Faux Yay

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Hey, a free drink is a free drink, baby."

Sam Axe on infiltrating a gay bar.

Ho Yay is a same-gender relationship that seems to be more than 'just good friends'. Foe Yay is when two people seem to be more than just mortal enemies. Faux Yay is when a character pretends to be homosexual for some reason, or acts in a homoerotic or romantic way with someone else of the same sex as themselves.

One of the most common flavors is when two girls start kissing and acting a little too friendly just for the sake of gratuitous titillation, which in real life is known as "club lesbianism" due to party girls often doing this at the Coolest Club Ever.

This does not count if the homoeroticism is unintentional or the result of a misunderstanding; only if it is a contrived 'performance' for some reason. Almost always leads to fleets of Shipping.

In Music, this is referred to as "Stage Gay", while in the sex trade (including pornography) it is known as being "gay for pay". Not to be confused with No Yay. Can overlap with Sorry, I'm Gay, but not necessarily; Sorry, I'm Gay refers specifically to situations wherein the excuse is used and rarely kept up as a facade. A specific subtrope of this is Gay Bravado, wherein characters (usually male) make loaded, homoerotic comments and suggestions to one another with the intention of appearing more macho and secure in their completely heterosexual orientation.

Examples of Faux Yay include:

Anime and Manga

  • Ayame Sohma of Fruits Basket is practically the incarnation of this trope: he wears feminine clothes, speaks in a stereotypically "gay" manner, crawls into bed to cuddle with an unwilling Kyo, and constantly exchanges sexually-charged banter with Shigure that implies more than cousinly affection. Despite this, he's actually quite straight. He has a girlfriend and business partner he adores (Mine Kuramae, the local seamstress and Meganekko), and his constant flirting with Shigure turns out to just be a mutual gag they use to bug people (and in Ayame's case, perhaps to discourage the family head from having sex with him).
  • Twins Hikaru and Kaoru from Ouran High School Host Club intentionally exaggerate their "brotherly affection" to cater to their Twincest-loving Yaoi Fangirl clientele. Played for Drama later on, when the reason supplied for their "unnatural" closeness is an inability to open up to other people.
  • Rumbling Hearts - Takayuki, in Episode 1.
  • Itsuki of Haruhi Suzumiya says he's this in the novels. Whether you believe him is a matter of preference, so far.
    • Supported by alternate reality Koizumi being attracted to Haruhi (which may still apply in the 'real' world) and hanging out with her over it. Buuut shot down a little in that he only gets... flirty... with Kyon when she's not around anyway. Plus the whole 'heart's desire' thing in Snow Mountain Syndrome.
  • Shimazaki in Please Twins! falls somewhere between this trope and Bi the Way.
  • Peacemaker Kurogane: Saitou, while he may or may not actually be interested in men (who knows with him?), is willing enough to pretend to be for information.
  • In Seto no Hanayome, the class president pretends to be a lesbian who's in love with San after she botches a Love Confession to Nagasumi. When you confess to someone, you really should make sure you're talking to the right person.
    • Nagasumi pretends to be gay for Masa, to avoid letting him regain his lost memories.
  • Usui from Kaichou wa Maid-sama has this with Yukimura. He frequently playfully harasses the poor boy with innuendos and such. And that was after stealing his first kiss.
  • In Nichijou, Mai convinces Yukko that she's starting to develop feelings for her for all of two minutes before revealing that it was just to see if she could get a funny response.

Comic Books

  • Justice League of America once had a subplot where the second Ice did this towards Fire, as well as reforming herself to look like the original Ice. It turned out that Ice was purposefully trying to make Fire uncomfortable so that Fire would realize that she wasn't the same person as the first Ice, a now deceased heroine who had been Fire's best friend.
  • In X-Force, newcomers Phat and Vivisector pretended to be lovers because they felt their teammates were getting a disproportionate amount of media attention. This all gets turned on its head when they conclude that they really are gay... but not actually attracted to one another. They stay friends, though.

Fan Works

  • The eponymous character from Uzumaki Harry starts doing this towards Snape in Chapter 13, mainly to mess with everybody's heads.


