We are living in a Golden Age of real-life lesbians on TV. We can get our news from lesbians, our talkshow opinions from lesbians, our financial advice from lesbians, our reality TV kicks from lesbians. They’re EVERYWHERE. And here are some of our favorites:
Bridget McManus: My pick is the hilarious lesbian comedian Fortune Feimster. Fortune is a writer and roundtable regular on Chelsea Lately, she was featured on the 2010 season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing and she’s a former member of Brunch with Bridget‘s dance troupe Dance Magic (which means that she danced around in a leotard on television).
Fortune has always been out in her career which I admire and greatly appreciate. Most importantly I’m lucky enough to be good friends with Fortune and let me just say that she’s as wonderful on the inside as she is on the outside. Not that I’ve been inside of her.
Marcie Bianco: There’s something that tickles-me-softly every time I see Sara Gilbert on The Talk. She’s so demure, so humble—I wish she’d “talk” more often (especially considering some of her garrulous co-hosts), but then that would diminish her mysterious allure. She is so sweet and enjoyable; who doesn’t LURV Sara?
Grace Chu: While The Real World in the past decade has at times become virtually indistinguishable from The Bad Girls Club or Jersey Shore, occasionally someone who is well adjusted, level headed and just plain awesome manages to squeak by unnoticed in the casting process.
Most recently, that person was Sam McGinn of The Real World: San Diego, a butch lesbian who was a tireless proponent for gay rights and who got along with everyone in the house, unlike the hotheaded Frank, who shrieked his way through San Diego before heading to Los Angeles. (Condolences to the City of Angels.) Because Frank was such a hot mess he received more airtime than the rest of the cast combined, and consequently poor, emotionally adjusted Sam received next to bupkis.
Highlights of Sam’s too limited presence in the season include a heartfelt stand against homophobia in episode 5 and the unveiling of her drag king alter ego $hawn Jade in episode 10. Sam was always willing to lend an ear to her housemates and stood up against prejudice without losing her temper.
Trish Bendix: Carrie Brownstein plays herself in some of the Portlandia sketches, but she also plays several other hilarious characters, including Toni, the feminist bookstore worker who was crushing super hard on Heather Graham last season. She also plays a deep-voiced dude in the “Caocao” sketch, and rocks the white tank and mustache. And it was just announced she and her cohort Fred Armisen will be animated for an upcoming Simpsons episode. Carrie is having the best year ever.
Heather Hogan: I sometimes take for granted the fact that the most famous lesbian in the world dances her way into a billion living rooms five days a week via her talkshow. In terms of positive visibility, we couldn’t be blessed with a better ambassador than Ellen DeGeneres. She’s affable, she’s talented, and she’s nearly universally beloved. She doesn’t shy away from talking about gay issues, but she does it with such grace and charm that it never feels like a PSA. And besides all that technical stuff, I just think she’s hilarious. An absolute joy. I hope she’ll keep entertaining us (and speaking up for us!) for decades.
Karman Kregloe: I loved watching out dancer Sasha Mallory tear up the floor on the last season of So You Think You Can Dance. The combination of her raw power, effortless grace and great attitude made her a pleasure to watch each week. That’s why I was so happy to learn that she was an openly lesbian performer (and that my gaydar was still properly functioning).
Dara Nai: My favorite real-life gay ladypants to watch on TV is Fortune Feimster on Chelsea Lately, and I’m not just saying that because we’re friends and she’s equally at home having Thanksgiving dinner with us as she is sitting next to Jennifer Aniston two hours later, which is what happened this past year. I’m choosing Fortune because she’s effortlessly hilarious, she writes her own jokes (unlike, cough, some others, cough) and looks great in a unitard. Bonus: Fortune happens to be one of the nicest people in the whole wide world.
TheLinster: I still swoon over Rachel Maddow. The voice, the blazer, the raised eyebrows when something idiotic happens (which, in an election year, is many times a day). When she geeks out, I giggle like a little girl.
And I know that when she’s talking, she’s looking right at me. Thinking about it takes my breath away a little. One day she will mix one of her classic drinks for me and we will talk about the time we met and she had to keep reminding herself of how much she loves Susan. Hey, it could happen.