Down Under: A history of lesbian/bi visibility in Australia


5. Cross-cultural Lesbian Love (And Extreme Hotness)

In 2007, SBS produced the series Kick, set in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick (or as I like to call it, “home”). University student Layla Salim (Nicole Chamoun) has a peaceful existence living at home with her family and engaged to a good Muslim boy her adoring parents approve of, until she meets and falls in love with Jackie, a woman she meets at fencing practise (Romi Trower). The show only ran for a single series, and while it was absolutely jam packed with clunky dialogue, cheesy music and some horrifically wooden acting at times, it’s still a rather uniquely lovely tale of cross-cultural love and Nicole Chamoun is so ridiculously beautiful that one glance into her incredible eyes will make you swear on your life that the show is perfect. Go and find it — you won’t regret it.

And the rest

Other shows that have had queer female characters include Water Rats (1996-2001), Raw FM (1997-1998), and Stingers (2004) included girl-on-girl kissing scenes that were definitely NSFN (Not Safe for Neighbours).

… as well as the very blokey Last Man Standing (2005) featuring lesbian characters in need of sperm (of course), and ABC’s I Rock (2010).

Finally, Channel Ten brought us Offspring last year, featuring minor lesbian characters Renee and Kim who are (gasp) also trying to get pregnant! Bless them though, they are rather adorable and the show is currently filming a second series, due to hit our screens later this year.

Yes we can!

Ladies of Australia, I put it to you that when it comes to girl-on-girl action, Australia is not the dry continent that today’s conservative television creators would have you believe. If they fear being too edgy or controversial then they’d have to beat Ailsa Stewart getting naked and making out with teenagers now wouldn’t they?

There is therefore, no reason for us to accept the tokenism of Neighbours or Home and Away throwing in the occasional mini girl pash as if that’s all there is to tell; Australian television has a strong history of being at the forefront of socially progressive queer story-telling, and it’s high time we got back there.

Alright, don’t spare me, just come right out and tell me: Did I miss anyone? If you can name me one lesbian pash, or one queer female fictional character on Aussie television (we’ll do reality TV another day) that I’ve missed, I will officially owe you one Golden Gaytime (um, to any non-Australians reading this, that’s really not how it sounds.)

Thank you to Dr. Rebecca Beirne for her assistance in providing access to her research on this topic.

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