Fan Yay

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Even The Middle Ages were gay for David and Jonathan.

Nobody knows quite why, but sometimes a work resonates really strongly with the LGBT community. Maybe it was intentional Fan Service. Maybe it was merely unintentional Fetish Fuel. Or maybe just relatable Character Development of an Audience Surrogate (whether intentional or not). But for some reason, a sizable LGBT fanbase develops, out of proportion to their population in the world at large. This is Fan Yay.

When Fan Yay was unintentional:

  • It can be entirely accidental.
  • It can be "acceptable" Homoerotic Subtext by creators who are otherwise straight, as with Samurai Jack. When something has its gay appeal, but has more than enough mainstream appeal for the gay appeal to blend in with the crowd.
  • Or even something that started unintentionally but was later made official to please the acknowledged fans, as famously happened with Xena: Warrior Princess.

Not all Fan Yay is unintentional; quite a bit revolves around canon gay or bi characters or relationships.

Fan Yay tends to manifest itself not just in Fan Art and Fan Fiction (not to mention the ubiquitous Rule 34), but occasionally also in Broken Base, Unpleasable Fanbase or Internet Backdraft. Ho Yay can be considered a subtrope of Fan Yay when the fans are gay, but Yaoi Fangirls and Yuri Fans do that too. But whichever way you put it, the fans are here, and the fans are queer.

When editing examples, keep in mind that Fan Yay doesn't have to be unintentional. Also, Ho Yay by gay fans should go in that article, unless there's more that the gay fanbase especially likes besides just the Ho Yay.

The following works have developed a definite Fan Yay:


  • Tony the Tiger, the mascot of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes. The size of his gay male fanbase is grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat!

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • Associated Student Bodies. Back in the 1990s, this was the first significantly successful gay Furry Comic. So much so, that later Furry Comics are a significant improvement if they can avert predictable comparisons to being "ASB with X". Though groundbreaking at the time, it has not aged well compared to newer even more successful gay Furry Comics, and new fanart seldom appears anymore. Nevertheless, considering how influential it has been, reading ASB is still something of a gay furry comics reading rite of passage.
  • Asterix has plenty of scenes where Asterix and Obelix embrace, while several of the male characters such as Fulliautomatix are bare-chested and heavily muscular. The athletes in Asterix at the Olympic Games are practically Spartan Adonises in their depiction.
  • Blacksad. Holy shit.
  • Circles.
  • Heathen City Maranatha.
  • I.s.o..
  • X-Men, to the point where the characters Northstar and Colossus were written as gay, and the character Beast faked being gay.
    • Northstar was conceived as being gay from the start, it just took them forever to openly proclaim it (don't forget, it was illegal to do so for most of that time). Colossus' same-sex leanings are unique to the Ultimate X-Men continuity.
    • Most male X-Men are sufficiently buff to have at least some Bara Genre-style fanart of them. While Wolverine is far and away the most popular subject of this, as mentioned below,Cable, Colossus, Beast and Cyclops get quite a bit as well, and even the more lithely-built ones like Gambit and Iceman get their share of bara-styled fanworks.
  • Westerners like to make gay fan works of Wolverine, since he's a tough, stocky, muscular, hairy anti-hero with an indestructible body.
  • Young Avengers, thanks to canon couple Billy and Teddy.
    • Though they aren't the only ones. After all, who could resist Tommy in that skin tight suit of his? Or Patriot.
  • Deadpool is starting to gain one of these.
  • Spider-Man has a large gay fandom, especially when paired with Venom.


Jude Law [Watson]: I knew enough about Sherlock Holmes to know that there was a lot of unchartered material. I knew [Downey's casting] was going to be something exciting, and therefore the project was going to be something exciting. And as soon as I met him, we got on very well - which is a good sign - and we both agreed that we wanted to really make this a piece about the relationship between Watson and Holmes.
Robert Downey, Jr. [Holmes]: I think the word bromance is so passe. We are two men who happen to be roommates who wrestle a lot and share a bed.

