It was signed by the heads of two groups in Germany and one each in Austria, Switzerland and northern Italy’s largely German-speaking South Tyrol region.
“On behalf of around a million women working in the German-speaking Catholic women’s associations … [we demand] that homosexual couples no longer be excluded from the blessing of the church,” they write.
“The church’s mission to be effective as a sign of salvation in the world means countering homophobia and standing up for gender equality, also on the basis of human sciences. These shed new light on the plan for God’s creation.”
The organisations call for “a renewal of sexual and relationship ethics” in the Catholic Church and suggest there needs to be a “recognition of the everyday reality of people in same-sex relationships”.
“God’s love is promised to all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. He doesn’t discriminate. He doesn’t judge,” the letter continues.
“Sexuality is a part of God’s good creation, and responsible, loving sexual relationships cannot be reduced to marriage. Any long-term relationship with love, care and responsibility for one another gives children the space and protection they need for their life and growth.”
The open letter is the latest sign of pushback from the German-speaking world against a document released last month by the Vatican’s orthodoxy office which said Catholic clergy cannot bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin”.
The Vatican acknowledged that some churches have begun offering blessings to same-sex couples due to “a sincere desire” to welcome LGBT+ people into the church, but argued that a true blessing can only be conferred on a couple when they live according to “the designs of God inscribed in creation”.
Mildred Loic, also known as Shakiro, one of the trans women currently held in jail (Facebook/ Shakiro)
Two trans women in the central African country of Cameroon are facing five years in prison on charges of “attempted homosexuality”.
Mildred Loic and Moute Rolland were arrested for wearing women’s clothes in the country’s largest city, Douala, on 8 February. Police are said to have made the arrests while the pair were eating in a restaurant.
The women were denied bail on Wednesday (24 March) after a judge adjourned their case and sent them back to jail, their lawyer Richard Tamfu said.
Loic had built an online reputation as a cosmetician, becoming a local social media celebrity known as Shakiro with more than 100,000 Facebook followers.
She and Rolland are also facing charges of public indecency and not carrying identification, according to Reuters. They have pled not guilty.
Their arrests come amid a spike in LGBT+ crackdowns by Cameroonian authorities over the last year, leading to dozens of arrests.
“We have observed a resurgence in homophobic attacks this year,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It is common for people to be abused in detention.”
Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon and punishable by up to five years in prison. The LGBT+ advocacy group CAMFAIDS reports that between 2010 and 2014, at least 50 people were convicted for crimes ranging from cross-dressing to a man texting “I love you” to another man.
Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey is a western dystopian novella set in the American Southwest at a point when almost all food, gasoline, medical supplies, and other necessities have been rationed by the army, and the only books around have to be pre-approved by the government. Normally I think novellas have a tendency to fall flat for me, but I’m very intrigued by the spat of western-themed dystopian fiction that’s been put out recently, so I wanted to give it a try.
CONTENT WARNING: The story opens with a hanging. The main character, Esther, has just watched her friend Beatriz be hanged for possessing unapproved materials, and she knows she has to get out of town before a similar fate befalls her. So she hides away with the traveling Librarians, women who travel between small towns in the Southwest distributing approved books. It’s a place for women to exist without being married, and it’s away from her small town. Although initially unhappy with her presence, the Head Librarians Bet and Leda allow her to stay and set their assistant Cye to teaching her the ropes as they continue to deliver books to towns and carry out their secret mission of helping move contraband packages and people who need to leave. As Esther learns more about what it takes to be a Librarian and about her companions, it becomes clear that the Librarians are also a home to many sorts of people that would get run out of the small towns they go through, or worse, and as Esther learns more about their true mission, she’s left with more questions about herself and what she wants to do with her life.
As the main character, it is through Esther’s viewpoint that we see the Librarians, and at first I was frustrated by what seemed to be Esther’s willful obliviousness to what was right in front of her. She had had a whole relationship with Beatriz – not just an unrequited crush – and I couldn’t understand why she refused to acknowledge what was clear about the people she had fallen in with, even when they were right in front of her. But the more Esther revealed to Cye and later Amity, a fugitive that’s moving with them, the more I realized that this was a story about the trauma of having to live in fear of who you are and the consequences of being found out. A common enough theme in LGBT literature, but the rebellious queer western pastiche this was sold to me under obscured it from me to start with, and I think it is well done here in how it unfolds and how Esther herself has to realize the full extent of her trauma and how to navigate around it, especially for a novella. As things progressed, it was less the Librarian’s hidden duties that drew me on, but instead Esther’s progression of grappling with her past, present, and future.
I also thought it was interesting that Bet and Leda are present as queer elders, but it isn’t them that are Esther’s main mentors in coming into herself. Cye may mock her at first, but it is them and the outlaw Amity that end up helping Esther the most. Amity was also an interesting character to me, as an outlaw with competing streaks of deep pragmatism and compassion. I thought it was really interesting who here was most helpful to Esther and who had broader concerns than one timid girl.
As in all frontier or wilderness survival stories, I was super interested in the segments about Esther gaining the skills she needed to survive. Not only were there the expected segments about learning how to ride a horse or shoot a gun, there was a delightful segment where Esther tries her hand at learning bookbinding. What I found charming about Esther was that, even laboring under her own personal trauma and confusion, she tried hard to learn or do the practical things that life in the southwest on the road demanded.
In conclusion, Upright Women Wanted is an interesting and entertaining novella, and worth your time if you’re interested in westerns. In my opinion it succeeds better than a lot of novellas do at fleshing out interesting characters within a condensed plot, and it hits the grim but somewhat hopeful dystopia notes without hammering them too hard.
A new study has found that nearly one quarter (22.8 percent) of cisgender lesbian, bisexual, and queer women ages 18 to 59 have children. Compared with non-parent LBQ women, the parents were more likely to be bisexual, in a relationship with a man, and non-urban. What does that mean for the LGBTQ parenting community and its representation?
This latest study, from researchers affiliated with the Williams Institute at UCLA, is the first to use a U.S. population-based sample to compare the mental health of lesbian, bisexual, and other-identified female parents and non-parents. Its findings about the rate of parenthood among LBQ individuals corresponds to previous work showing that an estimated 24 percent of female same-sex couples have children.
Among lesbian women, the oldest non-parents reported more happiness and less psychological distress than the youngest non-parents. (Perhaps there is wisdom that comes with age.) There was no difference, however, in happiness and psychological distress among the parents in different age groups. Non-parents, however, indicated more internalized homophobia than parents. The authors don’t hypothesize why this might be; I’d venture a guess that it’s because children often force us to be out in ways we never imagined.
Bisexual parents in the study, however, reported more psychological distress and lower life satisfaction and happiness than lesbian parents, something the researchers found surprising, “because the overwhelming majority of bisexual parents are in relationships with male partners and thus would likely be viewed as heterosexual by the general public.”
Parenthood for bisexual mothers involved with male partners thus comes at a cost from both the general public and the LGBT community.
Although one might assume there are benefits to being viewed as heterosexual, however, the researchers say their results are consistent with findings of other studies that show sexual minority women with male partners “reported less connection to the LGBT community and greater anxiety” and that many bisexual mothers experience binegativity and exclusion by lesbian communities. “Parenthood for bisexual mothers involved with male partners thus comes at a cost from both the general public and the LGBT community,” the current study concludes. The youngest group of bisexual women reported more community connectedness than bisexual women of other age groups, though.
Even parents with “emerging identities,” such as “queer, pansexual, asexual, and others,” reported “more social support from friends, and were lower on internalized homophobia than bisexual parents. Although the number of parents with other sexual identities was small, our results indicate that these parents are finding support and experiencing pride in their identities, contrary to bisexual parents.”
