened to reassure me that she wasn't going to wake up in the next 24 hours, maybe I'd get bored after 23 hours and I might kiss her once to relieve some boredom.
  • In Blackbird (1986), 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.
  • The Chronicles of Dorsa:
    • Tasia thinks her relationship with Mylla is a secret from everyone else. It turns out her bodyguard Joslyn quickly learned though, due to usually being in just the next room from them where she overheard the conversations the pair had. Being a lesbian herself could also possibly have helped, as Tasia learns later.
    • Joslyn and Tasia then keep their own relationship a secret from most people, due to their society at least being mildly homophobic. However, it turns out everyone who's a part of their inner circle knows this later, though no one holds it against them while respecting their privacy.
  • Fujimi Orchestra:
    • Of a sort, for Yuuki, who adamantly insists he's straight. He's actually attracted to a woman at first, who he intends to propose to before even asking her on a single date, and she fully believes he's gay and encourages Kei to take a chance with Yuuki, leading to the misunderstandings that lead to Yuuki's assault.
    • Yuuki also gets fired for being gay, as a substitute teacher, as there are concerns with him influencing children. While he is in a relationship of sorts with Kei at the time, it's hardly romantic and he's still well in denial of his feelings. However, the event does convince him to stand up for queer people.
  • Svetlana and Cartidge in The Harem Protagonist Was Turned Into A Girl!! And Doesn’t Want To Change Back!!!?? waste little time after getting both zapped by an alien sex reassignment ray in switching to female pronouns, and picking new names (Svetlana had been thinking about hers for years though Cartridge picked hers on more or less a whim because she likes retro videogames), experiencing gender euphoria and it still takes them having a conversation with nonbinary character Geordi for them both realise they both were always trans. Up till then they both had worried they'd been disrespectful to other trans-feminine people.
  • Just Juliet: Lena's mom picked up the fact that she was into Juliet before Lena came out, due to her gushing over her and them hanging out constantly.
  • Kyo Kara Maoh!:
    • Shibuya Yuuri 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 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.
  • Helen and Troy's Epic Road Quest: One of the orcs in the Wild Hunt gang, James, was gay the whole time and all of his friends knew it already.
    Nigel: Your love of musical theater kind of gave it a way.
    James: You can be straight and love musicals.
    Nigel: True, but when you get drunk, you won't shut up about Minnelli and Streisand.
    Franklin: Your favorite movie is Funny Girl.
    Peggy: You once punched me because I didn't know the difference between lavender and lilac.
    James: [slams his fist on the table] They're two different colors!
  • A Master of Djinn: It turns out that Siti's aunt Aziza and Haida are both well aware Fatma is lovers with Siti, but they don't care. Both even give them advice on their relationship.
  • The Mortal Instruments: In City of Glass, everyone seems to know that Alec is gay before he tells them. Except for his parents, judging by their reaction to him kissing Magnus in the Accords Hall.
  • 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 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 Red, White & Royal Blue, Nora knew Alex is bi and interested in Henry before Alex figured it out himself. June suspected it from the time they were teenagers, since Alex used to steal one of her magazines to stare at a picture of Henry, and wasn't as secretive as he thought.
  • The A Song of Ice and Fire novels never outright state that Renly Baratheon and Loras Tyrell are together like the show does, but several quotes from other characters make it clear that they definitely are and everyone in the realm knows.
    • Stannis knows
      Renly: You'll be pleased to know she came to me a maid.
      Stannis: In your bed she's like to die that way.
    • Jaime knows
      Jaime Lannister: [to Loras] Now sheathe your bloody sword, or I'll take it from you and shove it up some place even Renly never found.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Zigzagged in "Judging Books by Covers," a Season One episode of All in the Family, which may make this instance an Ur-Example for live-action television (it aired in 1971). Politically Incorrect Hero Archie boasts that he can always tell a "flamer" when he sees one, and when Mike invites his photographer friend Roger over to the house, the young man's demeanor, long hair, and clothes—complete with a handbag—fit every stereotypical depiction of a homosexual guy. But it turns out Roger is Camp Straight instead, something Archie learns when an old buddy of his who played in the NFL comes out as a Straight Gay.
  • In Aquí no hay quien viva's first seasons, the people at Apartment 1B are a gay couple that hides 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, it turns out Everybody Knew Already.
