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Mistaken For Gay / Live-Action TV

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People getting Mistaken for Gay on live-action TV.

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  • 3rd Rock from the Sun:
    • A bizarre variant occurs in one episode where Sally ends up with a guy who's the "most sensitive man she's ever met" and would be very obviously gay to anyone who was actually from the planet Earth. He seems to believe that she's simply a transvestite or transgender woman, and, despite the fact that he normally has little interest in "people like you", interprets her confused stories about her military background and current desire to "just blend in" as stories about a struggle against queerphobic oppression. A series of comical mishaps lead him to think that the whole family is gay. The man only realizes that Sally is a woman when he helps her out of her dress and then promptly breaks up with her.
    • In another episode, a gay man comes out to Dick, unfortunately describing himself as being "from another world". Dick, of course, thinks he's another alien and immediately says "so am I!" Pretty soon, Dick is hanging out at what he thinks are "alien bars" and enjoying the camaraderie there. He only discovers the truth when Mary finds out and he thus tries to convince her that he's straight. After she leaves the room, he says to himself "I'm an alien. Oh, God, I wish I was gay!"
    • And then there's the episode in which Sally almost got married. While preparing for the wedding, Tommy discovers his never-again-seen love of doing artsy-crafty things, causing his girlfriend August to spend the whole episode worrying that he's gay.
    • In a first-season episode, Harry encountered a Camp Gay man played by Phil Hartman who mistook Harry for a fellow homosexual. When Harry talks about how Dick is his "High Commander" and wants him to fit in more, the man replies "Oh, I was in a relationship like that once."
    • Oh, and did we mention The Documentary episode in which Dick covers a slip-up by claiming that Sally is a lesbian and she's forced to play along?
    • In the episode where Dick and Don become friends, Dick is outraged to discover Don going out with another friend and promptly delivers what sounds very much like a break-up speech. After Dick leaves, Don's friend says "It's okay, Don, I understand. I'm gay, too!"
    • What about the episode where Dick dressed in drag to infiltrate a women's discussion group and they all thought Dick and Mary were lesbians?
  • In 10 Things I Hate About You, based on the 1999 film, Bianca mistakes her friend Cameron for being gay, despite him being madly in love with her, due to the fact that he's 'so nice' and watching Project Runway though Cameron admits it's only to see Heidi Klum, and, in the episode, he dressed rather gay-like to get Bianca's attention. And it did. Just not the way he planned.
  • In the 30 Rock episode "Blind Date", Jack sets Liz up with the "brilliant plastics engineer/lesbian" Gretchen Thomas, leading to the top page quote. Matters aren't helped when Liz, being the neurotic wreck that she is, decides to call Gretchen and have a nice chat with her anyway. The others encourage Liz to hook up with her, but Liz insists that they're "just friends, like Oprah and Gale". Given the existence of Liz/Gretchen fan fiction, it seems a sizable number of shippers didn't buy that. Liz offered to, if they were both still single in a few years, live together and if it would make things easier, let Gretchen "do things" to her.
    • When a reality show starring Tracy's wife filmed in the studio, Jack started reminiscing on camera about his college athletics, unconsciously making it all sound like gay sex (which the show immediately picks up on) - Grizz and Dot Com are very much aware of how it sounds and encourage him to keep talking.

  • In All The Small Things, Olive's friends suspect that she's a lesbian because of her unfeminine appearance. In actual fact, she avoids wearing skirts in order to conceal her prosthetic leg.
  • Angel:
    • In "Disharmony", Cordelia mistakes Harmony as being gay, when Harmony is actually trying to tell her she is a vampire.
      Cordelia: [on phone with Willow] Ohhh! Harmony's a vampire? That's why she—Oh, my God, I'm so embarrassed. [laughs] All this time, I thought she was a great big lesbo...! [long pause while Willow says something] Oh, yeah? Really? Well that's great. Good for you!
    • Happens so much with Wesley that it could be considered a Running Gag.
      • In "Expecting", Cordelia has a couple of friends come by the office. Angel and Wesley start talking to each other to distract from Cordelia having a vision and Wes flings his arm around Angel's shoulders in what he intends to be a display of brotherly affection, only to have one of the girls mutter "The good ones are always gay." Lampshaded very funnily later in the episode, when Angel and Wesley are talking and Wesley asks if Angel thinks he has a shot with the (gorgeous) girls. Angel says he thinks so, which leads to this.
      Wesley: What about them thinking we're gay?
      Angel: It adds mystery.
      • In "Carpe Noceem", An old man possessing Angel's body hears about a romantic entanglement with someone named "Fred," looks down at what Angel is wearing, and mutters, "Obviously." This also causes him to mistakenly try to break up with "Fred" (actually Wesley) before he figures out that Fred is a girl (Winifred).
      • In "Harm's Way", employees at Wolfram & Hart are discussing who they think is interested in Fred. Harmony suggests Wesley but is shot down because there's an established belief at the firm that Wesley is gay.
    • In "Lonely Hearts", the group is questioning folks at a singles bar - we see Angel anxiously telling a guy "No, really, I wasn't hitting on you!"
    • In "Sense & Sensitivity", when Kate Lockley's father mistakes Angel for her boyfriend, he says he's glad because he suspected she was a lesbian.
    • Done twice over by Faith who mistook Lilah for a lesbian when Lilah tried to recruit Faith to work as an assassin for them. Faith apparently accepted "the pickup" in order to mug her.
      [Lilah and Faith leaves a club.]
      Faith: We can go and talk, but I'm not much of an talker. I'm more of a doer.
      Lilah [smirks] I think you might have misunderstood my intentions.
      Faith: No I think you misunderstood mine. [slams her up against a wall and grabs her wrist.] I like that watch.
  • Frederick Bellacourt, the clueless male heir in Another Period, is being groomed to be the next senator from Rhode Island - until his lack of macho behavior gets him labeled as gay. By Sigmund Freud, no less. Who then catches Frederick and his sister Beatrice in bed together:
    Dr. Freud: Frederick, look at you. You are cured. The Masculinity training must have done the trick. I officially declare you a non-homosexual.
    Beatrice: Oh, Frederick, I'm so proud of you.
    Frederick: You're not concerned at all with the fact that I'm having sex with my sister?
    Dr. Freud: Seems perfectly natural to me. Carry on.
  • On an episode of Arrested Development, George Michael said trying out for the school play had nothing to do with impressing a girl in order to hide his incestuous crush on Maeby. By afterwards seeing George Micheal talking with a male student, Tobias comes to the conclusion that he must be gay. Hilarity Ensues when Tobias decides that George Michael's acting talents would improve if he cast a male actor as his love interest.

