The AfterEllen.com Huddle: Our First Lesbian Films

 
 

Chloe: The Runaways in college. I was already freaking out about being gay aka thinking, “I’m gay,” “No, you’re not you just aren’t attracted to any dudes who like you.” “No but i want to kiss that girl.” “You’re just drunk and/or insane. No.” and then I watched The Runaways. Then I bought The Runaways and watched it A LOT. While crying because being gay did not fit into my typed up life plan.
Joan Jett/Kristen Stewart is still my type, which explains why my love life does not go smoothly.

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Ali Davis: I think my first attempt at renting some lesbianism was a compilation of k.d. lang videos. NO BIG DEAL, JUST INTERESTED IN THE MUSIC.

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…but unfortunately that pointed me straight at freaking Salmonberries for my first attempt at finding a video with lesbians and a plot, UM, I MEAN JUST A VIDEO WITH SOME MORE K.D. LANG IN IT. NO REASON. JUST A FAN OF THE SINGING. While I remain a fan of k.d., it’s not a starting point I’d recommend.

The third time was the charm, proving that boldly marching into the big gay video store in the big gay neighborhood is its own reward, even if I did worry about the clerk knowing I might like girls when I brought my selection up. I finally hit on Desert Hearts, which was exactly what I was looking for in so many ways that my head nearly exploded. It’s not a perfect movie, but it hits pretty great several times, and I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for it.

And not worrying so much about what the clerk thought when I went back to turn it in was pretty great too.

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Karman Kregloe: My family did not subscribe to HBO, so I mostly listened to Desert Hearts on the scrambled cable channel when I was in high school. I usually stayed up late every night watching music videos in my man cave prototype  (a room in our basement) and accidentally stumbled across what sounded, and sort of looked like,  a sex scene on the fuzzy screen. Intrigued, I soon discovered it was a sex scene between two women. I freaked out, then adjusted every dial and antenna (remember those?) to get a clearer picture. It didn’t work, but the message was received and my mind was effectively blown.

Lucy Hallowell: I am also having a hard time remembering which movie was the first. But I can still smell the stale popcorn they had for customers at Video Stop in our tiny college town. I used to walk through all the movies and try to avoid the gay section but my feet had a way of bringing me back over and over. It took a long time before I summoned the courage to take one of the movies off the shelf and longer before I could carry one around the store.

I can’t recall which title I finally chose to be the first one I plopped on the counter and paid to rent out of the money I made checking IDs at the gym. If I had to guess, I would say Better Than Chocolate. (The viewing experience was better than labor. I’m kidding, labor was less painful.) It was longer still before I finally broke myself of the habit of watching movies with a wall blocking my emotions in case anyone might catch my blushing, or paying too much attention. That was a long time ago, in a sleepy little town far away, but just thinking about it makes me heart ache a little.

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Marcie Bianco: My first lesbian movie was Better Than Chocolate, and I was forced to watch it as a kind of gentle intervention, as I was not “out,” not because I was in denial but simply because being lesbian never entered my consciousness. That said, my lesbianness entered the consciousness of all my friends around me, including those of my friends Betsey and Justin. These two friends—a straight couple—had me over for dinner and then “suggested” we watch this “fantastic” Canadian movie (called Better Than Chocolate). As soon as my friend Betsey popped in the dvd she hurried into her office to do work and I was stuck with her boyfriend, who I consider to be an honorary lesbian, watching this film. No, the viewing did not lead to an automatic revelation.

What was your first?

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