Television is now finally getting to the stage in which lesbian characters are appearing in mainstream programmes, being portrayed in a positive way and are embraced by all audiences. But that has been a long time coming.
So how did TV reach that point? Well, over the year’s television networks have dipped their toes in the water and given us lesbian couples that viewers have endeared to. Here are 13 of those couples that helped make positive changes in television and attitudes.
Willow and Tara (Buffy The Vampire Slayer)
How cute were these two? Yes, OK, Tara died, but while they were together they were a pretty awesome couple. They were also one of the first lesbian couples that had prominent airtime on a primetime American TV series, which in itself is quite cool.
Bette and Tina (The L Word)
Well, they had their ups and they had their downs, but boy, they were an awesome couple. Both successful career women, both very much in love, they split up, they reconnected, they had a baby and they remained together until the end of the series. These ladies did a lot for lesbians the world over and helped set a benchmark for other lesbian TV characters that appeared when the L word had finished.
Paige and Alex (Degrassi: The Next Generation)
This teen soap Canadian drama introduced Paige and Alex into the show in 2005 and explored queer relationships in a positive way, helping many teens accept and embrace their sexuality. Paige and Alex were a very popular couple amongst viewers and the show portrayed their relationship in a very realistic and positive way.
Madame Vestra and Jenny (Doctor Who)
Doctor Who has occasionally had the odd queer character but ‘Lizard woman from the dawn of time and her wife’ appeared in quite a few episodes and they were such a popular couple that Doctor Who showed them in even more episodes because the fan base asked for it. A lizard lady and a female human is just great.
Santana and Brittany (Glee)
Glee also had a few gay characters while it was on TV, but these two girls had such a positive relationship that they outshone the other queer characters shown. They communicated with each other so well, they were very much in love and even sang to each other. Glee had a very wide audience and Santana and Brittany were adored by many.
Carol and Susan (Friends)
Carol and Susan made history when Carol gave birth to Ross’s baby while she was in a relationship with Susan. These episodes were aired in 1995 and Friends was aimed at heterosexuals. These episodes brought about a lot of discussions surrounding queer relationships and parenthood which is not bad going as the series didn’t have much of a queer following.
Cosima and Delphine (Orphan Black)
Cosima and Delphine have had their share of ups and downs, but they have an intense attraction and love for each other which is very real. There have also been some issues between them both as Delphine has kept secrets from Cosima, again something real that does happen in relationships. Another positive is they haven’t killed them off yet either, as TV do have a habit of killing off queer characters. So, these two are obviously doing something right to still be with us.
Lauren and Bo (Lost Girl)
Lauren and Bo have done a lot for Lesbians in the way that they surround themselves with, and get support from, the people they call family. It’s a bit like our lesbian community. A strong network of people that care about you and understand you. These girls are also sex positive, a unique attribute in TV, especially around queer characters.
Steph and Lena (The Fosters)
This married lesbian couple with children are portrayed so realistically. They argue, kiss and make up, they talk things through, flirt and play fight. They are very multi-dimensional and are a great inspiration to other lesbian couples as well as showing the hetro community that lesbian couples are just the same as they are.
Jeri and Wendy Ross/Pam (Jessica Jones)
What is so great about Jeri is the fact she was changed from the comic character of a man into a lesbian female for the TV version, but she has the same complex, twisted and ambiguous character traits as her male comic book character has. This is also a great thing as women can be just like that, lesbian or straight, and it helps again to show that lesbians are just women after all, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Nomi and Amanita (Sense8)
In this show Nomi is a trans lesbian woman living with her bi-ethnic girlfriend. That’s fantastic in itself, but the past revolutionary difference? Nomi is played by a real trans actor and this is a first on TV. Usually trans characters are played by cis actors so this is ground-breaking stuff.
Waverly and Nicole (Wyonna Earp)
These two are great characters as they are such opposites. Nicole is a cop and Waverly is part of a family that are cursed. What an unlikely pairing! They’ve also both escaped death on numerous occasions which hopefully means there are no plans to kill them off any time soon. Another great positive.
Lesbian relationships on television are generally love-hate. Whether we love one character and hate the other, we love the representation but hate both characters, or whatever the exact storyline is, it’s hard to find a lesbian couple we actually like and want to learn more about.
What is it that has us hating these women so deeply? Well, no two are exactly alike, but generally, they’re relationships we wouldn’t really want to see in our own lives: The women break each other’s hearts in such terrible ways and still stay together? WTF? No one wants to admit that happens in real life, so we don’t want to see it on TV, either.
How many of these couples make you angry, too?
Shane and Jenny (The L Word)
Truly, The L Word brought us so many relationships to hate – but Shane and Jenny is one of the most universally hated ones. Realistically, we couldn’t picture Escape Artist Shane hooking up with someone with so many obvious attachment issues – ahem, Jenny – or crazy narcissistic Jenny just completely getting over the fact that Shane literally just hooked up with Jenny’s girlfriend.
No matter how much Jenny might be a clinger or a hypocrite, she wouldn’t forgive Shane that fast. And the only way that Shane would have been able to pick Jenny after everything that her friends constantly told her would be if she was still picturing Season One Jenny, the sweet and innocent one.
But Shane and Jenny barely even knew each other back then – Shane had to have been able to see the crazy hanging out.
Dawn Denbo and her lover Cindy (The L Word)
It’s not too often that you can predict the catastrophe that is a particular relationship right from the onset. One of these rare examples is Dawn Denbo and her lover Cindy from She-Bar in The L Word. These two are obviously deranged from the very beginning – I mean, who wants to be constantly referred to as someone’s lover? Not only does this set a precedence of ownership, but it also implies that Cindy is only good for one thing – and Dawn isn’t the only one she’s getting it from.
Then again, Dawn isn’t exactly a peach either. Would I say she deserved to be cheated on? Probably not – but she definitely deserved to have some bad stuff happen to her.
