35 Behind-The-Scenes Photos Of Lesbian Characters From Your Favorite TV Shows

Let’s check out some of the ladies behind-the-scenes of our favorite lesbian, bisexual, queer and otherwise-identified teevee characters.

1. Orange Is The New Black (Netflix, 2013-)

Taryn Manning (Pennsatucky), Laura Prepon (Alex) and Taylor Schilling (Piper)



2. Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family, 2009 -)

Shay Mitchell (Emily) & Lindsey Shaw (Paige)

lindsey shaw & shay mitchell

lindsey shaw & shay mitchell


3. Skins (e4, 2007-2012)

Lily Loveless (Naomi) and Kathryn Prescott (Emily)


4. Lip Service (BBC Three, 2010-2012)

Laura Fraser (Cat), Heather Peace (Sam), Fiona Button (Tess) and Ruta Gedmintas (Frankie)


5. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 2005-)

Sara Ramirez (Callie) and Jessica Capshaw (Arizona)


6. Degrassi: The Next Generation (The N, 2001-)

Annie Clark (Fiona) and Cristine Prosperi (Imogen)


7. The Fosters (ABC Family, 2013-)

Sherri Saum (Lena), Teri Polo (Stef) and Cierra Ramirez (Mariana)



8. The L Word (Showtime, 2004-2009)

Janina Gavankar (Papi), Leisha Hailey (Alice), Kate Moennig (Shane), Rachel Shelly (Helena), Pam Grier (Kit), Laurel Holloman (Tina) and Mia Kirshner (Jenny)



9. Glee (Fox, 2009 – )

Heather Morris (Brittany) and Naya Rivera (Santana)



10. True Blood (HBO, 2008-)

Kristin Bauer Van Straten (Pam)


11. Coronation Street (ITV, 1960-)

Brooke Vincent (Sophie) and Sacha Parkinson (Sian)



12. Lost Girl (Showcase Canada, 2010-) 

Ksenia Solo (Kenzi) and Anna Silk (Bo) (We couldn’t find an on-set photo of Bo & Lauren, sorry!)



13. Skins (e4, 2007-2012)

Megan Prescott (Katie), Lily Loveless (Naomi), Kathryn Prescott (Emily) and Kaya Scodelario (Effy)



14. Bomb Girls (GlobalTV, 2012-2013)

Jodi Balflour (Gladys), Ali Liebert (Betty), Rosie O’Donnell and Meg Tilly (Lorna)



15. South of Nowhere (The N, 2005-2008)

Gabrielle Christian (Spencer), Mandy Musgrave (Ashley), Eileen Boylan (Kyla) and Valeriy Oritz (Madison)



16. American Horror Story (FX, 2011-)

Sarah Paulson (Lana) and Lizzie Brochere (Grace)



17. Orange is the New Black (Netflix, 2013-)

Uzo Aduba (Suzanne), Samira Wiley (Poussey), writer Jenji Kohan and Danielle Brooks (Taystee)



18. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

Alyson Hannigan (Willow), writer Joss Whedon, Amber Benson (Tara)



19. The O.C. (Fox, 2003-2007)

Olivia Wilde (Alex) with Mischa Barton (Marissa)



20. Lip Service (BBC Three, 2010-2012)

Lorraine Burroughs (Fin) and Ruta Gedmintas (Frankie)

21. The L Word (Showtime, 2004-2009)

Leisha Hailey (Alice), Kate Moennig (Shane), Rose Rollins (Tasha) and Mia Kirshner (Jenny)



22. Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family, 2009 -)

Shay Mitchell (Emily) & Lindsey Shaw (Paige)



23. True Blood (HBO, 2008-)

Rutina Wesley (Tara Thornton)


24. Degrassi: The Next Generation (The N, 2001-)

Lauren Collins (Paige Michalchuck) and Deanna Casaluce (Alex)


25. The Good Wife (2009-)

Alan Cumming (Eli Gold) with Archie Panjabi (Kalinda)


26. Glee (Fox, 2009 – )

Naya Rivera (Santana) and Demi Lovato



27. Lip Service (BBC Three, 2010-2012)

Heather Peace (Sam) and Anna Skellern (Lexy)



28. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

Alyson Hannigan (Willow) with her stunt doubles


29. The L Word (Showtime, 2004-2009)

Jennifer Beals (Bette) and Laurel Holloman (Tina)



30. Orange is the New Black (Netflix, 2013-)



31. The Fosters (ABC Family, 2013-)

Sherri Saum (Lena)


32. Lost Girl (Showcase Canada, 2010-) 

Anna Silk (Bo) and Rachel Skarsten (Tasmin)



33. Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family, 2009 -)

Shay Mitchell (Emily) & Ashley Benson (Hannah)



34. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC, 2005-)

Sara Ramirez (Callie) and Jessica Capshaw (Arizona)



35. Ellen (ABC, 1994-1998)

The cast of “The Puppy Episode,” including Laura Dern and Ellen DeGeneres, checking out the final product.


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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2855 articles for us.