  • In The Basil Brush Show, Mr. Steve works up the courage to ask a long-haired women for a snogging. He fails to notice the long-haired women being replaced by a long-haired man. The man, when asked by Mr. Steve for a snog, turns and punches Steve. Hilarious. It did anger same gay-rights activists, though. It wouldn't have attracted so much anger if it had been hilarious. It wasn't even that funny when it was tried the first time, back in about 1972.
  • Being Human: In the pilot, a realtor assumes George and Mitchell are a couple. George is embarrassed, but Mitchell just runs with it. It's worth noting that in subsequent episodes Mitchell is pretty heavily implied to be bi.
    George: How could she assume that we were a couple?
    Mitchell: I know! I am way out of your league.
  • Roommates Leonard and Sheldon of The Big Bang Theory continue to introduce themselves as "living together" even though everyone initially misinterprets this, including their new next-door neighbor Penny and their friend Raj's parents, who think they're "like Haroon and Tanvir." Leonard protests and explains the situation, although later as Sheldon runs to get their special-edition DVD of Fiddler on the Roof he remarks to himself, "Maybe we are like Haroon and Tanvir."
    • Sheldon was also able to get a date with far more ease then his friends, although at the time he was trying to find a man to set Penny up with, and he didn't realize the miscommunication. Hilarity ensued.
    • Raj and Howard have this happen to them all the time. There was the time Leonard's psychologist mother said they were in an ersatz homosexual relationship, and they start arguing like an old married couple. Both are straight, but their romantic exploits tend to be...less than successful.
    • This has become a Running Gag with Raj. In one episode, he invites a childhood friend, Lakshmi, to his apartment for dinner. Lakshmi suggests that they should get married because she's a lesbian, she assumes he's gay and they can "beard" for each other to keep their parents from finding out.
    • In a Reality Subtext example, some first-time viewers note Sheldon's fussy mannerisms and mistakenly believe that the cast consists of a "regular guy", an Indian, a Jew, and a gay guy. This became Hilarious in Hindsight when Sheldon's portrayer, Jim Parsons, publicly announced his homosexuality.
    • While Skyping with his parents in India, Raj's mother complains "The closest thing we have to a daughter-in-law is that little Jewish boy!"
  • Played with in the first series of Blackadder, where Edmund is pretending to be gay to scare off his fianceé. Baldrick tells him to practice by pretending to make a pass at Percy, and leaves. While Baldrick is out Percy makes an annoying comment and Edmund attacks him. Baldrick comes back to find him sitting on top of Percy, and says, "Yes, that's the kind of thing!"
    • Inverted (and played with) in Series 2, when Blackadder is about to kiss Bob (who is actually a girl called Kate). Baldrick comes in to find Kate on the ground and Blackadder on top of him, and reassures Kate, "Don't worry, Bob. He used to try and kill me too."
      • Technically Blackadder is mistaken for gay as everyone finds it very strange that he is spending all his time with his manservant, with Queenie remarking, "Do you think he'd spend more time with me if I was a boy?"
  • Black Books: Bernard accuses Manny of being gay due to his interest in interior design, specifically nice lamps. Manny protests he likes women (as well as lamps) but admits that he had thought Bernard was gay. Bernard says that he thought so himself, but was put off by the expected high standards of personal hygiene "and all that...dancing!"
  • Blue Peter: Valerie Singleton, (in 2018, now 81 years old) has said that she was utterly frustrated that the rumour about her being lesbian took such deep root that it could never be properly denied, and said living with it for thirty-odd years got pretty hard. She points out that during her time on the show, the love affairs she really wanted to keep secret were with star radio DJ Pete Murray and her co-star Peter Purvis. Fortunately, the assumption she was gay prevented intrusive people from looking any further. Val was also - erroneously - reported in British Newspapers to be having an affair with singer Joan Armatrading. The reality was that they were friends.
  • Bones:
    • Averted on an episode of Bones. Booth and Sweets both decide to propose to their respective girlfriends and go to buy their engagement rings together. Unfortunately, the clerk at the jewelry store doesn't misunderstand their relationship.
    • In another episode, the team investigates the death of a wedding planner. Everyone thinks her executive assistant is gay until near the end of the episode.
  • Breaking In: Melanie's boyfriend misinterprets all the signs that Cam is interested in Melanie as signs that he's gay.
  • Ilana on Broad City, though complicated by her apparent pansexuality. She becomes angry after discovering Abbi kissed another woman, claiming she was promised Abbi's first same-sex experience. In another episode this exchange occurs when Oliver, a young boy she babysits, paraphrases some of her statements about Abbi:
    Oliver: We hung out with Abbi, Ilana's girlfriend, even though they can't be together right now. But they will be someday.
    Oliver's mother: Ilana, I had no idea you were gay.
    Ilana: We all...
    Oliver's mother: Having a gay-bysitter will be wonderful for Oliver's CV to get into middle school.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: In the episode "The Party", several of Kevin's party guests mistake detectives Hitchcock and Scully from Raymond's precinct for a gay couple due to their Heterosexual Life-Partners status. They are likely projecting because the party is hosted by Kevin and Raymond who are a happily married gay couple. There is also a misunderstanding of the word "partner".
    Scully: [singing opera]
    Hitchcock: This song gets to me every time.
    Guest #1: It's beautiful. You must be so proud.
    Hitchcock: I sure am.
    Guest #1: How long have you two been together?
    Hitchcock: We've been partners for almost 30 years.
    Guest #1: So do you two ever get harassed at work?
    Hitchcock: Harassed? For what?
    Guest #2: For being a gay couple who works together in the NYPD.
    Hitchcock: Bu-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-ooh...
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "Phases", Xander believes that local Jerk Jock Larry is a werewolf and tries to get him to confess, saying that he "knows what Larry's been doing at night" and that he went through something similar (alluding to the time he was possessed by a hyena spirit). It then comes out that Larry is not a werewolf, but he is gay, and now he thinks that Xander is too. The mistaken sexuality continues in the episode "Earshot".
    • "Gone" where Buffy receives a visit from a social worker about Dawn. Buffy's forgetfulness of a certain redhead leads to the following exchange. Worth noting is that it's hard to say if Ms. Kroger really believed Buffy.
      Buffy: That's Willow. She, uh, she kind of lives here too, actually.
      Ms. Kroger: Oh, so you live with another woman.
      Buffy: Oh! Oh, it's not a, a gay thing, you know, I mean, well... she's gay, but, but we don't ... gay.
    • In Season 9, Whistler leaves a message for Angel to meet him at a disclosed location on their "anniversary". One of Giles' aunts immediately says "That's why Angel hasn't hit on me."

  • Caroline in the City had Richard finally managing to get his work in a gallery. Unfortunately, he then discovers that said gallery only sponsors gay artists. He initially tries going on with the charade, but eventually confesses. This is particularly amusing because this is not the only time in the series someone mistakenly thinks Richard is gay, and though he isn't (he's the main character's love interest), Malcolm Gets, who plays Richard, is.
  • Castle: Natalie Rhodes, the actress who was chosen to play Nikki Heat in the movie based on Castle's novels, tried to seduce Castle, purely in the name of character research. The next day, she asked Beckett if Castle was gay, prompting a spit-take from Beckett.
    Natalie: He said something to me I never heard from a man before.
    Beckett: [Beat] What?
    Natalie: ‘No’.
  • The ABC Family movie Celeste In the City actually has a good use of this. Celeste spends half the movie convinced her interior designer, Kyle, is gay. She's perfectly okay with him seeing her in her underwear and talking about her bad dating life. She decides to set him up on a blind date with her best friend, the very out Dana. Naturally, she's rocked when Dana reveals Kyle is quite straight and astounded as to why Celeste thought he was gay.
    Celeste: He's an interior designer!
    Dana: Celeste, just because a guy knows the difference between 50 at Benjamin Moore whites does NOT mean he's gay.
    Celeste: Isn't that gaydar?
    Dana: No, that's called stereotyping.
  • Piper and Phoebe are fighting over Leo in the first season Charmed episode "The Fourth Sister", and Leo is led to believe that Phoebe and Aviva are partners thanks to Piper's not-so-subtle hints.
  • Subversion: In an episode of Cheers, Norm — whom it is revealed has a native talent for interior decor — decides to pursue that field instead of his previous career. However, he discovers that he has to pretend to be "stylish" in order to be taken seriously as a decorator.
  • Lester on Chuck was mistaken for gay, although the person at least got the gender he is attracted to right, as he was mistaken for a gay woman. It's probably a good thing that Lester didn't hear this, as he'd probably just use it as an excuse to hit on lesbians.
  • Community:
    • Abed spends forty-five minutes in a bar with a guy talking about Farscape, at which point the frustrated guy bluntly asks him if he wants to have gay sex with him, and he immediately refuses. In a twist, Abed admits he knew the guy was hitting on him, he just really wanted to talk about Farscape. Although Abed never told him he wasn't gay...
    • Community does this a lot. There is a Running Gag that Pierce thinks both Jeff and Britta are gay. One episode had Britta make friends with a lesbian essentially just to brag that she had a lesbian friend and was therefore more tolerant and morally superior than anyone who did not. It turned out that the other girl was straight, thought Britta was a lesbian, and made friends with her for the exact same reason.
  • In the Corner Gas episode "Doc Small", Brent is mistaken for gay (and thought to be involved with a man into bestiality) as a result of Hank, a logic puzzle and a $100 bill (It Makes Sense in Context). He doesn't notice.
  • On Crownies, Tatum spent the first several episodes believing that Richard was gay; even going to so far as to tell her fiancee that he didn't need to be concerned about Richard moving in with them because he was gay. When she discovers the truth, she tells him it would be best if he was "straight at work, gay at home".

