Lesbian/Bi Characters We’re Thankful For


Clarissa Vaughan, The Hours (chosen by scribegrrrl)

Some people (Hi, Sarah!) think The Hours is depressing. You could say it’s not really all that gay, either — there are only three girl/girl kisses in the whole movie, and each one is fraught and freighted rather than fun and fizzy. And the word "lesbian" is never uttered. But if all you see when you watch The Hours is pseudo-gay, super-dramatic, suicidal literary ladies, you owe it to yourself to take another look.

Clarissa Vaughan

Clarissa Vaughan, as brought breathtakingly to life by Meryl Streep, takes a remarkable internal journey in one day. Clarissa finds the day, and life in general, at once overwhelming and unsatisfying — as do most of the other characters in The Hours (and most people in real life). But by the end of the film, she has stopped looking to the past for happiness and stopped hoping to transcend all the details of daily life. Unlike the other characters, she learns that to survive, she has to find a way to "look life in the face" and embrace the quotidian fullness of "the city, the morning."

When I first read the Michael Cunningham novel the movie is based on, I was instantly drawn to Clarissa. And when Meryl’s beautiful face became a part of the picture, the character became even more dear — a sort of touchstone for those days when I find life to be both too much and not enough. I think of her running errands, getting through her day, finding a way to cope and even thrive.

And I think of Clarissa with her partner Sally, played by Allison Janney. Their kiss near the end of the film seems to seal a promise — maybe not that they’ll stay together forever, but that they’ll do their best to cherish what they have.

That’s not depressing. It’s real, and it’s lovely. Thank you, Clarissa, for showing us that marking the hours is often the best way to make a life.

Alice Pieszecki, The L Word (chosen by Dorothy Snarker)

Alice Pieszecki

I am thankful for Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey). But then, really, who isn’t? Alice is the girl we all want to be or be friends with or be on a date with or be driving around in her Mini-Cooper with. She is sweet and snarky, smart and saucy, steadfast and silly. In fact, it’s hard to think of another character in the pantheon of lesbian characters that is more universally relatable — or adorable. I mean, if a simple “uh-uh” can have you giggling for days, well, now that’s a reason to be thankful.

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