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When I grew up, being gay, being a sissy or anything like that was verboten. I disliked myself intensely and feared this part of myself intensely and had to hide it and became "Perfect Richard, All-American Boy" as a place to hide.
Richard Chamberlain

He's the strongest, toughest, manliest man in the sports team. He might hate gays and be vocal, or even violent about it. He will remind everybody that he is completely, 100% straight. That is, during the daytime. When night falls, you can find him Where Everybody Knows Your Flame with the Club Kids and Gym Bunnies. He's the self-loathing gay guy who hides behind a macho façade.

Perhaps the most common variant of You Are What You Hate. See also Gayngst if the character is particularly self-tormented about it. Not to be confused with Straight Gay, who is out of the closet but just non-flamboyant, or Gym Bunny or Manly Gay, also out of the closet and macho all the same.

Polar opposite of Gay Bravado — acting gay to affirm your heterosexuality — unless it's a double bluff, of course. Sometimes overlaps with Gayngster. May result in Irrational Hatred of gays.

Examples of Armoured Closet Gay include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Happy Yarou Wedding, Yuuhi suspects that his brother-in-law Kazuki's vitriol towards homosexuals is just a cover for his Gayngst, especially after he meets Chiharu. He's right.

Comic Books

  • In Preacher (Comic Book)... a police-detective, real Cowboy Cop, Dirty Harry-type. Outspoken bigot, who hated blacks, Asians, Muslims, and — more than anything — gays. He is only tangentially involved with the plot, but a short while later, the main character stumbles on him in a bondage-club, getting it on with a couple black guys.
  • Frank Miller has said that he writes Batman as gay—albeit sublimating his sexuality into crime-fighting.


  • Ray from Scary Movie is gay, but he hides it, rather badly though.
  • Bo the wrestler in Cursed. He only comes out of the closet to Jimmy because he has a crush on him due to his "unnatural sexual allure".
  • Col. Fitts from American Beauty, especially the homophobic part, and violent.
  • Neil McCormick in Mysterious Skin is picked up by an exceedingly dangerous man: possessed of strong homosexuality and physically violent hatred of gays, both sides of his character manifest simultaneously in bed.
  • Invoked in Heathers—the football players' fake suicide note makes them out to be lovers.

  "I love my dead gay son!"

  • Annette's friend Greg in Cruel Intentions plays on the football team and makes himself out to be a heterosexual jock type. Of course he isn't, which is taken advantage of by Sebastian.
  • The former lead singer of fictional band Steel Dragon in the movie Rockstar, and as he is based on of Judas Priest singer Rob Halford he may also count, but he is probably more truthfully Manly Gay.
  • From a British movie, Victor Victoria. One of the guys (though not self-loathing) revealed that he was gay. The main character was shocked, pointing out that he always worked out, and was the captain of the football team. The gay man replied that the best way to hide that you're gay is to always work out, and be the captain of the football team.
  • Otto, Karl's agent in Magicians, who strenuously denies that he has any kind of homosexual love for his client. His denials ring a bit false consider that he once snogged the guy completely out of the blue (and then had the nerve to challenge Karl's own understanding of his sexuality with accusation that "we just kissed..."), and then, whilst trying to pep Karl up before a gig, blurted out "I love you!"
  • Tropic Thunder has a less-extreme version of this with Alpa Chino, a famous rapper who's branching into acting. His catchphrase as a rapper seems to be "I love the pussy" and he hawks a soda based on his music called "Booty Sweat." Toward the end of the film, as all the actors talk about their love lives, he's asked if he has anyone special that isn't just a sexual thing, and Chino replies that he's had a crush on someone he was too shy to ask out. When asked the girl's name he wistfully replies "Lance." When they naturally question it, he falls into a long, denial-filled rant about how he isn't gay and how much he "loves da pussy." He's last seen in the movie hugging Lance Bass at the Oscars.
  • Bruno decides his homosexuality is preventing him from being famous, he first tries to consult an ex-gay ministry, then attend a swinging party. After running away from the party, he wows to be back, and be straight, and a few months later, he's organizing a cage fight event under the pseudonym Straight Dave, and holds a homophobic speech at the audience, before making out with his male assistant inside the ring.
  • Rex from Sex Drive. Loves his car more than anything and is violent (and violently homophobic) towards Ian, who he thinks is gay, but he comes out at the end, and his sexuality is implied to be the motivation for his Jerkass behavior.
  • Max in Bent is willing to do unspeakably depraved things to keep the Nazis from thinking he was gay. This is somewhat Justified because you really don't want the Nazis to think you're gay.
  • In the autobiography film The Naked Civil Servant, Quentin Crisp and a group of his friends are at a club, when gang of drunks come in and harass them. Quentin himself is confronted with a huge guy who is leading the pack. Quentin whispers in his ear 'If I were you I’d bugger off back to Hoxton before they work out you’re queer'. The lesson he learned from this experience is 'some roughs are queer'.
  • Hooper in Chasing Amy acts as an Angry Black Man but is in real life a nice gay guy. However, he doesn't do this out of self-loathing — being an a angry radical makes him successful.
  • Violent Glaswegian Francis Begbie in Trainspotting, according to Robert Carlyle.
  • Aiden from The Guard complete with sham marriage.
  • Zac Beaulieu from CRAZY, partly because the film is set from the 1960's to 1980's and partly because his parents are a conservative father and a devout Catholic mother who believes he's a miracle child after consulting a Tupperware selling mystic.


