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When it is stated or implied that a character is gay because of sexual assault. The rapist is almost without exception male, and the rape itself is penetrative.
Curiously, both male and female victims exhibit the same response to rape, which is to become attracted to the same sex. Men become attracted to men, and women become repulsed by men. This trope comes from many people's idea that heterosexuality is the "default" state, and that homosexuality exists only due to strong outside stimuli such as sexual trauma: addiction for men and revulsion for women.
A variant is where a secretly (or not-so-secretly) gay character is propelled violently from the closet by unwelcome sexual contact. This version is always the male/male subtrope and verges on Victim Falls For Rapist. The PG version of this reduces rape to some milder form of sexual contact, usually a kiss.
It is Not a Subversion when a rape survivor does not become gay, nor is it automatically played straight when a gay person was raped in the past.
Please note, this is a very Discredited Trope, despite what some ignorant folks may try to tell you. There is no known cause of homosexuality, forced or not. This is thankfully passing into Dead Horse Trope territory in mainstream fiction. However, fanfiction unfortunately loves this trope. Hentai stories involving some form of rape of a target whose sexuality is not in preference of the rapist's gender are often guilty of this this as well. Related to Cure Your Gays (if the character embarks on pleasant heterosexual sex and consequently has a change of heart). See also Victim Falls For Rapist.
Examples of men turned gay by rape
Anime and Manga
- Legato Bluesummers from the Trigun manga is shown to have been raped (possibly numerous times) by...the town mayor, or something like a mayor. After he gets rescued by Knives cutting all the things, he is later seen being only attracted to and in love with men (namely Knives and possibly Vash.)
- Suzu from the Peacemaker Kurogane manga. He was "adopted" by a rich old man and raped. This apparently caused him to become homosexual (as well as Ax Crazy). It's pretty obvious when he wears nail polish, effeminate clothes, lipstick, flirts with men, and acts like a Stalker with a Crush with Tetsunosuke.
- Genkaku from Deadman Wonderland, after getting repeatedly raped and beaten by a group of bullies (who were monk trainees like him) at the temple during his childhood, became gay. He seems to express disgust and contempt towards women, and is shown to have a strong attraction to Nagi. In fact, he pretty much confesses to Nagi that he "loved him."
- Sen in the yaoi manga Under Grand Hotel was clearly straight before he started enduring one too many rapes at the hands of fellow inmates while in prison. Following that he became Swordfish's lover and regularly engaged in sexual activities with him. Not to mention he didn't seem to mind when Norman was hitting on him.
- Alois in the second season of Black Butler. In the beginning of the first episode, Alois is shown with many bruises all over his body and marks around his ankles, and he is shown laying in bed naked next to an old man who likewise unclothed. Following that we see him do things like alternate between being Ax Crazy and cute and innocent at the drop of a hat, treat his female maid like complete crap, act in a flamboyant manner, wear black stockings with high-heeled boots and short-shorts, act very attached to his butler Claude and pretty much flirts with Sebastian when he first meets him by leaning into him, smelling him and proclaiming that Sebastian "smells good". In the fifth episode he cross-dresses as a maid, pretty much tries to seduce Ciel and outright tells Ciel that he "wants" him. He also confesses his love for Claude. This is only a partial example, since we don't know for certain that the rape caused his status as a Depraved Homosexual, but it's heavily implied that it lead to him becoming tremendously twisted, perhaps affecting his conceptions of sex worst of all.
- Gilbert Cockteau from Kaze to Ki no Uta, who is believed to be the inspiration for Alois Trancy. He was raped first by his father (whom he believed to be his uncle), and then by Bonnard. Auguste himself was raped by his brother, and in fact, he adopted Gilbert solely for that purpose.
