2. Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch‘s million-watt smile, sharp wit and uncanny ability to deliver a perfect zinger made her an AfterEllen.com favorite long before she was a household name. In 2005, Lynch winked and tongue-clicked her way into our hearts as opportunistic lawyer Joyce Wischina on The L Word. That same year, her randy, foul-mouthed Paula stole the show in Judd Apatow‘s The 40-Year-Old Virgin. After a critically acclaimed turn on Party Down in 2009, Lynch turned her attention to caustic Cheerios coach Sue Sylvester on Glee, a role that has earned her an Emmy and a Golden Globe. And in an effort to pad her trophy collection, Entertainment Weekly suggested that Lynch deserved an Oscar for her portrayal of of Julia Child’s sister alongside Meryl Streep in the 2009 blockbuster hit Julie & Julia. Topping off her banner career year, Lynch hosted Saturday Night Live last October.
Perhaps what has endeared Lynch to us most of all is her unabashed stance out of the closet. She has never hidden her sexuality, never shied away from talking about being a lesbian, and when she met her now-wife, Lara Embry, she proudly spoke about her on talk shows, walked arm-in-arm with her down the red carpet, and kissed her before accepting her awards. Lynch’s career trajectory seems to be locked onto stellar, and we’ll happily follow her to infinity and beyond.
Without Ellen DeGeneres, our annual Les/Bi list wouldn’t exist, because without Ellen DeGeneres, AfterEllen.com wouldn’t exist. After coming out on Ellen in 1997, she became the face of lesbian visibility. (She also later became the face of CoverGirl.) She nearly lost her career when she made the decision to stride out of the closet, but Ellen has proven that she is a survivor. After an award winning turn as the lovable, forgetful Dory in Pixar’s Finding Nemo in 2003, Ellen relaunched her career as a talk show host. She has won 12 Emmy awards for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and has hosted both the Emmys and the Academy Awards. When Oprah steps away from the talk show circuit this year, Ellen will be the uncontested queen of daytime.
Ellen’s marriage to Portia de Rossi in 2008 was met with cheers from around the globe. Not only are they the highest profile gay couple in the the world; they are one of the most adored celebrity couples on earth. A fierce advocate for equality, a tireless philanthropist, an animal rights activists, an adoring wife, and our lesbian of the decade: Ellen DeGeneres is poised to grace our Les/Bi list until the end of time.
So what do you think of your fellow readers’ picks? Who do you think belongs ont the list but didn’t make the cut (this time)?