While the recent passage of
Proposition 8 in California was devastating to LGBT people and our
supporters everywhere, the issue reinvigorated an international debate
about gay marriage.
It also drew attention to a number of famous couples,
like Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, who wed in the small window
of time that gay marriage was legal in California.
Even celebrity lesbian couples
who didn’t get married, such as Melissa Etheridge and partner Tammy
Lynn Michaels Etheridge were queried in the press for their views on
Prop. 8 and what it means to the future of LGBT rights. Whether appearing
on news programs or talk shows, the couples interviewed were typically
presented as every bit as committed and family-centric as any heterosexual
Most of us are on a first name
basis with the partners of out celebrities like Ellen, Melissa, and
Rosie O’Donnell (her partner is Kelli Carpenter-O’Donnell), but those
are just a handful of the women who love and support their famous girlfriends,
partners and wives.
With this article, we take
our first look at the (often) behind-the-scenes women who love and support
the higher-profile women in their life.
Nina Garduno (partner of
You may not know designer Nina
Garduno, by name, but if you’re a regular viewer of her partner Leisha
Hailey’s show, The L Word, you may have seen the logo for her
store, Free City, splashed across t-shirts worn by some of its characters.
Garduno opened the Malibu store
in 2005, and its hip, quirky selection of clothing and random goods
(custom-made teepees are for sale) garnered both critical and public
In an interview with The
New York Times in 2007,
she said of the store, “It’s about the experience. I’m interested
in having someone walk out of Free City and having had an experience.
That’s what matters. They could buy a cheaper bicycle or T-shirt anywhere.”
A Los Angeles native, Garduno
got her start in fashion when she was just 17 at the Ron Herman/Fred
Segal in Los Angeles, and is still the vice president for men’s fashion
Not coincidentally, the store was named as the “unofficial
headquarters” of the “L.A. tomboy” look popularized on The
Garduno, 44, and Hailey, 37,
have been together since 2001 and have plans to bring Free City to the
small artist’s community in Marfa, Texas, where they’ve already
bought an old auto repair shop — which may just be the lesbian version
of a double-wide.