Stage Gay

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Stage Gay refers to the behaviour of (male) singers while performing for an audience. Some bands--from Bandom to K-pop to J-pop--play up homoerotic tension onstage as a form of fanservice: “Stage gay” is when performers act in reference, either veiled or explicit, to homosexuality for the purposes of publicity or awareness, almost exclusively or more seriously on stage.

For fans, the appeal seems to transcend the purely visceral appeal of watching two hot guys lick the sweat out of each other’s mouths (om nom nom). In a society which remains stubbornly heterosexually centered, those who play with sexuality are admirable in their rebellion. Ironically, exhibiting traditional heterosexual love now seems distinctly N*Sync-worthy: today’s teenage rebels sans a cause pledge allegiance to rockers who present themselves in a fashion generally disapproved of by the average mom. Despite this, to raise the subject with the band itself is to invite deadpan stares or resigned laughter: although they take advantage of it, they simply don’t understand the allure. [1]

Stage gay has been the subject of wank and controversy. Some enjoy it, but detractors have called it manipulative, real-life queerbait, or insensitive to the struggles of real gay people.

Bandom's Stagegay Wank

2007 saw a round of stagegay wank in Bandom, started by phaballa's post Playacting the Gay[2] published on LiveJournal on September 5, 2007. The post askes two questions: "...let's suppose that straight emo boybanders 'played gay' or participated in some 'stage gay' at their concerts. How does that make me feel personally and politically?" and " would that make someone like Lance Bass, who spent years hiding his sexual orientation, feel, to see people playing at being gay on stage?"

Later meta:

Comments from Singers

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Brendon Urie commented on stage gay when he came out as pansexual in 2018.
Did you find yourself as a young man having to really come to terms with your sexuality?

It was never weird for me. I know that it made a few people uncomfortable, when somebody gets uncomfortable about me doing what I used to call "stage gay." It kind of presses me to want to do it more.

What's "stage gay"?

For our first headline tour I would go up to Ryan our guitar player, and like kiss him on the neck or kiss him on the mouth and he would be so mad. I was like, I just want to kiss you bro. I would hang out with friends and after five or six beers we're just kind of like smooching on each other. People just get hammered and fool around.

You call it "barsexual," right?

Oh, yeah barsexual. People get offended by that.[7]

In Fanworks

Fanworks involve imagining the private/personal interactions that people who have done stage gay together have – these are often considered canon compliant. Fanfiction may also imagine how stage gay that has not happened in real life would take place. In fanfiction, stage gay is usually imagined to be how people express their feeling while in denial (about their feelings or about not being straight) or pining for another person.

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.


  1. ^ Kitsch Magazine - Stage Gay (Accessed Sept. 29, 2010)
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  6. ^ wayback
  7. ^ Brendon Urie Lays It All Out, 06 July 2018