  • Arrested Development:
    • Tobias Fünke has a habit of accidentally making homosexual innuendoes every second or third sentence, leading many both in- and out of universe to assume this.
    • 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.
  • Justin from The Big Leap was this in high school. Apparently everyone knew he was gay except for him and his girlfriend Gabby. It's also implied that this is why he's more macho when we catch up with him in the present day.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. After this, he mentions to Angel that he's come out, and Angel says, "You were in?"
    • 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 play with Willow's hair to realize what was going on; when he starts sowing the seeds of division by recounting some things Buffy and Xander supposedly said while pretending to think they were talking about something else, Willow and Tara think it must be true because they didn't tell Spike they were a couple, never thinking that they were just that obvious.
  • The young deaconess Sister Therese in Charite gets harshly rebuked by Matron Martha for her "unnatural feelings" for nurse Ida. Note that the latter at that time still thinks they're just really good friends; the matron was the only one who realized how deep Therese's affection actually went.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who: In "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.
  • Thomas from Downton Abbey. It turns out that half the people at the Abbey had some idea, but wanted to avoid any scandal.
  • 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."
  • Fantasy Island (2021): Ruby kept her attraction to women a secret for over fifty years, but her loving husband Mel realized this long ago (he knew she'd been in love with a "friend" of hers). He's completely accepting of this, and hopes that she will be free to live out her sexual orientation on the island, if Ruby wants that.
  • Fellow Travelers:
    • Hawkins Fuller's father is well aware that he's gay and is ashamed of it, wanting an apology from him over this when he's dying. He remarks that Hawk wasn't good at concealing his sexual orientation because he had to endure rumors about his homosexual son.
    • Miss Addison suspects that Hawk and Timothy Laughlin are a couple after she reads the dedication the latter wrote in a book he gave to the former ("Mr. Fuller, thank you for everything. You're wonderful."), and she reports Hawk as a possible homosexual to the M Unit in episode 4. At Senator Joseph McCarthy's funeral, she spots Tim in the crowd, approaches him, and exclaims "Cocksucker!" to his face.
    • Hawk's wife Lucy, unbeknownst to him at first, learned he was gay in the mid-1950s when she once accidentally intercepted a letter his ex-boyfriend Tim sent him. This, along with their sex life being less than regular, tipped her off that she'd been The Beard to him.
    • Hawk's daughter Kimberly also realizes when she's a young adult that he's gay by discovering his relationship with Tim.
  • Frasier:
    • This is the entire premise behind Gil. 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".
  • 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.
    • Even after Renly's death, in both the show and in a more subtle form in the books, it's a regular joke about the open secret of Renly and Loras's relationship. In a conversation with Tywin Lannister in the show, Loras's grandmother Olenna Tyrell describes Loras as "a sword-swallower through and through." Still, given that theirs is a society that discourages homosexuality, there are (then) less-savvy characters like Sansa Stark who remain oblivious.
  • Glee provides the page quote. Kurt didn't come out officially until a few episodes into season one.
    • His best friend Mercedes wanted to date him in the beginning, not knowing he was gay. Rachel and Tina stage a "gay-vention" to try to get her to see the light. Later in the season, when Kurt tries to go back into the closet to please his macho dad, no one is fooled except for Brittany.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Haunting of Hill House (2018): When Theo's girlfriend unexpectedly shows up during the funeral, Luke tried to explain Theo's whole Coming-Out Story to their estranged father, only for him to casually explain that him and their mother had always known — their mother Olivia had started to assume it from when Theo was around 8 years old.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "...After the Phantoms of Your Former Self", Louis de Pointe du Lac's mind-reading of his mother Florence reveals that she's well aware that he's gay in spite of him being closeted. His sister Grace's words later indicate she knows as well. Presumably living with Lestat de Lioncourt and spending so much time with him would have made them realize if nothing else. In "Is My Very Nature That of a Devil", Antoinette Brown let it slip that the employees of the Azalea gossip about Louis and Lestat being a couple. Alderman Fenwick has figured out that the two men are together because he refers to Lestat as Louis' "pale lover," plus he has heard that there are "weird goings-on at their Sodomite townhouse." In "The Thing Lay Still", Tom Anderson calls Lestat "your fag pederast" while talking to Louis, and Tom surmises correctly that Lestat is the Lover and Louis is the Beloved in their Lover and Beloved dynamic.
  • 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.