  • In Fellow Travelers by Thomas Mallon, Hawkins Fuller is very much in the closet. He even bashes homosexuals at work. Of course, the book was set during the McCarthy era when being gay meant being black-listed and possibly never working again. Fuller had no choice but to play the part. To a lesser extent, Timothy Laughlin fits the self-loathing part, and he was also in the closet for a long time because of necessity.

Live Action TV

  • In The L Word Alice and Tasha meet an NBA star at a closet party. A few days later, said player makes homophobic comments about a fellow player, and Alice outs him in public.
  • In Queer as Folk Drew Boyd is a macho football player who was engaged. Then he hooked up with Emmett, insists to stay in the closet until near the end of the series.
  • A few different examples from Skins:
    • In the second season, Maxxie is verbally taunted by a macho, apparently gay-hating thug who turns out to have a serious crush on him.
    • Cook appears to be a Armoured Closet Depraved Bisexual, or at least gay for Freddie.
    • Naomi was this for much of Series 3, assuring everyone how very straight she was inbetween make-out sessions with Emily. It didn't really work — well, except for Cook, who was probably too horny to care.
    • Katie Fitch was an aversion; her constant harping on Naomi for being a "lezzer bitch" who "is coming to gay us up" made it seem like she was being set up to be this trope, but it turns out she's straight. But her homophobia does cause a world of pain for her twin sister, Emily, who actually is gay and crushing on Naomi. Emily was in an armoured closet with Katie (until the end of the third series) but didn't seem to have as much trouble opening up to others, especially as it became increasingly apparent that Naomi was lying about being straight.
    • Mini came across as this in the fifth series, with a history of obvious unrequited crushes on her female friends — Franky during the show's run and, in the prequel novel, Liv. However, this was completely abandoned in the sixth series, where she was suddenly only into boys.
  • Larry from Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a big brute bully who sexually harassed girls to cover up his gayness until he came out in an episode called "Phases". He came out because there's a werewolf on the loose, and Xander thinks that Larry is that werewolf, and Xander interrogates Larry with vague double entendres, saying things like, "Nobody knows that you're an entirely different person at night with urges you can't control." Stuff like that. So when Larry comes out, Xander has to keep the fact that there's a werewolf on the loose a secret, so Larry thinks that Xander is gay. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Vito from The Sopranos.
  • Along with almost every other gay trope, this was sometimes used by Tobias on Arrested Development.
  • A Kids in The Hall sketch has Scott Thompson playing a macho actor who constantly denies that he's gay, even when he's seen in bed with a man. The sketch ends with him dead and in an open-casket funeral, with two women wondering how he died. One of them says it was AIDS, but his corpse keeps muttering "Cancer." (A Funny Aneurysm Moment as Scott — who is gay in Real Life — was successfully treated for cancer in 2009.)
  • Riley of Degrassi the Next Generation: star track runner, football team captain and quarterback, summertime lifeguard, insatiably attracted to men. Early on any insinuation of his sexuality led him to lash out violently, including clocking a gay lifeguard in the jaw. But anger management classes, and his new boyfriend's coaxing, have helped him to not only calm down but even come out publicly.
  • An episode of Smallville has Chloe become infected with a Truth Serum that makes people incapable of lying to her. When she walks up to the football team and asks one of the players who he would like to take to the upcoming dance, he responds with the name of one of his teammates, followed by an Oh Crap face as the teammate in question glares at him in surprise.
  • Pulled out a few times on the various Law & Order incarnations, either played straight or subverted depending on the episode.
  • On Glee, Dave Karofsky (one of the jocks and Kurt's main bully) starts out as this. After forcefully kissing Kurt, he denies that it ever happened and even attacks Blaine, a guy whom he doesn't know who's only there to let him know he's not alone.
    • He panicked because Blaine confronted him at the school when other people were around.
    • Santana is a female example — she 'fesses up to Brittany that the reason she acts like such a bitch is because she is angry, and she is angry because she has feelings for Brittany that she can't handle. Some parts of the fandom then quickly decided that Santana's Anything That Moves behaviour is because she subconsciously has decided that it is easier being the school slut rather than the school dyke.
      • Her inner narration three episodes later:

  I'm a closet lesbian and a judgemental bitch, which means that I have excellent Gaydar.

      • She then goes and bullies Karofsky into being her beard.
    • And then It Gets Worse. Karofsky not only switches to another school... then is so cruelly bullied by the boys there that he's Driven to Suicide and only barely survives.
  • Noah's Arc: Wade starts out as this.
  • In Playmakers, Thad Guerwitcz even beats up his own boyfriend in the presence of his teammates and proposes marriage to a girl he just met just to avoid being ostracized by his team.
  • The Quantum Leap episode "Running for Honor" featured Sam as an Ambiguously Gay cadet at a military academy with a no-gays policy trying to protect an openly gay ex-cadet from the violent intentions of a campus hate group. Sam calls out the leader of the group and accuses his homophobia of being a front to conceal his own homosexuality. The group leader never admits to being gay, but he backs down from the raid he was planning, and later leaves school, claiming he doesn't belong there.
  • Ted Altman of Intelligence is implied to be one. In one episode, he is seen checking out another man at the bar, then freaks out when he the guy notices him and starts checking him out back. In a later episode, he appears to be cruising a group of male prostitutes before being scared off by a patrol car.
  • Brandon of Holly Oaks genuinely is homophobic—it's not a façade. He is also gay, and quite jealous and possessive with his sometimes-boyfriend Ste....who he also abuses as a result of said homophobia. It's...twisted.
  • Chuck Noblet from Strangers with Candy, played by Stephen Colbert, is an English teacher/ history teacher, assistant to the principal, sharp-shooter gun-enthusiast, step-mom attracting, gay slur using, emotionally unstable badass who has armored his closet so thickly that he is in an unhappy marriage with children and willing kill off his boyfriend/ lover/ art teacher when he threatens to out them both in front of the whole school.
    • Don't worry though. In spite of Noblet's fear of being found out and acting like Mr. Jellineck means nothing to him in public, they both really do love each other. This is demonstrated most prominently when Noblet almost came out to save Jellineck's life after a horrible accident with a "ray of hope" after his surgery, but when he proved to be OK, he quickly stopped the explanation of their 'friendship'.
  • The Stephen Colbert character from The Colbert Report is implied to be one of these.
  • In December 2011, Conan referred to a news story in which a schoolteacher in Michigan struck the word "gay" from the popular Christmas carol "Deck the Halls." The sketch which followed depicted two men pitching a CD entitled Straight-Up Christmas, which included such carols as "Little Drummer Boy (To Whom I Am Not Sexually Attracted)," "Jingle Breasts" and "Do You Hear What I Hear? (Yes! Monster Trucks!)" They also pitch a bonus CD of music performed on power drills. After they believe the cameras have stopped filming, they start making out.


  • Spoon's The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine seems to deal with this trope, describing a man who tries very hard to be masculine: "in his coat and his boots/and his black-heart machine/no one sees the two sides of Monsieur Valentine." Later, the man "makes love to the duke."
  • The music video for Broken Social Scene's I'm Still Your Fag.
  • Musical comedian Roy Zimmerman has a series of songs satirizing anti-gay politicians and activists who turn out to be closeted gays. Here's the latest one.