  • The French film The Closet features the main character trying to save his job by pretending to be gay and suing for discrimination, involving photoshopping his head onto images of homosexual men being intimate.
    • The entire scheme is concocted by his neighbor a man who was fired from the same company years earlier for actually being gay.
  • The main character in Folle d'elle, aka, What I Did For Love pretends to be homosexual so he can share an apartment with a woman he's interested in.
  • Mel Gibson's character in What Women Want tries to save a girl's feelings by telling her that he is gay, and that this is why he never called her back.
  • The entire plot behind I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
  • American Beauty: Ricky tells his father that he is a male prostitute who services other men to get him riled, after discovering that his father would rather him dead than homosexual.
  • In the movie edition of Clue (a.k.a. Cluedo), one of the characters does this. Possibly...
  • 2004 film Strange Bedfellows.
  • Three to Tango.
  • In the Bollywood movie Dostana, Sameer and Kunal pretend to be a gay couple in order to score an apartment. They both fall for the same girl but neither gets her. The end leaves a little ambiguity as to how much of their act is fakery.
  • In American Pie 2, two girls act physically intimately in order to 'have fun' with the boys by making them do the same, despite not actually being lesbians. They're (apparently) bisexual instead.
  • The girls in Coyote Ugly play-act physical intimacy as a part of their bar-dancing. Partly as a result of this, when Violet thanks Cammi for a good bar-tending tip by half-jokingly professing "I think I just fell in love with you.", Cammi breezily replies, "Oh, Violet, I'm not a lesbian. I played in the Minors, but never went Pro."
  • Boat Trip has this as its basic plot.
  • Partner(s) features a heterosexual man who moves in with his gay friend and is mistaken for gay. He goes along with it for a chance at a a big name case with a man who claims gay discrimination. it turns out to be a double Faux Yay as the man who claimed discrimination was seen kissing a woman in the final scenes of the movie
  • In Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Holmes pretends that he and Watson are a gay couple in order to fend off a Russian ballerina (and, apparently, believer in eugenics) who wanted him to father her child. Watson, meanwhile, tries to flirt with the ballet dancers, only to discover that word has spread.
  • In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, the actually gay "Gay" Perry pulls the straight Harry into a passionate kiss to prevent the nearby policemen from realizing that they're hiding a body in a car trunk. Harry is not amused.
  • In Kick-Ass, after it becomes rumored that he's gay, Dave decides to go with it so that his crush will be comfortable around him.
  • In Freshman Orientation, (basically the same thing as in Kick-Ass), a freshman in college pretends to be gay in order to score the girl of his dreams.
  • In Plan B, the very straight Bruno pretends to be interested in his ex Laura's reportedly bisexual boyfriend Pablo as part of a convoluted scheme to win her back. Then it becomes not so faux after all when Bruno realizes that he's become genuinely smitten with Pablo.


  • Confessions Of A Married Call-Girl discussed the idea of heterosexual sex workers engaging in homosexual actions to please the clients.
  • Candy Girl, the memoir of a woman who worked as a stripper for a year, claims that strip clubs are usually quite cold to encourage the girls to stand close together and encourage the appearance of lesbianism.
  • The Day of the Jackal - the eponymous character pretends to be gay to sneak past French security.
    • In the remake The Jackal, the eponymous character needs a safehouse so he picks up a hapless gay guy in a bar. The gay guy later ends up dead.
  • The Dresden Files, at one point Harry tries to get inside Thomas's apartment while Thomas is out but gets caught by security. To keep suspicion off him, Harry pretends to be a heartbroken ex-lover who is mad that Thomas isn't taking responsibility for their baby (a dog). It works because Thomas's cover among humans is a Camp Gay hairstylist.
    • Also, Thomas plays it up when he overhears Butters accidentally think that Harry is gay. This irritates the crap out of Harry.
  • In the thriller One Of Us, an actor has used this to achieve notoriety, with everyone arguing over whether he has the right to stay in the closet. Upon discovering proof that he visits female prostitutes, the hero informs him, "Your lack of a secret is safe with me."

Live-Action TV

  • Friends toys with this trope on occasion. In season two, Joey and Chandler pretend to be a homosexual couple in order to retrieve Ross' baby from the transit authority. Later, Rachel and Monica "kiss for one minute" to win their apartment back from the boys.
  • Dr. Cox and Ben play Gay Chicken in Scrubs.

If I'm gay, how come I work out so much?