Camilla and Mimi (Empire)
This is a relationship that literally only exists to fulfill a possibility once marriage equality was legalized in the United States. Literally – this was confirmed by series co-creator Danny Strong. These two don’t love each other, and they belong to that portion of the (hypothetical) queer community that anti-equality advocates say will destroy the fabric of “traditional marriage” – and as such I’d like to formally reject them as representatives of lesbians and bisexual women.
Samantha and Maria (Sex and the City)
Who would have ever pictured Samantha with a woman? Answer: No one, because the writers didn’t let us believe there was a chance. Then, suddenly, plot twist – she likes the ladies, too. To prove this, she ends up with a woman she has nothing in common with – no chemistry, even. We just don’t like that. And then when Maria has to basically turn crazy before they break up? Yeah, I don’t buy it – there wasn’t even anything there to start with.
Tammy and Sarah (Transparent)
This is one that was pretty much doomed from the start, even if fans didn’t want to admit it right away. Realistically, if you leave your husband for your girlfriend, it’s probably not going to work out too great. When Tammy reveals her “true colors” and basically refuses to even acknowledge Sarah’s kids – hello, they’re part of your life now, too – Sarah gets out before things get too horrible. Of course, if Sarah had just left her husband before hooking up with someone else, maybe this whole situation could have been avoided. I guess we’ll never know, since the two both ended up bitter and single and alone.
Emily and Sara (Pretty Little Liars)
Okay, so these two were never really a couple, but the writers let us think they were going to go there for just a little too long. (Shame on you for intentionally queerbaiting a seriously believable queer character, by the way – not nice!) Anyway, the writers let us think that Emily and Sara were actually going to become a thing – and then had Emily knock her upside the face. You go, Emily.
Emily and Paige (Pretty Little Liars)
This is another one that had me yelling at the TV – but Em hadn’t learned yet. I mean, would you be able to form a relationship with someone who legit just tried to kill you a few episodes back? I couldn’t, but maybe that’s not a deal-breaker for our Emily. There are more than a few times when Paige royally screws up and I just wanted her to move away or get taken by A or something. Sigh. At least things finally ended – even if it did take just a little too long.
Adriana and Gia (90210)
Maybe I’m just a little bitter about seeing someone “try out lesbianism” as a way to deal with their boy problems, but Adriana and Gia’s relationship was a mess of stuff we don’t want to deal with. It even spawned a music video – a terrible, terrible music video. Seriously, if you haven’t heard the song, take a listen and see how much angrier you are at the couple afterward.
Tess and Lou (Lip Service)
It’s rough to be with someone who refuses to come out of the closet, and while it’s a completely respectable choice to stay in the closet, it’s not fair to force someone else back into the closet, essentially, to suit your own needs. It’s not her fault you’re not out of the closet, and it definitely wasn’t her choice. These two weren’t bad people, but they weren’t right for each other – no matter how cute they were together.
Nikki and Dutch (The Strain)
I love Dutch so much – even if she is a bit wishy-washy in her relationships. But I’d rather see her with Fet than Nikki. Hello, Nikki completely abandoned you for a long time, and stole all your stuff. Why would you even consider getting back together?! Stick with Fet – he’s good for you, and he’ll actually step up and help save the friggin’ world. Nikki would rather fight with you than fight next to you. You deserve so much better!
Leslie and Clarice (Chicago Fire)
Call me crazy, but the trope about an ex coming back pregnant and the two getting back together for this new family is… Strange. Maybe it actually happens, what do I know – but this couple showed why it’s probably not the best idea – at least not for everyone.
Willow and Kennedy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Lesbians aren’t just interchangeable – and the pairing of Willow and Kennedy definitely lacked the depth that Willow and Tara shared. This whole relationship seemed like an excuse for gratuitous onscreen canoodling, and it really didn’t feel like Willow gave a rat’s ass about Kennedy. (Not that she should have been in love with her or anything, but there should have been some chemistry somewhere.)
Jeri and Wendy (Jessica Jones)
This couple basically exists to remind us that rich person + rich person does not automatically mean their relationship will be happy and successful and magical. In fact, these two are pretty messed up right from the start. This is what happens when you cheat on your wife – be the bigger person and break up before pursuing the side chick! Come on!
Dana and Tonya (The L Word)
Tonya might just be the most horrible girlfriend on this entire list – I mean, she allocated Dana’s money to herself, and killed her cat. Who in their right mind would get engaged to someone like that?! You mess with animals, you get an immediate “no” from me, and how about a little autonomy in finances, too? If your woman wants to give you some money, she should feel free to do so without any pressure from you. Especially if you’ve already got your own decent paying job. Buh-bye, Tonya, we won’t miss you.
Lindsay and Melanie (Queer as Folk)
These two are basically the epitome of lesbian negative stereotypes – from their clothes, to their infidelity, to their man-hating ways (we’re looking at you, Melanie). It was one of the first lesbian relationships openly shown on TV, so we really wanted to like the couple. But it’s obvious that this show was written to cater the gay men and not the lesbians. It’s almost as if it’s denying the existence of lesbians in the Pittsburgh gay scene entirely.
I hadn’t, until a few days ago. Basically, this hashtag seeks to trend “fighting back” against the “LGBTQAAIP gaystapo”. Because, of course, we as the LGBT+ community, have the potential to majorly change things in our favor.
Like every member of the LGBT+ community is working to change things.
Like we’re trying to overthrow the cishetero patriarchy.
(Ok, so some of us are working really hard at that, and others are kinda just hoping it happens within their lifetime. Whatever.)
I’ll admit that I’m the prime candidate for queerbaiting. As a woman who couldn’t look gay even if I was dressed in nothing but a rainbow sports bra and flannel boxer shorts, I’m always secretly hoping that every might be gay character is totally gay.
It’s not really about turning everything gay, though – but this is a numbers game. The chances of producers listening to us are pretty slim, so we’ve got to cast a wide net and hope we catch something.
If we had 100 hashtags about characters we wanted to see gay, we might be lucky if we got one result. We’re not expecting a miracle – we’re just hoping for a little more representation. We’re not expecting a revolution – we’re just hoping for a chance.
