8. Lena, Ray Donovan
When Showtime revealed the premise of Ray Donovan, we confess to not being very impressed, until we found out Kate Moennig would play a “tough, no nonsense lesbian.” We didn’t even know what it meant, really, but we knew we’d be watching. Lena has a lot in common with Shane McCutcheon: She’s sexy, she’s suave, she’s a ladykiller, and her friends are her family. Also, she and Shane have in common that they’re not afraid to punch assholes on the face.
7. Bo Dennis, Lost Girl
Not since Buffy the Vampire Slayer has there been a female-fronted show with a woman as singularly badass as Bo Dennis on Lost Girl. And, lucky for us, she also happens to be unabashedly bisexual. Over three seasons we’ve watched her find herself, find her love, and save the world from total destruction a dozen times or two. We can’t wait to see what season four will bring for our favorite Canadian succubus.
6. Arizona Robbins, Grey’s Anatomy
Has there ever been a lesbian TV character who has been through more than Arizona Robbins and lived to tell about it? She lost her leg in a tragic plane crash and ran the full spectrum of PTSD the following year. Her despair and her anger clouded her courage and her judgment for a time, but she got back up and got back up and got back up—and now she’s making herself whole again.
5. Paige McCullers, Pretty Little Liars
What started out as a three-episode guest arc has turned into one of the most fully realized portrayals of teenage lesbianism in the history of TV. She appeared as a bully, revealed herself as a self-loathing gay gal, smashed a trash can or two, and then blossomed into a confident, tender, soft butch babe with kung fu skills and a plan for a puffy drape future with Emily Fields.