Co-author Esther D. Rothblum, visiting distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute, said in a statement, “There is a unique form of bias against people who have both same-sex and different-sex attractions and sexual relationships, and this may be why we see poorer mental health outcomes for bisexual parents.”
Another recent study confirms that the majority of LGBT adults (54.6 percent) identify as bisexual. And we’ve long known there are millions of bisexual parents, most in different-sex relationships. Yes, that may sometimes give them the advantage of “passing” as straight, but as this study shows, there are significant disadvantages as well. And parents who feel excluded and distressed may convey that stress to their children. It’s not good for anyone. The takeaway, for me, is that the LGBTQ community needs to do more to include, support, and represent bisexual parents.
The women putting up the transphobic stickers have not been identified. (Twitter)
A gay couple confronted two women who were plastering “disgusting” transphobic stickers across Manhattan, asking them if they realise transphobia “kills people”.
Simon Chartrand, 28, and his partner, Sean Baugh, 33, were walking down the street when they noticed the neon stickers, which read: “Trans women are men and most have a penis.”
Chartrand, who is trans himself and works for New York’s Translatinx Network, managed to catch the confrontation on video, and can be heard yelling at the women: “You know being transphobic kills people? You want to kill innocent people with your hatred?”
In response, the women called Chartrand a “misogynist”.
He added in a statement to Gay City News: “These stickers are a deliberate and dangerous attempt to target members of our community.
“Make no mistake — rhetoric like this can all too easily escalate to violence.
“Our community rejects this hatred in the strongest possible terms. And we say very clearly: trans women are women.”
The two women putting up the transphobic stickers have not been identified.
The same stickers are also sold by British anti-trans “gender-critical” campaigner Posie Parker, through her organisation StandingForWomen. The description reads: “These stickers are as dangerous as a lethal weapon, use with care.”
Black History Month kicks off February 1, and Oscar-nominated actress turned talk show host Taraji P. Henson honors her community by focusing on the struggle of African-American, transgender women. The conversation comes as part of Henson’s latest endeavor, the Facebook Watch talk series Peace of Mind with Taraji.
In this exclusive clip obtained by Queerty, Henson and her co-host, Tracie Jade, interview three transgender women. The ladies– Memphis, Nova , and Naki–discuss their struggles with depression, anxiety and suicide.
Related: Do NOT ask Taraji P. Henson about the Jussie Smollett scandal
The very emotional conversation, as well as the subject matter, fit with Henson’s overall focus of the show. Peace of Mind with Taraji focuses on mental health issues, particularly those affecting the African-American community, such as PTSD, depression, eating disorders and nervous exhaustion. Other guests have included Mary J. Blige, Gabrielle Union and Gabourey Sidibe.
The newest episode of Peace of Mind with Taraji streams on Facebook Watch this Monday, Feburary 1. Have a look at the clip below, and reach for the kleenex.
Lynne Anderson was chosen by the party membership to serve as equalities convener
The SNP’s new equalities convener is facing scrutiny for her support of anti-trans pressure group For Women Scotland and the author JK Rowling.
Elections for the party’s national executive committee on Monday (30 November) saw Lynne Anderson chosen by the party membership to serve as equalities convener, giving her a crucial say in SNP policy.
Anderson’s election to represent equalities issues has sparked a wave of concern from trans activists, given her apparent support for groups hostile to trans rights.
In August, Anderson shared photos of herself speaking at a For Women Scotland event, a group which has opposed the legal recognition of transgender women as women.
A prolific Twitter user, Anderson lamented in messages sent hours before her victory that doctors are taught to respect trans people’s chosen gender.
In response to a user who claimed that medical students are taught “the TWAW (trans women are women) mantra”, she wrote: “Good grief. Medics being taught to ignore science and critical thinking? That’s rather depressing.”
SNP figures have been accused of tapping into anti-trans sentiment for political gain.
The new equalities convener is among at least five controversial figures to win seats on the SNP’s ruling body, amid a surge that saw allies of first minister Nicola Sturgeon ousted from the body.
Sturgeon, a strong supporter of LGBT+ equality, has been facing a growing number of critics within the party, and factional opponents have previously been accused of leveraging transphobia for political gain.
In response to Anderson’s election, actor and trans campaigner David Paisley tweeted: “I don’t know what’s worse, knowing @theSNP have elected an equalities convenor who seems to have blocked most of the LGBT+ community (specifically trans people and allies) or that the SNP are likely to do nothing about it.”
Meanwhile, SNP MP for Aberdeen North Kirsty Blackman alleged some are leveraging anti-trans sentiment to “build an empire” within the party, without naming names.
She tweeted on Tuesday (1 December): “There’s a lot to be sad about this morning. But please be assured that there are still many, many good people fighting for fairness and inclusion. I and so many of my friends continue to be vocal trans allies no matter what is thrown at us. #ProperFeminist
“In 2014, in an attempt to convince people to vote No in the independence referendum so they could retain their stranglehold on power, Better Together activists told Eastern European immigrants that they would be deported if Scotland voted for independence.
“It was a lie attempting to whip up fear in order to retain their empire. I see little difference in what is being done at the expense of trans people.
“Using their voices to convince women they are more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted if the Government makes it easier for trans people to self identify. It is a lie, so that empire building can happen within the SNP.
“It’s nothing actually to do with minority rights, or an attack on minority rights. It’s a convenient issue and a convenient group of already excluded people who can be thrown under a bus in order for the massively successful SNP leadership to be undermined by a small group.
“Attacking an already under fire group is a horrendous, truly nasty thing to do. It is causing untold harm.”
Earlier this week, more than 700 people signed an open letter condemning a “crisis of inaction on transphobic abuse” in Scotland and demanding that Holyrood launch an independent inquiry into transphobia in political parties.
The signatories, who come from across Scotland’s political spectrum, came together to ask cisgender allies to “put pressure on all political parties to take internal complaints of transphobic abuse seriously”.
It’s starting to become a little bit like clockwork. There’s a major national election, and all over social media there are overflowing streams of stories about how for Democrats, Black women voters are a lifeline. That without their over 90% voting bloc, Democratic agendas would die at the ballot box. Then well-meaning non-Black liberals and progressives write “Thank you Black women!” or “Listen to Black women!” or “Black women will save us!”
It’s true that Black women, no matter the age demographic, lead in voting percentages at higher rates than any other racial and gender groups in the country. It’s less reported that Black women are never voting to save “America from itself” — we aren’t voting to save your democracy. We’re voting to save ourselves. We’re using the most powerful collective tool available at our disposal to save our own communities from the racist, racist (yes I said this twice on purpose and not a typo), patriarchal, violent system that we’ve been saddled with by design.
This year in particular, as so many celebrated the election of Joe Biden and the defeat of the racist human horror show that is Donald Trump, one story began bubbling up — that for the first time since 1992, and after nearly 15 years of “almost purple” promises — Georgia was likely to vote for a Democrat for president (as of the time of this writing President-elect Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 14,057 votes in the state, 49.52% overall, a number that is going to be hard for Trump and the GOP to overcome, though they are trying their hardest to distract the media with their lies). More than that, the strong turn out had also forced a double run-off for Georgia’s two Senate seats — keeping alive the admittedly slim, but not yet impossible, margin of hope that the Democrats might still be able to gain control of the Senate and therefore Congress as house warming present for the Biden Administration. Giving us a real chance to finally have decent values in the laws of our federal government.
Black women organizers, like former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams of the organization Fair Fight or LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, and Nsé Ufot, the CEO of the New Georgia Project, became the focal point of this year’s “thank yous” — with Melissa Harris Perry, professor of Black politics and the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University, going as far as to make a biblical joke on Twitter that, “I’d like to see Joe Biden wash Stacey Abrams’ feet with his tears and dry them with his hair.”
