GLBT characters have been featured in many anime TV shows you may have seen as a kid. Even popular titles like Sailor Moon, Dragonball, Dragonball Z, YuYu Hakusho, and InuYasha.
But before hitting the U.S. many of the “gay themes” are switched to subtle hints or completely erased.
Sailor Moon - Most noted is the fact that Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune were a lesbian couple in the Japanese version but referred to as cousins in the translation (1). There are also a lot of transgender themes where in the “Sailor Starlights” are male in human form but transform into female versions (2)(3). The villains Kunzite and Zoisite (4) were originally both male and in a relationship but Zoisite was changed to female in the US version. They did this again with the character Fish-Eye (5) who was both a gay man and transvestite.
Dragon Ball - General Blue from the Red Ribbon Army (6) was openly gay but all signs were removed. He’s still openly feminine.
Dragon Ball Z - Otokusuki (7) is openly gay and fights Trunks whom he also has a crush on.
YuYu Hakusho - Miyuki (8) is a male-bodied character with what are suggested to be fake breasts. In the US version she is entirely female and her “coming out” was censored. Shizuru Kuwabara (9), Kazuma’s older sister has been listed on Yuricon’s list of lesbians.
InuYasha - Jokatsu (10) is openly gay and frequently flirts with InuYasha.