  • 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. In one episode, Mac outright tells the group he's gay when they were in a crisis, then declares that he isn't because the crisis proves he wasn't. When Mac finally comes out of the closet, the gang's response: "No shit."
    Charlie: I know we've never said this, but Mac's gay right?
    [the rest of the gang agrees]
  • Done for a dramatic reveal in the pilot of Kings. Crown Prince Jack Benjamin tries to hide behind the façade 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.
  • The Last of Us (2023): Bill never says or does anything at first to show he's gay, though Frank knows it instantly anyway.
  • 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 the first season of The L Word, Dana and her friends all know that she's gay, but she keeps up an unconvincing Masquerade in front of everyone else, dragging a Beard with her to all of her social functions, and so forth.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Midnight Sun (2016): Anders keeps his relationship with Thor secret, rather than tell his daughter. She knows it already though, and doesn't care at all, sympathizing with him.
  • In the BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie's The Moving Finger featuring Joan Hickson, Mr. Pie, who is heavily (but non-explicitly) implied to be Camp Gay in both the original story and the adaptation, is asked if he has received any poison pen letters, and exclaims "Me? Whatever have I to hide that might interest the reader?" to which Miss Marple responds "Oh, I'm sure I don't know, Mr Pie." The musical cue that immediately follows (a staccato flute line) heavily implies that she knows full well.
  • 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.
  • In the Season 13 Season Finale of Murdoch Mysteries, Inspector Brakenreid is surprised to learn that Detective Watts is homosexual. He is bewildered to discover he is literally the only person in his circle to be surprised, and even his wife (who usually comes across as having a very "proper" worldview and ignoring anything that doesn't fit) can't understand why he didn't think it was obvious. Watts remains in the closet, of course, because it's the 1900s.
  • My Dead Ex: Bethany was not out as a lesbian, though her love interest Wren saw it despite this, clearly realizing even prior to them kissing.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000:
    • Tom and Crow. 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 is 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.
  • After Fabiola comes out in Never Have I Ever, so does Jonah, whose entire character exudes Camp Gay.
    Jonah: Um, just to get it out there, I'm gay too.
    Everyone Else: Uh, obvi. That makes sense.
  • One of Us is Lying: It turns out Cooper's dad already had an inkling he was gay before Cooper tells him.
  • 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.)
  • The Republic of Sarah: AJ is very paranoid about getting outed, and tries not to show public affection toward her lover Alexis. Corinne however sees right through it, and asks her point blank how long now they've been having sex.
  • Played for Laughs in the Saturday Night Live sketch "Gingey". It's set in 1904 and features most of the female cast as a group of Little Women-esque sisters who are dressed to the nines for an upcoming dance. The titular Gingey (Amy Poehler), though, is a rambunctious tomboy who expresses no interest in boys, dresses, or anything remotely feminine. As her mother and sisters wonder about Gingey's strange behavior, their grandmother (played by Betty White) sits in the corner and repeatedly tells them "She's a LESBIAN!" No one pays Grandma any mind, though, so she comes across as the Only Sane Woman, especially as the other girls try to give Gingey a makeover ("You can put that lesbian in any kind of dress you want, and you know what you're gonna end up with? A lesbian. That GIRL is a LESBIAN!").
  • On Shadowhunters, Alec's crush on Jace was common knowledge to pretty much everyone, even before Alec was ready to admit it to himself.
  • Six Feet Under:
    • David Fischer starts the series out as closeted, but it quickly becomes apparent to everyone that he's gay (except for the "open-minded" Nate, who has to be told that David's "racquetball partner" is his partner). His mother gets quite upset that David hasn't come out to her, even though she's seen a few men leave his room early in the morning.
    • Father Jacknote , wa initially 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.
  • 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.
  • Trigonometry: Ray's mom realizes she's with Gemma and Kieran after seeing the trio embrace. Gemma's friend Naima also could tell from how they acted before Gemma told everyone.
  • 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".
  • Twenties: Marie says she already knows after Chuck, her fiancé, comes out as bisexual to her. Hattie was also aware before too.
  • Marshall on United States of Tara comes out in season 2 despite having had a boyfriend in season one.