- Sakura Gari: Masataka manages to just scrape this in that he was turned on when Souma hit on him in the library back in the very first chapter, indicating that he's bi rather than straight , but it still swerves close enough to this trope played straight to be a little uncomfortable. The fact that their relationship before this point was rather more pure and platonic with serious Ho Yay subtext could also be seen as another way this trope was subverted. It's still not a nice outcome for the poor boy, though.
- Souma on the other hand, has this trope played rather more straight, where he was raped and used for sex by so many people that he eventually came to just not distinguish between genders and would sleep with men or women.
- Averted with Herr Starr, the main villain of the Garth Ennis series Preacher (Comic Book): he stays straight but can't orgasm with a woman unless she penetrates him anally with... something. Of course by the time he gets to the fish-ramming stage (... don't ask, please), he has no genitalia -- but presumably does still have a prostate. Also lampshaded while he was beating his assistant, who hired the man who raped him (again, don't ask), for "Turning him into a homosexual", his other assistant chimes in with "I don't think it works that way..."
- Chick Tracts have this trope up the ass. To the point that the change in sexual preference is explained by possession due to a 'demon of defilement' because of rape that occurred during their childhood. It's not just men turning gay, but it usually is.
- Electro attributes his wanting to experiment with his sexuality with the time he spent in prison.
- In the Paul Verhoeven film, Spetters, a character preys on gay men, leading them on before beating them up and robbing them. The tables are turned when he is gang raped, accepts his homosexuality and begins a relationship with one of his rapists. Steven Spielberg recommended Verhoeven for Return of the Jedi. Then he saw this. The rest is history.
- Though not a true example of this trope, Kick-Ass deserves mention here. Early on, the main character removes his secret superhero costume after being severely beaten, and his dad and his schoolmates believe that he has been raped by muggers and that he is now gay or had been working as a male prostitute.
Live Action Television
- Arguably the victims of Woody Goodman on Veronica Mars. Of the 4 we know about, one was definitely gay, another was sexually "on the fence" (as another character put it), and one... well... it's subject to Alternate Character Interpretation, but there's definitely subtext. The fourth victim we know about (or was strongly implied) doesn't have his sexuality brought into the whole thing, but he was less important than the first 3.
- Beecher from Oz becomes bisexual after being raped in prison.
- Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series. McCaffrey herself once said in an interview that being anally penetrated will cause a man to become homosexual and mentioned that she once a knew a guy who became gay after being raped with a tent-peg.
- Possibly the reason for Jarl's sexuality in Brent Weeks' The Night Angel Trilogy. Early in the first book, as a child, Jarl is raped by Rat (or at least such is implied), and upon his return to the plot as an adult, it is revealed that he is bisexual.
- Happens in Chuck Palahniuk's novel Pygmy. This may be some kind of commentary on this phenomenon in fiction since Chuck Palahniuk himself is gay and has written several gay characters before.
- In Stephen King's Rose Madder, a minor character reminisces about having been gay ever since two of his father's friends took turns performing oral sex on him when he was a young child.
- Ellen Hopkins' novel Impulse uses this trope. After being raped by his mother's boyfriend at age 8 and later men in jail, Tony assumes himself to be gay for many years. However, he later finds himself attracted to and begins a relationship with a young woman. At any rate, it's heavily implied that Tony was not born gay, but "never really had the chance" not to be.
- Implied in The Silence of the Lambs novel. "Jame is not really gay, it's just something he picked up in prison."
- This is assumed (by the other characters) to be the case with Beethoven in Dog Sees God. Even after he enters a relationship with CB it's unclear.
- In the story series Lykan Invasion,the alien werewolf antagonists convert all humanity while doing exactly this.
- In kpts4tv, mac_sly56, and Arkonid's Death Note Abridged Series this happens to Light after being molested by Ryuk. Though it's implied he was already gay; just in the closet.
- There's a Creepypasta where the main character becomes gay after his girlfriend turned out to be some kind of Succubus.