Literature and Mythology

  • The Vampire Chronicles series, before Anne Rice decides to become a "good Catholic girl." Lestat, Louis, Armand, & Marius were toted for their heavy bromances.
  • Most of Classical mythology - especially Hellenic mythology - falls under this. Homosexual relations were widely accepted and practiced in Ancient Greece, and tolerated in Rome. As a result, vast swathes of Ancient Greek mythological figures have serious Ho Yay going on, and on top of that, many have explicit romantic relationships with the same-sex. Not to mention most of the Gods being Bi the Way. Things were toned down in Roman times (the original Narcissus myth had him spurning a male suitor) but a lot still lingered on. Greek mythology has subsequently inspired a lot of homoerotic art, such as this painting of Apollo cradling Hyacinth.
  • The Bible, namely the story of David and Jonathan. Though David had no fewer than eight wives, he was said to have loved Jonathan with a passion above all other people. The Ho Yay of this relationship has been acknowledged and celebrated in art at least since the Middle Ages (and likely earlier as well).
  • Older Than Dirt: The Epic of Gilgamesh and its lasting appeal. Gilgamesh and Enkidu and all their abundant naked Ho Yay. It seems naked gay guys have been falling in love and "wrestling" for many millions of years, regardless of their species. And for as long as beings have been socially acknowledging, there have been those that have found it heartwarming and emotionally uplifting.
  • Nearly any mythological hero or Worthy Opponent in a world of ambiguous or blatantly homoerotic sexuality. Heracles, the Minotaur, Zephyrus and Hyacinth, Cú Chulainn, Beowulf...


  • ACDC, due to what the term means in the gay community, had a large gay following, which the band embraced.
  • The White Stripes cover of "Jolene". Jack White didn't change the gender of the song (originally sung by Dolly Parton, a woman), so the song becomes about a relationship between a gay man and his bisexual lover in which the latter is going to leave him for a woman (there is of course, twice as much risk of someone leaving another in a bisexual relationship). Unsurprisingly this song earned them a huge amount of controversy, but won them a great deal of gay fans in the process.
    • Curiously, that was not the first time "Jolene" were presented in a male voice, with the lyrics performed intact. In early 80's, the band The Sisters of Mercy used to present "Jolene" in the shows, sung in the deep baritone voice of Andrew Eldritch. From this time, also, is another Sisters of Mercy cover, also in the same Eldritch's voice: Abba's "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" (sporting the verse "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! A man after midnight!" also without any kind of gender change).
  • Brazilian singer Marina Lima cover of the song "Mesmo que Seja Eu", originally composed and sung by a man, Erasmo Carlos. The verses "Você precisa de um homem pra chamar de seu/Mesmo que esse homem seja eu" (in english: "You need a man to cal yours/Even if this man just be me") sung on a female voice immediatly drawed attention of the Brazilian lesbian community. Is recognized nowdays as a sort of hymn of the brazilian lesbians living in prisional environments (due to the context of the lyrics as a whole: about loneliness, shattered dreams and bad companies).
  • Lady Gaga is well known as being openly bisexual and a gay icon.
  • Swedish wartime diva Zarah Leander was embraced by gay men in Germany, thanks to songs like “Kann die Liebe sünde sein,” with definite subtext coded in the lyrics from her gay male songwriters.

