Sailor Moon is famous for having a comparatively large cast of gay, bi and lesbian characters, and, depending on interpretation, trans* ones as well. The English dub is rather infamous for censoring these characters’ sexualities (though it’s far from the only dub to do this), so a lot of people who have never seen the Japanese version of the series did not know the truth about the characters. The usual method of censorship was gender-swapping, but when that was not possible, the relationship between the characters was changed to be…familial. (Which is its own can of worms right there.) For the most part I will be discussing canonical representations of LGBTQ characters, but there are a few (as you see in the picture here) that are debatable. For the debatable ones, I will put “FANON” next to them. And there are some fanon interpretations I’m not going to discuss at all since I don’t feel there’s enough evidence for them. (I give my reasons for this at the end – note that it’s perfectly fine to disagree with me!)
Usagi’s one true love is Mamoru and that is indisputable. However, in the manga, she doesn’t exactly act 100% straight, which makes me suspect she is bi-curious at least. This panel is from the Dark Kingdom arc, Act III. She has just seen Rei for the first time, and…well, this is not exactly a typical reaction a girl has for another girl. Usagi has hearts in her eyes and she’s dazedly following Rei (because she’s so pretty) instead of remembering her mission. This is a debatable moment of course, since it’s possible that Usagi’s initial reaction to Rei has nothing to do with romantic or sexual attraction. However, later on in the Infinity Arc, her reactions to Haruka are interesting. It’s clear that while on one hand she is guilty because she feels that letting Haruka/Uranus kiss her (twice!) is a betrayal of Mamoru, she’s also guilty because she clearly feels attracted to Haruka, and isn’t quite sure which gender Haruka is.
ZOISITE AND KUNZITE
Zoisite was the first of the English dub’s victims to get a gender swap. That’s right, Zoycite’s a dude. It was easily pulled off (as were many of the other gender swaps) because Zoisite is effeminate, but notice that, comparatively speaking, “she’s” very flat-chested. As far as their relationship goes, it’s clearly romantic, and such a major part of their characters, DiC couldn’t just cut all the scenes out and walk off whistling. However, the Zoisite/Kunzite relationship only exists in the anime. Zoisite and Kunzite are NOT a couple in the manga, nor are they gay. This is because Naoko Takeuchi had an aborted idea where the 4 Generals would be paired off with the 4 Inners (Mars/Jadeite, Mercury/Zoisite, Jupiter/Nephrite, Venus/Kunzite). Only Venus/Kunzite got any sort of development whatsoever (beyond Jadeite briefly mentioning his attraction to Rei) but these pairings aren’t officially canon. [Sailor Moon Crystal had not yet started airing back when this was written]
URANUS & NEPTUNE
Cloverway tried to disguise their relationship as “cousins,” but left in all the scenes of them being physically affectionate, and the romantic music accompanying them. So…more than a few kids just saw these cousins acting like lesbians, so depending on how you feel about cousin-cousin relationships, the result was that not only were these characters homosexual, they were incestuous lesbians. A+ job there, Cloverway. Haruka & Michiru are one of the most famous lesbian (or yuri, if you prefer) couples in anime. They are never shown kissing in the series (except in Sera Myu), but their body language and demeanour towards each other makes the nature of their relationship obvious. Haruka also clearly has a crush on Usagi, as she flirts with her constantly (and kisses her twice in the manga). Also, by the SuperS movie and the Stars TV series, they’re making innuendo at each other constantly, so their relationship has at least by then become a sexual one. They have lived together since the beginning of the S series, but by Stars, Setsuna has moved in with them, and the three of them raise baby Hotaru. Hotaru refers to Michiru and Setsuna as “Michiru-mama” and “Setsuna-mama,” but calls Haruka “Haruka-papa.” There were a few homophobes trying to argue that Haruka & Michiru weren’t a couple because they weren’t shown kissing, but let’s point and laugh at them.
We don’t actually see any evidence for Tamasaburou’s sexuality (he’s really too young for that) but the reason why I included him is because he was another victim of a gender swap in the Cloverway S dub. His name was kept the same, but he became a she. Another easy swap since Tamasaburou is also effeminate. This change was made because, at the end of the episode, he cross-dresses as a Sailor Senshi after becoming inspired by Sailors Moon & Chibi-Moon. Usagi and Chibiusa are weirded out by this, but what is even stranger is that Haruka and Michiru are weirded out by him too. Cross-dressing can be considered under the umbrella of homosexuality (e.g. the drag queen) BUT it does not necessarily mean the character is gay.