  • Dark Matter: A transport technician assumes One and Four are gay. While One is embarrassed and says no, Four says yes, because there's a couple's discount.
  • In Degrassi, the female-to-male transgender character Adam is mistaken for a gay boy because of the rainbow flag on his backpack. Then in a later episode, his girlfriend's parents mistake them for lesbians.
  • The Doctor Blake Mysteries: In "The Call of the Void", the Victim of the Week is believed to be gay because he is lodging with a known homosexual (who is also his employer). This earns him a beating at the hands of Sergeant Hobart.
  • Frequently appears in the revived series of Doctor Who, having started during (openly-gay) showrunner Russell T. Davies' tenure and continued by subsequent production teams.
    • "Tooth and Claw":
      Sir Robert: I'm sorry, Ma'am. It's all my fault. I should've sent you away. I tried to suggest something was wrong, I... thought you might notice. Did you think there was nothing strange about my household staff?
      The Doctor: Well, they were bald, athletic, your wife's away... I just thought you were happy.
    • "Daleks in Manhattan": Martha laments the Doctor's disinterest in her to Tallulah, prompting the comment, "Oh! I should have realized. He's into musical theatre, huh? What a waste."
    • "Time Crash": After the Tenth Doctor mentions his old nemesis' latest return Back from the Dead, the Fifth Doctor inquires whether the Master still had "that rubbish beard" this time around.
      Tenth Doctor: No, no beard this time... well, a wife.
    • "Turn Left": Rose is trying to get Donna to remember the way the world should be, and Donna gets the wrong impression. "Blonde hair might work on men, but not on me."
    • "Let's Kill Hitler": It's revealed that Amy assumed Rory was gay for years because, having seen him practically every day since they were young, she couldn't name a single girl he'd shown the slightest bit of interest in. It takes her a while to finally get it.
    • "Closing Time": The Doctor gets mistaken for gay by department store employee Val when he goes out shopping/Cybermen hunting with a baby and Craig. (They were being rather cuddly.) The Doctor doesn't appear to notice, actually considering the word "Partner" as a replacement for "companion". Later, he claims to be madly in love with Craig and tries to kiss him, as a distraction.
    • Bill has been mistaken for straight several times.
      • Her somewhat neglectful foster mother Moira hasn't caught on. In "The Pilot", she wonders if Bill's high marks in university are because she's coming on to her tutor. In "Extremis", Bill mentions that Moira has strict rules for her bringing men back home.
      • In "Knock Knock", one of the boys tried to flirt with her.
    • In "Arachnids in the UK", Yaz's mum asks Yaz who the Doctor is and how she and Yaz know each other. When told that It's a Long Story, she asks if they're seeing each other. The Doctor doesn't quite get the expression.
    • The Eighth Doctor is mistaken for gay by at least two Big Finish Doctor Who companions.
  • Korean Boy Band, Dong Bang Shin Ki. In one of their mini-dramas, a member mistook another member's accidental double entendre for the real deal. Turns out the "homosexual" in question just wanted to kiss-up to him for breaking his possession. Needless to say, many girls loved it.
  • One episode of Donny has Donny Deutsch accidentally declaring that he wishes he was brave enough to come out, which everyone else assumes to be him admitting to being in the closet. Hilarity Ensues.
  • From an episode of The Drew Carey Show:
    Steve Carey: I play for the other team.
    Lewis Kiniski: I knew it, he's gay.
    Steve Carey: No, I mean the other softball team.
    • There's another episode where, after Oswald defeats a bruiser-type fellow driver named Joe in a boxing match, the two start hanging out together. Joe starts taking Oswald out to dinner and lavishing him with gifts, including clothes. It takes the rest of Oswald's friends to point out that, if Joe's buying him clothes, then the two are dating. Oswald confronts Joe about this, and Joe is shocked to learn that Oswald isn't gay, and points out that the only reason Oswald won the boxing match was that Joe couldn't hurt his "pretty face". Their conversation also clues Oswald to the fact Joe isn't the first male co-worker that he's been dating.
  • In Drop Dead Diva Jane is concerned with Stacy's behavior in one episode so has Paul spy on her. He sees her having lunch with a woman and assumes Stacy's a lesbian. Stacy later tells Jane she's not, she wants to have a baby via sperm donor and asked the woman who IS a lesbian for advice.

  • In the early episodes of Elementary Joan mistakes Sherlock for being asexual. He instead has a (rather active) sex drive but isn't into romantic relationships.
  • British sitcom Extras has Andy Millman meet an old school-friend of his who, despite being successful, is still a bigoted Jerk Jock who constantly makes jokes about Andy being gay because he has never seen him chatting up a girl. At the same time Andy is trying to gain recognition in the theatre and gets a starring role in a play by Ian McKellen. He has to play a gay role, something that he appears to get to grips with after his initial annoyance at finding it out, but unfortunately for him his school-friend gets tickets for himself and several of his other homophobic old friends. They also happen to catch him in the dressing room with McKellen with his trousers down, as McKellen calls for some vaseline to cure Andy's non-existent ulcer that he tried to get out of kissing on-stage with.