      • The Todd seems to actively pursue anything human and in the right age limit (and sometimes, not even that). In the same episode that he fakes being gay, he then goes walking down the hallway hitting on everyone, from the good looking girls to the good looking dudes to the uglies of both genders.

Janitor: What are you?
The Todd: I'm The Todd.

    • While not done intentionally, Turk and JD often act in a very intimate way with each other, parodied in the Musical Episode with the song, Guy Love. This is somewhat ironic as both characters have been shown to be a tiny bit homophobic (an entire episode is devoted to Turk's homophobia in season 3).
  • In one episode of Not Going Out, Lucy thinks she's offended a gay friend, so she gets her flatmate to pretend to be gay so she can show how tolerant she is:

Lucy: Oh come on! I'd do the same for you! I mean, I can't think of any situation in which me pretending to be lesbian would help you at all...
(Lee sinks into thought)
Lee: No, me neither.

  • The Australian proto-reality show House From Hell offered a monetary incentive to the first housemates to have sex in the house; in response, two of the female contestants invoked this trope, faking a sexual experience to get the cash.
  • An early Mash episode involves Hawkeye trying to get some leave in Tokyo by telling a visiting psychiatrist that he has a homosexual crush on Major Burns.
    • Another early episode has Hawkeye telling a visiting soldier (played by Leslie Nielsen) that Frank has a crush on him.
  • On Three's Company, Jack pretends to be gay to be allowed to share an apartment with two female roommates.
  • On Cheers, Norm had a side job as an interior decorator and pretended to be gay in order to keep a client.
  • The Season 7 Frasier episode Out With Dad involved Martin pretending to be homosexual on Valentine's Day, in order to stave off the advances of Frasier's date's mother. This being Frasier, a Fawlty Towers Plot ensued.
  • Hardison and Eliot in Leverage: "No -- no, I -- I am with. him."
  • This is a huge part of the humor of Whose Line Is It Anyway
  • The Mighty Boosh: After Dennis the Head Shaman catches Vince with his wife, Vince uses this to avoid getting his head cut off, and has to live with the short-term fallout.
  • In the High School Graduation episode of Unhappily Ever After Camp Gay/Gay Best Friend Barry outs himself as straight - he just acted gay so he could hang around hot chicks.
  • On Seinfeld, Jerry and George are written up in a newspaper article as a gay couple (not that there's anything wrong with that!). This particularly upsets George, until he realizes it's the perfect excuse to break up with a woman he wants to quit seeing.
  • A WKRP in Cincinnati episode had Johnny buying a condo with a surprise windfall. He very soon wants out of the cloying surroundings of 'Gone With The Wind Acres', but signed an ironclad contract. The condo board very quickly lets him go, though, when he affects a very flamboyant manner with his 'partner' Venus.
  • On Frank's Place, Bubba Weinberg takes Frank as a guest to his parent's house on the holidays, and to Frank's surprise and chagrin acts like they're a couple. Afterward Bubba tells Frank his plan worked and his mother raised no objections at all to the latest lady friend he'd brought over.
  • Happens frequently on NCIS between "very special agents" Tony DiNozzo and Timothy McGee.
  • The first Blackadder series has an episode where Blackadder is due to marry an ugly Spanish princess and, following Baldrick's advice, attempts to get out of it by swishing around in effeminate clothing and makeup. The plan backfires when the princess assumes he's trying to please her by imitating a Spanish man.
  • Craig Ferguson on the Late Late Show, played for laughs.
  • Law and Order Special Victims Unit: In the midst of canvassing for suspects, Lake and Finn get Mistaken for Gay. Instead of trying to explain the situation Lake just smiles, puts a hand on Finn's leg and squeezes.
  • Moss makes out with Roy twice in one episode of The IT Crowd, in an attempt to hide from passing police cars.
  • TV personality and interior decorator Christopher Lowell is actually straight, but Executive Meddling compelled him to Camp up his behavior on screen, because the executives thought viewers wouldn't accept a male interior decorator who wasn't gay.
  • Hope And Faith - Faith puts her sister Hope as a "domestic partner" so she can get an apartment as part of a fundraiser for lesbians.
  • This is the whole plot driving force in the first story arc of Colombian series Los Caballeros Las Prefieren Brutas.
  • In an episode of Happy Endings, straight dude Dave kisses his best friend Max to convince Max's parents that they're dating and save him from being set up with other guys by his mom.


  • Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl".
  • Britney Spears and Madonna at the MTV Music Awards.
    • Christina Aguilera was there and got a kiss from Madonna too. But no one remembers that.
      • Madonna, by all indications, is Bi the Way. Christina is quasi-openly bi, and there have been rumors about Britney with Jenna Jameson at one point.
  • Girl band t.A.T.u., because their manager wanted to make a profitable gimmick out of it.
  • The Village People. Note that some group members were straight and others were gay.
  • Possibly David Bowie; over time, he has gone back and forth over what his sexual orientation is. That said some of his characters, most notably Ziggy Stardust, were definitely gay or bisexual.
  • Mexican singer and showman Juan Gabriel is very famous for his Camp Gay stage antics. He never mentions his real sexual orientation, however.
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood gained notoriety and coverage using the gay vibe. Of the five of them, only Holly Johnson and Paul Rutherford were actually gay.
  • Nick Cave and Blixa Bargeld. Sung the duet Where the Wild Roses Grow with Blixa in the female role, as Kylie Minogue (the usual other singer) was unavailble. One time, they went further [dead link]
    • Not to mention Blixa's live cover of Peggy Lee's "Johnny Guitar."
  • Gackt knows how to feed his fangirls, as evidenced by this live version of Vanilla.
  • While the men of Barenaked Ladies are happily married dads, that didn't stop guitarist Ed Robinson and former lead singer Steven Page from occasionally dancing together and stage kissing.
  • Bands engaging in Stage Gay at various times include: Panic! at the Disco, My Chemical Romance (1, 2 [dead link])(the gayest members of which have all now married hot women, go figure), The Used [dead link]...
    • In recent years, pretty much every male-fronted band without a macho or wholesome image to keep up will do this. Thank David Bowie.
    • A recent instance is this from the A & K Acoustic event involving Fall Out Boy frontman Pete Wentz and Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie.
  • Despite relatively little actual stagegay, Swedish band The Ark have a lot of songs about gay rights and gay sex, considering that all are straight except for the frontman, who's bi and married to a woman.
  • Jimi Hendrix, aware that many people misheard the "Purple Haze" lyric "'Scuse me while I kiss the sky" as "...kiss this guy," would playfully point at Experience bandmate Noel Redding when performing the song live. On at least two occasions he even mimed kissing him.
  • Oshare band An Cafe are fond of Stage gay, especially the original members (Bou and Miku particularly).
  • Being Fan Service: The Musical Genre, Visual Kei is practically joined to this trope at the hip. So when one of Visual Kei's founding fathers (Atsushi Sakurai decided to do a live cover of Faux Yay posterboy David Bowie's Space Oddity, there was pretty much no chance that he wouldn't wind up dry-humping the guitarist in the middle of the song.
  • Kurt Cobain made out with the other members of Nirvana. He reportedly did so to piss off homophobic people, and to keep them from coming to Nirvana's shows. The band famously did this after performing on Saturday Night Live. SNL censored the kissing for repeat broadcasts.
  • Captain Ahab built a name on having this as their stage persona.
  • Mindless Self Indulgence frontman James "Jimmy Urine" Euringer was known for this, first as shock, (there exists footage of him making out with a male audience member, knocking him over, and then teabagging him) then for humor, where he would pull off the Camp Gay archetype as a gag.
  • Suede used this in their stage act and songs like "The Drowners", about a male-on-male seduction. May have been angling for Guy-On-Guy Is Hot appeal.

Professional Wrestling

  • Goldust. Just, Goldust. To elaborate, when Goldust was debuting, his gimmick was a way over the top Camp Gay "movie star" who fixated entirely on Razor Ramon, who was the Intercontinental Champion at the time. He played mind games all throughout their feud, selling that he may just be infatuated with the uber-manly Ramon, so far as to start calling him "The Naughty One" (Razor was also known as "The Bad Guy"). All of these antics culminated in their title match, where Goldust freaked Razor out enough to pin him. Afterwards, Goldust tongued his valet (and real life wife) Marlena, showing everyone he was, indeed, straight and played Razor for a sap.
    • It didn't fully go away, the character basically "just acted that way," including outright trying to kiss male competitors mid-match and such. Especially in his later "unstable" phase where he came out in varying costumes as ___Dust, half the time it was something along the lines of semi-cross-dressing MansonDust. After his time in the spotlight faded and he was in and out (pun not intended) of the company, the character has boiled down to "Dustin Runnels in gold-and-black facepaint".

