Lesbian/Bi Characters We’re Thankful For


Rachel Maddow, The Rachel Maddow Show (chosen by Jen Sabella)

Rachel Maddow

As a member of the media, I can say with all honestly that sharing the news in an informative and interesting way is pretty hard to do. In cases of tragedy, you have to dig deeper without being insensitive. When something is unjust, you have to seek out facts and give people real, easy to understand answers. And for all this, I am thankful for Rachel Maddow.

Her wit, humor, undeniable intelligence and ability to shine light on underreported issues make her not only my favorite person on television, but my favorite newscaster of all time.

Sure, I might have a raging crush on her as well — but that does not cloud my judgment: Rachel, keep up the amazing work, and know that many of us might just let people like Michele Bachmann, Virginia Fox and Dick Cheney get to us if it weren’t for you.

Helen Stewart, Bad Girls, and scribegrrrl, Word Magician (chosen by StuntDouble)

Helen Stewart and scribegrrrl’s AfterEllen.com avatar

In his memoir Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller says he never liked jazz music until he stood outside Bagdad Theatre in Portland and watched a man play the saxophone for fifteen minutes with his eyes closed. That’s how I felt the night I toppled onto AfterEllen.com to find scribegrrrl weaving her word magic around Helen Stewart (Simone Lahbib).

I’d heard of Bad Girls before, but the whole concept just seemed too tawdry. Straight prison governor falls in love with lesbian inmate and risks their freedom for an illicit affair? Oh, but that is so not the story of Nikki and Helen.

Helen Stewart had a plan, see: She was doing the job that she wanted to do; she was committed to the man that she loved. Then Nikki Wade whipped around to face her, all rage and swagger and eyes so brown they’d make every color in the crayon box spit with jealousy. Helen’s reaction was immediate, and it was visceral. Nikki challenged Helen’s childhood faith, her dogmatic morality, her sexuality, her intellectual superiority and her treasured authority.

In three series’ Bad Girls allowed Nikki to unfold Helen — corner-by-corner, bit-by-bit, layer-by-layer, piece-by-piece — until she was completely undone.

And if Nikki’s task of unraveling was a labor of love, scribegrrrl’s retelling was even more so. Watching her watch Nikki watch Helen, watching her select each word of their story like a craftsman of yore, watching her stitch them together and tuck them in: well, you don’t get many chances in a lifetime to see something like that.

If you’re lucky, you get to see it once. If you’re really lucky, you know enough to be thankful.

"Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself," writes Donald Miller. "It’s as if they are showing you the way."

What lesbian/bisexual characters are you most thankful for? Let us know in the comments!

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