  • The premise of the MTV series Faking It revolves around two girls at a high school being mistaken for lesbians, and using that mistake to climb their school's social ladder.
  • The Family: Hank's mother asks if he's gay due to his lack of interest toward women. He's actually a pedophile, though he hates it.
  • Briefly in Farscape. Before a forced marriage, John asks D'Argo to be his best man. D'Argo replies "I'm with Chiana now, John" which just makes John laugh.
  • An episode of French sitcom Les Filles d'à côté has an escalating misunderstanding beginning when Camp Gay gym manager Gérard turns up distraught at the girls' apartment. He sobs uncontrollably about the love of his life having left him and dissappearing off the face of the earth with no explanation. He names the beloved, or so the girls hear, as Daniel. The girls are appalled. The Daniel they know best is the neighbour they all not-so-secretly fancy, the good-looking sophisticated American photographer in the neighbouring flat. Could it be that they are not only barking up the wrong tree, they are in the wrong forest entirely? And how could Daniel have been having a discreet gay affair for so long, without their even noticing? Misunderstandings ensue. Only belatedly did they realise Gérard meant his Siamese cat - a female called Danielle...
  • Frasier, on several occasions, the meta joke is that the actors playing them are gay (sans Kelsey Grammer).
    • In one episode a series of misunderstandings based on the initial assumption that Frasier is gay leads to a character concluding the entire family is. Another has Marty acting gay for Frasier's sake (he's interested in a woman who's trying to matchmake for her gay uncle).
    • Bulldog Briscoe (Dan Butler, who is gay) in Fortysomething:
      Carrie: (thinking Bulldog is overcompensating) Is he gay?
    • Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce, who is gay) in a few episodes, including The Matchmaker:
      Tom: (after learning Frasier isn't gay) But Niles - come on!
      Frasier: No, I'm afraid not.
      Tom: Huh... so wait a minute, this Maris guy he kept mentioning is a woman?
      Frasier: Well, the jury's still out on that one.
    • Martin Crane (John Mahoney, who was gay) in a few episodes, including the aforementioned The Matchmaker and the plot to Out with Dad:
      Martin: (after realizing Edward is attracted to him) But what if he asks me for a date?
      Frasier: I have news for you: You're on a date!
    • It leads to a situation in which Niles has to pretend he's his father's lover to reinforce the illusion that Martin is gay, leading to this classic exchange:
      Frasier: Niles, Emily just kissed me in the bedroom and now she's leaving. I have never been so embarrassed in my life.
      Niles: You're embarrassed?! They think the best I can do is an old man with a cane!
    • Finally, Niles "breaks up" with Martin:
      Niles: You're always asking, badgering, spying on me! Well, I won't be suffocated anymore. I'm tired of being your trophy boy! It's over, you hear me? Over! (haughty sniff) And I'm keeping the jewelry!
    • Also in "Ski Lodge"
      Guy: [who thought that Niles was flirting with him] [to Martin] Maybe the Rum is clouding my judgement, but Niles... is he...
      Martin: [thinking he is talking about Nile's crush on Daphne] No, stop right there. You got it, he got it bad.
      Guy: Really?! This is not an uncomfortable subject for you?
      Martin: No, no no - Niles have had those feelings for years! Of course, I didn't approve of them during his so called marriage, but now when he is single, I say let do what makes him happy! I say go for it!
      Guy: [wistfully] You are a wonderful father.
      • Leading later to:
        [Frasier walking into the room where Guy is naked and waiting for Niles, expecting to see Daphne's friend who he's been chasing all episode]
        Guy: You are not the Crane I want.
        Frasier: You're not even the sex I want.
    • In The Doctor Is Out, flamboyantly gay opera director Alistair is introduced to Niles and Daphne:
      Daphne: And I'm Daphne, Niles' wife.
      Alistair: [amused] No.
      Niles: We're expecting.
      Alistair: Can't say I was.
    • Later:
      Frasier: He does not think I'm gay.
      Niles: He thinks I'm gay, and I'm standing next to my pregnant wife.
  • A running joke in Friends, with Chandler the target. Originally from a first season episode "The One Where Nana Dies Twice", where we discover most of the friends thought he was gay when they first met him. Apparently he has "a quality". Interestingly, every gay person he meets disagrees.
    • The one where Chandler uses a subliminal motivational tape so he can quit smoking, but it's for women. Also the one where he and Joey are mistaken for a couple when they are seen with baby Ben.
      • Chandler and Joey get this a lot; half of Chandler's 'gayness' comes from the way that him and Joey are frequently portrayed as a married couple, with Gilligan Cut style jokes to this effect.
    • Brought up in Joey when Gina tells Joey that he and Chandler should have moved out to LA years go because it has a "very friendly gay scene". Joey responds that he and Chandler are not a gay couple.
    • Also happens to Gunther in the Halloween Episode where he ran out to pick up more candy because of Rachel being a pushover and handing out too much. She calls him sweet and tells him "some day you are gonna make some man the luckiest guy in the world."
    • When Monica got engaged to Chandler, she went out to her balcony and excitedly started yelling out "I'm engaged!" to the passerbys below. When Ross get's to Monica's apartment, he confesses that he heard her yelling, but assumed she was a kid yelling "I'm gay!"

  • On The Game (2006) when Tasha had a small spat over the cost of an office space with a Realtor. It is sure to assume that even the audience thought that the flamboyant, well dressed, finger snapping, miniature dog carrying, Realtor was homosexual. But as it turns out:
    Tasha: Sorry I had to bring the dog into this.
    Realtor: This isn't my dog, it's my wife's.
    [Tasha does a double take]
  • Get Krack!n: When McLennan is going into labour, the midwife refers to her as McCartney's wife. McCartney, who is bisexual, doesn't bother to correct her.
  • Glee:
    • Kurt mistakes new club member Sam as gay. However, little humour comes out of this misunderstanding and it was only to tease viewers who were expecting Sam to be Kurt's new boyfriend.
    • Sam is once again mistaken for gay later on in the season after he's caught coming out of a motel room with Kurt.
    • And in another Sam example, when Blaine is buying an engagement ring for Kurt, Sam rushes into the store saying how he wants to support Blaine because he loves him and he wants to help pick out the ring. The saleslady assumes Sam is the guy Blaine is planning on proposing to. Doesn't help that they are extremely physically affectionate towards each other.
      Sam: No! I mean, he wants to do me, but we're just friends.
      Blaine: Don't.
      Sam: What? You do want to do me!
  • Grounded for Life when Shawn took his kids to the amusement park. It was "Gay Day" there and everyone was wearing tank tops and jeans. Guess what he was wearing...

  • One episode of Halt and Catch Fire sees Donna dragging Cameron around to find a house of her own. Given how much they bicker, the real estate agent thinks they're a couple, which Donna finds amusing.
    Cameron: You're not my type.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: Fred finds out that June had a past with Moira, and arranges for them to meet in Jezebel's when he visits again, thinking they were lesbian lovers. June corrects this, though, and Fred then lets them have some time together anyway (he seems oddly okay with the idea they were lovers in the past, despite echoing the usual anti-gay stance of the regime by calling Moira "degenerate").
    • Eden, Nick's wife, thinks her new husband is a "gender traitor" because he won't sleep with her. As far as has been shown, he's straight; the real reason he won't have sex with her is because she's 15 years old and he's in love with Offred/June. Offred practically begs Nick to sleep with Eden so that she won't report him for being gay and get him executed.
  • Happy Endings: Alex goes to a Halloween party dressed as Marilyn Monroe and hits it off with a cute guy. Turns out he is a gay man who thought she was a transvestite, due to her Tomboyish Name and a seriously hoarse throat.
  • In the Haven episode "The Trial of Audrey Parker", Duke answers Audrey's cellphone, and upon finding that it's Nathan, hands the phone to her and says jokingly, "it's your wife". One of their poker buddies says that same-sex marriages are illegal in Maine, but the misunderstanding is cleared up.
  • In one third season episode of Hawaii Five-0, Steve and Danny have to go to a sorority house. One of the girls immediately assumes that they are the gay parents of one of her sorority sisters. Steve has a bigger concern than being mistaken for gay:
    Sorority Girl: Kelly, your dads are here to pick you up.
    Kelly: Those aren't my dads.
    Steve: I'm sorry, you think I look old enough to be her father?
    Danny: Th... That's the part you bumped on?
  • On Hello Cheeky, John was sometimes mistaken for gay, as he wasn't married. He wasn't too bothered by it — possibly since Tim and Barry occasionally seemed to be genuinely gay in denial, despite being married.
    Tim: Barry... uh, John, is he... [makes limp-wristed gesture]
    Barry: ...a swan?
    Tim: No, is he... [puts hand on hip, makes limp-wristed gesture]
    Barry: A teapot?
    Tim: No, I he... [blows kisses]
    Barry: ...Oh, to hell with John, give us a kiss!
  • The subplot of the House episode "The Down Low", when a new neighbor refuses to believe House and Wilson aren't a couple. It doesn't help that House decides to run with it. In order to get close to the (pretty, female, unsuspecting) neighbor.
  • In Season 5 of How I Met Your Mother Robin's boyfriend at the time, Don thought that Ted was gay because of some effeminate interests like calligraphy, Project Runway, and cooking. That is until he found out Ted is Robin's ex.
    • When Marshall is on the phone in the narration of a Whole Episode Flashback, he mentions the part where Ted tells Robin his big secret (that he is in love with Zoey) and Marahall's mother who is eavesdropping on the other line immediately shouts out "HE'S GAY!!!"
    • In another episode, when Robin is trying to sell Barney's apartment, Ted and Marshall come in together (to pretend to be prospective buyers to drum up interest) with baby Marvin. One of the women looking at the apartment misinterprets and assumes he's their son. They decide to roll with it (partly because Marshall is feeling neglected by Lily at the time).
    • And in yet another episode the gang decides to go out to a gay bar because the girls are tired of getting hit on all the time in their normal bar. Marshall is initially happy that he can finally order a fruity umbrella drink without being judged, but later gets annoyed when guys keep hitting on him. One guy explains that he saw the drink and just assumed...