Some might say, well, turning a Disney princess into a lesbian isn’t going to fix anything. The LGBT+ community will still face bigger hardships than seeing a queer character on TV. These are both entirely true statements – but we must take our battles one step at a time.
Queer characters on television are some of the easiest battles to win, because the producers understand that the queer viewership is a vital demographic. They need queer viewers, so eventually, they’ll probably give in to a queer character.
We don’t just want more queer characters… We need more queer characters. We need characters with homophobic families, characters with accepting families, and even characters with no family. Each of these archetypes has its own target demographic, and each one represents some kid who’s having a hard time being comfortable in her own skin.
Each one represents a teenage boy who isn’t like all the stereotypes, and just wants to see himself reflected in the show. Each one represents one kid who thought they needed to take their life to finally find peace. Each one is important, and each one needs to be shown as they really are.
Is it about turning everyone gay? No, I don’t really think so. I don’t think there are too many of us who actually seek to “convert” the straight people. I don’t think there are too many of us out there who set out to change who someone really is, and I don’t think there are too many of us who think that you can change who you really are.
Sure, maybe you can rewrite your habits and reprogram your thoughts, but can you ever really change?
I think maybe we’re just ready to have a voice. This is the age where everyone’s opinion is heard, no matter what their station in life. Some people even find a way to make their opinions heard even louder, through their popularity. But everyone’s opinion is heard, and maybe it’s time the queer community was included in that.
So maybe a hashtag isn’t going to change the world – whether it seeks to make it “us vs. them” or “we and ours”. So maybe there are bigger issues at hand. But does that mean we should stop fighting for media representation?
I don’t think we should.
If we’re searching for a voice, we have to first create one.
Admit it: When you see an adorable queer couple in a TV show, you feel a little bit of extra love for that show. Sometimes, we end up watching these shows just for the OTP we see – and it’s because they speak to what we want out of our own relationships. Whether they remind us of the relationships we want or the relationships we’re actually in, these couples really hit the nail on the head.
(Note: There may be spoilers within, so if you haven’t seen the movie or show that the couple is in, be warned.)
Which is your favorite? Do you have more to add? Don’t forget to comment and let us know!
Adele and Emma (Blue is the Warmest Color)
This is one of the biggest lesbian movies to come out in the past few years, and it’s not hard to see why so many people identify with this movie. Not only is it a believable lesbian love story, but it also intertwines the feelings involved with being a young adult – brilliantly portrayed in an artsy way that will send feelings of nostalgia to pretty much anyone. Although the movie has been criticized for the use of artificial vaginas in the sex scenes, what’s more important here – a realistic story, or actual sex? We’d prefer the first, thank you!
Betty and Helen (Masters of Sex)
However you might feel about the whole “marriage of convenience” idea, this movie – like Carol – deals with the difficulties of same-sex relationships in the middle of the last century. At the end, they end up coming out in the open anyway, and you can’t help but say “aww” as their relationship blossoms into something else. (Plus, who hasn’t wanted to see Sarah Silverman as a lesbian?)
Brittany and Santana (Glee)
These two opened the door for those who might be afraid to come out because of their social status in school – how often do you hear about lesbian cheerleaders?! (Porn excluded, of course.) These two shared a love that covered a whole range of emotions, and they even helped to bring a non-sexualized view of lesbian relationships to mainstream media – with these two being the most prominent example of a lesbian couple that isn’t just targeted at lesbians. (Although we probably love them just a little more.)
Carol and Therese (Carol)
Personally, I love historical looks at lesbian life, and these two are a great example of what lesbian life looked like in the ‘50s – including all the secrets, all the hiding, and all the complications involved. What’s even more impactful is that there are still so many people who are wrapped up in similar situations, even with the world’s “more liberal” leanings. Everything these two went through was so heartbreaking, not only for the pain they felt, but because it serves as a reminder that we really haven’t made that much progress in the last 60 years.
Maybe it’s just the sexual tension that was building up for so long by the time they actually got together, but Dana and Alice were definitely one of the cutest couples on The L Word. We were rooting for them from the start, and then when they finally became an item, it’s like all our cute little romantic prayers were answered.
Delphine and Cosima (Orphan Black)
While their relationship might have been a bit weird at first, it’s always nice to know that your partner knows you inside and out – and, truly, these two have a scientific connection that all of us who don’t live in a sci-fi world will probably never understand. More than that, Delphine represents the straight-girl-crush-turned-true-love that we all kinda wish happened more often.
Jules and Nic (The Kids Are All Right)
While much of this movie is a bit uncomfortable, the way the movie shows the lesbian moms in this movie is raw, believable, and honest – something that we don’t often see. These two will work their way into your heart and ensure that their relationship isn’t one you’ll soon forget. Even if you hate the rest of the movie (as some people do), Jules and Nic are the older lesbian couple we all secretly wish we knew.
Lena and Stef (The Fosters)
Ah, another set of lesbian moms that we all wish we could be – or have! Lena and Stef have their fair share of problems, but that’s what makes them realistic, and it melts our heart the way they manage to balance their “problem kids” with their love for each other. Their relationship could be strained or full of resentment, but it’s not, and we’re grateful for that.
Luce and Rachel (Imagine Me & You)
It’s hard to not love Piper Perabo or Lena Headey by themselves, so the two in a relationship together? Extra loveable, for sure. Not only is this one of those rare tales where the “bi-curious woman” doesn’t end up going back to her man, but they’re also super adorable together, even right from the start. There’s even a pretty believable almost-sex scene, where the ladies have that awkward first-timer sex that most lesbian films pretend is perfect. Hello, the first time is usually not perfect – so kudos to the director for making this one realistic.
Pauline and Victoria (Lost & Delirious)
Ah, boarding school love – one of the dream fantasies of the lesbian community (and also one of the biggest fantasies of the straight male community, but that’s not what we’re talking about here). These two learned about themselves, and each other, and ripped at our heartstrings as they did it. The movie might seem a little dated now, but it’s considered one of the classics of lesbian cinema. Just try to watch it without crying – I dare you!