Examples of raped women turning lesbian:
Anime and Manga
- In After School Nightmare, Kureha falls in love with protagonist Mashiro for this reason: she was raped when she was in kindergarten, and overheard her father saying some very brutal things to her mother about it, which lead her to severely distrust and hate men. So when she finds out that Mashiro is pretty much a flat-chested girl that looks like a guy, she falls in love with him/her.
- In Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu both Natsuki and Fuyuka have an aversion to men due to traumatic past experiences, although it's never claimed that this is the cause of their lesbianism.
- An unusual case occurs in Blue Drop, where women are trained from youth to be lesbian sex slaves for the Arume. This is an example of women being raped by women with the intention of turning them gay.
- One might argue this is what happened to Katchoo in Strangers in Paradise, since she was raped by her stepfather.
- Strangely done in Alan Moore's Lost Girls, where it's implied that Alice's molestation by her father's friend resulted in her becoming either a lesbian because it made he uneasy around men, a nymphomaniac, or both. She then spent her teen years in an all-girl's school, where the students all had (consensual) sex with one another. And possibly averted, because Alice at the end of the series never stops loving women, she just decides to be open to men as well.
- Happens in the porn comic Housewives At Play -- an especially odd example since the rapists in the comic are generally female as well.
- At least one Firefly fic does this, though the character wasn't raped, just threatened with rape (For specifics, the paring was River/Kaylee, where Kaylee was really shaken up by Early's threats in Objects In Space).
- The Final Fantasy X fic Scratching the Surface has Rikku fall in love with Lulu after revealing her brother raped her when she was younger.
- This is overall much, much too common in the yuri fandom, half the time turning perfectly nice male love interests into violent sexual predators to justify the heroines breaking up with them and running to their best friends (or arch-enemies).
- There's a growing trend in the Fire Emblem: Three Houses fandom of subjecting Ingrid (one of two female characters who have no shared endings with women) to the lesbian version of "raped male character turns gay"; Dorothea, Mercedes, or random female bandits will force themselves on her to "cure" her of being heterosexual. Some kinkmeme prompts have Edelgard ordering for Ingrid to be raped by other women either as punishment for refusing Dorothea's advances or to make her fall for Dorothea.
- Discussed in But I'm a Cheerleader when Jan says that she's actually straight and that she was just sent to the camp because she's butch, but the counselors told her that she has to be lesbian because she was molested as a child.
- In the Apprentice Adept series by Piers Anthony, a female Adept is lesbian because of rape in her childhood. Note that this was Anthony trying to be nice about lesbians, after people misinterpreted the man-hating Red Adept as lesbian earlier and wrote him angry letters. He was trying, but still missed the mark.
- Pussy Galore in the novel Goldfinger before James Bond cures her. In an interview, when discussing inspirations for playing her character, the actress who played Pussy Galore said something along the lines of "I knew she was a lesbian, so I tried to play somebody who had been abused as a child."
- A rather bizarre version occurred in the Christopher Moore novel Fluke or I Know Why The Winged Whale Sings. A pair of female marine biologists are at sea researching the mating patterns of humpback whales, when their tiny boat is caught between a female humpback and a pair of males. After being savagely beaten by ten foot long penises and covered in gallons of whale semen, they promptly decide to become lesbians and start dating each other. Because you always date the first lesbian you see. Slightly excusable in that the story is a very dark comedy and not meant to be taken seriously.
- The novel Dead Sleep: a murdered woman's close friend was raped as a child or young teen, and became a lesbian later on.
- In the novel Hannibal, Margot Verger becomes a lesbian after her horrible childhood of being raped by her brother, Mason.
- Averted in The Sword of Truth where Richard assumes one of the Mord-Sith became a lesbian after the "rape" section of her Training From Hell, to be informed that no, she was before this ordeal. One of the vanishingly rare instances of Richard actually being wrong about something (note it happened in the first third of the series), as well as him wanting to keep her as a friend even though he wasn't sure about the morality of it. Of course, if Terry Goodkind believed this trope there wouldn't be any straight women left in his novels.
