The L Word premieres on Showtime
The first show to be by lesbians, for lesbians debuted on TV screens, inspiring Shane-alikes and Sunday night lesbian get-togethers across the U.S. It also spawned the resurgence of Jennifer Beals‘ career and the eventual (future) outing of cast members Clementine Ford and Kelly McGillis.
Rosie O’Donnell and Kelli Carpenter wed
Rosie and her partner were among the first to get married in San Francisco during its temporary legality. By 2009, Rosie and Kelli have separated but continue to parent their four children together and "remain a family."
Maggie and Bianca kiss on All My Children
Despite Bianca (Eden Riegel) coming out and sharing a kiss with her girlfriend Maggie (Elizabeth Hendrickson) in 2004, her lesbianism was largely ignored, with little follow-up for the next few years. Maggie eventually left the show, but Bianca went on to have relationships with women.
Lindsey sleeps with a man on Queer as Folk
Showtime’s original lesbian couple received an even worse storyline in 2004, as their relationship basically revolved around their two children and Lindsey cheated on Mel with a male artist, leading them to break up. Again.
ER, North Shore, Six Feet Under, Nip/Tuck and Rescue Me get lesbian storylines
At one point in 2004, Wonderfalls had the only lesbian character on TV. But by the end of 2004, young lesbians on Rescue Me and Six Feet Under and older queer women secure with their sexuality on other dramas had received mostly positive portrayals. Unfortunately, years later, we know that most of those storylines ended less than happily.
Tegan and Sara release So Jealous
Despite lesbians having been aware of gay twin musicians Tegan and Sara
since the early 2000s, their first album on Sire Records garnered them
critical praise, mainstream success and a cover of their single
"Walking with a Ghost" by The White Stripes.
Ellen DeGeneres ends relationship with Alexandra Hedison, begins dating Portia de Rossi
During the second season of her talk show, it was confirmed that Ellen has parted ways with girlfriend Alex and was seeing Arrested Development star Portia de Rossi. Before this time, de Rossi was not widely known to be a lesbian (though she had previously been in a relationship with Francesca Gregorini), but her high-profile relationship with one of the most famous lesbians in the world would soon take care of that.
Actresses Cynthia Nixon and Heather Matarazzo come out
In 2004, Cynthia Nixon and Heather Matarazzo publicly announce they are lesbians and in happy relationships with women (with both couples still together in 2009). Nixon and Matarazzo continue to take on gay and non-gay roles in their acting careers and use their celebrity status in service of their activism, which includes fighting for LGBTQ rights.
Lesbians make a strong showing on reality TV
Ten real life lesbians appeared on television in 2004, which is more
than had appeared on reality TV ever before 2004. Up to that point,
most of the lesbians and bisexuals had appeared on MTV shows like The Real World and Road Rules. But in 2004, gay women appeared on Survivor, Starting Over, Battle of the Sexes, Blow Dry and King of the Jungle 2. By 2009, out lesbians and bisexual women are regularly featured on
reality TV, sometimes even starring in their own shows, like Tabatha’s Salon Takeover.
t.A.T.u. capitalize on faux-lesbianism
The Russian pop duo kiss one another and pose as lesbians in music videos and live shows, which gets them a lot of press and a performance on the MTV Movie Awards. Later, it is found out that they are both, in fact, straight and in relationships with men.
Melissa Etheridge announces her breast cancer diagnosis
A year after she married Tammy Lynn Michaels, the out singer announced her cancer diagnosis and began chemotherapy. She also released her album Lucky and appeared on a People magazine cover story about breast cancer survivors. She is now in full remission.
— by Trish Bendix