Grey’s Anatomy actress: playing a lesbian has changed my life
Grey’s Anatomy actress Jessica Capshaw, who is Arizona on the show, has opened up about how playing a lesbian has changed her life.
Capshaw, who first appeared as a guest star in the show’s fifth season in 2009, has been through the wringer as Arizona.
Her character has married kick-ass orthopaedic surgeon Callie Torres, been divorced, lost her leg, and is now starting a relationship with Eliza Minnick, cast as this season’s antagonist.
She said that acting as a lesbian in the enormously popular show for so long had been a huge positive in her life.
“I never would have imagined that I would be able to play a character that would feel like it does so much good,” she told Yahoo Style.
Capshaw said that she hoped her on-screen presence helped “people who feel like the character resonates with them and it makes their day a little easier to see themselves represented”.
Or, she added, it could also provide a crucial tool in teaching family members or friends about homosexuality.
“If it’s someone watching it who has someone in their life who is gay, and they might have not understood it before … all of a sudden they have another person or another thing to point to and say: ‘Oh, that’s a different context.’
“Being able to play a lesbian as a series regular on television has been enormously rewarding.”
Capshaw, who has also appeared on The L Word and Bones, proudly recalled an example of how representation can help how people see the LGBT community.
“My daughter goes to preschool, and the preschool has all kinds of families,” she said.
“And I guess one of the kids said: ‘You have to have a mom and a dad to have a baby.’ And my daughter said: ‘No. No, you don’t.’
“And this was all overheard and told to me later. She said, in a very kind and patient way to that child: ‘There can be a mom and a mom and a dad and a mom and there can be a dad and a dad.’”
Capshaw said she was “so grateful that she will never know any different, and it will only be if she is in the presence of people who are on the wrong side of history or small-minded that she will hear anything other than that.”
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Arizona’s burgeoning relationship with Dr Minnick was a whole new experience, she said, since the two were already familiar with each other.
“I’ve known her for quite a while and she’s a good friend of mine – and married to Scott Foley, who is also a friend of mine.
“It’s a very interesting negotiation, but we had fun. We laughed a lot.
“It was definitely one of those moments when you were like: ‘I’m going to kiss my friend. That’s going to happen,’” she added, laughing.
Capshaw’s positive take on playing a lesbian follows Pretty Little Liars’ Shay Mitchell saying that the fact that her character Emily Fields is queer was “the best part” of being on the show.