Video Games

  • In the video game Bully, one of the jocks, Kirby, behaves the same way, until you finally make out with him.
    • It should be noted that all of the cliques have one boy who will kiss Jimmy, if his respect with their gang is high enough. If it's not, even Cornelius, the Urkel-like gay nerd, will try to whup Jimmy's ass with a yardstick.
  • The Brute Splicer in Bioshock 2 seems to be one of these.
  • Kanji in Persona 4. When he was a kid, the other kids teased him for liking things like sewing and other "girly" things, so he developed a Badass Biker facade in order to defend himself. These feelings manifest themselves as a half-naked Camp Gay Evil Twin with shades of He-Man Woman Hater. However, since part of accquiring one's Persona is learning to accept your suppressed feelings, Kanji learns to be more at ease with himself (especially once he learns that there are people who do accept him for who he is). Although he remains a tough guy, he stops worrying about whether or not he's "strange."

Web Comics

  • Tony from El Goonish Shive is acting like a Jerkass to cover his crush on Tedd, according to Grace.
    • Of course, it's been well-established that Tedd really is just that girly and, as Justin puts it, doesn't have to worry about gay guys being attracted to him. So really it's the Armoured Closet Gay effect being triggered by a Stupid Sexy Flanders.
  • Kagerou here. Quite explicitly, too.
  • Possibly Roscoe from A Game of Fools, if his terrified rantings about homosexuals are anything to go by:

  Roscoe: The homosexuals be everywhere, behind every bush! Sometimes, I wake up after being real drunk, and there be naked homosexuals next to me! They be bewitching me!

  • The Faroe Islands in Scandinavia and The World. Being outed makes him invoke a DESPERATE HOLY SLAM.
    • Possibly America, too, though that one isn't as obvious.
  • String Theory has Dr. Benjamin Langstrom, who remained in his closet to his death.
    • Word of God states that this is due to the society of the time; pretty much the only thing worse than being gay in String Theory's world (a Days of Future Past United States, where it's scientifically the 2050s but morally/socially the 1950s) is being a Communist.

  Beckey (creator): Langstrom had to remain closeted or else he’d risk his career. Especially risky with a teaching career. His friend Dr. Auditore was outted, unfortunately, and now the only job he can get is as a drug rehabilitation counselor at a prison out in the middle of nowhere (and only because his friend’s sister runs it).


Western Animation

  • In the Family Guy episode where Chris dates Connie DiMico and becomes popular, there's a jock who keeps mentioning how he plans to bully the "gay" nerds (with each mention becoming more and more homoerotic), until he finally says at the end "I'm gay, alright?!"
  • Gangstaliscious from The Boondocks
  • Subverted in American Dad. Terry's father Tank Bates is homophobic and deeply disapproves of his son's homosexuality. Stan accuses him of being a homosexual and outs him in front of a crowded football stadium. It turns out that Tank truly is not homosexual.
    • Stan's attempts to reconcile the father and son reveal that Tank actually subverts EVERY other homophobia-explanation trope as well. He doesn't think it's against God, he doesn't think it's a choice, he doesn't think they are all Camp Gay or after his butt, etc. He is unable/unwilling to offer ANY explanation or justification for hating gays in general and his son specifically (his son even produced him a grandchild already, what is this guy's deal?).
  • Another subversion of a similar nature is given in South Park, Cartman insists this is what Kyle is in his attempts to steer the new girl, Nichole's affection toward Token, the only other black kid in school. What's different here is that when Cartman outs Kyle very publicly, he KNOWS Kyle's not gay and is doing this because he really, really believes black people belong together.
    • Mr. Garrison before the episode '4th Grade' in season 4
  • This is a fairly popular Alternative Character Interpretation for Murderface in Metalocalypse fanfiction, expanding on the series' running gag of his insecurity in his sexuality.

