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Bury Your Gays: 108 Dead Gay and Bisexual Male TV Characters, And How They Died

by Riese March 25, 2016

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Three weeks ago, the unexpected death of The 100′s lesbian Commander Lexa prompted a swift fan revolt. Tired of so many of our beloved queer female characters getting hit by cars, slaughtered by stray bullets and eaten by alien-possessed-aliens, the LGBT Fans Deserve Better campaign rose from the ashes to raise awareness about the Bury Your Gays trope, particularly as it applies to female characters. Over at my website, Autostraddle, I published a list of every lesbian, bisexual or queer female character who’d been killed on television (with the exclusion of one-episode victims-of-the-week from criminal or medical procedurals or otherwise fleeting one-episode characters) and, with input from readers, saw that list grow quickly from 65 to over 150. Not all these deaths were absurd or senseless, of course. Often these deaths made perfect sense within the show and weren’t motivated by anti-gay bias, unconsciously or consciously.

Similarly, many of these deaths are less painful and controversial on shows where Anyone Can Die (e.g., American Horror Story, The Wire, True Blood, Game of Thrones) or on shows with all-gay casts (e.g., Queer as Folk, The L Word). But every death adds to a body count that weighs down our souls. Two more queer female characters have died since #LGBTFansDeserveBetter campaign began merely two weeks ago, and the story has attracted unprecedented mainstream media attention, including The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Entertainment Weekly.

I was curious what the numbers would look like for gay and bisexual male characters, too, because the Bury Your Gays trope isn’t limited to women. That is why I am here with you boys today! I’ll say straight away that I’m not as confident with this material as I am with the women’s shows, but a lot of research and collaboration happened and I’m sure you’ll let me know what’s missing and what I got wrong.

Gay and bi men outnumber women on television and always have, with the most recent GLAAD report showing a 57/43 split in favor of men, so I was expecting a long list. It does seem, so far, that proportionally, gay/bi women are killed off more often than gay/bi men, but the problem is pretty severe for both groups.

When it comes to gay/bi male characters, I noticed many other interesting things happening that wasn’t as prevalent in the female group. Firstly, a lot of gay/bi male characters almost die, either from being assaulted/gay-bashed (e.g., Kurt on Glee, Marco on Degrassi, Brett & Kevin on St. Elsewhere, Justin on Queer as Folk, Hank on As the World Turns) or attempting suicide (e.g., Eric on American Crime, Jodie Dallas on SOAP, Karofsky on Glee or Thomas on Downton Abbey). Secondly, a disturbingly significant portion of the men on this list were villains or killers themselves. That’s not inherently a bad thing… but it’s worth mentioning considering that it wasn’t that long ago when every gay male character on television was portrayed as a depraved criminal or pervert.

It also wasn’t that long ago that the only LGBTQ people we ever saw on television were HIV-positive gay men on TV movies, medical dramas, legal dramas and other issue-of-the-week shows. It’s not a secret that heterosexual culture finds us most compelling when we are dead or dying (see: Brokeback Mountain, Philadelphia). This list reflects that unfortunate reality.

Please let us know in the comments about anybody I’m missing or other corrections, and keep in mind that I’m not including victims-of-the-week from legal or medical dramas.


 

Beverly LaSalle, All In The Family (1977)

Cause of Death: Beaten by gay-bashers

beverly-lasalle


Ted Dinard, Dynasty (1981)

Cause of Death: Pushed by his boyfriend’s father, hit his head on the fireplace

Ted-Dinard


Mack Crawford, Celebrity (1984)

Cause of Death: Murdered by his homophobic friend

mack-crawford


Channing Capwell, Jr., Santa Barbara (1985)

Cause of Death: Shot by his mother, who thought he was somebody else and that the gun wasn’t loaded

channingjr


Luke Fuller, Dynasty (1985)

Cause of Death: Shot by terrorists

luke-fuller


Eddie Gregg, Hill Street Blues (1986)

Cause of Death: AIDS

eddie-gregg


Brett Johnston, St. Elsewhere (1988)

Cause of Death: AIDS

kyle_secor_99x130


Javier Fernandez, Eldorado (1992)

Cause of Death: Carbon monoxide poisoning

eldorado


Emmett, Grace Under Fire (1995)

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

emmett


Frederick Hackett, Bramwell (1996)

Cause of Death: Hit by a carriage, throat torn open by a smashed bottle and then sent away to a religious institution where he died of an an infection.

bramwell


Jimmy Gold, Beverly Hills 90210 (1996)

Cause of Death: AIDS. His boyfriend had died of AIDS several months earlier.