Also a dude! Surpriiise! Fisheye can be interpreted as one of the trans* characters in the series, because Naoko Takeuchi describes Fisheye as “wanting to be the best ball balancing girl” in her notes in the Materials Collection. Fisheye is also probably one of the most effeminate males in the series, and also enjoys cross-dressing. And he is definitely gay, since he prefers attacking male victims for their Dream Mirrors, and harbours an extremely deep crush on Mamoru, even kissing him while he’s unconscious at one point. Before the S and SuperS dubs came out, basically everyone predicted that Fisheye would get the “Zoisite treatment.” What we couldn’t have predicted was Zirconia’s gender swap. Like…why? What was the point of that?
YOSHIKI USUI (FANON)
This is one of Fisheye’s victims. I think the screenshot is pretty definitive, but the reason why this is considered fanon is because Usui is only in one episode and it’s never actually confirmed for sure what his sexuality is. Fisheye approaches him as a man, not in drag, which is a sign right there, but the body language of his assistant shown here tells me that they’re more than friends. Another clue is that the assistant was changed to be Usui’s “brother” in the Cloverway dub. They wouldn’t have felt that was necessary if they didn’t suspect something. Lastly, Usui is a fashion designer, a career stereotypically populated by gay men.
Now here’s a weird one – Seiya gets a partial gender swap in the ANIME. In the manga, the Three Lights are women who cross-dress as men. In the anime, they physically change sex (i.e. no breasts) while in civilian form, and change back when they transform into their Senshi forms. Although it’s not officially canon, it’s quite easy to interpret the Starlights as transgender characters. But either way, manga Seiya is originally female, and canonically in love with Usagi, so regardless of their gender presentation, Seiya represents a queer relationship. As for why this change was made in the anime, I’ll discuss my theories further in the full Starlights topic later on. There is some theorizing that Seiya’s love for Princess Kakyuu transferred over to the similar Usagi, but I do think that Seiya’s love for her was genuine. One thing that is a little irritating in the anime is that Usagi clearly tells Seiya repeatedly that she has a boyfriend, and yet they keep pushing their affections. At least near the end Seiya accepts that Usagi has not chosen them, nor will she ever choose anyone but Mamoru.
SAILORS LEAD CROW & ALUMINUM SEIREN (FANON)
Another one that is never actually confirmed in the series (anime only), but I think there’s enough evidence that there was something between them, if perhaps one-sided. I don’t think they ever were able to enter into a relationship since working under Sailor Galaxia probably had more than a few stresses. But Lead Crow repeatedly goes out of her way to help out Seiren, and gets frustrated at her ditziness not because she dislikes her, but because she’s scared for her. When Seiren dies, Lead Crow wraps her arms around her protectively, and clearly never gets over her death. She still thinks about her and talks about her often. And, when Tin Nyanko causes her death, Lead Crow’s last words were, “I’m sorry, Seiren.”
Some people interpret Hotaru and Fiore as possible homosexual characters. I am hesitant to view them this way – Hotaru and Chibiusa are still children, and it is not unusual for little girls to be physically affectionate with each other. If Hotaru was meant to be with Chibiusa, there wouldn’t have been so much attention given to Chibiusa’s relationship with Helios. It’s possible Hotaru may have an unrequited crush on Chibiusa (she’s certainly possessive of her in the manga), but I feel very uncomfortable about analyzing the sexuality of children.
As for Fiore, this is a manchild who has been isolated his entire life, and the only person who has ever shown kindness to him was Mamoru. Like Hotaru, his possessiveness of Mamoru is a childlike “This is my best friend and no one else can take him from me.” If he is the same species as Ail and Ann, he will have a very stunted and selfish perspective on love and friendship. I don’t think he’s capable of romantic or sexual attraction – at least, not yet. As for thinking that Mamoru is bisexual based on his relationship with Fiore, that’s a misinterpretation as well. He loves Fiore, but as the friend who comforted him after he was orphaned. Their relationship was completely innocent.