Back in the not-so-distant past, one of the quickest tropes television and film makers used to mark a character as a villain was to saddle them with a bunch of cliché, homosexual stereotypes (because we’re all deviant villains, am I right?!). But instead of learning how bad it is to be swishy and fabulous, all you got was a generation of gay kids with evil role models. (Hey, we had to find that representation SOMEWHERE.)
We’re not saying all these character are gay. We’re just saying if you’re gonna code your villains with queer stereotypes that queer people have to actually deal with, they’re ours now. They may be stereotypical, murdering hot messes, but they’re OUR stereotypical, murdering hot mess. Some of these characters are offensive, some are just fun, but one way or another, they all ended up being fabulously queer AF.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Tamatoa...and Scar...and Maleficent...and Prince John...and Ratigan...and Hades...and Captain Hook...and Ratcliffe...you get the idea. (And I lied. I hate Ratcliffe. Seriously, forget that guy.)
Apparently all you have to do to be a Disney villain is fabulous. Even their TV shows villains like, Shego and Negaduck, fall into this trap. (Okay maybe Disney needs to back off this trope. And by maybe, we mean definitely.)
Part fabulous Frankenfurter, part evil twin of the Blue Meanies from Yellow Submarine, HIM is...something else. A surreal, high pitched nightmare in thigh-high stilettos, HIM made you unsure whether you wanted to be super gay or super evil. Either way, we don't admire the Power Puff Girls needing to fight him.
How many queer awakenings did the wickedly sexy (oh, and also evil and baby stealing) Jareth, in his skin tight pants, cause? We're betting that it’s probably a lot.
While the character is clearly interested in the opposite sex (as well as the same? Who knows. None of those Goblins were very hot...), his appeal was unable to be resisted by both genders.
There are lots of these characters in anime (maybe more so than in Western media), but Orochimaru is definitely the king of them. With a soft voice, and a beautiful, effeminate look, this character is obsessed with youth and, uh...the bodies of young men. (To stay young, of course. Only to stay young. No other reason at all!)
The character even disguises themselves as a woman and keeps a harem of young, powerful men around them. (To be fair, this may be as much about the gender disparity apparently going on in the ninja world.)
Frank-N-Furter literally IS the trope of the queer-coded villain, to the point it feels a little bit like cheating to add him here (but we’re guessing more of us love the good Doctor here than the older villains he was spoofing). Rocky Horror Picture Show is a giant send up of all sorts of mainstream tropes, twisted into something that both fulfills and undermines the role it’s forced into. And Frank-N-Furter is the ultimate example of that: a pure, distilled, queer-coded villain if there ever was one.
Instead of pretending that his swishy dramatics aren’t suppose to be a wink and nod, he embraces them so very, very, very, very much.
With comics, it’s hard to define what’s in character since (especially with popular characters) that varies a lot from writer to writer. With that said...A LOT of writers have explored this angle of the Joker and Batman’s complicated relationships. (Some more than others, but it’s far from a one-time thing.) And no one can argue that he isn’t a very sharp dressed man, no matter the version.
Angels are generally considered to beautiful creatures whose gender is, let’s say, less the relevant. Maybe that explains why Satan is often queer coded as a flamboyant man (along with his minions). This version of the trope is so specific and common, it even has its own name: Flaming Devil.
Futurama has Robot Satan, South Park has Satan ruling over hell with his boyfriend Saddam Hussein, and the list can go on and on and on...