Real Life

  • Yukio Mishima although his estate (obviously) denies it.
    • Unquestionably fits the trope, though Mishima may have inadvertently discovered the existence of permeable armor.
  • Both Real Life and depicted in Angels in America: Roy Cohn, conservative lawyer and right-hand man to McCarthy, is famous for helping persecute not only suspected communists, but suspected homosexuals as well. He died in 1986 of complications from AIDS, which he is suspected of having gotten from numerous illicit sexual encounters with men.
    • Speaking of McCarthy, he himself was accused of being gay. (A journalist, Hank Greenspan of the Las Vegas Sun, pointed out that "It is common talk among homosexuals in Milwaukee who rendezvous in the White Horse Inn that Senator Joe McCarthy has often engaged in homosexual activities.") McCarthy wanted to sue for libel, but he was talked out of it by his advisors, who told him that being on the witness stand meant he would have to answer questions about his sexuality. Instead, he responded to the accusations by marrying his secretary and adopting a baby girl.
  • There is a persistent rumour that founder and long time head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, was a closet transvestite and homosexual. The rumor was spread by gossip-book author Anthony Summers, who got the story from Susan Rosenstiel, a convicted perjurer with an axe to grind against Hoover.[1]
    • Considering Hoover lived with another man all his life, they work together, eat together, and even vacation together with no other women in sight, and when he died his "friend" received Hoover's flag usually reserved for widows... Also, the funeral plot directly next to Hoover's was reserved for the same man that received his flag.
      • So all together the evidence points to a closeted (and charmingly monogamous) homosexual Hoover, but not a transvestite one.
  • In black American communities this is known as "being on the down low", where tough gangsta types would sneak away from their girlfriends and cruise gay bars, but didn't identify themselves as "gay" because they weren't Flamboyant and Camp (because gay men can be nothing else apparently). This has been blamed for the high number of HIV infections among black women. During the early 2000's, it became something of a witch-hunt, with many black religious leaders and relationship experts screaming, "if he's not constantly showering you with attention and gifts all the time, he's On The Down Low and you need to put his ass out!"
  • Welsh dual-code Rugby player Gareth Thomas, until he came out in 2009.
  • Here's a top ten list of anti-gay activists who've been found engaging in homosexual activity. They do keep popping up.
  • The latest one to the mix is (surprisingly, not Baptist nor Pentecostal) Pastor Tom Brock, who blamed tornadoes on homosexuality. He was found to be attended what could be described as a Cockoholics Anonymous meeting but it's all cool because he says he has always been celibate.
  • Ted Haggard. He describes himself as not a homosexual, but a "heterosexual with issues". He was caught using crystal meth for use with his gigolo. He claimed he was "testing" his fortitude. Clearly he failed.
  • The famous actor Rock Hudson, who was depicted as the ideal of wholesome manliness in his movies, kept his homosexuality firmly out of the light — his agent even going so far as to throw two of his other clients to the tabloids in exchange for their keeping Rock's homosexuality out of print.
  • Matt Sanchez (a lot of these guys are named "Matt")
  • Patrick McHenry
  • Troy King
  • Richard Curtis, another moustache bearer.
  • Many speculate that Christian Weston Chandler, the author of Sonichu, may be gay or bisexual, despite his seething hatred of anything not-straight. This mainly comes from his cross dressing, claims that he has to look at a Sailor Moon poster "to keep me straight," as well as many other verbal gaffes.
    • His purchase of a dildo does not help his case.
  • Former U.S. Senator Larry Craig (R, Idaho) is married (to a woman), has opposed same-sex marriage, and voted against a bill to make hate crimes include crimes based on sexual orientation. Then he was arrested in 2007 in a Minneapolis airport men's bathroom for soliciting gay sex.
  • Although a lot of people think that Fred Phelps must surely be the prime example of this trope, he is (surprisingly) not gay: no one has ever produced any credible evidence of it, and more importantly, Fred's estranged son Nate, who's spoken frankly about Fred's sociopathic behavior, has been repeatedly asked if his father is gay, and replied, "There just isn't anything there in my own experiences growing up there that would suggest that."
  • The Danish fundamentalist Christian and anti-gay activist, Ruth Evensen (who has her own WBC-esque church) forced her daughter to watch a woman give her oral sex and suck on her nipples. Yes, she got away with it.
  • A decent-sized chunk of the men-seeking-men casual encounters posted on Craigslist can be summarized as "Hey, I'm looking for another man to do some gay stuff with BUT I'M NOT GAY AND I DON'T WANT ANYONE WHO IS GAY."
  • This site tracks the days since the last prominent homophobe was revealed not to be straight.
  • Usage of the phrase "no homo" reeks of this trope. "I'd like to do some really gay things with you, no homo." It's as if saying those two words at the end completely negates the implications of the actual message.
    • "Saying 'I love you, Bro — No Homo!' is like saying 'I love you Mom — No Incest!'""