Video Games

  • Underground 2 featured stage lesbians as Pit Girls.
  • This is part of Joshua's act in The World Ends With You as he flirts with Neku. Given the whole Composer thing, it's pretty clear that Joshua just wants to make Neku uncomfortable.
  • Max Galactica hits on Phoenix Wright ("You've stolen one of my hearts!" when Phoenix pulls an Ace of Hearts from his deck) in Ace Attorney. However, the flamboyant camp performer's persona masks a Southern-fried country boy. However, Max seems to prefer Camp Straight to Camp Gay.

Web Comics

  • Inverted in Penny and Aggie, when at a party, Cyndi publicly makes out with Daphne, a lesbian who's been established as desperate for a partner, and then turns to tell Marshall that she's essentially straight; Daphne is visibly hurt at this, and later insights into Cyndi's character (including that she most certainly does like girls, Sara in particular) suggest that hurting Daphne was her primary goal.
  • This Shortpacked strip, with Amber shanghaied into attempting to throw off an unwanted admirer with faux-lesbianism.
  • Jodie from Loserz utilizes this technique to attract guys here. It's probably a bit easier for her, since she's also attracted to women.
  • Oglaf: It appears that Mistress's guard corps is largely straight, but the two guards in this strip clearly don't really care.
  • In an El Goonish Shive Q&A session, Lisa theorises that Elliot's 'party form' would do this to put on a show for the guys, despite probably not being a lesbian. This is largely based an event where Lisa (an actual lesbian, or at least bisexual) was on the receiving end of a one-sided version during college, and thought it was for real before having her hopes dashed when her admirer left with a guy she'd attracted via the Faux Yay. Not that she admits to it, of course.

Web Original

  • Pegasus in Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series flirts with the other male characters and displays an assortment of stereotypical gay traits. However, he's actually straight and had a wife, and tries to kill the main characters when they uncover this fact.

Pegasus: I'm afraid you all have seen to much. Can't have people thinking I'm straight.

Western Animation

  • In an episode of King of the Hill, Bill pretends to be gay to get a job at a beauty salon, and to get close to the women working there without creeping them out.
  • In an episode of Family Guy, Meg tries to be a lesbian so she can be part of her school's Lesbian Alliance Club and finally have friends. Stewie and Brian pretend to be gay in a later episode, a failed attempt to be discharged from the army.
    • Brian might have been faux yay, but Stewie was clearly enjoying it a little too much to qualify. That wasn't even the second time in the show Stewie hatched a plan that involved making out with Brian.

Other Media

  • Japanese comedian Razor Ramon - aka, "Hard Gay", who is actually married to a woman and is reportedly heterosexual.
    • And what a woman!
  • UK funny-man Russell Brand reportedly pretends to be gay to charm women into bed. He also makes out with Noel Fielding a lot, who is equally straight...ish.
  • "Terry rushed up to Barger, threw his arms around him and planted a sloppy wet kiss on his mouth. This is a guaranteed square-jolter, and the Angels are gleefully aware of the reaction it gets... The sight of a photographer invariably whips the Angels into a kissing frenzy, but I have never seen them do it among themselves, when there was nobody around to shock. There is an element of showbiz to it..." - Hunter S. Thompson, "Hell's Angels"
  • In the book Light My Fire, Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek say that drummer John Densmore did this to avoid being drafted.
  • Gabriel Iglesias, in his special "I'm Not Fat.. I'm Fluffy", talked about getting drunk in El Paso and ending up at a gay club. When he realized where he was and realized that guys were checking him out, he embraced it, putting his hands on his hips and going "Shoot..." in fairly camp manor. He even went so far as to call his girlfriend to say, "You better not mess up, because I have options."
  • The famous David Tennant / John Barrowman kiss although this is less "pretending to be gay" as "driving the fangirls insane."
  • Similarly, Jared Padalecki does this, both to drive fangirls insane and to play pranks on his Supernatural costars. The blooper reels are filled with ass-slapping, kissy faces, and general sillyness.

Real Life

  • It's common for people to do this with their friends, just to joke around or even freak someone out.