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Norm: "I can't go on with this any longer. I wanted to be your decorator, so I pretended to be who I thought you wanted me to be. but it's time I came out of the closet. I'm straight."

Robert: "Impossible."

Norm: "Ever since I was a little boy I've known that I prefer girls. But the point is I think you should judge people for what they do, not for who they do."
Cheers, "Norm, Is That You?"

A straight character is believed by everyone within a group to be gay. Eventually, that straight character "comes out", and admits to the group that they are, in fact, straight. Nearly always Played for Laughs, this is a very common inversion of the typical Coming Out Story, where a closeted gay man or lesbian finally admits to their heterosexual friends and family that they are homosexual.

Where a Coming Out Story is frequently a serious event within a character's life, with friends and family sometimes being initially unaccepting of the revelation, a Coming Straight Story almost always involves the gay friends rapidly coming to accept the fact that their friend is straight. Typically involves a straight male character in a profession in which homosexuality is the stereotypical expectation.

Often also serves the purpose of a Gay Aesop about being open-minded and accepting of those with a different sexual orientation, although this may be undermined by the trope being Played for Laughs. Also serves as an Aesop that Honesty Is the Best Policy.

Often a result of Mistaken for Gay remaining uncorrected, or due to a character intentionally being Camp Straight. Occasionally applied directly upon the character being Mistaken for Gay, although this is usually less effective. Can only arise in the absence of a character with Gaydar. Sometimes Invoked by a character in order to get a laugh from other characters. Contrast with a successful case of Cure Your Gays, where a character that was gay is turned straight and thus "comes straight" in a different sense.


Examples:

Comic Books

  • Kick-Ass: in the original comic his would-be girlfriend is not pleased that he had been lying to her. In his defense, he didn't originate the lie; when he was found naked and beaten up it was rumored that he was prostituting himself for rough sex. He just rolled with it because it was a way to hang out with her.

Film

  • A girl who has been sent to "True Directions" camp in But I'm a Cheerleader "comes out" as straight after a while, complaining that her parents just assumed she was a lesbian because she's Tomboyish.
  • In Three To Tango, Matthew Perry's character is initially Mistaken for Gay, then keeps up the façade for a number of selfish reasons until the film's climax, where the trope comes into play.
  • In the movie Where the Heart Is [1], Crispin Glover's characters comes out as straight after pretending to be gay because he thought it would be the only way people would take him seriously as a fashion designer.

Fan Fics

Live Action TV

  • In Friends, Phoebe's husband, whom she married so that he could get a green card, was always considered to be gay, in part due to his profession (he skated in the ice-capades). When she goes to meet up with him to reminisce, he admits to her that he is, in fact, straight, and that he wants a divorce, so that he can marry his new girlfriend.
  • Matt Damon appears in Will and Grace as a candidate for the lead position in a gay choir, going up against Jack for the part. It is soon revealed that his character is, in fact, straight, which gets a gasp of shock when he admits it in front of the choir. They quickly accept him anyway, to the frustration of Jack.
  • Unhappily Ever After: In the High School Graduation Episode Barry comes out as straight - he was just pretending to be gay in order to hang out with hot chicks. Later retconned when he shows up during The College Years with the same personality he had when he was "pretending" to be gay.
  • Cheers: Norm pretends to be gay in order to secure an account in his new home decorating business, then confesses to the couple that he's straight. They fire him - not because he lied, but because they simply must have a gay decorator. It's tres gauche to use a straight decorator.
  • In the sitcom Rodney, Rodney gets booked to do a stand up performance at a gay bar and his best friend pretends to be Rodney's boyfriend so guys won't hit on him. Eventually, they come out as straight.
  • In an episode of Two and A Half Men, while Charlie is pretending to be gay for the sake of a gay client, he meets a hot chick, so he invites her out shopping. On the shopping trip, he tries to convince her that she's flipped him, but when that doesn't work, he comes out as straight. Unfortunately, his mother is coincidentally in the same store, overhears, and decides to support his original story, for fun.
  • In Frasier, there was an episode where Frasier was Mistaken for Gay by a well-to-do gay Seattle socialite played by Patrick Stewart. He used the misunderstanding to gain access to social circles but eventually chose to "come straight" when his only alternative was to start dating Stewart's character.
    • They did a very similar plot line with far more well-meaning station manager played by Eric Lutes in season 2. Frasier got to discussing wine, opera and Men's fashion and decided to invite him over for dinner as a date for Daphne. Of course, that time, Frasier didn't realize until much later, and didn't try to actively deceive his boss in any way.
  • Caroline in The City: Richard is invited to have an art opening at a gallery that is exclusively for gay artists, so he has to pretend to be gay. He eventually comes clean to the gallery owner, who is sympathetic but makes him take his stuff down.
  • The Nanny episode "A Fine Friendship" has Fran getting close to the male nanny of Gracie's friend. Throughout the episode, Fran is firmly convinced that he's gay, until they share a passionate kiss, making Fran say "You mean you're not gay?!".
  • On Queer as Folk, everyone assumes Hunter is gay because he used to be a prostitute and showed an interest in Brian when they first met, so when he asks Michael for extra money because he has a date, Michael and Ben are very excited that he finally has a boyfriend. Imagine their shock when he reluctantly points out that while he did say he had a friend, he never said anything about it being a boy.
  • In an episode of Its All Relative, the gay couple's very flamboyant event planner comes out as straight.

Web Original

  • In the Mockumentary Dorm Life, a first-season episode centers on everyone discovering Andy is gay, and showering him with love and acceptance. In the second season, when they all view a screening of the first season, Andy is shocked to discover that's what they thought, and reveals that he really is straight. The rest of the characters revile him for it for the rest of the season.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series, Pegasus's entire character seems to revolve around his campness. Everyone is shocked to discover he's straight.

Western Animation

  • In one episode of King of the Hill, Bill pretends to be gay so he can work as a hair stylist, but eventually comes out as straight. It is not well received.
  • In The Simpsons episode Flaming Moe[2], Moe opens a gay bar and eventually runs for political power with support of the gays who think he is gay. When challenged by Smithers, who knows Moe to be straight, to kiss him, Moe decides instead to come straight, to the disappointment of the gathered homosexual support base.

Real Life

Notes

  1. not the natalie portman one
  2. not to be confused with the Simpsons episode Flaming Moe's
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