  • On The War at Home, Kenny (played by a pre-fame Rami Malek) has a huge crush on his straight best friend Larry, and expresses interest in virtually every gay stereotype imaginable (Broadway musicals, fashion, Cher, hairstyles, you name it). It's zig-zagged in that viewers know that Kenny is gay from the first episode (especially because the show uses frequent asides directly to the audience a la The Office), but Larry and his family don't pick up on the signs right away. Kenny also actively works to dissuade them from guessing, and much of his Character Development is finding it harder to hide the truth until he finally (and accidentally) comes out in Season Two.
  • The White Lotus: Mia almost immediately discerns that Valentina is a lesbian, seducing her.
  • Will & Grace: 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. Later, it is revealed that Jack is not out to his mother, who thinks that he is straight and had dated Grace. Karen sums it up when Grace tells her:
    Karen: What is she, headless?
  • Willow: Jade and Kit haven't told anyone (not even each other) that they have a mutual attraction when Boorman, it turns out, easily picked up on the fact. Kit later weakly attempts to deny that she feels anything but friendship for Jade, which Dove sees through at once.

  • "Gay Boyfriend", by Garfunkel and Oates, is about dating one.
  • "I'm Not Gay" by J Pee is about a man who denies being gay despite his obvious attraction to men. By the end, he stops trying and embraces being very Camp Gay.
  • "The Philosopher" by Death has the following line: "So you preach about how I'm supposed to be, yet you don't know your own sexuality". The song is rumored to be about Paul Masvidal, who much later came out as gay.
  • "My Whole Family Thinks I'm Gay" by Bo Burnham.
  • Frank Zappa: "Punky's Whips" depicts a fictionalized Terry Bozzio as aggressively denying being gay while simultaneously detailing his over-the-top sexual fantasies about Punky Meadows, another male musician.
  • Gay duo Romanovsky And Phillips have a song called "The Last Ones To Know," ruing how gay people themselves can grow up oblivious to their own sexuality or feel they have to conceal it, even when everyone else (including homophobes) can already tell.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In the Professional Gay Wrestling six-part series, PGW is run by the "fiercely heterosexual" Francis Minks and his son Montgomery. Both take way too avid an interest in gay men wrestling for that moniker to be convincing, on top of their camping it up on screen. Montgomery Minks even doubles as colour commentator, and his input often boils down to a hurricane of innuendo.

  • Played for laughs in Altar Boyz with Mark visibly having a crush on band leader, Matthew.
    Matthew: Did you do something to your hair?
    Mark: What do you mean?
    Matthew: I don't know, it looks different.
    Mark: Nope, same stuff I always use.
    Matthew: Well, it looks really good.
    Mark: Thanks. So, what's your song about?
    Matthew: Well, it's sort of a love song for a really close friend of mine.
    Mark: Really? Who?
    Matthew: Jesus!
    Mark: Oh!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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! Boys should be with girls, that's Heavenly Father's plan. So if ever feel you'd rather be with a man, turn it off!
    Elder Price: ...Well, Elder McKinley, I think it's okay that you're having gay thoughts, just so long as you don't act upon them.
    Elder McKinley: Nooooo~! 'Cause then you're just keeping it down, like a dimmer switch on low, thinking that nobody needs to know! But that's not true! Being gay is bad, but lying is worse...So 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: All right! It worked!
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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 his increased penis size is 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.
  • 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.
  • Harry in Disco Elysium is bisexual but has no comprehension of this. He is definitely interested in women, but his internal monologue is full of fantasies about disco and perfect male asses, and he's unable to understand why it is that he becomes instantly obsessed with a random young man he chats to from a balcony, or why it is that he can't stop thinking about the young man's unbuttoned shirt and how good he smells. The game's censorship leaves in all the other slurs but bleeps out the particularly strong homophobic one, as if the word itself is something he represses. At multiple times in the game, Harry displays attraction to a man that's so blatant that Kim starts Corpsing at Harry's inability to figure it out. The Fascist quest in The Final Cut has his Endurance taunt him about his repressed attraction to men, and the player has the choice to have him repress it perfectly, with horrible results.
  • 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.
  • Guilty Gear -STRIVE-: In Bridget's Arcade Mode story, Goldlewis immediately recognizes her gender identity conflict due to her insincerity in calling herself a boy. Thanks to him and Ky both relating to her struggle, they gently encourage her to be true to herself, giving her the courage to come out as a transgender woman.