  • The IT Crowd: In "Work Outing", Roy tells a Snowball Lie to explain why he is in the disabled toilet that ends with everyone in the theatre believing that he is disabled and gay. And ultimately on a bus full of disabled gay men on its way to Manchester.
  • This happens to Dennis from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia when a woman he's trying to seduce assumes he's gay because he's wearing makeup and a girdle to look slimmer.

  • JAG: Admiral Chegwidden's yeoman Petty Officer Jason Tiner is mistakenly assumed to be this "People v. Gunny". This was back in the days of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
  • Dennis Finch from Just Shoot Me! wishes he were mistaken for gay, as usually he is mistaken for a woman, much to his chagrin. There was one episode where Dennis was mistaken for gay by his own father, but this is not who he wanted to make the mistake. The closest he got was to be mistaken for a lesbian, which actually worked to his advantage... until his true gender was exposed.
    • Maya was mistaken for lesbian by a model, a situation which Dennis tried to take advantage of.
    • In yet another episode, Nina is dating a flamboyant magician. When confronted by Jack and Elliott, she reveals that she obviously knows he's gay. However, when she confronts him, he responds with "I'm not gay, I'm British!"
      • That statement was also used by one of the main characters on the short-lived WB sitcom Left of Center.
      • And also as a punchline by Bakura in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. Of course, given that this version of Bakura apparently is repulsed by girls and has magical Gaydar powers, one wonders if he doth protest too much...
      • Bakura frequently explains "I'm not gay, I'm just British", while the demon possessing him points out "I'm not British, I'm gay".

  • The title characters on Kate And Allie, two single moms sharing an apartment, were mistaken for lesbians by their lesbian landlords, then have to play along to avoid getting thrown out because the landlords don't think they'd qualify as one "family". After a Patrick Stewart Speech about Tolerance, they're allowed to stay.

  • This is a running joke on Law & Order: two detectives walk into a store or hotel to question someone and are promptly identified as "together".
    • Occasionally, the detectives masquerade as gay in order to pin down a gay suspect or witness.
    • In a variation on the theme, a witness once tried to pick up very straight and very conservative Det. Curtiss, much to the amusement of Lenny Briscoe.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • One episode had a witness give Olivia his home phone number and suggest that she give his bisexual wife a call.
    • This actually becomes an SVU Running Gag, as people continually mistake Olivia for gay. The section of the fandom who think she's in love with Hello, Attorney! Alexandra Cabot lap this up.
    • Then there's this delightful exchange in "P.C." after a woman tried to kiss Olivia:
      Benson: El, do you ever get a gay vibe from me?
      Stabler: [beat] Would it matter if I did?
      Benson:...You're not answering the question.
    • Fin and Lake were mistaken for a couple while trying to get eyewitness statements without revealing that they were cops. Lake decided to roll with it by putting his hand on Fin's thigh. The look on Fin's face...
  • In an episode of Inspector Lewis, Lewis and Hathaway are mistaken for a couple by a school headmaster, who assumes they're looking for a school for their child.
    Hathaway: [takes Lewis's hand] Darling, I think you should explain.
  • The Listener: Toby's friend Oz is having trouble taking to women after a breakup, so Toby tells Oz to practice on him. After a few false starts, Oz pours out his heart about how he doesn't want to be alone. A woman who happens to be nearby in the bar overhears and says to Toby, "That was so incredibly sweet. You're a very lucky guy."

  • A mischievous girl convinces both Reese and Malcolm that the other is gay in Malcolm in the Middle, which leads to some amusing conversations.
    • Hilariously, the evidence for Reese being gay really stacked up.
    • The brothers, instead of teasing each other as it would have been expected, actually accept the fact that the other one is gay and try to support each other.
    • Another example is one episode when Francis is in military school helping out with a beauty pageant(of course, he's only helping to meet some girls). When he is backstage with one of the girls, she says something to the effect of, "It's okay if you're gay. We're a lot more open here[Alabama] than you think." He milks this for all its worth to be able to feel up the girls without them noticing. Eventually, he slips up and tells a girl she's sexy. He covers it up by saying that when he looks at her, he feels like maybe he could change. They are talking, and just as it looks as if they're going to kiss, the scene switches to him at a church service for "curing" gayness.
  • In the Married... with Children episode "Her Cups Runneth Over", Al and Steve go to a lingerie store to buy bras for Peggy:
    Steve: [to the saleswoman] We're up from Chi-town. We're interested in the Fancy Figure 327. For my friend here.
    Saleswoman: Size?
    Al: Oh, gee, I don't know, uh... How 'bout this tall? [shows it with his hands]
    Saleswoman: Oh, I see. Don't be embarrassed. We often cater to people like you. Now, what size does your boyfriend like to see you in?
    Steve: No, no, no oh, no, you don't, you don't understand. We're married! Uh, not too each other, to uh, to women.
    Al: And if I was gay, I'd like to think I could do better than him.
  • A M*A*S*H episode has a scene where Frank Burns is on the phone with another Major from headquarters. After bitching about the slipshod way things are being run at the 4077th, Frank tells the other officer, "You're my kinda fella... Hey, maybe we can get together sometime? I have a feeling that we're very much alike." While we only see/hear Frank's side of the conversation, it's clear from his subsequent, horrified reaction that the guy propositioned him.
  • Mike & Molly:
    Mike: Why is it that at least twice a week, someone thinks we're gay?!
    Carl: This one I understand— we're cuddling on a mattress. But wiping mustard off your upper lip, that's just me being helpful!
    • The fact that they argue Like an Old Married Couple (which Molly even lampshades) probably doesn't help their case.
    • During the Mike/Molly honeymoon episode, Carl receives a temporary patrol partner, a handsome but stone-faced young man, whom Carl is his usual overly-considerate self to. Towards the end of the episode, the partner kisses Carl full on the mouth, having interpreted his overtures of friendship as romantic advances.
  • In the final season of Misfits, Greg, who actually is gay, falsely comes to believe that Finn is gay and promptly falls in love with him. Slightly more justified than usual, as Greg had stumbled on Finn having anal sex with Alex.
  • Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries: In "Murder and the Maiden", a pair of RAAF officers are assumed to be homosexual because of all the time they spend together, and that they never show any interest in girls. In reality, one of them is actually a Sweet Polly Oliver.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus plays with the term in "Biggles Dictates A Letter", taking the term as we interpret it commonly over what the term actually meant as originally defined. When the dialogue between Biggles and his secretary lead him to believe his friend Algy is a homosexual:
    Algy: [strong masculine voice] What ho, everyone!
    Biggles: Are you gay?
    Algy: I should bally well say so, old fruit! [Biggles shoots Algy dead]
  • A Moody Christmas. According to the grandmother, the members of the Moody family used to think Dan Moody was gay.
  • This apparently happened to Fozzie in The Muppets when he tried to get into online dating.
    Fozzie: When your online profile says "Passionate bear looking for love", you get a lot of wrong responses... Well, not "wrong", just wrong for me.
  • Frank Fontana of Murphy Brown is almost always a victim of this. It's delightfully ironic, considering that he's always trying to be the Chick Magnet.
  • A surprisingly mature episode of My Parents Are Aliens, Josh, in one of his typical schemes attempts to start a relationship with a pretty, rich girl, but quickly learns she has a terrible personality even he can't deal with, so he asks Sophie to pose as his girlfriend, telling her to morph into someone "I'd want to spend time with". She morphs into his best friend Pete, not understanding the concept of gender and sexuality, and gives a romantic speech about her feelings for Josh, including putting her arm around Josh and referring to him as "my everything", all while in the shape of a boy. The next day the rich girl "outs" Josh to the entire school, encouraging Josh and (the real) Pete to be open about their feelings.
    Pete [mildly curious] Does this mean you're my boyfriend now?