JimmyGold


Ferdy, This Life (1996)

Cause of death: Unknown — killed offscreen. His death was mentioned in the 10 year anniversary sequel This Life+10.

this-life


John Hanley, General Hospital (1996)

Cause of Death: AIDS

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Matt Fielding, Melrose Place (1997)

Cause of Death: Car accident

matt


Larry Blaisdell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1999)

Cause of Death: Killed in the Graduation Day battle, neck snapped by the mayor’s tail

larry


Richie Hanlon, Oz (1999)

Cause of Death: Throat slashed with a razor blade

richie


Nat Ginzburg, Oz (2000)

Cause of Death: AIDS

Nat_Ginzburg


Tim Bayliss, Homicide: Life on the Street (2000)

Cause of Death: Suicide

tim


 

Ronald Barlog, Oz 2001

Cause of Death: Neck snapped

brian-bloom


 

Brandon White, The Wire (2002)

Cause of Death: Tortured and killed by rival gang, body displayed as a warning to his boyfriendbrandon


 

George Schickle, Queer as Folk (2002)

Cause of Death: Heart attack on the first flight of a world tour he was about to go on with his boyfriend

queer-as-folk


Roy Cohn, Angels in America (2003)

Cause of Death: AIDS

roy


 

Chris Keller, Oz (2003)

Cause of Death: Fell over a railing and broke his neck during an argument with his boyfriend

chris-keller


Vic Grassi, Queer as Folk (2004)

Cause of Death: Heart attack resulting from complications with his HIV medication

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Tom, Hex (2004)

Cause of Death: Beheaded by a man who thought he was somebody else due to the mark that somebody else left on Tom’s neck

Tom


Lance Powell, The Bill (2005)

Cause of Death: Strangled by a serial killer

lance-powell


Keith Charles*, Six Feet Under (2005)

Cause of Death: Shot by robbers while loading his security firm’s armed truck

keith

*It’s true that due to the series-finale flash-forward, we saw every major character die, and therefore it seems silly to include here. However, Keith — the only main character of color and one of two main gay characters — was the only person in the flash-forward who died young and the only one who was murdered rather than dying of natural causes.


Beverley Leslie, Will & Grace (2006)

Cause of Death: Blown off a balcony and fell to his death

leslie


Vito Spatafore Sr., The Sopranos (2006)

Cause of Death: Mouth duct-taped shut and beaten to death by gay-bashers, found with a pool cue in his ass

vito


Cassidy “Beaver” Casablancas, Veronica Mars (2006)

Cause of Death: Killed himselfcassidy


Salim, Sleeper Cell (2006)

Cause of Death: Failed bomb attack at the Hollywood Bowl by an FBI agentsleeper-cell

 


Cory, Dante’s Cove (2006)

Cause of Death: Magic

Josh Berresford


Sir William Compton, The Tudors (2007)

Cause of Death: Sweating sickness / the plague

Compton


Marco, Dante’s Cove (2007)

Cause of Death: Murdered by a woman disguised as an animal

marco


Tom Friendly, Lost (2007)

Cause of Death: Shot

tom-friendly


 

Walker McElroy, Sordid Lives: The Series (2008)

Cause of Death: Heart attack

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Alex, In Treatment (2008)

Cause of Death: Suicide

alex


 

Omar Little, The Wire (2008)

Cause of Death: Shot by a child from a rival gangomar-little


George Boleyn, The Tudors (2008)

Cause of Death: Executed by decapitation

george


Mark Smeaton, The Tudors (2008)

Cause of Death: Tortured and beheaded for treason he did not commit

David Alpay


 

Steve, Reaper (2008)