  • Azazel of Helltaker is the token angel of a harem of demon girls, of which she harbors very intimate curiosity. She insists that her involvement in the lurid harem is purely for research purposes, but the degree to which she "observes" the other girls shows that something's up. Game creator Vanripper confirmed that angels "have to obey the law of God", but her denying being a lesbian would also make her a liar. This culminates in the Examtaker DLC, where she eventually became the Loremaster, a Fallen Angel who became the new ruler of Hell, but on account of continually insisting that she's still an angel (those red eyes, long horns, and missing halo are just part of her research, you see!), she remains in deep denial of her sexual attraction to women, even as she makes them into her personal maids.
  • The Interactive Fiction game You Are Bisexual, which is based on the author's real-life experiences on coming to terms with her bisexuality, has the main character start out completely clueless about her bisexuality despite many extremely obvious signs of it like her constantly wearing flannel, having numerous LGBT friends, and joking about having a "girl crush" on a beautiful female coworker she can't stop thinking about for some reason.

    Visual Novels 
  • 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.
  • Pizza in Illusionary Trauma is gay for Oreo Cheesecake. When Hershey points this out to him, the former blatantly denies this.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Matt, from Concession.
    "You've been in denial. Everyone else has figured this out and grown to accept it. Everybody but you."
  • 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 (and then accidentally told Justin and Ellen herself when Nanase's reaction to being told this made her panic). A flashback reveals that she'd suspected her of being gay since sophomore year.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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 a lesbian!" Sonya. Then, just as she's maybe beginning 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".
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • These exact words are used in reference to Sweden from Scandinavia and the World.
  • 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.
  • Something*Positive:
    • 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.
    • Between Rory realising he's pan and actually telling people, he is extremely bad at hiding it. At one point PeeJee thinks "Gotta work on pretending to be surprised. That kid's coming out party will be awkward enough as is."
  • The Spider Cliff Mysteries: Barlow's matrimonial plants in The Third Vault. Or maybe not.
  • Spinnerette:
    • 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 "reined 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's actually bisexual, or if it's just that Mecha-Maid's special. Notably, when Mecha-Maid outed Spinny in front of the Canadian superheroes, Green Gables responded, "That was a SECRET?"
  • Yellow Brick Ramble: The entire premise of this comic is a retelling of the second novel in the Oz series, The Marvelous Land of Oz, from the Trans Audience Interpretation. At the start of the comic, Tippetarius "Tip" Tryfle is a closeted in-denial transgirl, but her closet is definitely made of glass. During the comic's early chapters, before Tip has her LGBT Awakening and begins her transition from male to female, she encounters four of the major characters: Mombi, Jack, Logan, and Jinjur. All four of them figure out that Tip is a girl well before Tip does.

    Web Originals 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Critical Role:
    • Of the Open Secret kind. 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?
      Matt: Gilmore's.
    • For that matter, Vax responds well enough to Gilmore's attention and has kissed both Scanlan and Percival. Word of Gay from Liam confirms Vax's bisexuality.
  • In an article from The Hard Times called "I Accept My Son's Homosexuality, I Just Don't Buy Him as a Top", the conservative father wasn't surprised at all when his son came out to him, having seen the signs for years. In fact, the son's Camp Gay status is so obvious that the dad insists his son must still be in the closet and lying to him about being a top (since according to him only Manly Gays can top).
  • Kontrola: Majka's sister realizes from the way her face lights up whenever Natalia's near her that Majka loves her. She doesn't mind at all.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sky Pirate Girlfriends, an improv-heavy Let's Play of Skies of Arcadia: Legends by JelloApocalypse and friends, sees the protagonist Vyse recontextualized as a transfeminine eggnote —specifically, as a seemingly male feminist who really idolizes women out of a sublimated desire to be one. Most of the cast figures it out before Vyrsa herself admits it.
  • Sgt Ducky: Ducky, at 15, managed to piece together that John was gay, long before he came out at 21, due to John being soft-spoken, non-competitive with the other boys, and having female friends. For Ducky, the biggest hint was the awkwardness of him expressing sexual attraction to a female.
  • Tecna from Winx Abridged is obviously a lesbian but is hiding it from everybody
  • A TikTok skit by beccaandkellan features the character of Tony Roni, who bases an entire business venture on this concept: "Tony Roni's Gay Bar for Straight Men." Tony himself is also an example of this trope.

