Woke Up Gay

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Trope · Genre
Related: Slash Tropes, Portrayals of Masculinity in Fanworks
See Also: Everyone Is Gay
screencap of the Wake Up Gay! archive
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Woke up gay is a fannish trope wherein a supposedly straight character wakes up gay, either literally or figuratively, and with varying degrees of gayness. It can be a happy gayness, a stereotype (i.e. flamingly gay), or simply a change in sexual orientation.

The premise first appeared in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction "Xander Woke Up Gay," by Kate Bolin around 2001.[1] It's since spread across fandom and now everyone from Toby Ziegler to Gollum is waking up gay.[2][3]

Why Wake Up Gay?

Let's think back to 1998. Buffy the Vampire Slayer still had the gang in high school, going to the library every day. Xander was happy, Xander was witty, and, yes, in his own way, Xander was gay.
And what better way than to wake up one morning gay?
And so it began.
It plays on the various definitions on the word "gay," on people's concepts of people and their happiness. Were the characters already homosexual and just having a good day? Can a person just wake up gay one day? And if so, why the hell not?
It's about being goofy and happy and gay, in all the varying ways.
And how can you not?[4]


Woke Up Straight

In a twist on this cliche, toomuchplor famously wrote Straight as a Circle in 2007, a Stargate Atlantis fic where John Sheppard wakes up straight.[5]

Another example from DC Comics is Recorders and reporters by petronelle (2007), in which Tim Drake is hit with a ray that turns him straight.

A vid example for the same twist on the cliche would be code word: chapstick, a 2008 Merlin vid where Arthur discovers unexpected heterosexual feelings.[6]


Why You Should Never Eat Too Many Peppermint Toads Before Going to Bed by Ariana Rookwood is a 2005 Harry Potter fic where James Potter wakes up and everyone else is gay, forcing him to re-examine his prejudices.



  1. ^ Xander Woke Up Gay, by Kate Bolin - Summary: A day where Xander is...gay.
  2. ^ Toby Ziegler Woke Up Gay, by Katie (archived December 2001
  3. ^ Gollum Woke Up Gay, by Liz Huisman, Jan 2002
  4. ^ WHY WAKE UP GAY?, via Wayback: 01 June 2002. (Accessed 28 January 2012)
  5. ^ Straight as a Circle
  6. ^ nixwilliams and sajee. Code Word: Chapstick. The vid uses a cover version of the song "I Kissed a Girl"; the singer in this version is a man.