2009 Update: Since this article was written six years ago, little has changed for queer women on American TV — the storylines of virtually all adult lesbian/bi couples (and most adult lesbian/bi characters) have revolved around getting pregnant, having a baby, or parenting, except on The L Word. For recent examples, see ABC’s Cashmere Mafia, Logo’s Exes & Ohs, and CBS’s daytime drama Guiding Light. The sole exception — for now, anyway — is ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.
In 1993, Meredith Baxter received an Emmy nomination for her role
In the ten years since then, the number of lesbian characters on TV whose storylines revolve around their role as a mother (or desire to be a mother) has grown to such epidemic proportions, it now appears that all lesbians do is have and raise children — when they’re not losing custody of them and fighting to get them back.
COMING OUT, CONCEPTION, AND CUSTODY BATTLES
A more recent trend in ensemble series is the lesbian-insemination
Kathy Najimy, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sharon Stone
Even Showtime’s new lesbian series The L Word, premiering next summer, includes a couple trying to get pregnant.
Another popular plot device in recent years is to make the mother
There have also been numerous television movies about revolve around lesbian parents. Some focus on lesbian parents fighting for custody of their children, beginning with 1978’s A Question of Love, then Two Mothers for Zachary (1996) and What Makes a Family (2001), or coping with unexpected parenthood, as in Bobbie’s Girl (2002), or dealing with the implications on your children of coming out, as in Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammerymeyer Story (1994) and the upcoming movie An Unexpected Love (2003), which Lifetime describes as a movie about “a mother dealing with divorce and her sexuality.”
The only broadcast or cable television movie in recent years about a lesbian who isn’t a mother is The Truth About Jane (2000), and that’s only because the gay character is a teenager.
In fact, teenage lesbians are about the only other kind of lesbian character you will find on television besides the Lesbian Mother.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH LESBIAN MOMS?
In fact, they would be welcome if they were well written (which
Trying to conceive, adopt, get custody, or otherwise deal
Although television has always been about finding a good idea and beating it to death, the lesbian-as-mother trend has lasted longer than most because it is rooted in deep-seated stereotypes about women and lesbians.