Lesbian moviegoers are experts in the field of subtext
During a movie’s high-speed car chase, you might whisper to
your best friend, Did you see the way the lead female character
touched her female friend’s shoulder for one-quarter of one nanosecond
longer than was absolutely necessary? It probably means those two are in big gay love!
Or you nudge your girlfriend to make sure she noticed the
bridesmaid’s furtive look as her best friend walks down the aisle in a
Most of these subtextual imaginings come to nothing, of
course, and we leave the theater mumbling something about great
It is a rare movie character, indeed, who surprises us when she reveals that she’s lesbian or bisexual.
My original plan for this list was to include only lesbian/bi
characters that showed up in mainstream movies (the kind that show in
theaters, and not only at queer film festivals), but there weren’t
enough to fill the list. What we’re left with is are the top 11
lesbian/bi reveals on film, assuming you know nothing about the movie
going into the theater.
For the purposes of this list, “top” doesn’t necessarily mean “best”
in terms of advancing the lesbian community’s image. It might mean the
reveal was well-plotted, that the character was a refreshing addition
to the lesbian canon — or it could just mean she was a manipulative,
11. Kate Veatch — Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
It certainly qualifies as a reveal when, in the last 90 seconds of Dodgeball,
Kate Veatch (Christine Taylor) introduces her girlfriend to her
dodgeball team. Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn) and White Goodman (Ben
Stiller) spend two hours dodging balls and wrenches, tossing out snappy
one-liners, and vying for the Veatch’s affection. Not once in the time
that she’s pseudo-courting both men does she mention that she has a
girlfriend. Nor do the writers hint that she has any attraction to
In the final minutes of the movie, after the Average Joes beat the
Purple Cobras in their tournament, it looks as if the hero will get the
girl. It is then that Kate introduces her girlfriend, Joyce (Scarlett
Chorvat), who has come to Las Vegas to watch her play. What follows is
one of the most ridiculous conversations to ever to make it to film.
One Average Joe teammate to another: I told you she was a lesbian.
The other teammate: Wow. Good call.
Kate: Hey! I’m not a lesbian!
Peter: You’re not?
Kate: No. I’m bisexual.
And then she grabs Peter and kisses him, because everyone knows
“bisexual” is just a code word — much like the pornographic classic,
“I’m here to fix your copier.”
10. April — April’s Shower (2006)
The lesbian in love with her straight best friend is only one of the many clichés dropped clunkily into Trish Doolan’s April’s Shower.
There is the bickering butch/femme couple, the hippie earth mother and
the always-convenient exposition via the character who’s had too much
to drink. And although no one wants to be outed, especially at her own
bridal shower, I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when Alex
(Doolan) announced to the group gathered for bride-to-be April’s (Maria
Cina) shower that once upon a time, she and April were lovers.
April: Paulie’s a little upset with me right now because he says I avoid intimacy.
Alex: That’s how you were when we were together.
One of the other shower guests: You two were in a relationship?
Alex: April and I were lovers for five years!
The reveal is not met with shock that April has been in a
relationship with a woman, but shock that she managed to conceal it for
half a decade.
9. Rebecca Gilles — Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)
Rebecca Gilles (Jacinda Barrett) isn’t a lesbian in Helen Fielding’s written sequel to Bridget Jones’s Diary, but she is in the cinematic adaptation, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
Bridget’s patented neuroses cause her to think that Rebecca is out
to steal Mark Darcy away from her, and, of course, we, the audience,
believe right along her; why shouldn’t we? Rebecca seems to follow Mark
Darcy everywhere. She’s at work with him, at his dinner parties, at his
charity dinners, even on his and Bridget’s romantic ski holiday.
Ultimately, though, Rebecca confesses the reason for her ubiquitous
presence in Mark Darcy’s life: She’s in love with Bridget. The subtext
is there all along, but there’s no way you noticed.
It has been argued that Rebecca is a sad-sack excuse for a lesbian
character, pining away for an entire movie after a straight girl. But,
I’d argue quite the opposite. Rebecca is a top-notch barrister with
excellent athletic ability and a penchant for pop-culture trivia. So,
she happens to be in love with Bridget Jones. I am a little, too.
Bridget accepts Rebecca’s reveal and her first lesbian kiss in
stereotypical Englishwoman fashion: “Thank you very much,” she says.
“That was lovely.”