  • This happens pretty often on The Nanny:
    • In "Oy Vey, You're Gay", Maxwell hires publicist Sydney Mercer to improve his image. Sydney is an attractive young blonde woman, and this makes Fran and C.C. jealous. Fran thinks she wants to be with him, and decides to try and wish them the best of luck as a couple, but Sydney tells her she's not interested in Maxwell: "It's his gender!". Fran misinterprets this before she tells her "Fran, I'm gay!". Fran then shouts "Oh, thank God!" and hugs her, but becomes perturbed when she stops hugging and the publicist doesn't:
      Fran: I'm letting go and you're not. Why?
      Sydney: Aren't you gay, too?
      Fran: Me? No!
      Sydney: I just assumed. You're over 30, never been married, there's no man in your life...
      Fran: Oh honey, I'm not gay. I'm just pathetic!
    • In "A Fine Friendship", Fran is convinced the male nanny for Gracie's friend is gay. The fact he's also a struggling Broadway actor backs up her assertion, until he and Fran share a passionate kiss. Fran gets upset. She asks "You mean you're not gay?!"
    • In "Pishke Business", Fran has to pretend she's C.C., Maxwell's business partner, after C.C. unwittingly attacks their play's biggest investor, and to prepare Fran, C.C. gives her a big binder with biographical info:
      C.C.: [flipping through pages] Where I grew up, went to prep school, when I came out...
      Fran: You came out?! So what are you always sniffin' around Mr. Sheffield for?
      C.C.: My coming-out party, Miss Fine.
      Fran: I know, I heard you. You know, now you and your special friend can dance together at Disneyland!
  • NCIS:
    • While following a lead to an apartment building during "Dead Man Talking," the landlord mistakes Gibbs and Tony for a gay couple. Tony's "helpful" picking lint off Gibbs's jacket doesn't help matters.
    • Happens again in "Leap of Faith" when Tony and McGee follow a lead to a shrink's office and are mistaken for a couple in for therapy. Tony plays along with it, much to McGee's annoyance.
      Dr. Fleming: Aren't you the couple who called about marriage counseling?
      McGee: Couple? No, no—
      Tony: Timmy, Timmy, it's all right. We're in a safe place. We can be ourselves here.
    • And again in "Parental Guidance Suggested" when Ellie Bishop tries to set up Zoe Keats with DiNozzo.
      Bishop: I was just wondering - for no particular reason - what are your thoughts on classic movie marathons and home-cooked Italian meals?
      Keats: Well, I appreciate the offer but you're barking up the wrong tree.
  • The Brit Com Never the Twain was about two Sitcom Arch-Nemesis antique dealers whose offspring are in a relationship. In one episode they go to an estate agent to get the kids a house, and the estate agent assumes they want to set up home together. Oliver is outraged: if he were gay, he certainly wouldn't fancy Simon!
  • The New Adventures of Beans Baxter: In "Beans’ Wicked and Awesome Adventure at College", Cake is tired of Beans ditching her (due to his spy work) while they are on dates, so she decides to follow him. She becomes convinced he is gay and Hilarity Ensues.
  • On NewsRadio, this occurred when Dave and Beth took Matthew to the ER for an injury. The attending nurse took one look at Dave acting concerned and said, "So you must be the boyfriend?"
  • New Tricks: The boys come to the conclusion that Sandra is a lesbian after trailing her to a mysterious assignation with another woman in "1984". Sandra finds this hilarious and soon sets them right: the woman she was seeing was not her girlfriend, but her shrink.
  • Tom Brake and his best friend Jimmy Doyle in Night and Day, after they're seen in bed together because Jimmy was scared of a spider and didn't want to sleep on the floor.
  • Nip/Tuck: When Heterosexual Life-Partners Sean McNamara and Christian Troy are selecting chocolate for Christian's upcoming wedding, the chocolatier mistakes them for a gay couple because of how comfortable they are discussing their love lives with each other. They jokingly play along before bursting into laughter.

  • There's a lot of Ho Yay in the prison drama Oz, so when Ryan O'Reilly runs into his recently-convicted brother in the prison cafeteria and embraces him, the guard immediately shouts at them to knock it off.
    O'Reily: He's my brother!
    Guard: Oh yeah? With hair like that he's more like your sister!

  • On Parks and Recreation, Leslie gets a butch haircut at a men's barber, then goes to a political banquet holding Ann's hand. Ann knows what everyone is thinking, but Leslie remains hilariously oblivious.
    Ann: This is my evening... I'm Leslie's trophy wife.
  • The basic premise of Korean drama Personal Taste, beginning unintentionally with Jeon Jin Ho and No Sang Joon's elevator scene, and continued as an excuse for Jin Ho to move in with Kae In.
  • In an episode of Powerless, Emily ends up on top of Green Fury while trying to push her out of the way of a missile. Someone snaps an out of context photo of the two women, leading to a newspaper headline speculating that Emily is Green Fury's new girlfriend.
  • In Pramface, Mike is mistaken for gay because Beth sets him up on a double date with who he initially thinks is a hot girl, but who is only there waiting for the actual date, a Camp Gay guy. Mike tries to let the guy off easy by saying that he's bisexual and that he is currently leaning straight. Leads to when people harass them in the street for being gay and he tells them off.
  • Psych: Shawn and Gus. Sometimes Shawn annoys Gus by going along with it as a joke. One example of many, this one featuring Shawn's high school crush at their class reunion:
    Abigail: Oh, wait, I get it. You guys are dating. You're together. Everything makes sense.
    Gus: We are not dating.
    Shawn: Are you kidding me? He was voted "Most Likely to Succeed". You think he's gonna date me?
  • Pure: Noah and Able are repeatedly taken for a gay couple by the ex-Mennonites they meet, who assume this is the reason they've left the colony, despite the latter saying they're really brothers.
  • In Pushing Daisies:
    Vivian: Charlotte was such a nice girl... do you like girls?
    Ned: ...Yes.
    Vivian: Didn't want to assume.

  • This happened several times on Reba.
    • In the season 2 episode titled "For Sale, Cheap," Van auctions off football lessons to for Jake's school charity, most of the signees end up being single moms due to the fact that Van included a shirtless photo of himself making suggestive poses (which Cheyenne is not pleased about). A person named Terry is the top bidder. It turns out that Terry is a man. A very effeminate man who mentions having a "partner". When Van confronts Terry about the issue, Terry becomes offended and tells Van that he's not gay, with the partner he was referring to being a business partner and that he was married to a former Miss Houston. He then tells Van that he thought Van was gay. Phew.
    • Reba herself gets stuck with this trope in Season four episode "Van's Agent". Van makes an offensive joke about gay people in front of his lesbian sports agent, Sadie Owens, and to cover it up, he tells her that Reba is "super gay". When Sadie meets the family, Reba asks the agent if they can "hang out" which Sadie thinks is Reba asking her out, especially since Reba said she was lonely because her (platonic) girlfriend moved away.
    • This happens in yet another episode called "Parenting With Puppets" with Brock and Van, during which a male masseuse at a day spa mistakenly perceives them as a gay couple because Brock says that Henry and Elizabeth have "two great dads who love them".
  • Remington Steele: Steele is searching a missing man's hotel room when the man's ex-girlfriend happens to come in. Since the boyfriend had mentioned he was dating someone new, she assumes he meant Steele, and laments, "Why is it always the good-looking ones?"
  • In the second episode of Rosemary And Thyme, the two main characters decide not to tell the local police what they know, because he thinks the two ladies are a couple.