Cause of Death: The devil caused a building to collapse on him.

steve-reaper


 

Alan Corbett, Supernatural (2008)

Cause of Death: Abducted and stabbed through the neck

alan


 

Agent Phil Schlatter, Weeds (2008)

Cause of Death: Tortured and shot by drug kingpin who then hung his body on the US/Mexico border fence as a warning.

andrew


 

Neil Grayling, Bad Girls (2008)

Cause of Death: Heart attack

neil


 

Felix Gaeta, Battlestar Galactica (2009)

Cause of Death: Executed by a firing squad

felix


Ianto Jones, Torchwood (2009)

Cause of Death: Murdered by aliens

ianto


 

1112, The Prisoner (2009)

Cause of Death: Suicide

11-12


 

909, The Prisoner (2009)

Cause of Death: Murdered

909


 

Joseph Laslie, Kings (2009)

Cause of Death: Suicide, possibly murdered by his boyfriend’s Mom and set up to look like a suicide

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Kash Karib, Shameless (2009)

Cause of Death: Knocked out by his son, thus unable to escape when the building he was in went up in flames

PejVahdat05


 

DEA Agent Ray Till, Weeds (2009)

Cause of Death: Murdered by drug dealers while attempting to avenge his boyfriend’s death

Till


 

Dale Tomasson, Big Love (2010)

Cause of Death: Suicide

dale


 

Barca, Spartacus: Blood & Sand (2010)

Cause of Death: Throat slit by a Lanista who believed that Barca betrayed him

barca


Pietros, Spartacus: Blood & Sand (2010)

Cause of Death: Hung himself after he became a slave for another gladiator who used him as a punching bag after Pietros mistakenly believed that his lover had left him.

pietros


 

Dan, Being Human (2010)

Cause of Death: Accidentally bitten by his vampire boyfriend and killed

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Dr. Reid Oliver, As the World Turns (2010)

Cause of Death: Hit by a train

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Eddie Fourinier, True Blood (2010)

Cause of True Death: Kidnapped and staked by a girl addicted to V

eddie


 

Talbot Angelis, True Blood (2010)

Cause of True Death: Staked during sex by a vampire seeking revenge for Talbot’s boyfriend murdering his family

tablot


 

Godric, True Blood (2010)

Cause of True Death: Suicide, walked into the sun

godric


 

Ray Fiske, Damages (2010)

Cause of Death: Suicide

ray-fiske


Gustavo Fring, Breaking Bad (2010)

Cause of Death: Bomb set by his enemy

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Chad Warwick, American Horror Story: Murder House (2011)

Cause of Death: Shot, set up as murder-suicide

chad


 

Lionel Trane, United States of Tara (2011)

Cause of Death: Car Crash

lionel


 

Roman Wild, Alles was zählt (2011)

Cause of Death: Brain tumor

Roman-Wild


 

Fer, Física o Química (2011)

Cause of Death: Shot

fer-fisica


Patrick, American Horror Story: Murder House (2011)

Cause of Death: Savagely beaten to death and sodomized with a fire iron

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Lee Fallon, The Big C (2011)

Cause of Death: Cancer

lee-fallon


Jackson Walsh, Emmerdale (2011)

Cause of Death: After becoming paraplegic from a car accident, begged boyfriend to euthanize him

jackson-walsh


Auctus, Spartacus: Blood & Sand (2011)

Cause of Death: Slayed in the arena during combat

josef-brown


Max Arciniega, Breaking Bad (2011)

Cause of Death: Was murdered in 1989 by druglord henchman while his boyfriend was restrained and force to watch him die. Story told in flashback.

