The 12 best ever lesbian characters on TV

Bea Mitchell July 18, 2017
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We’ll start with the bad news – there are nowhere near enough lesbian characters on TV. The good news? There are some, and they’re mostly great.

From American Horror Story to Orange is the New Black and Game of Thrones, lesbians are becoming increasingly regular on small screens. Keep ‘em coming Netflix, Fox, Hulu, HBO and so on…

12. Suzanne Warren (Uzo Aduba) – Orange is the New Black

Suzanne Warren in Orange is the New Black
Suzanne Warren in Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

Obviously, OITNB has been pretty much unparalleled in featuring same-sex relationships and sex scenes, so Suzanne (aka Crazy Eyes) won’t be the only inmate on this list.

We first see her falling for “dandelion” Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), before she’s cruelly knocked back. More recently, she’s been in a relationship of sorts with Maureen Kukudio (Emily Althaus) – who she unfortunately beat to a bloody pulp in season 4.

Best quote: “You know, if you were still my wife, I would tell you all the time how much I like your titties. ‘Cause girls like that. And that is a tip from me to you.”

11. Lena (Katherine Moennig) – Ray Donovan

Lena in Ray Donovan
Lena in Ray Donovan (Showtime)

OK, Lena (played by The L Word’s Katherine Moennig) may not be the most well-developed fictional character in TV history, but we still enjoy her no-nonsense take-no-s**t approach to assisting Ray and his Hollywood clients.

Best quote: “Do you really think I waste my time on cock, you f**king idiot?”

10. Tara Chambler (Allana Masterson) – The Walking Dead

Tara in The Walking Dead (AMC)
Tara in The Walking Dead (AMC)

First seen in TWD’s fourth season, Tara has been very unlucky in love – but that’s what you get for striking up relationships in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

Tara’s first girlfriend, Alisha, dies during the prison attack lead by David Morrissey’s The Governor. Her next love interest, Denise Cloyd (Merritt Wever), perishes at the hands of Dwight thanks to an arrow through the eye.

Last we saw of Tara was in the season 7 finale – here’s hoping she finds a very resilient girlfriend in season 8.

9. Virginia Braithwaite (Sarah Smart) – At Home with the Braithwaites

Virginia Braithwaite (ITV)
Virginia Braithwaite (ITV)

OK, not everyone will remember this early noughties ITV show starring Amanda Redman as Alison Braithwaite; Virginia’s lottery-winning mum.

Virginia’s hilarious foul-mouthed, chain-smoking antics steal the show, as does her infatuation with next door neighbour Megan Hartnoll (Julie Graham) and their eventual Indian-themed lesbian wedding.

8. Ofglen (Alexis Bledel) – The Handmaid’s Tale

Alexis Bledel in The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
Alexis Bledel in The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)

The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, is set in a dystopian future, and explores a society run by a patriarchal regime.

Part of the resistance, Ofglen is captured for being a gender traitor. As she’s able to have children, she’s sentenced to rehabilitation rather than death, which involves having her clitoris surgically removed. She’s also forced to watch her lover hanged.

7. Carrie ‘Big Boo’ Black (Lea DeLaria) – Orange is the New Black

Boo in Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
Boo in Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

Big Boo is Litchfield’s biggest stud. Often seen walking around the prison in her white tank top – showing off the ‘BUTCH’ tattoo on her forearm – Boo reached peak greatness in the most recent fifth season when she fell for MCC’s Linda during the riot.

Best quote: “Suck my big fat dyke dick.”

6 and 5. Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) and Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) – Black Mirror

Yorkie and Kelly in Black Mirror (Netflix)
Yorkie and Kelly in Black Mirror (Netflix)

The fourth episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror season 3 follows the touching relationship of Yorkie and Kelly, eventually revealing that the duo are actually living in a simulated reality for the dying and the deceased.

It has received critical praise and was recently honoured at the GLAAD Awards for Outstanding Individual Episode (in a series without a regular LGBT character).

4. Ellen Morgan (Ellen DeGeneres) – Ellen

Ellen (ABC)
Ellen (ABC)

Yep, it’s all about Ellen, who came out 20 years ago in 1997 when she was featured on a Time magazine cover with the words: “Yep, I’m gay.

Shortly after, her sitcom character Ellen Morgan also came out to her therapist – played by Oprah Winfrey in a cameo appearance.

She became one of TV’s first openly gay main characters, and was seen with female love interest Laurie (Lisa Darr) throughout season 5, before the show sadly got cancelled for being “too gay”.

Best quote: “So, what should we call you, gay or lesbian?” “How about ‘Ellen’?”

3. Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley) – Orange is the New Black

Poussey Washington (Netflix)
Poussey Washington (Netflix)

Yep, another OITNB lesbian – and this time in the shape of the glorious Poussey, who met her maker at the end of season 4 when CO Bayley accidentally suffocated her.

Utterly charming and hilarious, Poussey first had unrequited feelings for Taystee (Danielle Brooks), before developing a very sweet relationship with SoSo (Kimiko Glenn).

Best quote: “My name is Poussey. Accent à droite, bitch.”

2. Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) – American Horror Story

Lana Winters (FX)
Lana Winters (FX)

Before being locked up in Briarcliff asylum in 1964 for being a lesbian, Lana is in a secret relationship with school teacher Wendy Peyser – who is later murdered by serial killer ‘Bloody Face’.

While incarcerated, Lana has therapy for her ‘illness’ and is given apomorphine so that she associates nausea with images of naked women.

She’s also encouraged to masturbate while fondling a male inmate, which causes her to vomit. Eventually, Lana escapes, shuts down Briarcliff and kills Oliver Thredson (aka Bloody Face).

1. Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) – Game of Thrones

Yaya Greyjoy (HBO)
Yaya Greyjoy (HBO)

Theon Greyjoy’s infinitely cooler big sister Yara has been determined to lead the Iron Born to victory for some time now, but it wasn’t until last season that Thrones gave us the gift of Yara getting off with a girl in a Volantis brothel.

We last saw her flirting with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and now want nothing more than Yara and Dany ruling the seven kingdoms together.

Best quote: “I’m gonna go f**k the tits off this one.”

Related topics: alanna masterson, alexis bledel, character, Ellen, Ellen DeGeneres, gemma whelan, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Katherine Moennig, Lea DeLaria, lesbians, mackenzie davis, orange is the new black, samira wiley, sarah paulson, sarah smart, Television, The Handmaid's Tale, uzo aduba

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