Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (September 11, 2009)

 
 

AFTERELLEN.COM WOMAN OF THE WEEK
Here are this week’s newsworthy queer and queer-friendly candidates for Woman of the Week, and why they deserve to be nominated — vote for your choice in the poll at the bottom of the page!

1. Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen will become even more high-profile than she already is when she replaces Paula Abdul as American Idol‘s newest judge in January, as part of a 5-year deal between the comedian and the producers of the popular singing competition.

Whether you think Ellen’s the best choice for this role or not — and opinion seems divided — given Idol‘s large international following and the lack of lesbian and bi women on television around the world, this is definitely good news for lesbian visibility!

2. Crystal Chappell

Double-standards and de-sexualized romances are so common when it comes to lesbian storylines on American TV that most AfterEllen.com readers aren’t even surprised when it happens anymore. But Guiding Light actress Crystal Chappell, who plays one-half of the lesbian couple nicknamed "Otalia" on the CBS soap, channeled her frustration with this into creating a web series in which she plays a lesbian who isn’t subject to those restrictions.

No one gets rich making a web series (yet), and as a straight actress who already has a full-time job (she’s returning to NBC’s Days of Our Lives after Guiding Light ends next week), Chappell certainly doesn’t have to do this series. So the fact that she’s doing it anyway — in part to help lesbian visibility, as she told us in so many words this week — is especially appreciated.

With help from straight allies like this, we might actually get somewhere someday!

3. Lisa Ray

This week, the star of The World Unseen and I Can’t Think Straight revealed on her blog that she’s battling a rare and incurable form of cancer.

In a recent blog post, she wrote:

The media here is reacting with support and sensitivity. I guess many actors or people in my industry rarely go public. I understand why. There’s practical repercussions as in, its become more expensive to insure you on a project. Some producers don’t want to- or can’t- take on that extra cost. So even when I’ve crossed over and joined the ‘Full Remission’ Club, there may be tough career and financial decisions.

It’s hard for me to live any other way than with full disclosure.

As a straight actress of Indian descent willing to play gay roles (which is no small thing), Lisa, her co-star Sheetal Sheth, and writer/filmmaker Shamim Sharif have already brought much-needed visibility to queer Indian women.

Ray’s willingness to go public about her illness, and to blog about her hopes, frustrations, and treatment regiment, will bring inspiration to many others.

The poll closes Sunday night — click "view results" to see how the votes break out.

Continue on to read the latest lesbian/bi entertainment news.

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