Believe it or not, there once was a time when television and filmmakers utilized villains to portray a bunch of cliché and homosexual stereotypes because, duh, all gays are deviant villains (supposedly.) However, whatever plan was behind this idea in the first place backfired, because now all we’re left with is a generation of gay kids with evil role models who had to find representation for themselves somewhere.
These characters aren’t gay, per se, but it would be safe to say that no one should be surprised that the result of villains with queer stereotypes provides queer people with inspiration. These characters may be stereotypical, murdering hot messes, but love is love and they belong to us. Some of these characters are offensive, some just fun, but either way, they’re all fabulously queer AF.
Dr. Girlfriend & The Monarch
Ok so this is admittedly a little bit of a cheat to include two characters, but really you can't have Dr. Girlfriend or The Monarch they are so tightly knit as a queer (coded) couple on The Venture Bros.
Ok so the Mel Gibson of it all makes revisiting The Road Warrior kinda tough, but it's worth taking a gander at if just to check out its super queer and kinky biker gang led by the mega leather daddy Lord Humungus
This sinuous octopod taught us all about using body language as she slid from the inky darkness and wrapped herself around that sweet little mermaid. Based on real life drag legend Divine, Ursula managed to become a queer icon for both genders.
Actually, almost every Disney villain
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.
Xena: Warrior Princess
Okay, Xena is technically known as a hero, but when we were first introduced to her in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, she was a total villain on a hunt for revenge for her brother’s death. Either way, she represents everything that is power and domination, and her relationship with Gabrielle is an intimate portrayal of romance. Plus, the leather getup, the chakram, the war call? Please.
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.
Lord Maximus Farquaad
Lord Farquaad is just a bucket of grumpy fabulousness. There’s rumors that the character is based partly on former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who had a bitter falling out with the DreamWorks producer behind the film. Although this is simply speculation, we live for the rumor and Lord Farquaad, along with his parents Grumpy and Pea, serve drama, intrigue, and shade, which is all we need in a villain.
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.
Oh James, you adorable and terribly unsuccessful goof! When your team is made of fellow drama queens Jesse and Meowth, you gotta be ready to compete! And James doesn’t shy away from the challenge! Ever. At all.
You could do worse for a role model, to be honest.
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...
The Queen of Hearts
Walt Disney Pictures
“Off with her head,” I mean, need I say more? The Queen of Hearts is a fabulous and iconic villain that has seen many portrayals throughout the years (and we may be a little partial toward Helena Bonham Carter’s.) She represents the “heart” of conflict for Alice in Wonderland, and whether from the original text where the character was born or any on-screen version of her, she represents everything we yearn for in an iconic villain.