In our first annual Top 50 Lesbian and Bi Characters poll, we asked you to vote for your favorite characters from film, television, and internet shows.
You cast your votes, and now we have the results. Before we reveal the winners, let’s take a look at some of the trends that emerged.
Almost all of the characters were from films and television shows that made their debut after the year 2000. A few of the exceptions include Kerry Weaver from ER, and the ass-kicking ladies from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
While most of the characters were from US productions, a fair amount came from international shows, including our top two characters (from the UK show Skins).
Also notable was the fact that some of your favorite characters, the leads from Xena: Warrior Princess (which ran from 1995-2001) and Idgie Threadgood from the film Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), were never officially presented as lesbian or bisexual.
It’s probably no coincidence that those characters emerged at a time when there was far less lesbian/bi visibility in the media, forcing viewers to make the most of the “subtext” provided to them by the studios and networks. As a result, these unofficially queer characters went on to become positive iconic figures in pop culture who are still beloved by their queer fans.
While our poll welcomed nominations from film, television and internet shows, only one web series was represented in the Top 50. Anyone But Me produced not one but two of the most popular characters, Aster and Vivian.
Finally, The L Word’s strong ensemble cast made an impressive showing in our poll. Of the top ten characters, four were from the show, and nine L Word characters total made the top 50.
Now onto the results!
1. Naomi Campbell (Skins)
Played by Lily Loveless (2009-present)
The first time we saw Naomi kiss Emily, she sought confirmation that it was drugs making her do it. Maybe it was, but that didn’t explain the kissing in the bouncy house, or the shagging by the lake, or the slamming Emily up against the lockers and making out in public. Naomi hated injustice and was always brave enough to stand up for the downtrodden. By the end of Skins‘ third season, she was finally brave enough to stand up for herself — and want Emily back.
2. Emily Fitch (Skins)
Played by Kathryn Prescott (2009-present)
Emily Fitch knew she was gay from her first episode of Skins, and every time she came out to her friends and family, it just got better and better. She went from telling her pal JJ: “I like sex with girls. I like their rosy lips, their hard nipples, bums, soft thighs. I like tits and fanny, you know?” to telling her parents over dinner: “Her name’s Naomi; she’s rather beautiful — so I’ve been nailing her.” She had us at “I like girls.”
3. Dr. Arizona Robbins (Grey’s Anatomy)
Played by Jessica Capshaw (2009-present)
Dr. Arizona Robbins had the unenviable task of wading through the carnage of the Hahn Debacle on her first day at Seattle Grace — but her charm and confidence won us over before she ever even scrubbed in. And it wasn’t long until Callie, too, was throwing herself into the Great Grey’s Elevator of Death for a chance to bask in her adorableness.
4. Alice Pieszecki (The L Word)
Played by Leisha Hailey (2004-2009)
Alice Pieszecki was one of the first universally-relatable bisexual characters on TV. We either had a best friend like her, a girlfriend like her or we were her. Every single time love knocked Alice down — which was often — she got back up again and again. Good thing, too; all that WeHo gossip wasn’t just going to text itself out.