Shane and Carmen (The L Word)
However you personally feel about Shane, I can pretty much guarantee that you were royally pissed off when she left Carmen just because her dad told her she’d do it eventually – and “might as well be now” or whatever stupid words he actually used. Carmen brought a sense of balance to Shane, and we were really, really hoping they’d end up together. Shame on you, Shane, for throwing away the best thing to ever happen to you. Shame! (It also doesn’t hurt that Carmen was my #1 favorite character from the entire show, but hey… That’s just how things go sometimes.)
Syd and Ali (Transparent)
It’s always a little rough when you are dealing with a character who didn’t come out prior to the start of their same-sex relationship, but season two of Transparent handled it the best way they could – and I, for one, am thankful for that. There might be some who doubt the authenticity of this relationship, but we can’t help but hope that they’ll figure everything out in the end. (Fingers crossed!)
Is it just me, or is there some unwritten rule somewhere that queer characters are either loved or hated, and rarely in between? Don’t get me wrong – I always love when there are queer characters in the first place, but some of them make me incredibly disappointed.
Sometimes I wonder – who makes these people up? Some of these characters are so unlikeable that I can’t imagine anyone being friends with them, let alone dating them. To each their own, I guess, but I really don’t understand it.
How many of these characters would you hate to hang out with? Do you have more to add? Let us know in the comments!
1. Shana, Pretty Little Liars
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I’m a near-obsessive PLL fan. I love their inclusion as a not-bumbling-idiot lesbian character literally as one of the main crew. It’s pretty sad that’s so groundbreaking, but hey – at least I get it somewhere. They’ve included quite a few queer characters already – and even though a few of them have now been killed off or sent away, most of them have been pretty… Normal. It’s so nice to see normal representation that doesn’t feel forced. Hallelujah!
Unfortunately, one of the pretty normal characters is the terrible, terrible Shana. She’s not exactly hate-inducing, for the most part, but she is a manipulative, back-stabbing wench who seriously did some emotional damage.
2. Tori, Lost and Delirious
I haven’t actually seen Lost and Delirious yet (it’s on my list), but every account of Tori makes me not want to like her. She might have her own problems, and in some ways we can all sympathize with having problems – but her character leaves Piper Perabo’s character, and no friend of mine would ever dump Piper Perabo!
3. Jessica, Kissing Jessica Stein
Of course, the idea of girl-meets-girl, girl-kisses-girl, boy-gets-girl-in-the-end automatically aggravates lesbians to no end. I know you can’t help who you fall for, but did you have to fall for him? Jessica’s character sounds a bit like me in some regards, so I’d probably get over my dislike eventually, but my heart would be broken the whole time.
4. Piper, Orange is the New Black
I feel like I’m supposed to want to hang out with Piper, and that’s probably why I wouldn’t want to. She seems like a younger, more homo-naïve version of myself (which is weird, because I’m pretty sure she’s older than I am?) but I can’t get over the fact that she’s just immature about so many things.
5. Kennedy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
This might be a little unfair, because it’s not Kennedy’s fault that I don’t like her. But she’s not Tara, and we’re pre-programmed to reject anyone who isn’t our favorite character’s OTL. But that doesn’t change the fact that Kenny definitely isn’t Tara, and she’s just distracting Willow from the appropriate mourning process. I mean, hello… She lost the love of her life and you’re just trying to get some? How rude.
6. Marissa Cooper, The O.C.
I can’t stand selfish people, and Marissa is a huge offender in that regard. She’s the pretty embodiment of every worst ex-girlfriend any lesbian has ever had in the history of ever and that would make her off-limits as a friend in my book. I could deal with her sad story if she wasn’t so hung up on herself all the time.
7. Maureen, Rent
At first I thought I was alone in hating Maureen, but it turns out she bugs the hell out of other people, too – as she rightly should. She’s pretty, but she uses her beauty to manipulate and use people. I wouldn’t be able to hang out with her because I just know I’d fall for her charms, and I really can’t be involved with someone like that.
8. Tamsin, My Summer of Love
Anytime someone is toying with someone else’s emotions, it’s an automatic “no” from me. I don’t tolerate my family members who do that, what would make me tolerate it in a friend? Tamsin was such a terrible person, and it really is a shame, because she’s so beautiful – don’t let the beautiful ones be evil!
9. Jenny, The L Word
I must admit: I had a pretty fat crush on Season One Jenny. But as she started to find her success, she let it warp her into this really awful person. She was manipulative, deceitful, narcissistic, cheating, animal abusing troll of a woman. Seriously, what the hell happened – and how do I make sure it never happens to me?!
10. Ashley, South of Nowhere
I feel like I’m alone among SoN fans on this one, but – despite my tremendous attraction for Mandy Musgrave as an actress, I absolutely hated her character. I feel like Spencer could have ended up with better, and as much as I didn’t care for her to be with Aiden, either, Ashley was just so… spoiled, and she felt spoiled, too. Can we have some bisexual ladies who aren’t rich snobs?
11. Ramona, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
There’s another bisexual character I’m not too terribly pleased with, too: Ramona. While she didn’t exactly do anything too terrible, I think that her dry humor and “let’s not make a big deal out of it” attitude about everything would put me off a bit if I were to try and hang out with her. I think the part of it that’s the worst to me is that I really, really wanted to like her – her crazy hair is fun and exciting… But I think I’d rather be friends with Julie.
12. Tina, The L Word
Call me crazy, but… I was not happy that Bette and Tina ended up together. Tina was a complete troll about the whole Angelica thing, from the very beginning, and I think I would have the hardest time being friends with someone who acted like that. Where the women on the show often ended up hurting one another, Jenny and Tina are the only ones who set out to hurt the people they loved, and that makes me not want to be friends with either one of them.
13. Paige, Degrassi
I had a crush on Alex for a long time, so when they first showed her kissing Paige, I was super happy. But then the more I thought about it, the more I really couldn’t stand Paige. She went crazy, and she totally took advantage of Alex’s love for her. Sure, Alex wasn’t exactly easy to be with, but Paige essentially grew to hate all the things she originally loved about Alex, and that never really sat right with me.
