While some reality TV lesbians are known for partying in a kiddie pool of cream corn, others are known for more important (but sure, maybe not as
gross fun) things. Brooke Barnett is one. The out defense attorney stars in Brick City, the documentary series from the Sundance Channel about the trials and tribulations of Newark, New Jersey.
The Emmy-nominated, Peabody Award winning show follows the lives of various Newark residents, including its mayor, Cory Booker, it’s police chief, rival gang members, and Barnett joined this season (the series’ second).
The New Gay recently caught up with her to discuss the show (which is being widely lauded as the real life version of The Wire), and what it’s like having her personal life filmed, including her relationship with her partner, Maggie, who also works with her.
Barnett, who shared that she was once engaged to a man, told the website she knew once the show aired, people were going to have questions about her sexuality, though that’s not what’s important. She told The New Gay:
My relationship with Maggie has changed so much for me, and definitely for the good. Before her my attitude was “either you’re coming along for the ride or you’re not” but now it’s much more of an “us” consideration. So would people watch the show and try to use my relationship to put me down? Maybe, but that’s not what’s important.
Though, in her work, it has been in issue before. Because, as she said, law is a conservative practice, her sexuality has even cost her a law partner. “Unfortunately I can’t say that my relationship with Maggie didn’t play a role in the division,” she said. “On the other hand, we live in the tri-state area and we think of this region as being so progressive, but my partner is Polish and when we went home to visit her family I had a lot of concerns about how we would be received but they all couldn’t have been more accepting and kind.”
While Barnett has the new role on the show, Maggie is no doubt going to be popping up a lot, as well, as she’s Barnett’s office manager, too. Asked if clients seem to mind her relationship or her sexuality, Barnett says she thinks it actually helps, rather than hurts her:
It’s an extremely unfortunate stereotype but I think people, not just my clients but society in general, may accept me more readily because I’m what some people might term as “femme.”
Brick City airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. Will you watch?