5. Bette Porter (The L Word)
Played by Jennifer Beals (2004-2009)
Bette Porter never met a power suit she didn’t rock or an F-bomb she didn’t drop. No matter how many times she cheated, no matter how many babies she kidnapped, no matter how unfortunate her pirate costumes were in the fifth season, we were always willing to welcome her back with open arms. (Tina wasn’t always quite so generous.)
6. Dr. Callie Torres (Grey’s Anatomy)
Played by Sara Ramirez (2006-present)
Dr. Callie Torres has the unique distinction of being one of the only bisexual characters on primetime to have enjoyed relationships with women that lasted past Sweeps. She also has the distinction of being one of the only doctors at Seattle Grace to ever engage in a happy, healthy relationship. Plus she gave us a lasting catchphrase for coming out: "You can’t pray away the gay!"
7. Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Played by Alyson Hannigan (1997-2003)
Willow was the first lesbian character to have sex on primetime network TV. That alone won her plenty of votes. Her long journey from pining, bookish sidekick to powerful lesbian witch won her the rest. Willow is also one of the only lesbian characters to have two successful relationships with women. (And she had good taste, too — both of her girlfriends made our top 50.)
8. Luce (Imagine Me & You)
Played by Lena Headey (2005)
Luce taught us a lot. She taught us that if there is an unstoppable force, there is no such thing as an immovable object; she taught us that lilies are a dare to love; she taught us that number nine is an absolute wanker. And she taught us that the even the evil of London afternoon traffic is no match for true love, as long as you instructed your beloved in the art of bellowing at a football match.