When Stacey Abrams lost her 2018 gubernatorial race after rampant voter suppression cost her 55,000 votes — she didn’t just get mad. In a 2019 Vogue feature (aptly titled “Can Stacey Abrams Save American Democracy?”) she told the magazine that she “sat shiva for 10 days” and then she “started plotting.” Her plotting lead her to start the voting rights organization Fair Fight, which along with the efforts of so many other Black women organizers, registered more than 800,000 new voters in Georgia. Abrams told NPR that 45% of these new voters are under the age of 30 and 49% are people of color. But Stacey Abrams and these other powerful women first started organizing to turn Georgia Blue more than a decade ago. Georgia’s demographics don’t match its leadership, that’s a problem of voter suppression, and not a lack of desire. Organizers knew that with increased voter participation, as well as eduction around elections and voter rights — another future was possible.
A thing about America is that we like to celebrate our victories by saying a quick “thank you” and then just as quickly forget the past. But democracy doesn’t work like that. It requires that we remember. It requires that we work. Honestly, it requires that we never stop working. So if you’re excited that Black voters and organizers in cities like Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta, and Indigenous voters/organizers in Wisconsin and Arizona, and Latinx voters/organizers in Arizona and Nevada, saved America from the majority of white people in this country who felt perfectly fine voting an incompetent, dangerous, racist, misogynist, wannabe dictator back into office — please remember these four things.
First, that none of those communities — who overcame forces looking to discount their vote at rates that are unfathomable and positively dystopian to the majority of white Americans — did that work to save you. Second, you can best honor them by championing (and pressuring your elected officials, especially if you live in “moderate” or “swing” districts, to champion) progressive values like economic justice, Medicare4All, Indigenous land rights, worker protection, climate change, and a radical transformation for how we imagine “policing” in this country that isn’t scared of words like “defund.” Third, that none of those values can be enacted until Democrats take control back of the Senate.
And finally, Number Four — much like Stacey Abrams, still stinging less than 10 days from her gubernatorial loss, there are only 55 days left until the Senate Georgia run off and it is time we get to work.
Look, I am not Autostraddle’s strongest political analyst. And that’s OK! We have a lot of very smart humans on our staff, and I’m proud to be their colleague and editor. I also believe in the good of our community to do actionable work. I believe we don’t have to be experts to help. And there’s still a Senate race win in Georgia (two of them, in fact!). So that’s why I am here today.
If you are reading this, and you are not Black, please heed my words: Black women do not need your flowers. We do not need your Thank Yous. Those overly effusive tweets and Instagram posts? We’re good. Being acknowledged is nice, it’s a beginning. But what we need is for you to follow the example that Black women have set for more than the last 200 years: Roll up your sleeves and Get. Back. To. Work.
Here’s a few places where you can start.
“Fair Fight Action engages in voter mobilization and education activities and advocates for progressive issues; in addition Fair Fight Action has mounted significant programs to combat voter suppression in Georgia and nationally.” (Founded by Stacey Abrams)
“We seek to achieve our goals with the following 5 core beliefs in mind: 1) The key to effective civic engagement and community power is understanding, respecting and supporting local infrastructure. 2) Black Voters Matter not only on election day, but on the 364 days between election days as well. This means we must support individuals and organizations that are striving to obtain social justice throughout the year. 3) Black Voters Matter *everywhere*, including rural counties and smaller cities/towns that are often ignored by candidates, elected officials, political parties and the media. 4) In order for Black voters to matter, we must utilize authentic messaging which speaks to our issues, connects with our hopes and affirms our humanity. 5) The leadership, talent and commitment demonstrated by Black women in particular must receive recognition and, more importantly, *investment* in order to flourish and multiply.”
The Black Voters Matter Fund does work in Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Mississippi. (Co-founded by LaTosha Brown)
“The New Georgia Project is a nonpartisan effort to register and civically engage Georgians. Georgia’s population is growing and becoming increasingly diverse. Over the past decade, the population of georgia increased 18%. The new american majority – people of color, those 18 to 29 years of age, and unmarried women – is a significant part of that growth. The new American majority makes up 62% of the voting age population in Georgia, but they are only 53% of registered voters.” (CEO Nsé Ufot)
“ProGeorgia brings together the power of existing non-profit groups to work in a more strategic way, with new tools and technology, to change the policies of our state. ProGeorgia is building infrastructure by supporting, connecting, and coordinating civic participation efforts of our non-profit member groups. And ProGeorgia is implementing ways to win policy and electoral battles for progressive social change.” (Executive Director Tamieka Atkins)
“Georgia Strategic Alliance for New Directions and Unified Policies (Georgia STAND-UP), a Think and Act tank for Working Communities, is a Georgia alliance of leaders that represents community, faith, academic, and labor organizations that organize and educate communities about issues related to economic development. With the goal of alleviating poverty and encouraging regional equity through the empowerment of leaders and the inclusion of community benefits, STAND-UP empowers residents to ensure economic development meets the needs of their neighborhoods.” (Executive Director Deborah Scott)
Welcome to Butt Week, friends! An entire week dedicated to butts and butt-adjacent stuff: how-tos, thoughtful essays, original art, pop culture critiques, music and more! You are absolutely not ready for this and yet it is happening to you, right now. Today Drew weaves her story of sharing drugs onto your brain loom, and you’re all the better for it. We’re all all the better for it.
From elementary school through college my backpack was always filled with extra pens. I never knew when someone might ask for one. “Oh I have a pen,” I could say, real cool and casual. It felt so good to be helpful. It felt like maybe somebody liked me. If it was a cute girl I’d dive for my backpack even quicker. Here is something useful. I am being useful. Please notice me. Please like me. Please accept me.
I’m thinking about this while drunk at a gay dance party with my crotch pressed against an Emmy winning actress. I’m thinking about this because I’m offering poppers to her and all her friends and I’m feeling cool and useful and like it’s possible I might belong. Twenty minutes earlier I was making out with my crush of eight months who two days later will be the first and only lesbian I have sex with — she won’t consider it sex because she’s cis. While I dance with the Emmy winner, my crush starts making out with my other friend — her ex, also a lesbian, also cis. I try to focus on the Emmy winner and her friends as I give them more poppers, but I feel sad about my crush. I feel stupid for feeling so sad.
At some point my crush and my friends leave and it’s just me and the Emmy winner and her friends. Then they start to leave too. The Emmy winner tells me she’ll be right back and to stay where I am. The thing is I really have to pee so I run to the men’s room — yes, gay bars in LA have gendered bathrooms — where I find a line of cis-appearing women waiting for the one stall. I do something I haven’t done in a public bathroom for years — I use the urinal. I’m fucking wasted and feeling irreverent and I say something about “trans privilege” before explaining who I was just dancing with and why I’m in a rush to get back. When I return to the dance floor the Emmy winner is gone and I dance with someone else for a bit and then go home.
That weekend there will be a lot of discussion about how this Emmy winner pulled me out of our friend circle to dance with me specifically. I will bask in these discussions not because I’m particularly attracted to this famous cis woman — there are no trans Emmy winning actresses, of course — but because it makes me feel cool and I want to seem cool in front of my crush and in front of all these other cis women who wish the Emmy winner would’ve danced with them. There will be a lot of drama and a lot of emotions and a lot of poppers and a little sex and then we will all watch the premiere of The L Word: Generation Q, a show with a lot of drama and a lot of emotions and no poppers and a lot of sex and no trans women and no trans women and no trans women.
I started giving poppers to cis women earlier that year. It wasn’t meant to be a thing — I just like poppers. I would explain this little bottle of mystery liquid with a matter-of-fact enthusiasm. Poppers are the chemical alkyl nitrate. They’re legal — sold as leather polish or room deodorizers — but they’re meant to be used illegally. Their intense high lasts about 45 seconds and it makes everything in the world feel good. Because it relaxes certain muscles, poppers are most commonly associated with anal sex, but they make all sex better. They make everything better. Inhale while on the dance floor and everything will be amazing for a brief moment in time.
I’m not a heavy drug user. I desperately want to shut off the anxious OCD voice in my head, but I also like to feel in control. This is why I love poppers; they take me outside my thought patterns so I can live in the moment without the commitment of a night on molly or acid. I can shake myself out of my own head, appreciate the specificity of the music or the colors or the people around me, actually find pleasure in sex, and then I’m brought back. I’m aware and present and can take control — if I want to. Often when mixed with alcohol or weed I can ride that poppers high through a few more songs or into a second orgasm.
Torrey Peters’ novella Glamour Boutique starts with the sentence: The poppers hit. Trans woman Amy has her mouth around trans woman Reese’s soft dick when the poppers kick in and suddenly Amy is sobbing. We learn that Amy has spent her life disassociating during her sexual experiences with cis women. Even with Reese their sex has been distant and boring and described as “camming, only in person.” Filled with dysphoria and years of supposed coping mechanisms, Amy doesn’t know how to let go. “The problem with the poppers is that it made her too dumb to keep all the cognitive machinery going,” Peters writes. “It all ground to a halt, and instead of the new lies, she fell into direct contact with a raw fact: she was a girl in love with a girl. It was overwhelming. It was all she had ever hoped for.”
It’s worth noting that this moment does not happen while Reese’s cock is up her ass or even hard down her throat. It’s worth noting that what I’m talking about here isn’t fucking my prostate — but having one. I’ve used poppers while fucking myself, but that’s rare for me. I’ve used them far more while dancing. I’ve used them far more with a vibrator on the head of my penis like the clit it will someday become — God/finances willing. The only time I’ve ever used poppers during sex with another person was when I was with another trans woman and it didn’t involve penetration. The possibilities of poppers go far beyond anal, the possibilities of poppers go far beyond cis gay men. Poppers can be a tool, a relief, a point of connection.
It’s the summer of 2019 and I miss poppers. I’ve been in LA for a few months and I’ve been single and navigating cis lesbian spaces, all poppers-free. I’m with a cis woman friend of mine in West Hollywood and we’re planning to go out ostensibly as research. She’s a director and she wants to make a show that takes place in West Hollywood and I’ve started writing a pilot based on my new experiences as a trans woman in LA. I’m telling her stories that might possibly go into this fictional world and she says, “It’s wild because I’ve never seen anything like that on TV before. But for you, it’s just, like, your everyday life!”
I laugh because this feels like a very cis woman thing for her to say. It’s funny and it’s true and it’s othering and I laugh. I’m ready to go out. And if we’re going to be going out in West Hollywood I want to finally stop by a sex shop and buy poppers. My friend has never tried them and I tell her I’ll share if she wants. I’ve done a lot of research and supposedly they’re safe and also they’re low commitment so if she doesn’t like it, oh well.
We end up at The Abbey, because it’s a weeknight and we lack imagination and also we’re very drunk and just want to dance. I inhale, she inhales, and I’m delighted to watch her delight. Her initial fear subsides and suddenly she’s giddy in the way I’m giddy and we’re hot and we’re dancing and it’s fun.
I’ve spent months feeling like an outsider, desperately trying to pretend I’m not young and not newly out and not newly single and not new to lesbian spaces and not trans and not different. But with the poppers I’m the expert. I’m the one offering a new experience. It feels good to feel useful. It feels good to know what I’m doing. It feels good to let go of my anxieties. It feels good to keep dancing.
I started carrying poppers with me wherever I went. If I was going out dancing my pants would contain my house key, my cell phone with my cards tucked into the case, and the little bottle of poppers I always worried people would confuse for a bulge. I started using them more and I started offering them freely. I hoped to recreate the feeling I’d had with my friend and it worked almost every time.
I wasn’t the only trans woman in these spaces, nor was I the only one with poppers, but I did seem to be one of the only trans women committed to being out in the kind of lesbian-adjacent space where AFAB people had never even considered using the faggotty anal drug. It quickly became a bit and I loved it. My difference as an AMAB person in these spaces always felt like an inconvenience or something to hide or something to be fetishized. But now I was useful. A cultural exchange from a person with a prostate to those without.
One night I’m in a convertible with my roommates and my roommates’ hot friend and I’m in the backseat with the friend and Tove Lo’s “Disco Tits” is blasting. The friend is queer but not super experienced and I take out my poppers and the wind is fucking our faces and we’re leaning on each other during this 45 seconds of ecstatic sound and sensation. When we get to the bar she says to me, “You know the effect you have on people, right? You walk into a room and everybody looks at you.”
Suddenly, I felt like this cool, experienced queer who writes for a lesbian website and introduces people to new drugs. I liked thinking of myself that way. I liked to imagine that I wasn’t trying to fit within the confines of an existing queer community — I was adapting that community to me. On the good days that’s how it felt to give cis women poppers. On the bad days it felt like I was still merely tolerated because Twitter says trans women are women — the poppers were just my way of winning them over. Even if you don’t actually believe I’m a woman I’ll at least prove myself useful. I can be so useful.
I discovered poppers thanks to my first out queer friends in New York. Three cis lesbians — Kelly, Caroline, and Laura — and one cis gay man — Daniel. Daniel had given Kelly poppers and now Kelly was giving them out like a missionary. When Kelly offered them to me, I was a baby queer and lifelong goody-two-shoes who had never done a drug except weed. But she said they were safe and Daniel said they were safe and I was ready to jump into my second adolescence so I said yes. It was amazing.
When I look at pictures from these months I’m shocked by what I look like. I bristle when cis people call trans people brave but goddamn I was brave to go out in the world looking that ugly. This isn’t about femininity or passability or gender conformity — this is about puberty. I was new and I didn’t know how to dress myself or how to wear makeup and I was just going through a totally normal awkward stage. Yet here I was out in the world meeting lesbians and saying I was also a lesbian and asking to be referred to as such. And these lesbians just got it. They saw me and gendered me and then gave me a bunch of drugs.
This was not my experience when I first moved to LA. I didn’t even look awkward anymore and yet I suddenly felt so out of place. I met groups of queer cis women and AFAB nonbinary people who all looked the same. These groups welcomed me with their platitudes and invitations while rejecting me with their looks and body language and the little things they’d say. I experienced the sort of community that so many trans women fear. They weren’t TERFs, but you don’t have to be a TERF or overtly transmisogynistic to make it clear trans women don’t belong.
The months passed and I found new pockets within our community. I found people like my friends back in New York — queers who formed community based on an expansive notion of queerness, rather than a unity of identity. It’s why I bristle at the romanticization of t4t despite how much I cherish my friendships and sexual experiences with other trans people. The trans/cis binary is just another binary. I don’t think that limitation of thought actually accomplishes what we think it’s accomplishing.
The last two years I’ve been in a group chat with Laura and Daniel and it’s one of the spaces where I feel safest in my transness. More and more I’m finding, cis or trans, the people I’m closest with are those who have really thought about gender. More and more I’m finding, cis or trans, the people I’m closest with are other queers without boundaries who don’t cloister themselves in a single identity. It’s these things, not the specific label “trans,” that I’ve found matters. I feel more accepted in my group chat with a cis man and a cis woman who have very different relationships to gender and bodies and queerness than I have in rooms exclusively for trans women.
I love being a lesbian. I love lesbian spaces. Queer women and AFAB nonbinary people are who I spent my life looking up to and wanting to be. I love being a dyke and identifying with dyke culture. I don’t want to abandon those spaces by picking another of my insufficient labels to hide within. Instead I want all of our spaces to widen. I want all of our spaces to interact. I want more people to be together and more people to feel included. I want a big queer party with plenty of poppers to go around.
It’s January and I have no idea in two months I’ll be in quarantine. I’m with four friends I met in lesbian community, none of whom are lesbians. Three of them are faggoty AFAB nonbinary people and we’re at Flaming Saddles in West Hollywood, a country western themed bar with pole dancers that has since shut down. We’re already drunk from dinner and we’re getting drunker. An old cis queen hits on me and I’m friendly until he leaves. A beautiful cis woman tells me she can’t stop staring at me and gives me her number. Then she tells me she’s straight. I laugh and say, sure you are. And then we all get drunker.
We end up at The Abbey and I give poppers to my friends. It’s not the first time I’ve given poppers to nonbinary people but it’s the first time I’ve given poppers to nonbinary people that faggoty and their joy far surpasses any of my cis woman disciples. Drunk and high and in my own poppers daze, I’m struck with a simple thought that feels like the most important revelation of my life. “Dykes and faggots are the same!” I shout. I start running around The Abbey shouting, “Dykes and faggots are the same!” I tweet it. I run outside, still buzzing, and I hit my head on a tree.
Back at my friend’s apartment, I’m sitting on the floor in the midst of the third blackout of my life and my friends who are dating are making sure that I’m okay. I am. I feel great. My one friend is still talking about the poppers and I tell them next they need to use them during sex. I take the poppers out of my pocket and set them on the table. “Here,” I say. “Fuck on these.” And they do.
My friend will tell you that poppers have completely changed their relationship to sex and their body and dysphoria. They now own several bottles far more artisanal than my own. They’re worried they might use them a bit too much, but God it’s hard being trans so whatever works, you know?
The story is supposed to go: I’m a trans woman, I started using poppers, now I love getting fucked in the only hole God gave me. The story instead has gone: I’m a trans woman, I started using poppers, they help me have fun when I feel like an outsider, they make my orgasms better, my friend now loves getting fucked in their hole I wish I had. We’re all just trying to figure ourselves out and what a joy to be in queer community combining our cultures and tools and bodies and desires.
I want to live in a world where I’m not the only trans woman in dykey spaces or the only dyke in faggoty spaces. I want to live in a world where the terms AFAB and AMAB are obsolete. I want to live in a world that feels as queer as I do. I want to live in a world without dysphoria. I want to live in that moment I inhale chemicals out of a bottle. I want to live in those 45 seconds when it all feels possible.
This post was originally written in March 2020 and most recently updated in July 2020.
What TV shows could you watch on Hulu if you want to see some woman-on-woman action? Hulu’s original content keeps getting queerer and queerer and they’re becoming exclusive hosts of The L Word now that the legendary program is leaving Netflix. What’s streaming on Hulu with lesbian, bisexual, queer and gay characters? What streaming TV shows on Hulu have LGBT content? These are questions you may have asked a search engine that brought you RIGHT HERE, where we will answer them.
Everyone is Gay TV Shows on Hulu
The L Word (Showtime) (2004 – 2009): 6 Seasons, 70 Episodes
If you’ve not already seen The L Word then I imagine you have your reasons, like that most of it wasn’t very good, or that you have no interest in the lives of a bunch of glamorous lesbians in Los Angeles living, laughing, loving, and going gay for Shane. But being snowed in might be your big chance to get to know our girls! We’ve even provided you with an L Word Watcher’s Guide.
The Bisexual (Hulu Original) (2019): One Season, 6 Episodes
The Bisexual sets itself apart by featuring a diverse group of lesbian friends in addition to focusing on the queer protagonist’s narrative and feels entirely authentic. “Akhavan has done something truly brilliant here,” wrote Heather Hogan in her review. “She’s created a show for an audience that understands the joke “Bette is a Shane trying to be a Dana” and then centers it on a character who’s meant to make everyone who gets that joke a little uncomfortable.”
The closest thing we ever got to The L Word was Lip Service, a Glasgow-set drama following a group of lesbian friends: neurotic architect Cat; her best friend Frankie, a brooding Shane-esque photographer; frazzled struggling actress Tess; hot cop Sam (this is how we all discovered Heather Peace!) and notorious bad girl Sadie. Season Two introduced Sexy Lexy Price, a doctor who moved in with Tess, Frankie and Sadie. It was fun and hot and compelling, but the show never really set up the sense of a larger queer social web or the city’s scene in the same way The L Word did, mainstream critics hated it and the community’s reaction was, according to Heather Davidson, “mixed.”
Shows on Hulu with Queer Female Leads Who Are Gay The Whole Time
Killing Eve (BBC) (2018-) : 2 Seasons on Hulu So Far, 16 Episodes
Jodie Comer as Villanelle, Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri – Killing Eve _ Season 2, Episode 8 – Photo Credit: Gareth Gatrell/BBCAmerica
Killing Eve‘s first season was the Fleabag of 2018: a smart, female-focused Phoebe Waller-Bridge project that intrigued and delighted us all. The complicated and decidedly sexual obsession of these two women with each other is the stuff lesbian dreams (and memes) are made of, and fittingly will be their respective undoings.
Anyone But Me (2008 – 2012): 3 Seasons, 31 Episodes
photographed by Michael Seto for Anyone But Me
This cute little webseries is about a teenage lesbian who moves away from her girlfriend Aster (Nicole Pacent’s breakout role) while adjusting to a very different social environment in Westchester.
The Bold Type (Freeform) (2017-): 4 Seasons So Far, 46 Episodes
Season One of The Bold Type captured our entire summer with its smarts and relevance and humor and beauty. The first season grounds its romantic emotion in a storyline between two queer women of color, one of whom is a Muslim immigrant. It’s one thing to write cheeky political dialogue into your show. It is entirely another to build a season-long narrative that defies the stereotypes that build the propaganda that’s used to persecute and oppress the minorities being targeted by a political party. Seasons Two and Three have been a bit hit or miss, but Season Four really managed to exceed our expectations of how terrible it could get!
Broad City, which ended its run last year, reflected an emerging queer zeitgeist but also helped construct it, delivering a breathlessly fresh take on sexual fluidity. In addition to concluding with two out queer Jewish leads, it advanced the conversation around female sexual desire and exploration. This included both its acknowledgment of bisexuality as an identity that transcends romantic relationships and its centering of a goofy, self-indulgent, transformational, hilarious and undeniably epic romantic friendship unlike anything we’ve seen on television before.
High Fidelity (Hulu Original) (2020): 1 Season So Far, 10 Episodes
Although Rob’s relationships with women aren’t central to the plot, Zoe Kravtiz’s character is a smart, wry, endearing hot bisexual mess on this truly delightful re-imagination of the original film (starring John Cusack as Rob), which was based on a Nick Hornsby book. Updated for the current era with a diverse cast of clever, passionate and musically-obsessed hipsetrs.
Queen Sugar (OWN) (2016-): 4 Seasons So Far, 55 Episodes
Queen Sugar is a beautifully shot family drama about how three adult siblings come back together in the wake of a family tragedy and struggle to take over their family business. It’s poignant, loving, politically aware and certainly one of the most moving portrayals of a black family over the last five years. Rutina Wesley (True Blood) stars as Nova Bordelon, the middle sibling, and a pansexual journalist/activist/spiritual healer/medical marijuana grower. Nova’s a major character throughout, but unfortunately her queerness is handled unevenly. So if that’s your main interest, pay closest attention to Season One and Season Four.
Motherland: Fort Salem (Freeform) (2020 – ): One Season so far, 10 Episodes
Three young witches with basic training in combat magic are being trained to defend their matriarchal country against “looming terrorist threats” with supernatural tactics and weapons. This re-imagining of a world where the witches escaped the Salem Witch Trials by striking a deal with the government to serve in the military has a queer protagonist and a queer antagonist!
Little Fires Everywhere (2020-): 1 Season, Airing Currently
This adaptation of the bestselling book adds some queer elements that weren’t explicitly present on the page for the characters of Izzy and Mia Warren (played by Kerry Washington, who produced the series with co-star Reese Witherspoon). Set in an affluent Ohio suburb in the ’90s, Little Fires Everywhere is a searing investigation of class, race and the idea of “good white people.”
This unfortunately wrapped-up but undeniably excellent comic book adaptation follows a group of fierce, supernaturally talented teenagers challenging the abhorrent compromises their parents made, supposedly in their best interest, for a “better world,” at the expense of, you know — human lives, wealth inequality, and our planet. Virginia Gardner literally shines as Karolina Dean, a human-alien hybrid initially hiding her superpowers and her lesbianism ’til coming out near the end of Season One and starting a relationship with her crush, cynical goth Nico Minoru. At times it fumbles, having bit off more than it can chew thematically and w/r/t sheer population, but it still manages to combine the easy joy of a teen drama with the satisfying anxiety of suspenseful sci-fi.
Shows on Hulu With Gay Female Leads Who Come Out a Little Later in The Show
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The WB) (1997-2003): 7 Seasons, 144 Episodes
You know the deal: in every generation, a slayer is born? And eventually her witchy best friend Willow realizes that she’s gay?
The O.C. (Fox) (2003 – 2007): 4 Seasons, 92 Episodes
Marissa and Alex’s sweeps-week romance left an imprint on an entire generation of bisexual girls delighted by this unexpected gift given to us in one of the year’s buzziest and most popular teen dramas. It remains a delicious, dated and soapy watch.
Harlots (Hulu Original) (2017-): 3 Seasons So Far, 24 Episodes
I declared Harlots the most accurate portrayal of indoor-market sex work ever represented onscreen in Season One — surprisingly more resonant to me as a former sex worker than any contemporary portrayals — and its extra queering in Season Two made it moreso and then some. If Season One was about sex work, Season Two is about the reality that what’s done to sex workers is inextricable from what’s done to all women — the lessons about power, violence, solidarity and struggle in stories about sex work are ones that the larger conversation about gender ignores at its peril.Season Three I would prefer not to discuss, thank you.
Brooklyn 99 (Fox) (2013-): 7 Seasons So Far, 136 Episodes
In 2018, Stephanie Beatriz and her character Rosa Diaz both came out as bisexual — like, actually said the word! — on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which still regularly serves up new, emotional character arcs that peel back the layers to this lovable squad. Above all else, the show celebrates earnestness and friendship in a really lovely way that proves you don’t have to be mean or cynical to be really fucking funny.
Adventure Time (Cartoon Network) (2010-2018): 10 Seasons, 283 Episodes
Adventure Time is easily the most influential show in Cartoon Network’s history; echoes of its style and themes reverberate far beyond kids TV. And really Adventure Time never was kids TV. Yeah, it was animated and as silly as bing bong ping pong. But as it evolved, it became as philosophical weighty and psychologically curious as Battlestar Galactica. Fans of Princess Bubblegum and Marceline enjoyed growing canonical support of their favorite couple over the seasons, both on-screen and in spin-off comic books — but they’d never actually confirmed their relationship physically until the series finale when Bonnie got womped in the dome piece and almost croaked and Marceline rushed to her and caressed her and professed her love and they smooched right on the mouths.
TV Shows Streaming On Hulu With Central Queer Female Characters
It’s hundreds of years in the future and New Babyl, the last living colony on earth, has divided into different sectors for specific industries, from which 24 candidates are chosen to compete in The Examplar performance competition. Six of these candidates are followed by the show’s narrative, including sexually fluid Brooklyn and dancer Sage.
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu Original) (2017-): 3 Seasons So Far, 36 Episodes
This brutal show is dripping with artistry and performed by a magnificent cast, capable of communicating entire worlds without a single spoken line. Lesbian characters Moira (Samira Wiley) and Emily (Alexis Bledel) get bigger stories as the series progresses into a dystopian nightmare gradually unraveling at its fundamentalist seams. It’s not a pleasant world to witness, yet it remains a seductive watch. Every moment of dark humor is hard-won, like freedom itself.
Shrill (Hulu Original) (2019-): 2 Seasons So Far, 14 Episodes
Aidy Bryant stars in this adaptation of writer Lindy West’s memoir, in which she navigates the world as a young journalist in a fatphobic world. Her best friend, Fran, is a black British lesbian with all the self-confidence Annie herself lacks.
A classic procedural in a lot of ways, Rosewood was about a kind and charming forensic pathologist who solved crimes with his scientist sister week after week. His sister, Pippy, also happened to be a lesbian, in a realtionship with a woman who goes by TMI that was established before the show begins. It’s not often we see a pre-existing queer relationship in a main character, and Pippy and TMI quickly laugh and nerd their way into your heart. Also, Pippi’s relationship with her mother about their journey and their relationship through Pippy’s coming out is very powerful and well-written, and Pippy and TMI’s relationship is complicated and goes through many phases throughout the too-short run of the show.
Younger, about a woman in her 40s who is forced to pass as a woman in her 20s in order to land a job, is a delightful brain break that will pass time without asking much of you. It’s unexpectedly funny and a genuinely great depiction of friendship between women. It gets better as the years go on (so be prepared the first season is not a reflection of its best work). Be on the lookout out for Debi Mazar as lesbian Maggie and Molly Bernard as pansexual Lauren, both are the respective best friends of the two protagonists.
The Good Wife (CBS) (2009 – 2016): 7 Seasons, 156 Episodes
The Good Wife ran for seven seasons on CBS, quickly cementing itself as a standout legal procedural and ensemble drama. It follows attorney Alicia Florrick in the aftermath of her politician husband’s very public, scandalous affair. In season one, she seeks comfort in a new friend, the firm’s private investigator and instant queer icon Kalinda Sharma. All seven seasons pack a lot of red wine, emotional turbulence, and courtroom thrills.
East Los High (2013-2017) (Hulu Original): 4 Seasons, 61 Episodes
Ser Anzoategui (Vida) made their small-screen debut playing Daysi in this show about a group of interconnected friends at a high school in East LA. The first season has a coming out arc that ends pretty brutally, but it’s a show that tackles a lot of social issues and was Hulu’s first with an all Latino cast and crew, filmed in Los Angeles.
Good Trouble (Freeform) (2019 -): 2 Seasons So Far, 31 Episodes
Good Trouble picks up where The Fosters left off: with Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) and Callie (Maia Mitchell) headed north, from their sleepy San Diego suburb to the bright lights of Los Angeles, to start their new jobs. But sooner than you think, you’ll find yourself falling for all the residents of the communal space where Callie and Mariana live. Among them? Alice Kwan, the soft-butch lesbian who’s trying to get over her ex-girlfriend and get her comedy career started.
Steven Universe continues to explore more adult themes more fully than nearly every non-animated show on TV: family, grief, depression, commitment, betrayal, duplicitousness, forgiveness, puberty, gender, gender presentation, sexuality — and it does so in a way that’s warm and engaging and funny and, most of all, hopeful.
Light as a Feather (Hulu Original) (2019-): 2 Seasons So Far, 26 Episodes
Light as a Feather started out as a fun campy horror/teen drama that happened to have a gay character in its main ensemble, and it was all fun in games through season one and most of season two. It had the Final Destination “cheating death” kind of spook factor, mixed in with some supernatural twin stuff and secrets upon secrets upon lies. Season two gave the queer lead, named Alex of course, a girlfriend, but the end of season two took a bit of a turn re: its queer characters…
Party of Five (Freeform) (2020 -): 1 Season So Far, 10 Episodes
Like the original series, the 2020 reboot of Party of Five is about five children — Emilio, Beto, Lucia, Valentina and Baby Rafa — left to fend for themselves after the loss of their parents. But unlike the original, the parents aren’t lost in a car accident, they’re lost to an inhumane immigration policy. And while that story alone would make Party of Five worth watching, the slow reveal of Lucia’s sexuality over the course of its first season makes the show truly compelling. It’s the kind of intersectional storytelling we’ve been longing for.
Everything’s Gonna Be Okay (Freeform) (2019 -): 1 Season So Far, 10 Episodes
Everything’s Gonna Be Okay centers around Nicholas, a 25 year old Australian expat, forced to become the guardian to his two younger half-sisters after their father dies. When you tune into for the first time, you’re going to wonder why we recommended it…I mean, it’s very gay — oh, so very gay — from the outset but not exactly our brand of gay, you know? But still, you should stick around for two reasons: first, EGBO is the rare show featuring characters on the autism spectrum played by actors on the autism spectrum, and second, it does eventually become our brand of gay.
Star (Fox) (2016 – 2019): 3 Seasons, 48 Episodes
Star is a musical spin-off of TV juggernaut Empire that is in many ways sharper and smarter (no less overly-dramatic or seemingly illogical) than its predecessor. If you’d love discovering an often overlooked series about three working-class teenage girls doing everything in their power to go after their music superstar dreams, you’ll find something to love here. Simone, Star’s younger sister and 1/2 of the core musical trio, comes out as bisexual in the second season. She has multiple girlfriends on-and-off over the last two years, along with a long-term relationship with a man. Star also stars Amiyah Scott as Cotton Brown, in the first series regular role for a trans woman actor in TV history, and Queen Latifah as the girl’s mentor/mother-figure.
Please Like Me (Pivot/ABC2 Australia) (2013 – 2018): 4 Seasons, 32 Episodes
Emily Nussbaum writes that this “gorgeously made, psychological observant comedy” “lets vulnerable people own their jokes.” Centered on a twenty-something named Josh, a queer and “persnickety, self-abnegating student living in Melbourne.” Hannah Gadsby plays lesbian character Hannah starting in Season Two.
SIREN – Freeform’s “Siren” stars Eline Powell as Ryn, Alex Roe as Ben Pownall, and Fola Evans-Akingbola as Maddie Bishop. (Freeform/Ed Herrera)
A mysterious mermaid arrives in a small fishing town to look for her captured older sister, who was abducted by the military, which obviously eads to her getting into a throuple with Marine Biologists Ben and Maddie.
Black Sails (Starz) (2014 – 2017): 4 Seasons, 38 Episodes
Eleanor Guthrie will win you over within approximately 30 seconds of her being on your TV screen, I guarantee it. A bisexual businesswoman on the pirate island of Nassau, she has to fight to keep her power at every turn, but fight she does. Her tenuous and angsty relationship with her favorite sex worker Max is one for the ages, and they aren’t the only two queer women we meet over the course of the series. (Buckle your boots for the pirate Anne Bonny.) Just…maybe stop watching before episode 406.
9-1-1 (Fox) (2018 – ): Seasons 1 and 3 Available on Hulu, 28 Episodes
This departure from typical fare for the Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk follows the fast-paced lives of First Responders — cops, paramedics, 9-1-1 dispatchers and firefighters — as they tackle all manner of bizarre disaster. Aisha Hinds plays Hen Wilson, a Black lesbian member of the squad. The show is into its fourth season, it’s unclear why only specific episodes are on Hulu!
Claws (TNT) (2017): 3 Seasons, 30 Episodes
Five manicurists in a Florida salon enter the wonderful world of organized crime. Judy Reyes plays Annalise “Quiet Ann” Zayas, the salon’s butch bisexual lookout, doorman and enforcer.
The Purge (USA) (2018): One Season, 10 Episodes
It’s difficult to recommend this program after seeing how the story played out, but the fact remains that there is an intense love triangle and woman-on-woman relationship central to the narrative of this adaptation of a movie about the 12 hours every year when all crime, including murder, is legal in America.
The First (Hulu Original) (2018): 1 Season, 8 Episodes
Lisa Gay Hamilton plays Kayla Price, a former mission commander and a lesbian in this show about the first human mission to Mars. Her wife is played by Tracie Thoms, of course. Kayla is part of the main ensemble but her sexuality doesn’t come up very often.
Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists (Freeform) 2019: One Season, 10 Episodes
This follow up to Pretty Little Liars is bad, but also Allison, who is central to this show taking place in the perfect college town of Beacon Heights, is still queer and has some updates re: her marriage to Emily. Also it’s bad.
Grown-ish (Freeform) (2018-): 3 Seasons So Far, 42 Episodes
This delightful, funny and smart Black-ish spin-off brings daughter Zoey to college, where her tight-knit group of besties includes Nomi Segal (Emily Arlook), a Jewish bisexual whose story takes a few unfortunate turns, including a close relationship with her professor played by the one and only Kate Moennig.
Shows Streaming on Hulu With Minor or Temporary Queer Characters/Storylines:
Mrs. America (Hulu) (2020): Limited Series, 9 Episodes
Cate Blanchett, Tracy Ullman, Rose Byrne, Uzo Abuba and Melanie Lynskey are just some of the wildly talented women at the forefront of this history of the feminist movement in the 1970s and its fight against conservative activist Phyllis Shalafley (Care Blanchett) specifically. Bria Henderson plays Black lesbian early Ms. magazine editor Margaret Sloan-Hunter. In episode five, Ari Graynor shows up as Brenda Feigen, a feminist activist and attorney who falls for Jules, a lesbian photographer portrayed by the one and only Roberta Colindrez. In Episode 7, we briefly glimpse Midge Costanza and Jean O’Leary, a lesbian couple who pushed for inclusion in the feminist agenda and within the Carter administration.
The Librarians (TNT) (2014 – 2018): 4 Seasons, 42 Episodes
The magical library beneath the Manhattan Public Library houses all the mystical artifacts that are too dangerous for the world-at-large. Cassandra, who links auditory/sensory hallucinations to memory is bisexual. She’s very happy and also is Prince Charming.
Charlie Haverford is a failed musician and scam artist who works as a psychic for a big psychic empire. Gina is a hypnotist introduced as someone Charlie’s wife Linda wanted to hire. After some low-key torture, Gina strikes up a relationship with Linda. It does not end well.
Like a few other notable Ilene Chaiken projects, Empire eventually killed too many lesbians and also went entirely off the rails, but the first season is incredible television and the second is fine. Bre-Z, Marissa Tomei and Naomi Campbell are the women who play gay.
The Last Man On Earth (Fox) (2015-2018): 4 Seasons, 67 Episodes)
It’s 2022 and a cataclysm has wiped out the entire population of earth except for one man: Phil Miller. Eventually he locates additional stragglers, including Australian political nerd Erica Dundee and the woman she eventually falls in love with, Gail Klosterman, a chef and former restaurant owner. Their romance blooms!
American Horror Story (Fx) (2011 – ): 9 Seasons So Far, 103 Episodes
The American Horror Story franchise is erratically queer, depending on the season, but like all Ryan Murphy projects, somebody’s always gay and most seasons have multiple queer women characters (although not, somehow, COVEN). Season Two, Asylum, has a really original and complicated lesbian character, Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) who is institutionalized for her sexual orientation and loses her wife (Clea Duvall). Season Seven, Cult, is pretty bad, but it too gives Sarah Paulson a starring role — this time, she’s a Midwestern lesbian very upset about Trump. There were peripheral queer characters (or central queer characters whose queerness was not really centered) in other seasons, such as Freak Show, Murder House and Hotel.
This Canadian medial drama featured Dr. Sydney Katz, a “take-no-prisoners medical prodigy and Orthodox Jewish Doogie Howser” who’s struggled all her life with her feelings for women. In Season Three, she had a relationship with OB/GYN Maggie Lin.
The Last Ship (TNT) (2014-2018): 5 Seasons, 56 Episodes
This action-drama television series takes place after a pandemic wipes out over 80% of the world’s population, leaving the 218 people on a U.S. Navy missile destroyer to find a cure, stop the virus, and save humanity! Lieutenant Commander Alisha Granderson, Officer of the Deck, is a lesbian. It … does not end well for everybody.
Power (Starz) (2014-2020): 6 Seasons, 63 Episodes
Real life Disney princess Anika Noni Rose (that’s Princess Tiana to you) turned heads when she took off her crown to play dirty cop LaVerne “Jukebox” Ganner in Season Three and Season Four of Power, an adult drama about the high stakes of the drug business in New York. Jukebox is the cousin of central villain Kanan (50 Cent), but between kidnapping actual children and quite a few murders, she’s definitely no shrinking violet of her own.
What We Do In the Shadows (FX) (2019 – ): 2 Seasons So Far, 20 Episodes
The daily life of three vampires who’ve lived together on Staten Island for over 100 years, inspired by the feature film by the same name. Nadja is a Romani vampire who has had many lovers, many of whom are reincarnations of Gregor, who appears in forms including a washerwoman. The Advocate called it “Cable’s queerest comedy” because everyone is pansexual.
Salem (WGN) (2014 – 2017): 3 Seasons, 30 Episodes
This mediocre supernatural horror series, inspired by the 17th century Salem witch trials, follows Mary Sibley, a powerful witch who controls the trials and maddens the Puritans to serve the devil, and her (gay) mistress Tituba in a show where “sexuality is fluid.” Also it’s kinda bad.
Doctor Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes) was one of the first major lesbian characters on television, but her treatment is consistent with the times, which were not great times for our people. Kerry joins the show in a recurring capacity in Season Two but her lesbian storyline doesn’t begin until Season Seven, when she falls in love with staff psychiatrist Kim Legaspi (Elizabeth Mitchell).
Shows Streaming on Hulu With VERY Minor or Temporary Queer Characters/Storylines:
UnREAL (Lifetime/ Hulu Original) (2015-2018): 4 Seasons, 38 Episodes
Behind the scenes of Bachelor-esque reality TV show Everlasting, nobody has ethics and everybody’s ready to sell their soul for good ratings. Season One features a charming contestant from the Bible Belt who realizes she’s a lesbian, and later seasons include a few appearances by a studio executive played by perpetual gay-for-pay Tracie Thoms.
American Housewife (ABC) (2016 -): 4 Seasons So Far, 90 Episodes
A confident and unapologetic mother and wife of three is raising her family in wealthy Westport, Connecticut. Her next door neighbor and close friend is a lesbian.
The Killing (AMC) (2011-2014): 4 Seasons, 44 Episodes
This American remake of a Danish TV series follows two detectives as they solve murders in a very rainy Seattle. One of Bex Taylor-Klaus’ earliest roles is street kid “Bullet” in Season Three.
Better Things (FX) (2016-): 4 Seasons So Far, 40 Episodes
CR: Suzanne Tenner/FX
You can watch past seasons and the present season of this critically acclaimed irreverent comedy as it unfolds as part of FX on Hulu. Pamela Adlon plays Sam Fox, an actress with three kids (one of whom might be trans? this is unclear and honestly frustrating) she’s raising in Los Angeles. There’s some minor queer female characters here and there, including Sam’s agent, Tressa as well as some interesting sexuality and gender stuff happening with Sam’s daughter Frankie. It was the first female-led show on FX .
This short-lived but pretty fun light horror Ryan Murphy project involved a short-lived lesbian named, of course, Sam, who did awaken some sexual feelings from Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd) in Kappa Tau, who are experiencing a rash of murders on their college campus. Season Two sees the remaining sisters moving their reign of terror into a local hospital owned by their former dean. If you are looking for responsible queer representation, however, this ain’t it!
Fresh Off the Boat (ABC) (2015 – 2020): 6 Seasons, 116 Episodes
Fresh Off The Boat is an endearing and hilarious family sitcom all about a Taiwanese-American family living in Florida in the 90s. It contains a heartwarming teen coming out storyline and is sharp in its comedic voice. As Jessica, Constance Wu is phenomenal, and the shift in the second season to focus more on the parents and a little less on the oldest son Eddie really opens up the universe of the show and allows for complex stories about marriage and family. Also, the soundtrack slaps.
Let Natalie tell you all about this queer love plot: “When Angela Montenegro broke the heart of her art school girlfriend, Roxie, lost her muse and went eight years without publicly displaying her work. Meanwhile, Angela put her classical art training to work at the Jeffersonian Institute in forensic facial reconstruction. But then the exes cross paths after Roxie’s implicated a crime, Montenegro is reminded that the only thing between them that’s changed is time…and once Roxie’s vindicated, the pair share a kiss.”
You could watch all 52 episodes of this soapy mystery show on Hulu, but also we wouldn’t judge you if you just wanted to watch the tiny arc between real estate agent Josslyn (Jes Macallan) and lesbian character Alex (Shannyn Sossaman), who meet in the pilot and begin flirting more or less immediately. Alex sticks around for 8 episodes. It looks like Season Three involved some light lesbianing as well?
The Secret Life of the American Teenager (Freeform) (2008-2013): 5 Seasons, 121 Episodes
Once you get 121 episodes deep into a show — even a show that, upon launch, was widely seen as promoting an anti-choice agenda and other “family values” philosophies — and lesbians will turn up! A lesbian played by Anne Ramsey, specifically. But also, a lesbian mom played by Molly Ringwald! There’s also a tiny sweeps situation. VERY light queer.
Letterkenny (Hulu) (2016-): 8 (short) Seasons So Far, 54 Episodes
This quirky Canadian comedy is full of quick-witted, fast-talking folks with very specifically Canadian humor that somehow seems universally hilarious. It seems all of the women are canonically queer, though the only real on-screen proof we get of that is when Katy (Michelle Mylett) walks out of the bathroom with Mrs. McMurray (Wynonna Earp‘s Melanie Scrofano) having obviously just hooked up. Still, it’s fun to see when the references do pop up, including but not limited to when Katy joins the boys in lusting after the town darling.
Two best friends get mixed up with a dangerous and mysterious clique when they begin as freshmen at University. Georgia is swept up in the glamour and exclusivity, while Holly is tentative and suspicious. Season One relies mostly on subtext and Season Two has a bigger part for Louise, a lesbian, but it doesn’t end well.
Reality & Documentary TV With Queer Talent Streaming on Hulu
America’s Next Top Model (2003 – 2015) (UPN + The CW + CBS): 22 Seasons, 285 Episodes
The first 22 Seasons of ANTM, before the VH1 reboot, are available on Hulu. The program consistently included lesbian and bisexual contestants. Notable memories include Kim Stolz being hot hooking up with Sarah in Season Five, Ebony battling homophobic models in Season One, Isis King becoming the first trans woman contestant in Season Eleven, Megan being accidentally outed and then required to be part of a Portia De Rossi / Ellen DeGeneres photoshoot in Season Seven and out-and-proud Kayla in Season Fifteen and our introduction to AZ Marie Livingston in Cycle 18 (AZMarie would later date Raven-Symone). Also interesting is the number of contestants who came out after being on the program.
Other shows on Hulu with extremely minor queer characters: The Mindy Project, Casual, Desperate Housewives, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, NYPD Blue, Weeds, Cougar Town