So, why these characters and what makes them stand out against all others (I’m being optimistic about the quantities of gay characters out there)? Basically I ended up basing this list on several things; mostly who is pretty much definitively gay (or possibly bi), meaning not including those who are open to conjecture such as Emily Prentiss from Criminal Minds, who just screams lesbian but there is no direct commentary on the point within canon… as yet. Also, the characters I enjoyed seeing and looked forward to their story lines and genuinely wanted to know where they were going to end up. In the case of this list you have 5 pretty definitive ‘happy ever afters’ (as far as canon is concerned), 1 life left in the balance, 2 not so much in balance as decided and a couple of uncertainties. Not bad odds generally, not in this oeuvre anyway.
All the women on this list are strong minded and know who they are, they might not always exhibit these wants and desires in the best possibly way but you know they know what they want. They are all admirable characters who are realistic, yes even the comic book girl to an extent, in that you can believe these types of women exist because you’ve seen them or know(n) them. They are all functional and successful in what they choose to do, and they never hide who they are for the sake of others.
Some of them I have more to say about than others, that is not necessarily a commentary on how much I like the said characters but sometimes it is because they are fresher in my mind or simply because I found them more engaging for whatever reasons.
Finally; three are from film, one from a comic book and the other six are from television series’. Originally I wasn’t going to be so far reaching with where I chose the ladies from, but in the end the decision was almost made for me as these are the first ten who sprung to mind. Plus I included pretty pictures, so go forth and look at the pretty.
(I have also tried valiantly to make sure that this is not just another variation of a Shaglist… or in my case ‘dinner and a movie’ list, so whilst I admittedly would if I could; really only three are on my proper list, you can probably spot them if you think about it.)
1. Silvia Castro – Los Hombres des Pacos (Spanish television series – ongoing, though not this character)
I love that this character is an utter nerd/geek who even snorts when she laughs. She is incredibly endearing even when she is being as stubborn as a mule. She has always loved Pepa, but was seemed scared or reluctant to admit it and follow through with everything that would follow such a declaration, yet ultimately she allowed herself to be happy with her, even if she didn’t originally think that they were meant to be together.
She is deceptively strong of character, stubborn, smart, loyal and incredibly honest. She can be somewhat straight laced, though with Pepa in her life she seems to be relaxing slightly in that regard and can be a lot of fun when she lets herself be so. Pepa seems to bring out the best in her and vice versa.
She and her partner/wife, Pepa make up one of the most stable couples on this show. They were meant to be together, from their first kiss at their nieces confirmation (Oh yes, they are sisters in law) when they 17/18 until 10 years later when they happen to meet again. Theirs is a beautiful and well told story spanning nearly four seasons. They are such contrasting characters that you are certainly never bored watching their relationship develop.
Her story, indeed their story, as you really can’t have one without the other after a point, is a journey of their developing love and devotion and one of self discovery and she is certainly not dull to follow along.
I love her because she is someone within whom I can recognize a lot of myself and because she isn’t some over sexualized unrealistic representation. You can truly believe that she is a person who exists.
2. Amina Harken – The World Unseen (Film)
A truly unconventional girl of her time, the Indian/South African 1950’s version of Idgie Threadgoode in many ways, though she is very much her own character. She is a believer in the freedom of herself and others and does what she is able to fight against Apartheid often at risk to her herself.
She is not the type of girl people would expect her to be, she is true to herself and her friends, nothing more or less. She is loyal, attentive, hard working, brave and honest. She is gentle, protective of others yet she is still cautious. She is rebellious and helps anyone and everyone who approaches her and asks, she treats black and coloured alike the appearance of people makes very little difference to her.
She falls for another woman, whom she loves for who she is and never asks her to change for her, which is something Miriam’s husband seems to be asking of her, or at least asking that she deny parts of her personality and be submissive to him like a good wife.
3. Juliette Gagnon – Marienhof (German television series – storyline just ended)
This lovely lady is a fairly new discovery for me via the German soap; Marienhof. Her character is one half of the pairing ‘Keriette’ (Kerstin Töppers/Juliette Gagnon) and she was introduced for a six month story arc which has just reached its conclusion.
She’s a bit of a subtle character, in one way she is quite young and innocent/naïve, cautious in her actions and in her dealings with those around her, she seems to have quite a fiery temper at times. If she commits to something then it is total and resolute. She is very self-contained and can come across as quite self-assured. She can also come across as being something from the Fae. Yet, she knows who she is and what she wants from life, and she certainly won’t pretend to be anything other than who she is, despite what others might want of her and can therefore comes across as quite self-confident as well. It is that which draws me to her, her integrity and honesty, that she won’t just back down but she is willing to make.