It’s always either AIDs, bullying/murder, or… You know… The arrow through the back of the head.
No spoilers here, but… That one actually caught me off-guard. I’m pretty sure I actually jumped because it was completely out of left field (literally and figuratively). I read up and found that it was essentially just a variation of the source material, and I was satisfied for a minute.
Which is probably what the producers were going for.
It seems like a minor difference to switch up a character who’s going to be killed off, but circumstantially, swapping a straight character’s death for a queer character’s death is adding yet another name to a long list of statistically doomed characters.
When we’re fighting as hard as we are for adequate representation, killing off the characters that embody everything we’re looking for in our queer characters: The strong, relatable ones that have more going for them than just sex and short skirts. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those characters, either, but statistically they’ll probably be killed off, too.)
Do we just feel like more gay characters die, because there aren’t as many of them?
That’s what I thought at first – after all, with only a handful of lesbians on the line-up until OITNB comes back, each one is automatically a larger portion – one out of five feels like more than five out of a hundred.
But Autostraddle did the math on this one, and it’s actually a little deeper than that.
This is to be expected, especially when you factor in shows like The L Wordwhere 99% of the cast plays queer female characters, or shows like American Horror Story and Scream Queens where every episode you’re basically betting on who’s going to die today.
But if those numbers still sound pretty high, they are.
A quick flip through both lists is a bit devastating, honestly. We’re definitely not saying that queer characters need to be invincible – but they shouldn’t be killed off just for a plot twist. Let their deaths have meaning.
Let us mourn their deaths, instead of just getting angry with the writers!
If there’s one thing lesbians love, it’s other lesbians. Hey, we are notorious for jumping into a fandom just because of lesbian subtext – and sometimes that subtext is quite a reach! But 2015 was full of lesbian relationships (both on-screen and implied) just begging to take our attention.
And, of course, the lesbians obliged.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a shipper. I think I always have been, but for a long time it was really hard to see my ‘ships come true. Thankfully, the past few years have been very generous, and my inner matchmaker is giddy.
But what happens when these relationships don’t work out like they’re supposed to? Either the writers break them up, or they kill one off, or – even worse – they publicly announce that those characters are definitely not interested in each other, nor will they ever be.
Our hearts are broken on their behalf – it feels almost like our best friend’s cat died. We just have to learn to move on, and hope that, maybe someday, they’ll end up together after all.
#15. Palex (Paige and Alex, Degrassi)
I was a huge Degrassi nerd as a teenager – I actually kept an active account on their little fan site (I can’t remember the name of it now) and made LiveJournal layouts with my favorite characters. OK, so it didn’t hurt that I happened to be around the same age as these kids, and they were going through things that were actually relevant in my life. When Paige and Alex kissed for the first time, it was one of the catalysts for me coming out. (True story.) The fact that their relationship is still breaking hearts almost ten years later means I’m not alone. (Although I did always want to see Alex get with Darcy!)
#14. Golly (Gail and Holly, Rookie Blue)
While I have yet to watch Rookie Blue myself, I’m inclined to start. This show is your typical cop drama (I can get on board with that) – but there are female kissing scenes in it! I know it’s a bit of a stereotype, but one way to ensure you have lesbians in your audience is to have lesbian characters – and apparently the romance has a solid share of lovers and haters.
#13. Reamy (Reagan and Amy, Faking It)
When I first started hearing about Faking It, I wasn’t really enthused. I sort of picked up that it was some high school girls pretending to be in a relationship with each other for some reason or another. But as time went on, I started seeing more and more members of the fandom popping up on my Tumblr – and I have to say, the pairing of Reagan and Amy is absolutely adorable. There are Reamy fans and there are Karmy fans, though – I wonder which ‘ship I’ll ship!
#12. Karmy (Karma and Amy, Faking It)
This is one of those canon-but-not-really ships we see sometimes. The characters are confused for lesbians, and you want them to really be into each other, but one of them was really just faking it the whole time. (Hence the name of the show!) As someone who has had many straight friends pretend to be my girlfriend, I think I’d sympathize with Amy in this Faking It ‘ship.
#11. Annalise and Eve (How to Get Away with Murder)
I love the idea of lesbian power couples (as I think most of us do), so Annalise and Even on HTGAWM are a match made in shipping heaven. Annalise is a high-profile defense attorney, and Eve is a lawyer who deals with death-row cases. The two are highly successful women with a passionate past – and of course we just know they’re going to get back together.
Carmilla is a web show I haven’t gotten the chance to watch yet, but it seems to fill the need of all those vampire romance lovers out there who are disappointed at the availability of lesbian bloodsuckers. With as many lesbians love vampires, wouldn’t it make sense that there’d be more? Anyway, in true vampire romance fashion, Laura is a young student and Carmilla is a 300+-year-old vampire – naturally! But somehow, despite these significant cultural differences, they manage to find love. Unfortunately, even when you live forever, relationships can still end – but we can hope for a reunion!
#8. Cophine (Cosima and Delphine, Orphan Black)
I can’t remember which KitschMix reader suggested I start watching Orphan Black, but I am so glad that I did – the relationship between Cosima and Delphine is complicated but beautiful (and Tatiana Maslany is gorgeous in every character). My partner has commented that she’s interested in seeing Helena in a lesbian relationship in the future – anyone want to ship it with her?
#7. Bubbline (Bubblegum Princess and Marceline, Adventure Time)
One of my first sleepovers with my current partner involved her introducing me to Adventure Time – and naturally the subtext going on between Bubblegum Princess and Marceline. After a long conversation amongst the fans, in 2014 it was confirmed that BP and Marcy had, in fact, dated – putting all our little lesbian hearts aflutter. Sadly, things obviously didn’t work out between them – but it opens the door for different same-sex pairings in the future!
