As you’ve seen in our previous article, television has started to get with the program in the past few years: we’re getting more and more lesbian* characters who are more than just The Gay One. There are a few ladies on the list below who I forgot about, when thinking of this article — because their sexuality is the least interesting thing about them.
These characters are interesting, multi-dimensional and diverse, as well as the shows they appear in. It doesn’t matter if you like sitcoms, sci-fi, fantasy or drama, you have a pretty good chance to find representation.
Name: Elena Alvarez
TV show: One Day at a Time (2017-..)
Why I love her: Elena is your typical 15-year-old, who just started to understand the world. She deeply cares about injustice and honestly wants to make the world a better place — and this could have turned into a mean-spirited portrayal of SJWs, but instead we just see how great it is to be young and full of energy. She is loveable, her coming out is incredibly sweet, and it’s especially endearing how she tries to figure out her own emotions, and her sort-of-crush towards a boy, before she fully embraces who she is.
Name: Denise (No last name? Really?)
TV show: Master of None (2015-..)
Why I love her: Denise is so cool. Not in a “trying very hard to seem like I’m not trying”-way, she is actually cool, the way we want to be. She knows who she is and likes that person. The character has been heavily influenced by the actress, Lena Waithe (originally she was intended to be white and straight), and it makes the performance very natural and laid back. On the other hand, I have not been able to find what her last name is, is it possible she doesn’t have one? Help me out here.
Name: Maia Rindell
TV show: The Good Fight (2017-..)
Why I love her: Maia is a young lawyer, who starts out her carreer by having her father imprisoned for running a financial scam and losing money for a lot of people. Her tasks now include not only being a succesful lawyer, but also dealing with the threats of angry strangers. Leslie Rose balances Maia perfectly: she can be lost and scared, but also smart and strong at the same time. It's abundantly clear how difficult this situation is for her, but it doesn't take away from her intelligence and competence. This story has nothing to do with her being a lesbian, which is the best part of the whole thing: a likeable, well-rounded and interesting, who just happens to be gay.
Name: Lana Winters
TV show: American Horror Story: Asylum (2012-2013)
Why I love her: Lana is an investigative journalist, who goes to Briarcliff Asylum to expose their inhumane methods. However, she gets committed to the asylum because of her homosexuality (the show is set in the 60s, when it was still considered a mental illness). Sarah Paulson is usually fantastic, but this is definitely her best part in American Horror Story, and one of the best characters in the series. Lana smart, strong and brave, a true survivor, who goes through hell and still able to come out on the other side.
Name: Maggie Amato
TV show: Younger (2015-...)
Why I love her: Younger is one of the best representations of female friendship on TV, and among these great women, the bestest best friend is Maggie, the OWL - older, wise lesbian. She is funny, laid back and caring. Her life is not so centered around the main character that she becomes a sidekick, but just enough that she is the type of friend everyone wants in their lives.
Name: Willow Rosenberg
TV show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
Why I love her: Willow is by far the best character in the whole Buffyverse. Even though she was one of the first gay women in primetime television, her characterization wasn't centered around her sexuality (which was no small feat in the 90s and early 2000s). She was defined by everything else: her intelligence, her nerdiness, her impossible fluffy sweaters and her generosity. She also had one of the best character arcs I've ever seen, transforming from a wallflower to a powerful which. She also had a boyfriend before she came out - and the way the show treated her relationships is something I still admire and rarely see. Her first love being a guy didn't negate her orientation or belittle her love towards Tara, and her being a lesbian doesn't mean she wasn't in love with Oz.
Name: Amy Raudenfeld
TV show: Faking It (2014–2016)
Why I love her: Faking It is an MTV-show aimed at teenagers, which brings certain annoyances to it - but it can be surpringly subtle and intelligent at times, especially because you don't really expect it. Amy is trying to find herself throughout the whole show, she constantly questions her identity - but the show makes it absolutely clear that this is absolutely natural and there is nothing wrong with being 16 and also not sure about whether you're bisexual or lesbian or something else. It also makes clear that if you're 16, you'll still worry about all of it, and it is also completely fine.
TV show: The Handmaid's Tale (2017-..)
Why I love her: I have watched all 7 seasons of Gilmore girls numerous times, and I honestly never thought that Alexis Bledel could be a good actor. Her performance in The Handmaid's Tale took me completely by surprise. I was honestly floored by how expressive she can be with just a few glances and very few words. Ofglen wasn't a particularly interesting character in the books, but Bledel was able to make her pain and anger incredibly captivating.
Name: Poussey Washington
TV show: Orange is the New Black (2013-..)
Why I love her: You cannot not love Poussey. She is smart, funny, generous, and beautiful - not just because of her physical attributes, but because her goodness actually radiates from her face. She is still not a one-dimensionally perfect character, we can see her make mistakes, we can see her make bad choices - and honestly, even the way she deals with her mistakes is admirable.
Name: Clarke Griffin
TV show: The 100 (2014-..)
Why I love her: Clarke is a smart, well-adjusted and rational girl who has to take up the responsivility of leading her people. Because of that, she also has to learn how to be strong, decisive and brave, and how to protect those who are closest to you.
Name: Big Boo
TV show: Orange is the New Black (2013-..)
Why I love her: Boo is not a particularly warm or fuzzy woman, she is often loud, abrasive or aggressive - but her relationship with Pennsatucky guarantees her a place in my list. Probably the main reason why season 3 is still my favourite: Boo, who doesn't have a maternal bone in her body, and basically built a survival strategy around only looking out for herself, takes in Pennsatucky, who is basically a is a lost cause, and helps her to let go of her anger and to become a more open-minded and centered person - this is one of the most beautiful relationships in the whole show.
Name: Kat Edison
TV show: The Bold Type (2017-..)
Why I love her: Kat is currently in the "I thought I was straight but I'm in love with a woman"-phase of her coming out, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Even though Bold Type is a glossy show - young women in amazing clothes working at a fashion magazine - but if we look under the fancy bags, the characters are actually pretty great. Kat is actually my personal favourite, who is sharp, witty, and even though she is fairly succesfull at a young age, she is never conceited. She is also a great friend and a good role model for young people finding their identity: she is actively trying to figure herself and her sexuality, she is open with her friends and partners, but also knows her limits and doesn't push them for anyone but herself.