  • At least once in Sabrina the Teenage Witch Sabrina's aunts, Zelda and Hilda, have been mistaken for a couple when they're sisters.
  • Happened once in Sanford and Son. Lamont and Rollo accidentally go into a gay bar. When Bubba sees them enter and tells Fred, he starts trying to figure out if his son is really gay. Later, Fred and Bubba try to catch the two in the same bar...and Rollo sees them go inside, making Lamont think his father's gay. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In the late-80's—early 90's, Saturday Night Live featured a character "Lyle, The Effeminate Heterosexual" who was frequently an example of this trope, much to his shock and confusion. To the point where even his own wife and mistress assumed this, despite both of them stating that he was a Sex God.
    • Alec Baldwin did a skit where he recorded his voice on an answering machine and realised his voice is seriously effeminate.
  • In an episode of Saving Hope, Dr. Joel Goran is mistaken for gay by a gay colleague who also has Asperger's. As Dr. Hamza himself explains, "Sometimes I misread social and emotional cues."
  • Schitt's Creek: Stevie thinks David is gay and is very surprised when they sleep together, after which he comes out to her as pansexual. He uses a wine metaphor to explain.
    David: I like the wine and not the label. Does that make sense?
  • Scrubs: JD and Turk. People just don't understand their Guy Love.
    • "He's mine; I'm his / There's nothing gay about it in our eyes."
      • Also that episode with the gay white patient with a black boyfriend.
    • There was also Sunny and Denise's skit in the intern play. It's probably one of television's only purely Les Yay moments with straightforward Ho Yay implications.
  • The 1993 Australian mini-series Secrets opens with some trainee spies in an exercise where they have to go into a pub and get three facts about any person there. One of the trainees ends up thumping a gay man who thinks he's coming on to him — needless to say he's regarded as too volatile for espionage.
  • An episode of Sex and the City had Charlotte dating a pastry chef with a great many "feminine" qualities, including jumping up on a chair when he saw a mouse. Charlotte and the girls think he's closeted gay. Charlotte asks him if he is and he says, "I'm a 35 year old pastry chef who lives in Soho. If I was gay, I'd be gay."
  • Sherlock:
    • This happens to Holmes and Watson a few times in the first episode alone. Additionally, they also mistake each other for gay when Holmes answers Watson's questions regarding his social attachments with "girlfriends are 'not really my area'," prompting the latter to ask about boyfriends; Holmes misinterprets Watson's awkward attempts at making conversation as a sign of romantic interest, and tries to 'let him down' politely.
    • This has now become something of a Running Gag, usually as a means to explain why John can't seem to hold onto his girlfriends. People who have mistaken Sherlock and John for gay by the end of Series 2 include: several of John's girlfriends (who promptly ditch him), the British press, Sherlock's arch-nemesis Moriarty, Sherlock's brother Mycroft, their landlady Mrs Hudson, a gay couple who owned a hotel they were staying in, Sherlock's single-episode crush Irene Adler, a therapist John attempted to flirt with, Angelo the proprietor of their favourite restaurant... It doesn't help that Sherlock, who honestly doesn't give a damn about public opinion, never bothers to deny it, leaving John looking like he's protesting too much.
    • By the third series, Mrs. Hudson's reaction to John revealing he's about to get married is to be shocked that a) it's to a woman and b) that he's in a new relationship so soon after Sherlock, causing an exasperated John (once again) to protest that he is not gay and Sherlock was not his boyfriend!
  • The Seinfeld episode "The Outing", a.k.a. the "Not That There's Anything Wrong with That" Trope Namer episode: Jerry, George, and Elaine notice that the woman in the booth next to theirs at the diner is eavesdropping on their conversation, so they mess with her by having Jerry and George pretend to be a gay couple keeping their love a secret from the world to avoid discrimination. Unfortunately, this woman is the newspaper reporter who was supposed to interview Jerry later. When she comes to Jerry's apartment, George is there, and she recognizes both of them from the diner. Jerry and George proceed to act exactly like they always do with each other, cementing the two as a couple in the reporter's mind. When they realize that she is the same woman who was eavesdropping on them at the diner, they emphatically protest that they aren't gay (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) but she doesn't buy it and prints the story anyway, which ends up getting picked up by every newspaper in the city.
    Jerry: I've been outed! I wasn't even in!
    • In the same episode, Jerry mentions that people often think he is gay just because he is thin, single, and neat. Kramer also uses this reasoning after the article is printed "outing" Jerry.
      Kramer: C'mon, Jerry, the masquerade is over! You're thin, late thirties, single...
      Jerry: So are you.
      Kramer: Yeah. [realizes what that implies and recoils in shock, then leaves in a hurry]
    • Also in the episode "The Subway": Elaine tells a lady on the subway that she is the best man at a lesbian wedding and the lady mistakes Elaine for a lesbian herself and is Squicked.
      Elaine: You don't understand! I'm not a lesbian! I hate men, but I'm not a lesbian!
  • In Sibel And Max, Max is hanging out in a café with his friend Tobias, along with a baby simulator doll he got for his daughter. A lesbian couple in the café approaches them and congratulates them on raising a kid together and asks for help getting a baby of their own.
  • On Silicon Valley, when Monica confronts Erlich after he outs her as a smoker:
    Monica: Thanks for outing me.
    Erlich: You're gay? That explains so much.
  • A Spin City episode where Mike interrupts one of the Mayor's interviews, referring to himself as "The Man Behind the Man". The interview was for a gay newspaper.
  • St. Elsewhere:
    • In "A Wing and a Prayer", a butcher thinks that Dr. Craig and Dr. Ehrlich are a couple when they both arrive at his shop independently of each other and try to buy a turkey for the St. Eligius Thanksgiving dinner.
    • In "Tears of a Clown", Dr. Craig and Dr. Westphall by a British real estate agent showing them an apartment. This leads to a Separated by a Common Language / Getting Crap Past the Radar moment when she offers Westphall a cigarette by asking "fag?"
  • An episode of the Glaswegian sitcom Still Game was built around this; the Nosy Neighbor Isa happens to catch Victor in Jack's flat very early in the morning, not to mention with his trousers down and talking about finding "arse cream" (the reason being they had opened a door between one another's flats so that they could share their cable television and could avoid Isa in the first place). After she gets over the "gossip-overload", word spreads around. Everyone is more or less tolerant over it, but eventually the entire community is up on the misinformation. Bobby the barman takes things too far by playing ABBA and having everyone in the bar dance to make Jack and Victor feel at home... This only leads the two of them to suspect that Bobby is gay.
  • In Still Standing there's the oldest son, Brian, where his sexual orientation is often questioned by his own family. He twirls a baton, reads Vogue magazine (because he claims some of the models wear see-through clothing), and even joins the cheer leading squad (but only so he can meet girls).
  • An episode of Strong Medicine has Peter thrown when his mother comes by for a visit, apologizing for cutting him off but now has "finally accepted" he's gay. Her "reasoning" is that Peter is a nurse in San Francisco who doesn't have a steady girlfriend. The rest of the staff find this hilarious as they know Peter is a constant ladies' man. Peter tries time and again to explain he's straight but finally gives up as his mother seems to be happy with "accepting" him.
  • In the The Suite Life of Zack and Cody ‘French 101’, Zack tries to get Bob’s help with his Zany Schemes, but Bob keeps mistaking his requests to participate as date invitations.
  • Supergirl:
    • When Kara tells Winslow Schott that she's Supergirl, he initially assumes that she's trying to tell him that she's gay.
    • Leslie "Livewire" Willis accuses her of having a "Sapphic vibe", although that's more just a slur than an actual mistake.
    • When Astra sees a framed photograph of Alex and Kara in Kara's apartment, she tells Alex that "I knew there was more to you and my niece." Alex has to explain that Kara is her adoptive sister. Considering that Alex was revealed to be lesbian in season 2, Astra was partially Right for the Wrong Reasons.
  • Supernatural:
    • Happens to Sam and Dean more than once. It started as a random joke, and has now become a running Fandom Nod. In one episode they pretend to be interested in buying a house, and two realtors, on separate occasions, mention that "we accept homeowners of any race, religion, color, or sexual orientation."
    • Also happens in the one with the little girl at the old hotel: when they go to check into the hotel, the owner mentions that "We get a lot of gay couples down here because of the great antiques shop."
      • Leading to this exchange later on:
        Dean: Of course, the most troubling question is "Why do these people assume we're gay?"
        Sam: Well, you are kind of butch. They probably think you're overcompensating.
    • Happens again in the fourth season premier: when Dean comes back from the dead and proves to Sam it's really him they embrace tearfully and the girl Sam was with earlier says "So you guys are..." before Dean interrupts her with "Brothers." Made funnier by the fact that the girl is later revealed to be Ruby, knows exactly who they are, and was doing it just to mess with them.
    • And of course the lovely episode when Dean asks for "two queens" at the motel and the lippy kid behind the counter mutters "I bet."
    • The fact that Supernatural exists as an in-universe franchise (as a book series penned by a prophet of God who is later revealed to actually be God) leads to many hilarious meta episodes. The in-universe fandom seems to be just as obsessed with Ho Yay as the real-life fandom.
      • In "The Real Ghostbusters", Sam and Dean do some ghost-busting at a Supernatural convention, assisted by a pair of Sam and Dean cosplayers. The convention has an entire panel on "Homoerotic Subtext in Supernatural", and at the end of the episode the cosplayers are revealed to be an actual gay couple.
      • In "The Monster at the End of This Book", Sam and Dean realize Oh Crap, There Are Fanfics of Us!:
        Dean: There's Sam Girls and Dean Girls and... what's a slash fan?
        Sam: As in Sam-slash-Dean, together.
        Dean: Like together together? They do know we're brothers right?
        Sam: Doesn't seem to matter.
        Dean: Well that's just sick!
      • Dean/Castiel gets a nod in "Fan Fiction", Sam and Dean investigate a musical adaptation of Supernatural at an all-girls school. Dean is a bit concerned when he sees the girl playing him and the girl playing Cas making out, but the writer/director assures him that it's not part of the play, those two girls are actually dating. However, Dean's relief doesn't last long as she goes on to talk about how the play "explore[s] the nature of Destiel in Act 2".
    • In the season 8 episode "Bitten", the college students the episode focuses on assume that Sam and Dean (who they think are FBI agents) have a "workplace romance" going on.