#6. Brittana (Brittany and Santana, Glee)
Sometimes I feel like I’m the only lesbian ever who didn’t really get into Glee – but I spend enough time on Tumblr to get the gist of this ‘ship. For the five lesbians left who don’t watch the show, either, it details the comings and goings at your typical American high school. Brittany and Santana start off as BFWB’s, leading to them making out on screen and eventually confessing their love for each other. I do like that these girls are both cheerleaders, as opposed to the “traditional” softball or tennis playing lesbians. This relationship has gone back and forth, causing fans to rip their hair out in despair, but thankfully these two worked it out in the end and are apparently still together in the glimpse into 2020!
#5. Korrasami (Korra and Asami, Legends of Korra)
It’s still pretty ground-breaking to show same-sex relationships in animated shows, so the confirmation of a relationship between Korra and Asami a little over a year ago was a pretty big deal to anime-loving shippers. Apparently, everyone should have seen Korrasami coming – but some people still claim it’s a “reach”. Rest assured: The writers confirmed that this ‘ship really did sail.
#4. Vauseman (Alex and Piper, Orange is the New Black)
In my household, OITNB is one of very few shows all three of us watch religiously (me, my partner, and our puppy, of course). Alex and Piper are one of those couples that you don’t know why you want them to work it out, you just do. (I mean, it’s so obvious that they are terrible for each other! Why, why, why!) These two have been breaking hearts since the first season, but what’s eating at my heart is my poor sweet Nicky – please tell me she’s coming back in the next season!
#3. Bechloe (Becca and Chloe, Pitch Perfect)
I honestly never had any intention of liking Pitch Perfect – I’m not a fan of musicals, after all, but I do have a giant crush on Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow, separately – so, of course, when people start speculating about their characters getting together – I am definitely on board. When you find out that the actresses are actually on board with this idea, too – our Fictional Gaydar Senses go insane! Will they or won’t they? No one really knows where the future will take them, but you can always get your fill of their fanfiction in the meantime.
#2. Swan Queen (Regina and Emma, Once Upon a Time)
If you want an example of “when shipping goes wrong”, look no further than the Swan Queen fandom. When Once Upon a Time crew members Et Kitsis and Adam Horowitz each confirmed that Swan Queen will never happen. These two characters are definitely both straight, but they’re not opposed to having gay characters in the future. However, unlike most sunken ‘ships, this one actually outraged fans – enough that some vowed to never watch the show again. Yikes – talk about an overreaction!
#1. Clexa (Clarke and Lexa, The 100)
Clexa is a love story to rival Romeo and Juliet. They once were allies, but when Lexa betrays Clarke, all bets are off. Are they friends? Are they lovers? They’ve kissed, they’ve been through some tough spots, their feelings are still up in the air – but fans of The 100 want to know where this ‘ship is going, and soon!
So, which is it? Swanqueen, Karmy or Rizzles? Which fictional lesbian couple is currently ripping your life apart?
GLAAD have announced the nominees for its 26thAnnual GLAAD Media Awards, and although the year has been a challenging one for queer female visibility in film, it has been positive in other areas such as TV shows (drama, comedy and documentary) and music.
In the TV world, lesbian/bisexual characters and storylinesrode strong in 2014 and into 2015, and we now see a number of main-stream shows grace our TV screens with a flurry of positive queer female role models.
This was clear acknowledged by GLAAD who ensured to nominate a number of our favourite female star and showsfor awards.
“For nearly 30 years, the GLAAD Media Awards have raised the bar for inclusion in news and entertainment, transforming LGBT representation in media and moving the dial for acceptance across the globe.
It’s been a remarkable year for equality, and nowhere is that more evident than in the visibility LGBT people have gained across media.“
Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO
Although there is no major queer female-led film nominated, GLAAD did nominate academy award nominee The Imitation Game,Love is Strange,The Skeleton Twins, Golden Globe nominee Pride, and Melissa McCarthy’s comedy Tammy for the best wide-release film award.
In the Outstanding Artist Category, British singer, Sam Smith, is up against folk singer Mary Gauthier, rapper Angel Haze, punk rock band Against Me! and singer/songwriter Mary Lambert.
This year ABC tops the broadcast networks with six nominations, while HBO takes the most noms for a cable network with five nominations. To reflect the increasing diversity of LGBT storylines, GLAAD expanded the comedy and drama series categories from five to 10 nominees this year, to include a great number of shows.
ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy and The Fosters are all contenders for best drama, while Netflix’s Orange is the New Black picked up a second nomination for best comedy in a row.
In the documentary category The Case Against 8, about the landmark Supreme Case that overturned California’s ban on same sex marriage, was nominated along with True Trans with Laura Jan Grace, and To Russia With Love, about the Sochi Olympic Games and the Russian LGBT community. Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, which follows the lives of seven transgender youths and Showtime’s L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin, about gay women living in the southern United States also got nods for outstanding documentary.
In total, GLAAD announced 144 nominees in 31 English and Spanish language categories for the awards that will be presented at ceremonies in Los Angeles on March 21 and New York on May 9.
See the complete list of nominees below.
