Lesbian/Bi Celebrity Girlfriends, Part 1

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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

married couple.

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

Leisha Hailey)

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

attention.

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

there.

Not coincidentally, the store was named as the “unofficial

headquarters” of the “L.A. tomboy” look popularized on The

L Word
.

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.

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