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Mansour Al-Zahrani, Homeland (2011)

Cause of Death: Bomb

mansour


 

Tyler Barrol, Revenge (2011)

Cause of Death: Shot in the back

Tyler


 

Paul, Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves (2012

Cause of Death: AIDS

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Rasmus, Don’t Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves (2012)

Cause of Death: AIDS

ramsus


Bill Forbes, The Vampire Diaries (2012)

Cause of Death: Stabbed and throat slashed

bill-forbes


Issak Sirko, Dexter (2012)

Cause of Death: Shot in the gut

issak


Jesús Velásquez, True Blood (2012)

Cause of Death: Boyfriend forced to stab him to death while possessed by a witch.

jesus


Renly Baratheon, Game of Thrones (2012)

Cause of Death: Stabbed by a shadow creature

renly-baratheon


Russel Edgington, True Blood (2013)

Cause of True Death: Staked

Russel


Steve Newlin, True Blood (2013)

Cause of True Death: Forced into the sun

steve-newlin


Kyle Bishop, Smash (2013)

Cause of Death: Hit by a car

kyle-bishop


Doug Carter, Hollyoaks (2013)

Cause of Death: Bomb explosion, died in boyfriend’s arms

doug-carter


Rick Macy, In the Flesh (2013)

Cause of Death: Stabbed by his father

rick-macy


Jacob Wells, The Following (2013)

Cause of Death: Throat slashed

jacob-wells


Paul Torres, The Following (2013)

Cause of Death: Smothered with a pillow by his best friend / fake boyfriend after developing sepsis from a stab wound

paul-torres


Daniel Davenport, Dracula (2013)

Cause of Death: Suicide because he couldn’t live without his boyfriend, who ended their relationship to secure his position in The Order

daniel


Stephen James Laurent, Dracula (2013)

Cause of Death: Executed for betraying The Order

stephen-laurent

 


Thomas Hamilton, Black Sails (2014)

Cause of Death: Suicide

thomas-hamilton


Paxton Curtis, How to Get Away With Murder (2014)

Cause of Death: Suicide. Jumped out the window.

paxton


James Novak, Scandal (2014)

Cause of Death: Shot for knowing too much.

james-novak


Stanley, American Horror Story: Freak Show (2014)

Cause of Death: Murdered with knives and axes by a group of the “freaks” he’d been exploiting and killing off.

stanley


Dell Toledo, American Horror Story: Freak Show (2014)

Cause of Death: Shot in the head

Dell-Toledo


Andy, American Horror Story: Freak Show (2014)

Cause of Death: Stabbed and dismembered

andy-horror-story


Dr. Johann Pryce, Hemlock Grove (2014)

Cause of Death: Stabbed

pryce


Alejandro Rubio, Devious Maids (2014)

Cause of Death: Robbery gone wrong at his engagement party (he was marrying a woman).

alejandro


Deniz Öztürk, Alles was zählt (2014)

Cause of Death: AIDS

deniz


Joscha Degen, Alles was zählt (2014)

Cause of Death: Beaten and killed by gay bashers

Alles was zählt


Daniel Douglas Langston, Scandal (2014)

Cause of Death: Murdered by his wife

daniel


Michael Corrigan, House of Cards (2015)

Cause of Death: Hangs himself with a scarf to protest the persecution of gay people in Russia

house-of-cards


Will Drake, American Horror Story: Hotel (2015)

Cause of Death: Murdered by his new wife’s vampire ex-girlfriend

will-drake


Alex / Alistair Turner, London Spy (2015)

Cause of Death: Murdered shortly after falling in love with the man who would eventually find Alex’s body in a trunk.

london-spy


Elias Harper, Quantico (2015)

Cause of Death: Suicide. Jumped out a window after being outed as a terrorist.

elias-quantico


Will Horton, Days of Our Lives (2015)

Cause of Death: Brutally strangled by a serial killer

chandler massey freddie smith gay days of our lives dool wilson


Paul Woodrugh, True Detective (2015)

Cause of Death: After being blackmailed by his lover, went on what was essentially a suicide mission to avoid being outed, which led to him being shot and killed by a police officer.

paul-true


Aiden, The Originals (2015)

Cause of Death: Heart ripped out by Dahlia

Aiden-and-flowers


Lucas Parker, The Vampire Diaries (2015)

Cause of Death: Forced to merge with his older brother Kai, which killed him

lucas


Varick Strauss, Ray Donovan (2015)

Cause of Death: Struck with a fire poker by his father-in-law/boyfriend


Jack, The Fosters (2016)

Cause of Death: Beaten to death by his foster father

jack




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