The AfterEllen.com Huddle: Girls who play gay

Some actresses are so supportive of our Sapphic community, they dedicate major time to playing lesbian roles on TV and film. (See: Julianne Moore, Evan Rachel Wood, Mandy Musgrave, Heather Graham.) Sure, some might get typecasted or pigeonholed, but they surely embrace our fandom. We’re the most dedicated group around!

So I ask you, this week: Who is your favorite straight actor who has went gay for pay more than once? It seemed to be pretty easy for us, so I imagine it’ll be just as easy for you playing at home.

Drummerdeeds: When Olivia Wilde was the bleach-blonde Alex Kelly who romped around in the O.C. sand with Marissa the spoiled brat, she made me bi-curious.

By the time she was the suspender-wearing, sexually fluid Thirteen on House, I was a full-blown lesbo. See a correlation here? Obvi.

I take my hat off to Ms. Wilde for playing a girl who plays for our team on the small screen and being so damn convincing. Bravo!

Dorothy Snarker: Thanks to Lena Headey, lesbians everywhere now have a thing for florists.

What is so wonderful about Lena (besides being the sexiest scowler in the business) is that she plays gay so often and effortlessly. She was the lesbian partner to a Victorian poet in Possession, she was Clarissa’s first love in Mrs. Dalloway — she was even a gay dominatrix om the gritty British miniseries Band of Gold.

And then, of course, she was the florist who stole Piper Perabo and every gay lady on the planet’s hearts as Luce in Imagine Me and You. I am still patiently impatiently waiting for my “You’re a Wanker No. 9″ T-shirt. Someone, get on that.

Grace Chu: Although Lena Headey is a no-brainer, let’s not forget her co-star in
Imagine Me and You, Piper Perabo. Before she played Rachel, she played Pauline in the Canadian film Lost and
Delirious
. Unfortunately and predictably, the film ends with tears,
suicide and tragic lesbians.

Perabo, of course, made it up to us in
Imagine Me and You, a lighthearted romantic comedy that ends with an
elated kiss in a London traffic jam, proving once and for all that lesbian
films don’t need to be tainted with mental instability, stalking, hours of
humorless processing, crime or death.

Heather Hogan: Long before Olivia Spencer entered my consciousness, Carly was buried alive in Salem by Vivian Alamain, in a coffin equipped with full audio so she could lie in the dark and listen to her family get on with their non-Carly business. And sometimes, late at night, Vivian herself would get on the horn and razz Carly about this and that, being trapped and suffocating, you know. That’s how I met Crystal Chappell. And no matter how many times I try to explain Otalia or Venice to my sister, she still defaults to Days of Our Lives.

Chappell is one of the best gay allies ever. She embraces her own sexual fluidity. She supports various same-sex marriage organizations. She speaks openly and articulately about the LGBT community and the need for equality. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned from GLAAD, it’s that knowing a gay character counts as knowing a gay person, and knowing a gay person changes things. Chappell played her half of Otalia with grace and good-humor (and smoldering gazes), and when Guiding Light was over, she took her chemistry with Jessica Leccia and created a whole new story. That level of commitment will probably never be matched by another straight actress playing a gay character.

Flailing in an underground casket is memorable — but not as memorable as making out with your super-hot female co-star. Crystal Chappell, I honor you for doing both with equal conviction.

Thelinster: Mine is Elizabeth “Finally-Got-Nominated-for-an-Emmy” Mitchell, who played Linda in Gia and Kim Legaspi in ER.

She’s probably played a lesbian other times, but when I see her in a baseball cap, looking all cute and Sapphic, I lose all ability to think.

Mia Jones: Radha Mitchell. First off, she is Australian — that alone moves her to the top of my list. Secondly, the first time I saw her, she was playing a lesbian (in Love and Other Catastrophes) whose girlfriend (Mia) was going to film school (which I was at the time — which of course made me feel like I could land a girl as hot as her and then I had my hopes dashed.)

Thirdly, High Art (while depressing) is one of the better gay movies out there.

Trish Bendix: OK you’ve seen her in the pool in Wild Things, but did you know Neve Campbell has also played bisexual in Panic?

And in When Will I Be Loved?

And that isn’t counting her brief kiss on Party of Five with her lesbian teacher (played by Olivia D’abo).

I think it’s time for a new gay role, Neve. You have to give the people what they want — and I don’t mean another Wild Things sequel.

Who is your favorite repeat defender? Ready, break!

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