Live-Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Particularly revolving around Willow and Tara's canon relationship, but the fans also leap upon the (occasionally intentional) Ho Yay between other characters.
  • Degrassi the Next Generation. Marco's storyline is blatant Fan Yay bait.
  • Doctor Who and Torchwood (the latter being rather deliberate.)
    • And in New Who, the former was hardly accidental.
      • Doctor Who had attracted a large LGBT fanbase during the original series as well, as RTD had repeatedly referenced on his previous show Queer as Folk ("Oh my God, you've got Genesis of the Daleks!").
  • Blakes Seven. All the way. It was one of the first major slash fandoms and from the late Nineties onwards, new fans have mostly trickled in because of the slash. The main fan-run Blakes Seven convention, Redemption, regularly features slash panels. This makes the somewhat homophobic, anti-slash copyright owners rather uneasy.
  • Glee, with its gay creator, several gay actors, and handling of gay story lines, has quite the gay fanbase.
    • Brittany and Santana's relationship went from background LesYay to throwaway joke to full story arc due in no small part to the Fan Yay Brittana attracted.
  • House MD does this with House and Wilson, and sometimes to a lesser degree with House and his male team members. This probably started off accidental, but by the fourth season it was obvious the writers were running with it.
    • In the 6th season they raised the tease to high art, complete with an episode where Wilson "proposes" to House as part of a ploy to keep him from sleeping with their new neighbor.
  • The Dan Schneider stable of shows include, iCarly, Victorious and Drake and Josh all managed to pick up an ongoing LGBT fanbase.
    • iCarly because of Sam's ambiguously lesbian, probably bisexual, tendencies, the Les Yay between Carly and Sam, and that pretty much any plot involving Carly, Sam and a third female, turns into a Love Triangle, or at least looks like UST, such as the Missy/Sam Foe Yay example, and the Carly/Shelby one.
      • Not to mention the guest star who kissed another girl on the lips.
    • Victorious, again, the Les Yay is piled on from the start, with the Foe Yay style UST relationship between Jade and Tori, and Cat's crush apparent on Jade.
    • Drake and Josh picked up the slash fans, with the damn near canon relationship between the titular step-brothers.
  • Back when Alex Cabot was still on the show (pick a season, any season. She's the ADA for five out of eleven of them, even after she died.), Law and Order Special Victims Unit had a reputation for having a large lesbian fanbase, due to the blatant Les Yay between Alex and Olivia, which Executive Producer Neal Baer not only acknowledged, but deliberately strung along.
    • Stephanie March (Alex) has recently said that she thinks Alex/Olivia is entirely possible - they may even have been together, a la the Grissoms, for a long while. Which is spectacular.
  • Neighbours, specifically with regard to Libby and Steph, who have a substantial lesbian following.
  • Power Rangers SPD, specifically Doggie Cruger, who became an instant Bara Genre icon.
    • His counterpart from SPD's source material, Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, is submissive (and VERY muscular) in almost every erotic pic of him (even if it's straight!)
  • Queer as Folk.
  • Rizzoli and Isles has this in spades. Which is unsurprising, considering it's a pair of Heterosexual Life Partners played by Abbie Carmichael and Kate Todd.
  • Skins positively exploded with this during Naomi and Emily's relationship - some little thing on some British show that nobody cared about suddenly became a global phenomenon which is having a book written about it's sociocultural impact.
    • As of the third generation, there's also Franky and Mini's relationship.
  • Star Trek, believe it or not. Probably more to do with Gene Roddenberry and the blatant fanservice than Slash Fic, honestly.
    • Although Star Trek is notable for Ho Yay to the point of inspiring the first Slash Fic, the fact that there are no canonically gay or bi characters in the series has led to complaints.
    • Jadzia Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine could be construed as averting this. However, the nature of the Trill as a joined species leaves this open to interpretation. In the episode "Rejoined" Jadzia experiences a "bisexual" attraction to another female Trill whose symbiont had formerly resided in the wife of one of the Dax symbiont's previous male hosts. Because of the context, this could be taken as an instance of It's Okay If It's You. Jadzia was really part of an Official Couple with Worf.
  • Supernatural. This even happens in-series when a prophet turns his visions of the Winchesters' lives into a series of books. Our heroes are horrified to discover people are writing Slash Fic of them, and a later episode involves them going to an actual Supernatural convention and meeting a gay couple who cosplay as them. This is despite the fact that they are brothers, and each sleeps with quite a few women.
  • True Blood. The creator is gay, so there is plenty of homoerotic fanservice.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess. Xena and Gabrielle weren't lovers at first, but were made lovers by the end of the series.
    • Not just lovers, but soulmates, destined to hook up in every single lifetime, and every incarnation, forever. In fact, their future selves were married. And even clones made from the DNA of their Ancient Greek incarnations hooked up the very day that they became sentient. Even their own mysteriously similar-looking ancestors hook up. And for some reason, Joxer is always with them.
  • Merlin, with its central relationship being that of Arthur and Merlin (both played by young men in this version), and the fact that the actors Colin Morgan and Bradley James are Heterosexual Life Partners. However, there has been some Creator Backlash to this, with one of the head writers claiming that: "we don't pander to that lot."
    • And yet, in the very first episode they have the Dragon say "A half cannot truly hate that which makes it whole." Which is about as unsubtle as you can get on the subject of their relationship.
    • Not to mention, co-stars Katie McGrath and Angel Coulby both appear to ship both Arthur/Merlin and Morgana/Gwen, at least going by the DVD commentary.
  • Pretty Little Liars, a show aimed at teenagers, is ridiculously popular among adult lesbian and bisexual women thanks to lesbian main character Emily Fields.
  • The Secret Circle has a decent lesbian following. Though none of the girls are known to be gay, the close friendships between Cassie and Diana, and Faye and Melissa definitely fuel things. Plus there's also the Foe Yay between Faye with both Cassie and Diana. Les Yay ship teasing is not only played up in the show ("I would do anything for my best friend"), but also by the cast & creator on Twitter ("Fayana was here").

Video Games


Western Animation

Real Life