She is quite an intriguing character as we know relatively very little about her, we find out fairly early on that she is gay, she is French and a chocolates, other than that, such as why she is in Marienhof, who her family are, who she is or what she does when she isn’t working in Back Dat or near Kerstin we know little. Admittedly we later find that her father appears to be French and her mother might be German seeing as the phone conversation they have is in German and that she is homesick, which makes her seem all the younger.
She is quite wilful and will seemingly fight (albeit in a non-physical way) for Kerstin the woman she has fallen in love with. Yet she is also very magnanimous of character, she is willing to forgo her own happiness in order for Kerstin to be happy, she is willing to be the bigger person between her and Raul and she will accept just being Kerstin’s friend if she is happier with Raul than she could be with her. Indeed she initially puts up with a lot from Kerstin who seems to be happy to string her along with her own confusion until both Juliette and Raul put their collective feet down and ask her to make a decision.
She is a character that you could very easily fall for with very little outside influences, she certainly turns my crank.
4. Willow Rosenberg – Buffy the Vampire slayer (USA television series – ended)
This is a character that I watched from start to finish with both amusement and sadness, but always with great interest, even when she was “The softer side of Sears” I thought she was awesome and underrated by her peers.
Of all of the Scoobies Willow probably had the most extended and broadest character development from; shy nerd, to beginner wicca, gay to, magic junkie, destroyer of the world (nearly) to goddess and still geek, but a slightly better dressed one. O loved that she never really changed for anyone else all of her changes seemed like natural progressions for her character and her story.
Willow is (because she continues to be in the Season 8 comics) funny, smart, geek, nerd, loyal, reliable and always there for Buffy and the slayerettes.
An outcry was caused when she fell for Tara and left her relationship with Oz behind (after he had gone and left her) though it also signified her move towards adulthood, indeed for a long time Tara and Willow were the stable and reliable couple in the world of the scoobies, becoming surrogate parents to Dawn after the death of Joyce. What I particularly liked about this aspect of her storyline was that it didn’t really come out of left field, she has yet to return to ‘boystown’ and never went through some great angst questioning stage about it all, the only thing that caused her pause was in telling Buffy, which is interesting in it’s own way I suppose.
Even when she was trying to destroy the world, and certainly afterwards, I loved that she was still very much Willow, the original character hadn’t gone away she’d just developed. She made bad choices though I suppose hers were rather more life changing than most, but apart from the severity of events she was a teenager and that showed through the choices she made.
Willow is awesome, from the very beginning to the present day of her development and nothing is going to change that fact.
5. Katchoo (Katina Choovanski) – Stangers in Paradise (comic book by Terry Moore – concluded)
She is someone who is in love with her best friend and has been since High School. She is violent, loyal, supportive, an artist, was once a call girl working for crime boss Darcy, yet despite her finer qualities she doesn’t truly have anyone who does the same for her. Francie does to an extent but she is so wrapped up in her own queries and neuroses that it isn’t always obvious.
Her frustration about the situation she is in with Francie is often palpable (which is impressive for a comic)
She is one of my favourite fictional characters yet I find it difficult to pinpoint why and equally I find that I don’t have all that much to actually say about her, certainly not without giving a lot away for the epic plotlines that make up Strangers in Paradise, which would be ruinous for any who haven’t read them and want to, an utterly worthwhile endeavour I might add.
6. Lara Perkins – The L Word (USA television series – ended)
She is a straightforward type of person, though she doesn’t give everything away, she is honest and caring and won’t hide in anybodies closet. She doesn’t register on The Chart, which means she is either new to the area, not really into sleeping around or simply doesn’t advertise her conquests like Shane, (for which Lara gets major kudos for not shagging Shane, I don’t understand that phenomenon at all and why would you want to sleep wit Shane?)
I love that she is a nice mix between femme and something not butch but perhaps tomboy, she wants to be the one who is asked but she is willing to put herself out there in order to achieve that. She is self-assured and knows what she wants, she is very gay, somewhat like Dana, she would never take Dana’s shit and wouldn’t be her dirty little secret. She is firm but kind.
It is a shame that even with the loss of Dana that Lara didn’t really stick around, however given that after Dana the show truly became a train wreck perhaps that is for the better I would have hated to see what happened to her.
7. Dr Arizona Robbins – Grey’s Anatomy (USA television series – ongoing)
Here is another lady who is unapologetic for who she is and refuses to be anything other than who and what she is. She is McPerky, or McDreamy 2.0, she wears wheelie-sneaks and has butterflies on her scrub cap, she’s a paediatrics surgeon.