OUTSTANDING FILM – WIDE RELEASE
The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)
Love is Strange (Sony Pictures Classics)
Pride (CBS Films)
The Skeleton Twins (Roadside Attractions)
Tammy (Warner Bros. Pictures)
OUTSTANDING FILM – LIMITED RELEASE
Dear White People (Lionsgate)
Life Partners (Magnolia Pictures)
Lilting (Strand Releasing)
The Way He Looks (Strand Releasing)
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (Film Movement)
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
The Fosters (ABC Family)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
How to Get Away with Murder (ABC)
Last Tango in Halifax (PBS)
Masters of Sex (Showtime)
Orphan Black (BBC America)
Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family)
OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX)
Faking It (MTV)
Modern Family (ABC)
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)
Please Like Me (Pivot)
Sirens (USA Network)
Transparent (Amazon Instant Video)
OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL EPISODE
(in a series without a regular LGBT character)
“Deep Breath” Doctor Who (BBC America)
“Down a Tree” Good Luck Charlie (Disney Channel)
“Identity Crisis” Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime)
“Let’s Have a Baby” Playing House (USA Network)
“No Lack of Void” Elementary (CBS)
OUTSTANDING TV MOVIE OR MINI-SERIES
The Normal Heart (HBO)
The Case Against 8 (HBO)
L Word Mississippi: Hate the Sin (Showtime)
Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word (Logo / MTV)
To Russia with Love (Epix)
True Trans with Laura Jane Grace (AOL Originals)
OUTSTANDING REALITY PROGRAM
Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce (Fuse)
B.O.R.N. to Style (FYI)
Make or Break: The Linda Perry Project (VH1)
R&B Divas: Atlanta (TV One)
Survivor: San Juan del Sur (CBS)
OUTSTANDING DAILY DRAMA
Days of Our Lives (NBC)
General Hospital (ABC)
OUTSTANDING MUSIC ARTIST
Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues (Xtra Mile Recordings)
Angel Haze, Dirty Gold (Island Records/Republic Records)
Mary Gauthier, Trouble & Love (In the Black Records)
Mary Lambert, Heart on My Sleeve (Capitol Records)
Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour (Capitol Records)
OUTSTANDING COMIC BOOK
Hawkeye, written by Matt Fraction (Marvel Comics)
Lumberjanes, written by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis (BOOM! Studios)
Memetic, written by James Tynion IV (BOOM! Studios)
Rat Queens, written by Kurtis J. Wiebe (Image Comics)
Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan (Image Comics)
OUTSTANDING TALK SHOW EPISODE
“Issues Facing the Transgender Community” Katie (syndicated)
“Laverne Cox discusses ‘The T Word'” The View (ABC)
“Michael Sam” Oprah Prime (OWN)
“Pepe Julian Onziema” Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
“Robin Roberts” The Ellen DeGeneres Show (syndicated)
OUTSTANDING TV JOURNALISM – NEWSMAGAZINE
“Coming Out” Nick News With Linda Ellerbee (Nickelodeon)
“Gay and Muslim in America” America Tonight (Al Jazeera America)
“Gay Rodeo” This is Life with Lisa Ling (CNN)
“Infield & Out: Baseball for All” Morning Joe (MSNBC)
“Transgender Society” [series] Ronan Farrow Daily (MSNBC)
OUTSTANDING TV JOURNALISM SEGMENT
“Change is Coming to the South” Melissa Harris-Perry (MSNBC)
“Fired for Being Gay?” MSNBC Live (MSNBC)
“License to Discriminate?” Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN)
“A Model with a Mission” Alicia Menendez Tonight (Fusion)
“Transgender Tipping Point?” This Week (ABC)
OUTSTANDING NEWSPAPER ARTICLE
“A Christian Family, a Gay Son and a Wichita Father’s Change of Heart” by Roy Wenzl (The Wichita Eagle)
“For Transgender Service Members, Honesty Can End Career” by Ernesto Londoño (The Washington Post)
“An Identity to Call Their Own” [series] by Michael A. Fuoco & Mackenzie Carpenter (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“Longtime Utah LGBT Advocates Recount Brutal History” by Erin Alberty (Salt Lake City Tribune)
“When They Stopped Waiting” by Shaun McKinnon (The Arizona Republic)
OUTSTANDING MAGAZINE ARTICLE
“Do Ask, Do Tell” by S.L. Price (Sports Illustrated)
“The Forsaken” by Alex Morris (Rolling Stone)
“Inside the Iron Closet: What It’s Like to Be Gay in Putin’s Russia” by Jeff Sharlet (GQ)
“Sex Without Fear” by Tim Murphy (New York)
“The Transgender Tipping Point” by Katy Steinmetz (Time)
OUTSTANDING MAGAZINE OVERALL COVERAGE
OUTSTANDING DIGITAL JOURNALISM ARTICLE
“31 Days of PrEP” [series] (Advocate.com)
“Black Parents, Gay Sons and Redefining Masculinity” by Edward Wyckoff Williams (TheRoot.com)
“Conner Mertens came out to his college football team. Now he comes out publicly.” by Cyd Zeigler (Outsports.com)
“A Nun’s Secret Ministry Brings Hope to the Transgender Community” by Nathan Schneider (America.Aljazeera.com)
“A Year Later, ‘Nothing’ Has Changed Since Transgender Woman Islan Nettles was Killed” by Tony Merevick (Buzzfeed.com)
OUTSTANDING DIGITAL JOURNALISM – MULTIMEDIA
“Left Behind: LGBT Homeless Youth Struggle to Survive on the Streets” by Miranda Leitsinger (NBCNews.com)
“Why did the U.S. Lock Up These Women with Men?” by Cristina Costantini, Jorge Rivas, Kristofer Ríos (Fusion.net)
“With Technology I Didn’t Have to Sell My Body” by Kerri Pang (MSNBC.com)
“Young and Gay: Jamaica’s Gully Queens” by Adri Murguia, Christo Geoghegan (News.Vice.com)
“Young and Gay in Putin’s Russia” by Milene Larsson (News.Vice.com)
The Art of Transliness (theartoftransliness.com)
Box Turtle Bulletin (boxturtlebulletin.com)
Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters (holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com)
My Fabulous Disease (marksking.com)
Dragon Age: Inquisition (BioWare/Electronic Arts)
OUTSTANDING DAYTIME PROGRAM EPISODE
“Cementerio homófobo” Caso Cerrado (Telemundo)
“Maestro despedido por [ser] gay” Caso Cerrado (Telemundo)
“Un mundo de juegos” La Rosa de Guadalupe (Univision)
OUTSTANDING TELEVISION INTERVIEW
“Abigail Pereira participante transgénero de Yo Soy El Artista” Suelta La Sopa Extra (Telemundo)
“En cuerpo ajeno” Un Nuevo Día (Telemundo)
“Felicia en Ventaneando: Platica sobre su transformación” Ventaneando (Azteca)
“Identidad Sin Fronteras: Inmigrantes transgénero buscan nueva vida en EEUU” Despierta América (Univision)
“Intolerancia familiar” Realidades en Contexto (CNN en Español)
“Identidad sin fronteras” Panorámica (Univision/Pivot)
La Travesía del Atleta Gay (CNN en Español)
OUTSTANDING TV JOURNALISM – NEWSMAGAZINE
“Felipe Najera abre su corazón” Primer Impacto (Univision)
“Michael Sam confiesa su homosexualidad” Sin Límites (CNN Latino)
“Orlando Cruz habla de su vida” Al Rojo Vivo (Telemundo)
“Vínculos y rupturas” Aquí y Ahora (Univision)
OUTSTANDING TV JOURNALISM SEGMENT
“Corte Suprema de Justicia en EE.UU decline estudiar recursos sobre bodas del mismo sexo” Informativo NTN (NTN24)
“Posibles sanciones” Noticiero Telemundo (Telemundo)
“La historia de una [mujer] transexual” Café CNN (CNN en Español)
“Obama apoya la comunidad transgénera” Noticias MundoFOX (MundoFOX)
“Ya no hay obstáculos” Noticiero Univision (Univision)
OUTSTANDING LOCAL TV JOURNALISM
“En centros de detención” Noticias Telemundo Arizona (KTAZ-Telemundo 39 [Phoenix])
“Cobertura de Spirit Day” [serie] Noticias 34 (KMEX-Univision 34 [Los Angeles])
“Justicia para Zoraida Reyes” Noticiero Telemundo (KVEA-Telemundo 52 [Los Angeles]
“Nombran a la primer mujer gay al Tribunal Supremo de Puerto Rico” Ultima Hora (Univision [Puerto Rico])
“Tacones de charro” Noticias 34 (KMEX-Univision 34 [Los Angeles])
OUTSTANDING NEWSPAPER ARTICLE
“Caravana gay en contra la marginalidad social” by Panky Corcino (El Diario New York)
“¿Es la TV latina homofóbica? La respuesta te sorprenderá.” by Marta Sarabia (La Opinión)
“Gay, indocumentado y sin cuidados médicos” by Patricia A González-Portillo (La Opinión)
“Latino gay elegido alcalde de Long Beach responde a ataques homofóbicos” by Olivia Tallet (La Voz de Houston)
“Mamá, soy homosexual dijo Ricardo; su familia no entendió y lo corrió de su casa” by Selene Rivera (Hoy Los Angeles)
OUTSTANDING DIGITAL JOURNALISM ARTICLE
“Identidades invisibles” [serie] by Marcos Billy Guzmán (ElNuevoDia.com)
“Identidad sin fronteras, un documental sobre los inmigrantes transgénero” (PeopleenEspañol.com)
“Una misión: repartir amor” by Istra Pacheco (PrimeraHora.com)
“¿Qué tan difícil es salir del clóset en Colombia?” (BBCMundo.com)
“Ser gay en China: La bandera del arco iris ondea libremente” (CNNEspanol.CNN.com)
OUTSTANDING DIGITAL JOURNALISM – MULTIMEDIA
“Derechos de los homosexuales entran a la campaña electoral en Brasil” by Shasta Darlington (CNNEspanol.CNN.com)
“Hispanos LGBT quieren su propia reforma” by Álvaro Ortiz (LaVozTX.com)
“Maité Oronoz jura como juez asociada del Tribunal Supremo” by Rebecca Bamuchi (PrimeraHora.com)
“¿Que es ENDA?” by Cary Tabares (Univision.com)
“Venezuela: Madre lesbiana pide al Parlamento reconocer derechos de su hijo” (EFE.com)
“Era Diferente” Los Tigres del Norte
So we here, its 2015 and the year is already looking promising for LGBT audiences and in particular lesbian viewers. Here are just a few of the exciting LGBT themed projects scheduled for release in 2015.
One Big Happy
This new show from NBC, has Ellen DeGeneres at the helm, as executive producer. The series stars Elisha Cuthbert as Lizzy, a lesbian who agrees to get pregnant and start a family with her straight male best friend Luke (Nick Zano), right before he falls in love with and marries a British girl named Prudence (Kelly Brook).
Empire is FOX’s new drama from out writer/director Lee Daniels and produced by Ilene Chaiken. The show premieres January 7, and follows Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), the CEO of a successful record label who is diagnosed with ALS. Lyon is looking for a successor in one of his three sons. His son Jamal (Jussie Smollett) is a talented musician and gay, which infuriates his father, though he has the support of his mom and Lucious’ ex-wife, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) who has just been released from prison. The show will also have cameos from Raven Symone, and her GF AzMarie Livingston and Courtney Love.
Grace and Frankie
The Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin-starring Netflix original comedy series Grace and Frankie will premiere in 2015. The 13-episode half hour series focuses on archenemies Frankie (Tomlin) and Grace (Fonda) who find their lives changed completely and permanently entangled after their husbands Sol and Robert (Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen) announce they are in love with each other and plan to marry.
My Transparent Life
ABC Family this month announced a new reality series ‘My Transparent Life’ from Ryan Seacrest Productions. The show centres on Ben, a teenager who learns that his parents are getting divorced at the same time he learns that his father will be transitioning. The show is described as “a generational story of a loving family and circle of friends supporting one another through this unfamiliar and unexpected situation.” Unfortunately, no premiere date has yet been set yet for this show.
Another new Netflix original show from trans creator Lana Wachowski and her brother. The show is due to premiere in the new year, is about eight strangers around the world who find themselves suddenly mentally and emotionally connected following a violent death. Each of the season’s 10 episodes will focus on one character’s story as one entity tries to bring the eight together and another tries to kill them. The cast of characters will include Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre), a closeted Mexican telenovela leading man, his boyfriend Hernando (Alfonso Herrera), and a transgender American blogger, Nomi, played by trans actress Jamie Clayton.
There are several of our favourite LGBT-inclusive shows returning for new seasons in 2015. Some highlights include Glee’s final season, Transparent will return to Amazon for a second season and the Netflix hit Orange is the New Black will air a third season.
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