American pop culture often portrays lesbians and bisexual women as indifferent
to — or enemies of — heterosexual women. When we’re not trying to seduce them, that is.
But while it may sometimes
feel like straight and queer women live in different worlds — and
it’s true that many queer women have dated a straight woman or two (or twelve) — most lesbian/bi women have straight female friends whom they’ve never slept with, and have no plans to.
To borrow an old cliche — some of our best friends are straight
women, and vice versa.
(Some of our best friends are also gay and straight men,
but we’ll address those friendships in a future article.)
Fortunately, there are at least a handful of examples of strong friendships
between gay/bi and straight women in American entertainment. To kick off the new year, we’re offering a list of some of the best friendships between queer and straight women in American TV, film, and web series.
This list isn’t comprehensive — I’m sure there are friends we’ve missed, or just didn’t include
— but it’s a start, and we welcome your additions in the comments!
10. SPENCER (GABRIELLE CHRISTIAN) AND CHELSEA (AASHA DAVIS) —
SOUTH OF NOWHERE (THE N)
Spencer’s brother Clay (Danso Gordon) begins dating classmate Chelsea soon
after they the Carlin family moved to L.A. from Ohio in this ensemble drama,
but Spencer and Chelsea soon became friends in their own right. Although they
don’t have much screen time together over the show’s three seasons, Chelsea
is the first person Spencer comes out to (in Episode
2.2 "Behind the Music") when Chelsea gently calls Spencer out
for referring to Ashley (Mandy Musgrave) as her "best friend," asking
Spencer, "Isn’t she more than just a friend?"
Chelsea serves as a sounding board for Spencer throughout the series, and when
Chelsea discovers she’s pregnant after Clay is killed in the third season, and
then loses the baby, it’s Spencer’s turn to comfort Chelsea. In one of the final
webisodes, "Transforming", Chelsea tells Spencer, "I never would
have been able to get through all this without you guys."
Chelsea: I really like how you guys are together. It feels
Spencer: Well it is — I mean for me. I don’t know if
that matters to anyone else though.
Chelsea: You know what? You find love — no matter who
it is, you’re lucky.
9. SUSANNA (SUSANNA FOGEL) AND JONI (JONI LEFKOWITZ) — JONI
& SUSANNA (WEB SERIES)
Openly gay Joni and openly heterosexual Susanna spend most of their time together undercutting, sabotaging,
and competing against each other in this web series about the daily lives of
two frenemies — just like a lot of friends in real life, if the comments
from viewers are any indication.
But when the chips are down, and their girlfriends/boyfriends dump them or don’t make the grade, they’re there for each other — because
no one else is worthy, or because no one else will have them. Either way,
they’re a team.
Susanna: You’re the best. If I was gay, I’d just date you
and be done with it.
Joni: well, uh, [clears her throat] I’d have to go for you
for that to work out.
Susanna: Well, right. But.
8. FRANCES (DIANE LANE) AND PATTI (SANDRA OH) — UNDER
THE TUSCAN SUN (2003)
At the beginning of this romantic drama, Frances is a successful writer, Patti is her
snarky best friend, and both are happily in a relationship. But when Frances
discovers her husband has been cheating on her, she accepts a trip to Italy
as a gift from Patti, where she buys a ramshackle villa in Tuscany on a whim,
and settles in to recover from a broken heart.
When pregnant Patti gets dumped by her girlfriend (Kate Walsh), she unceremoniously
shows up at Frances’s new home in Tuscany and moves right in.
Together, Patti and Frances learn how to live with loss — and then how to fall in
love again (not with each other).
Patti: Where were you going when I arrived?
Frances: Nowhere important.
Patti: What’s he like?
Frances: He’s a creepy Italian.
Patti: So go see him.
Frances: I will. I want to spend time with my creepy American
Patti: I refuse to screw up your love life.
Frances: Don’t be ridiculous, Patti. You are my love life.