    Western Animation 
  • Played with on The Boondocks. One episode involves everyone but Riley knowing that popular rapper Gangstalicious is this trope, while Riley insists that Gangstalicious can't be gay because he likes Gangstalicious's music and he's not gay. When Riley starts wearing Gangstalicious's new homoerotic fashion line, Granddad starts fearing that Riley might be gay (which Huey takes advantage of to get his own room). At the end of the episode, having finally realized his idol is gay, Riley uses his own Insane Troll Logic from before and tearfully confesses his homosexuality to Granddad, who had time to come to terms with this and happily accept his grandson. Whether Riley actually is gay is left up in the air.
  • 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 synchronized "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 giveaway, but he still insists that he's 100% straight. He does seem to like women, likely making him bisexual, 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.
  • Alastor the Radio Demon from Hazbin Hotel is asexual and visibly dislikes intimate displays like people touching him (unless he's the initiator or you're Niffty) or flirting with him. Yet, he makes no mention of his orientation, and even reacted with confusion when one of his friends made an ace pun towards him. Word of God states that he considers himself a straight man who still hasn't found "the right girl", and has no idea that asexuality is even a thing.
  • Coach Daniel Stopframe from Moral Orel. He doesn't outright state it, but he still makes no attempt to hide his bisexuality.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Waylon Smithers seems to be either gay or Burnssexual depending on what the current joke calls for, but either way he's in a very transparent closet. Mr. Burns is the only one who is fooled... most of the time. Whether he is or not again depends on what the current joke calls for.
      Mr. Burns: So, Smithers, what are you doing this weekend. Something gay, no doubt?
      Smithers: What?!
      Mr. Burns: You know, light and fancy free! Mothers, lock up your daughters! Smithers is on the town!
      Smithers: Oh! Of course.
    • And here's one where Mr. Burns isn't fooled:
      Mr. Burns: [on taking Marge on an expedition] What do you think, Smithers?
      Smithers: I think women and seamen don't mix.
      Mr. Burns: We know what you think.
    • And another one where he is:
      Mr. Burns: Dogs are idiots! Think about it, Smithers: if I came into your room and started sniffing at your crotch and slobbering all over your face, what would you say?
      Smithers: Mmm... if you did it, sir?
      Mr. Burns: Exactly! You'd be fit to be tied! Pfft, dogs.
    • 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).
  • South Park:
    • Mr. Garrison, at least in the first few seasons. Garrison has since touched every single point of the LGBT spectrum: first being a man in denial, then a Camp Gay, transgender man-to-woman, Camp Lesbian, transgender woman-to-man, and to Depraved Bisexual.
      Chef: Children, there's a big difference between gay people and Mr. Garrison.
    • One of the Counselors is a reformed homosexual at the camp Butters gets sent to—his mannerisms indicate that he's Camp Gay still.
  • The Larry 3000 on Time Squad, while this was an animated series directed at children in the early 2000s, the writers never strayed away from presenting Larry as transparently gay without just going out and saying it; starting in the episode "Blackbeard, Warm Heart" 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. In another episode, "Shop Like an Egyptian", Tuddrussel gets a crush on Cleopatra and gets jealous when Larry states how beautiful she looks and how great her fashion sense is, believing that he is also interested in dating her. The catch? Larry is clearly only interested in being Cleopatra's shopping buddy and even acts bored and uninterested when Tuddrussel is crushed when they both learn that Cleopatra was already dating Julius Cesar.
  • Total Drama: While it took a while for Raj to realize that he was in the closet about being gay, other contestants such as Wayne and Emma were able to see right through it. Wayne speculated that Raj was gay or bi right after seeing Bowie save Raj from a boulder and his suspicions were more confirms when he saw Bowie and Raj kiss in the catapult challenge.
  • Gus the android in Tripping the Rift is at his most Camp Gay when insisting he's not gay.
  • The Venture Bros.: Shore Leave and Sky Pilot from the O.S.I. are this when they briefly appear during the season three finale, having apparently transformed into born-again Christians who've banished their "demons" through prayer and faith. As it turns out, they're faking it so the Hunter Gathers can get Brock enlisted in the fight against un-unionized supervillains.

"You know you are gay!
We all know; don't lie!
You should come out; I think it's really about time.
You know that you're gay...
You're really gay!"


Video Example(s):



By Season 9, Mac's sexuality is obvious to the rest of the Gang, even though he himself is still in denial.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / TransparentCloset

Media sources: