This week (April 24 – April 30) is Lesbian Visibility Week! During this time, we aim to challenge stereotypes, showcase diversity, and celebrate the enduring spirit of those who identify as lesbians. Join us in elevating and celebrating these stories through this year’s GLAAD Media Award nominees and winners!
GLAAD proudly supports DIVA Media Group, Europe’s biggest LGBTQ media group, who engages, unites, and supports LGBTQ women and their allies internationally. DIVA has honored Lesbian Visibility Week annually since 2008 as a voice for unity to lift up ALL women, especially those who come from marginalized communities.
“In our engagement we are increasingly finding LGBTQI women feel that they are misunderstood and under supported… We want to create a week that recognises, celebrates and importantly supports lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer women across the UK and beyond to be their true selves at work, at home and socially.” – DIVA Media Group
The lesbian community deserves fair, accurate, and authentic portrayals of their lived experiences and beyond. GLAAD’s recent 2022 Studio Responsibility Index (SRI) found that only four (25%) of the 16 LGBTQ-inclusive theatrical films released from the seven major studios in 2021included lesbian characters. This is a marked decrease in lesbian representation, as lesbians appeared in 50 percent of inclusive films in 2020.
Comparably, GLAAD’s 2022-2023 Where We Are On TV Report (WWATV) found a decrease in lesbian representation from the previous study; of the 596 LGBTQ characters counted across all platforms, 180 (30%) were lesbians. There were also zero lesbian trans characters, with seven of the trans characters marked as ‘undetermined’ in cases where networks were unable to confirm a character’s orientation. According to the Vice President of the GLAAD Media Institue, Nick Adams, “It is often due, however, to a lack of quality writing and forethought surrounding trans characters or a failure to understand the differences between sexual orientation and gender identity.”
In order to accelerate acceptance and influence the hearts and minds of the general public, we must increase the quantity and quality of diverse LGBTQ characters and storylines in all facets of entertainment. Lesbian representation not only dispels harmful stereotypes and tropes, but also provides a space for sapphic people from all walks of life to see themselves in fully fleshed out, nuanced, and authentic characters. In celebrating Lesbian Week of Visibility, check out some of our favorite lesbian characters and storylines from the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Award nominees and winners!
Heartbreak High (Netflix)
Buckle up for a high-octane ride into the minds and lives of a group of Australian teenagers in Heartbreak High. Set in the fictional Hartley High, several students are forced into a sexual literacy course after their names appear on a “hookup-map” on school property. At the heart of the group lies lesbian and autistic student Quinni, played by disability rights activist and Tik Tok star Chloé Hayden. Throughout the first season of the rebooted series, Quinni navigates flirting, dating and sex while advocating for herself and her relationships— portraying the underrepresented intersection between these identities. Be sure to check out Heartbreak High, which has been renewed for a second season, for high school drama, sexual awakenings, racial tensions, and an array of queer characters!
A League of Their Own (Amazon)
A League of Their Own series adaptation confirms that there really is crying in baseball, or at least in our binge watching session! The acclaimed sports comedy drama series is based on a true story and inspired by Penny Marshall’s beloved 1992 classic film. Audiences are introduced to an entirely new WWII All-American professional women’s baseball league as they fight to keep the team alive through close games, injuries, sexual awakenings and road trips across a rapidly changing U.S. The The majority of the characters of A League of Their Own are queer and the show hails from out writer and actor Abbi Jacobson, who is also in the ensemble cast alongside out actors Roberta Colindrez, Gbemisola Ikumelo, Marquise Vilsón, Rosie O’Donnell, and many more! A League of Their Own is set to return with a final four-episode season; stay tuned for further information.
The L Word: Generation Q (Showtime)
The reboot of era-defining series The L Word, The L Word Generation Q has laughed and loved its way back into our hearts! The series features groundbreaking characters Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals), Shane (lesbian actress Kate Moennig) and Alice (lesbian actress Leisha Hailey), as well as a new tight-knit group of queer and trans characters navigating modern life in Los Angeles. The most recent third season introduces out guest stars Margaret Cho, FLETCHER, and Kehlani, while continuing to follow the intermingled lives of our core queer friends as they experience love, heartbreak, sex, setbacks and success. In honor of Lesbian Week of Visibility, The L Word: Generation Q cast visited the White House and spoke about the importance of lesbian representation alongside Karine Jean-Pierre, the first out White House press secretary, who acknowledged the insurmountable impact of the show on generations of queer people across the country!
Never Have I Ever (Netflix)
Get ready for some steamy teen romance! Created by Mindy Kaling, Never Have I Ever follows Devi, a modern first-generation Indian American teenager, and her best friends, lesbian student Fabiola (out actress Lee Rodriguez) and Eleanor (Ramona Young). After a traumatic year, Devi wants to improve her status at school, but her friends, family, and feelings don’t make it easy on her. From coming out and dating her first girlfriend to having a secret affair with her bestie, Fabiola is a dynamic character who openly explores her identity with the support of her friends and community. If you’ve already watched the coming-of-age comedy series, you’re in luck; Never Have I Ever is set to return for a fourth and final season on June 8! Be sure to check out these newly released images and catch up on the first three seasons on Netflix.
The Owl House (Disney)
Welcome to the Boiling Isles! The popular animated fantasy series The Owl House centers on self-assured Dominican-American teenager Luz, who stumbles upon a portal to a magical Demon Realm. The slow-burn relationship between bisexual teen Luz and lesbian friend turned girlfriend Amity humanizes the quirky and loveable characters, affirming sapphic romance and filling a widening gap in representation within kids and family programming. The series, which just finished its run this spring, also features a plethory of queer characters within the ensemble. Watch all three seasons of The Owl House today on Disney Plus!
The Sex Lives of College Girls (HBO Max)
School is in session for our favorite legacy lesbian! Hit comedy-drama The Sex Lives of College Girls follows the lives and affairs of four college suitemates and unlikely best friends, including lesbian student Leighton Murray, played by queer actress and singer Reneé Rapp. Throughout the series, Leighton gains confidence in her new-found identity while juggling the trials and tribulations of life at New England’s prestigious Essex College. The Sex Lives of College Girls has been renewed for an upcoming third season; catch up on the first two seasons for some juicy college chaos, wild parties, messy relationships, and of course, the queer students on campus!
Bodies Bodies Bodies (A24)
The dark comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies opens with a sapphic kiss and ends in a bloodbath! The film stars gay and non-binary executive producer Amandla Stenberg as Sophie, fresh out of rehab and ready to introduce her girlfriend Bee (Maria Bakalova) to her eclectic and ulta-rich group of friends. In the midst a hurricane, a murder-in-the dark party game turns horrifying, resulting in a dead body on the ground and fake friends at every turn. As the gang tries to find the killer among them, tensions rise with social paranoia, manipulation and shocking twists and turns. Grab some popcorn and your bestie to watch Bodies Bodies Bodies on Netflix!
Queer director Sammi Cohen crushed their directorial debut in the feel-good rom-com Crush, which delivers a fresh take on a classic high school love triangle. When an ambitious young artist named AJ, portrayed by queer actress Rowan Blanchard, is forced to join her high school track team, she uses it as an opportunity to pursue the girl she’s been harboring a long-time crush on. But she finds herself falling for an unexpected teammate and discovering what real love feels like for the first time. Be sure to check out this modern coming-of-age flick on Hulu!
Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)
Academy Award-winning Best Picture Everything Everywhere All At Once puts lesbian acceptance, identity, and intergenerational trauma at the forefront of its sneakily emotional story. The genre-defying film centers on the relationships between Chinese-American immigrant and harried laundromat owner Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh), her genial husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), and their rebellious lesbian adult daughter, Joy (Stephanie Hsu). When an interdimensional rupture unravels reality, an unlikely hero must channel her newfound powers to fight bizarre and bewildering dangers from the multiverse as the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Through the insurmountable layers of parallel universes, Evelyn learns to love her daughter unconditionally as her authentic self. Watch Everything Everywhere All At Once on Paramount Plus with Showtime today!
Nope (Universal Pictures)
As you all know, Jordan Peele has disrupted and redefined modern horror, and his latest pop nightmare Nope is no exception! Queer horror fans are in for a treat in this expansive epic, which features Keke Palmer as Emerald, the charismatic and charming lesbian lead. Emerald and her brother OJ discover something sinister in the skies above their California horse ranch, while the owner of a nearby theme park tries to profit from the mysterious, otherworldly phenomenon. With sci-fi surprises around every corner, Nope will have you at the edge of your seat; watch the film on Peacock today!
Tár (Focus Features)
Cate Blanchett brings another complex lesbian character to life in the award-winning psychological drama Tár. Set in the international world of Western classical music, Tár centers on the fictional conductor Lydia Tár, a globally renowned, sometimes tyrannical, conductor of a German orchestra. Blachett’s portrayal of Lydia brings issues of “cancel culture”, the #MeToo movement and abusive power in queer relationships to the table, creating a deeply human and flawed persona. Join the conversation and stream Tár on Peacock now!
SIGNALIS (rose-engine / Humble Games)
SIGNALIS is a classic survival horror experience set in a dystopian future where humanity has uncovered a dark secret. Unravel a cosmic mystery, escape terrifying creatures, and scavenge an off-world government facility as Elster. At the center of the game is a surprisingly tender sapphic story as Elster tries to find her partner Ariane after they crash land on an unknown planet. Through rich eldritch terror and complicated puzzles, SIGNALIS captures the longing and affection between Elster and her partner, breathing life into the silent characters and bleak world you’ll encounter as a player. It’s rare to see lesbians, or queer affection in general, in horror without their identities being the actual target of the involved characters. It’s a privilege to be hurt by a doomed love story in this way, and Elster is both a hardcore and sapphic protagonist that more horror games should learn from. Play SIGNALIS now!
The Last of Us Part II (Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment)
Ellie has taken the world by storm as the wicked smart and badass side-character-turned-protagonist in the recently released The Last of Us series, but she really gets her time to shine in The Last of Us Part II, GLAAD’s 32nd Annual GMA winner. Though Ellie was established as queer in a DLC titled The Last of Us: Left Behind, her relationship with Dina in Part II is the first real romance that the players get to explore in depth. Having a multifaceted and flawed protagonist that happens to be a lesbian is unheard of in a AAA game, making Ellie’s existence a monumental step forward in general LGBTQ representation in mainstream video games. The Last of Us Part II is not for the faint of heart, but it is certainly worth playing to see how stories about queer and trans people can be successfully told by studios who do not shy away from giving them the space they deserve. Play The Last of Us Part II and watch the series on HBO Max for the full Ellie-experience!
Life is Strange: Full Colors (Deck Nine / Square Enix)
In GLAAD’s 33rd Annual GMA winner Life is Strange: Full Colors players follow protagonist Alex Chen as she relocates to the cozy, comfy mountain town of Haven, based in Colorado. However, her time there quickly turns sour after the death of her brother, Gabe, leaving her no choice but to rely on her two new friends, Steph and Ryan, to help solve the mystery of why Gabe died. Though not the only lesbian character from the Life is Strange series, Steph is certainly one of the most memorable love interests. Her pride in her queerness is apparent from the start, and the game isn’t afraid to talk about her interests and past relationships. She can be flirtatious and outspoken, at times, but is often flustered when the protagonist, Alex Chen, flirts back. The best part is that she feels real, having a plethora of musical and nerdy hobbies that incorporate her queer identity without ever relying on it as the only thing that defines her. Don’t miss out on Life is Strange: Full Colors for a range of LGBTQ characters and plotlines!
Extra Lesbian Content
Enamorándonos on UniMás
During Lesbian Visibility Week, the popular show Enamorándonos on UniMás celebrates its first same-sex wedding, with contestants Cristal and Jatziry. This marks the show’s 16th wedding and the very first to feature a same-sex couple. Several same-sex couples have been on the show, which follows participants from an initial on-air meeting to the aftermath of their first date.
Cristal, 33, was on the show two years ago, and was the first sapphic participant in search of a same-sex connection. She and Jatziry, 29, had been in contact on social media, and, after they met on the show, went on to date in November 2022 before moving in together. Their proposal was also televised and aired last December. The show airs every weeknight!
The Lesbian Bar Project
The Lesbian Bar Project, a Jägermeister sponsored documentary centred on the rapidly decreasing number of lesbian bars in the United States, shines light on the need to support the LGBTQ community and spaces. The three-episode docuseries is hosted by out actress Lea DeLaria, and aims to highlight the remaining lesbian and celebrate places that support marginalized genders, including women (regardless if they are cis or trans), non-binary folks, and trans men. Through heartfelt and human stories behind these bars and the communities that they serve across the nation, the series reminds us that the label “lesbian” belongs to all people who feel that it empowers them. Catch the documentary series streaming on the Roku Channel now!
Check out additional GLAAD Media Award nominees and winners featuring lesbian characters at the find the full list of 34th annual GMA nominees!