- Discussed in How Not to Write A Novel. One small segment has you fill in the blank after each question with one of four responses, then scores your response based on how much of a cliché it was - In her childhood, the lesbian: "was sexually abused" is ranked as most cliché, with the others, in decreasing order, being "liked to play with trucks, not dolls," "had a crush on her pretty aunt" and "made porcupines cry with the sheer beauty of her knitting."
- In The Hotel New Hampshire, Franny decides to try out women after being raped. But she later decides it isn't for her. The author is too good to try to claim a Rape and Switch, he just notes she is quite confused about her emotional state.
- Holly, from Rubyfruit Jungle, was raped by her female roommate, which helped her realize that was a lesbian.
- Steel Beach approaches this in a more "realistic" fashion. The character who was raped is bisexual, and in fact is attracted to the male main character, but can't quite bring herself to have sex with him until he becomes a woman.
- A debatable example in one of Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe characters. Lalasa has had a seriously shitty life; she's been raped, attempted-raped, or otherwise abused by a variety of men including her own brother. Sure enough, Word of God has it that she's a lesbian, and while the sexual abuse she's suffered isn't said to have caused it per se it does leave the interpretation open.
- Mistle from Times of Contempt and Baptism of Fire is revealed to have been gang-raped and left for dead by the soldiers of an invading army. She survived and found her will to fight again, but only had relationships with women thereafter. In TOC, she also gives Ciri the Victim Falls For Rapist treatment, making her if not lesbian, then at least bisexual.
- Maybe Celie from The Color Purple. She says she is rather afraid of men when contemplating her attraction to women.
Live Action Television
- Jenny in The L Word was non-specifically sexually assaulted as a child and her mother wonders if that caused her lesbianism. Jenny doesn't answer, but repressed memories emerging may be related to the switch.
- Tara from True Blood is dating a woman as of the fourth season. While it's explicitly stated that she's bi, there are still Unfortunate Implications that she only gave women a try because she was raped by a male vampire in season 3.
- The Vagina Monologues has rather controversial piece where a character is raped by men multiple times as a child...but becomes a lesbian because she is "healed" when seduced (at age 13, making it statutory rape) by another woman. This piece is censored to remove lines like her declaring the experience to be "good rape" and raising her age from 13 to 16, mostly because in the view of the monologues, this experience is a good thing. Some performances cut this monologue entirely because for many people, it makes the rest of the play almost unwatchable.
- Slave Maker allows you to "teach" girls to enjoy being lesbians after you've learned the appropriate skill. It only works because the game doesn't even pretend to be realistic with its psychology and is more about combining time management sims with porn.
- In the story series Lykan Invasion, the alien werewolf antagonists convert all humanity while doing this.
- Relatively justified in Ilivais X, because for Iriana, straight sex would feel the same as getting repeatedly electrocuted for anyone else (due to inverting reception of pain and pleasure), which she found out the hard way. Several times. Before the age of 15. It makes sense that for her to enjoy any kind of intimacy at all, it would have be with a girl simply because the painful aspect isn't even possible.
- Rocky from Too Much Information at least had the false memory of her father raping her put into her head by suggestion, and likely was raped by one or more of his friends. As a result, as becomes clear when she sleepwalks into a male roommate's bed, her bisexuality is repressed by a complex over the idea of sex with men, until she ultimately starts a relationship with a male-identified full-time transvestite (who, interestingly, had previously identified as gay, with no such "excuse") who lets her, uniquely, refer to him with female pronouns.
Examples of raped women turning straight:
- The already-creepy Pokegirls shared universe (in which anthropomorphic Pokemon are 'tamed' using generally-nonconsensual sex) contains the Level Four Training Cycle option for Pokeballs, designed to 'correct' a captive Pokegirl of lesbian urges through protracted electronic rape.