She is a bit of a dichotomy, especially in the beginning, she approaches Callie, then upon hearing that she is a ‘newbie dyke’ immediately backs off making Callie chase her because she doesn’t want the hang ups and drama that comes with newly out people, she’s been there and done that. Their relationship is entirely realistic and in a nice twist they are the most stable couple at Seattle Grace Hospital.
She’s stubborn, cries in the face of authority and is fiercely protective of those she loves even against other people who claim to love them, such as Callie’s father.
8. Luce – Imagine me and you (Film)
She is strong, funny, self deprecating and just wants to do the right thing. She falls for Rachel who recently married her long time boyfriend and tries hard not to fall for her as she believes that you shouldn’t come between other people, even if that means denying her own desires.
She is a florist (how very gay, though perhaps not your usual angle on the stereotype) and that’s how she met Rachel, when she did the flowers for her and Heck’s wedding.
She has an amazing relationship with her mother; they are both very supportive of each other but refuse to let each other wallow in their respective misery.
She just seems like a very real character, you can believe that she is someone that you could meet, though perhaps you wouldn’t necessarily stand on the bonnet of an SVU and shout “You’re a wanker number nine” across a crowded street in London for, or maybe you would.
9. Ruth Jamison – Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café (Film)
This is one phenomenally strong woman; don’t let her appearance fool you, she leaves her abusive husband to be with Idgie. Of course there are some who argue that Ruth isn’t actually gay, to them, for the purpose of this essay; I say ‘She is too’. She is a character that I feel is often underrated, everyone I know who had anything to say on the matter, always falls for Idgie and passes over Ruth thinking her passive and uninteresting.
I often suspected that Ruth was even gayer than Idgie, at least for Idgie, but convention and desire to appease her parents led her down a more conventional path, it wasn’t until the death of her parents that she seemed to decide that now was the time to start living for what she wanted and who she wanted.
I always found her more appealing, partly because she is such a dichotomy; she is religious and very much a lady and because of these traits, at first sight she just doesn’t seem the type as it were. Ultimately she has more to lose by admitting that she loves Idgie and is therefore stronger and more determined. I like her moral integrity and her loyalty, her humanity and generosity, all of which Idgie has too but not nearly to the same extent as Ruth.
10. Dr Marina Ranieri del Colle – Terapia d’Urgenza (Italian television series – ended)
In retrospect, in so much as now I have seen Arizona Robbins in Grey’s Anatomy and the entirety of Terapia d’Urgenza, I have come to the conclusion that Marina and Arizona are far more similar than might at first be apparent. Perhaps I should clarify and state that if Marina wasn’t in Italy and under the repression of Catholic Church opinion, maybe she’d be even more like Arizona Robbins.
She is not obviously gay until you get to know her a bit more, then there is just something about her that you realise ‘works’. Despite her environment, she is unwilling to hide who she is. She is strong and forthright, not the easiest lady to get on with initially, as her girlfriend Esther could very well attest to. She is abrupt and sure minded and goes after what she wants in life and doesn’t back down, though sometimes this can be a hindrance also.
She is a fantastic paediatrician as she is excellent with kids, equally she is great with Esther, though a mite impatient at times, seemingly expecting Esther to instantly ‘catch up’ to where she is in her life. Yet she is also very chivalrous whilst still being slightly femme, though it not in comparison Esther, she is the quite the romantic, she is the wooing and dating type. Though she doesn’t always make the best of decisions for herself, her affair with Vero a married wom
Whilst she is incredibly supportive of Esther and her coming out problems she won’t take on her neuroses either, though that doesn’t mean she isn’t sympathetic, just that she has been there already. I especially like that she is well rounded, she has her positive traits but she also has flaws.
Naturally the list is heavily subject to change and is therefore inconclusive, as things of this nature often are, though unless something truly radical happens involving lesbian characters in TV or film there are a couple on here for whom my opinions are never going to alter.
Generally they are all characters I fell for or became quite attached through their storylines etc They all have many characteristics in common with each other, which from my comments are probably fairly obvious, though it is not especially of appearance more of type. I like their attitudes to life and others and the regard with which they then hold themselves and others.
For varying reason these lovely ladies didn’t make it into the ten above, partly simply I advocated my own preferences and partly due to the conjecture/ veracity of a characters ‘gayness’.
Emily Prentiss (Criminal Minds – USA television series – ongoing)
Callie Torres (Grey’s Anatomy –USA television series – ongoing)
Idgie Threadgoode (Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop café – Film)
Tara McClay (Buffy the Vampire Slayer – USA television series – ended)
Monica Reyes (X-Files – USA television series – ended)
Lenara Kahn (DS9 – USA television series – ended)