  • Taxi: When Elaine gets dumped, her friends try to help her by introducing her to a nice guy at their regular hangout bar - but it turns out he's interested in Tony, who later pleads with Alex to talk to him and set him straight.
    Tony: I just hate the thought of him tormented with sleepless nights!
    Alex: He told you that?
    Tony: No, I'm just assuming.
  • Constable Goody of The Thin Blue Line suffers badly from this trope. His speech, his mannerisms, his hobbies (gladiators) and many of the things he says give off the distinct impression that he's as gay as Christmas wrapper paper. In fact, he only has one non-stereotypically-gay characteristic: He lusts after women. There have been several misunderstandings involving Goody, such as his uncertainty about "coming out" (he neglected to mention he had been invited out for an illegal drink) and when he misunderstood something Gladstone said...
    Gladstone: You know, fellas that talk about it most do it least. I know. I talk about it all the time, and I haven't had any since the days of Harold Wilsonnote .
    Goody: I never knew you were in a gay relationship!
  • This ploy was actually a plot device and a Running Gag on Three's Company It was actually intentional on the roommates' parts, in that that is the only way that a single man and two single women would be able to share residence was that the Ropers wouldn't allow it unless the man was gay. Jack was ready to drop the lie when Mr. Furley took over, but the same issue arose, forcing him to resume the charade. It was abandoned late in the series life when Jack "came out" as straight.
  • From True Blood: While Bill is trying to buy some women's clothes (for Jessica), a shop assistant tries to pick him up and doesn't listen when he says he's not interested... not until Eric appears and wants Bill to admire his new haircut.
  • At the end of the very first Two and a Half Men episode, the brothers are mistaken for life partners while buying cereal. Then later in the series, they had to pretend to be gay for one of Charlie's clients who thinks Charlie's gay. Then when they're buying an engagement ring for Mia, Alan ends up doing most of the talking and the salesman assumes it's for Alan.

  • In The Walking Dead, Axel initially assumes Carol to be a lesbian due to her short hair. When he finds out she isn't, he immediately starts hitting on her.
  • The War at Home:
    • The series does this when Larry started a protest because the school wouldn't allow gay couples (like his best friend Kenny and Dylan) to a school dance. The TV broad-casted the words "Gay Teen Larry" despite that he's not gay.
    • Also in an earlier episode, when Larry's parents see him kissing what they think is a boy, but is actually a very Tomboyish girl.
    • Larry's dad actually thought Larry was gay as early as in the Pilot. His mom, however, did not:
      Vicky: Oh, and I told Larry he could stay over at Kenny's Friday night.
      Dave: Again? At fifteen, you don't have sleep overs. Okay? Whatever you do with a bud you can finish by ten o' clock. I'm telling you, he's gay.
      Vicky: You don't know that!
      Dave: Vicky, when you don't know if someone's gay or not, they're always gay.
  • Matt Damon's character in Will & Grace is a straight man in a gay glee club.
  • In Wings, Joe and Brian were celebrating and kissed each other on the lips. Everyone else looked at them weird.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati: Meek weirdo Les Nessman is mistaken for gay by a pro athlete. This being the 70s, he threatens suicide until the accusation is retracted. Even it being the 70s doesn't excuse Les's overreaction though, which was the point; the character was the archetype of an old-time Red-baiting conservative who would jump out the window if somebody questioned his sexuality. Johnny or Venus would have just laughed it off. What was shocking about it for the 70s was Herb Tarlek telling Les that he didn't care if Les was gay.
  • In The Worst Year of My Life, Again, Alex is mistaken for gay by Parker, the school bully, in “Valentine’s Day". Parker seems uncomfortable but is otherwise basically okay with the idea of Alex a) being gay and b) having a crush on him, and doesn’t try to embarrass Alex about it. That is, until he believes that Alex is doing a Grand Romantic Gesture to show the whole school that they are together, at which point he makes sure that everyone knows that no, they aren’t. Until then, Alex had no idea that Parker thought he was gay, and wonders why Parker's acting so weird around him.

  • In, of all shows, Zoey 101: Logan tries to bribe his way into the school's secret society and gives a gift to a senior.
    Logan: Hm, this is just to let you know... I'm interested.
    Senior: Thanks, but I'm seeing someone. [walks away with girlfriend]
    Logan: But... Wait, wait... I didn't mean...


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