Lesbian/Bi Characters We’re Thankful For

Ms. Rain, Precious, and Vivian Bell, Desert Hearts (chosen by Karman Kregloe)

Ms. Rain and Vivan Bell

Ever since I was a kid, I always related more to my teachers than my fellow students. They were the ones who stoked my imagination, encouraged my curiosity, and valued intelligence over popularity (which is crucial to a lifelong nerd). And what kind of lesbian would I be if my educational history didn’t include a few crushes on the women standing in front of the blackboard?

So perhaps it is just old fashioned sentimentality that makes me choose two cinematic lesbian teachers as the characters for whom I’m most thankful.

In Precious, Ms. Rain (Paula Patton) is a female knight in a shining purple beret who helps the title character learn to rescue herself. The kindness, compassion and, perhaps most importantly, faith she shows in Precious are what set her apart. Isn’t it nice when the (incidentally gorgeous) lesbian character is the hero for a change?

For completely different reasons, Vivian Bell (played by Helen Shaver) in Desert Hearts has to be on my list as well. Uncertain, uptight and prickly as hell, Bell’s repressed English professor isn’t heroic or even obviously sexy (unless wool skirt suits and pillbox hats happen to turn your crank). But she has the distinction of starring in the first lesbian movie I ever saw, and being one of the first lesbian characters to whom I could actually relate.

Her cinematic coming out experience coincided with my real life one, and her portrayal of the terrifying, exhilarating and surprising process of finally figuring out who you really are struck me as authentic and gave me hope. For that, I give Prof. Vivian Bell an "A+."

Carmen de la Pica Morales, The L Word (chosen by drummerdeeds)

 Carmen de la Pica Morales

On this Day of Giving Thanks, I am thankful for not only the tofurkey peacefully roasting in my oven or the plentiful Indian food my family and I share. Sure, I’m super grateful for the roof over my head and blah blah — that’s all really great stuff. But there is one person, one heavenly creature, actually, who brings the most joy into my heart and a tear to my eye: Carmen de la Pica Morales (Sarah Shahi).

Carmen, with your flowing dark hair, radiant smile, and excellent taste in music (not so much girls, though: Jenny and Shane? Come on), girl, am I thankful for you. I’m totally willing to overlook the fact that you lost your V-Card to Eva Torres, aka Papi — it’s kind of funny, actually — and would never do anything that would require you to use the fire extinguisher on me.

Make no mistake, I will treat you like the divine being you are and feed you vegan bon-bons after the big Indian family dinner on Thursday. With all the importance you give to your culture and family (and your hot bod), you make all us queer women of color so proud it hurts. Here’s to six years of uninterrupted bliss, and here’s to 600 more. Thank you.

Love,

Your #1 Boo, drummerdeeds

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