Queer Women and Their Straight Female Friends

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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.”

Typical dialogue:

Chelsea: I really like how you guys are together. It feels

real.

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.

Typical dialogue:

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).

Typical dialogue:

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

friend.

Patti: I refuse to screw up your love life.

Frances: Don’t be ridiculous, Patti. You are my love life.

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