  1. Omfg, that picture of Sherri Saum FINALLY made me realise that I recognise her from Sunset Beach, most magisterial soap of all time, where she played the innocent victim to a love rival who got a voodoo lady to curse her with a skin disease that resembled having rice krispies stuck to her arm.

    Thank you Riese, these pictures are all great. But nothing beats a voodoo revelation.

  2. Also, would it be possible to have a post/support group to discuss how terrible yet weirdly compelling South of Nowhere was?

    • carly and i used to recap that show! it was good at first, but then it was terrible. once upon a time it blew my little mind, i’d never seen two girly teenage lesbians openly in a relationship on television before, i was like, omg, i can do this

      • It was my first exposure to teenage lesbians since Buffy and it was wonderful. It made me feel okay.

      • I may or may not have immediately googled this and proceeded to read through a few episode recaps instead of doing my latin homework. (Getting to the first and second season recaps are going to be rough but it’s worth it.)

    • South of Nowhere was way before it’s time and will probably never get the credit it deserves because of the network it was on. A network that no longer even exists. South of Nowhere predates the gay/lesbian teens on Glee and Pretty Little Liars but so many people outside of our little community have no idea it was ever even a thing.

      • i know! it breaks my heart! i’d actually never seen a high school storyline that didn’t ultimately involve a terrible breakup after four episodes or one of them getting a boyfriend because they can’t handle being gay. like high school lesbian couples never stayed together, i’d never seen a multi-season arc. it was way ahead of its time for sure. i feel like the n was a template not unlike what abc family has become.

    • i had some serious nostalgia feelings looking at the south of nowhere picture.

  3. it’s totally normal that i almost cried when i saw the ellen picture, right? normal?

  4. Not to be that person, but I’m going to be that person. I think several of these characters are bisexual, not lesbian.

    PS. Some of these pictures are better than the show. Love it.

    • yeah i know — but when it comes to headlines, our choice of words is motivated 100% by SEO. i feel like we all know that many of these characters are bisexual or otherwise-identified, regardless of the headline.

      • Y’all should write a post about bisexual erasure in SEO. Or really, how SEO reflects and feeds our cultural tendency to put everyone in black and white categories.

        I feel like it could be both hilarious and terrible. I mean, I’d read it.

        • As someone who makes money writing SEO stuff (and feels guilty about it), I’d be rather interested in this article.

        • Ava

          I would definitely be interested in reading such an article. Statistics/charts do it for me.

        • Ooo I totally want to read that article.

          I don’t directly do SEO but I have to consult with SEO type people, and have to pay attention to it. I would love to read such an article.

    • Hey, just out of interest, were you protesting to bisexual characters being labelled as lesbians because you identify as bi and didn’t want to be ignored/lumped in, or because you didn’t want bisexuals included in a ‘lesbian’ gallery?

      • as a bisexual-identified person I took her comment to mean it’s a shame bisexuals are always lumped in/erased by the term “lesbian”, not anti-bisexual in a lesbian space. But obviously, that’s just my impression.

        and Emily I think that would be a FANTASTIC post!

        • Same here. I know the writers/editors have their reasons, but it gets frustrating after a while. I feel the same way when people use “gay” as a shorthand for the entire LGBTQ community, which happens all the time. Gay and Lesbian are not umbrella terms! When they are used that way it erases the fact that bi/pan and trans* individuals have different sets of issues which are not actually addressed by focusing purely on “gay rights.”

          *I should note that I found this article super cute otherwise :). It’s no big deal, just a pattern that I think deserves attention. I know Autostraddle does it’s best to be inclusive.

  5. Speaking of Lauren Collins, is anybody watching her as the new host of 1 Girl 5 Gays on Logo/MTVCanada? I think she’s fun and clearly has a lot of gay friends. She doesn’t seem at all uncomfortable with some of the sexually explicit questions she has to ask them. There is going to be an all new cast next season so it will be interesting to see how she gels with the new guys.

    I wish their was a lesbian equivalent of that show or that they at least do a few “lesbian special episodes” next season, like they did last year.

    • I’ve only watched the lesbian/co-ed specials. I really would like a female cast version of the show. Or maybe some of the lesbian youtube personnel can do it!

    • AT

      I was really excited when they had the lesbian episodes but was pretty disappointed in the response from people watching. I saw many fans on 1G5G social media comment about how they wanted the boys back because it was more interesting and they didn’t like having lesbians. I don’t know if anyone else felt the same way I did, but finally there was some lesbian visibility on tv and then straight viewers opinion’s overrode that visibility.

      • I agree. I used to check their FB regularly and their was nothing but complaints about the lesbian episodes well before they even aired. The majority of 1G5G fans also seem to be young straight girls and I wonder if that had anything to do with them not wanting the lesbians on. For example, their live shows are overwhelmingly filled with young girls in the audience. I love the show but I have always felt a little discomfort with the fanbase, which I feel a lot of the time fetishizes these gay men the way slash fans do on Tumblr. It’s really disturbing to me.

  6. 21. I love Kate Moennig because duh, I’m a lesbian. HOWEVER, I AM DISTURBED TO LOVE HER MORE IN HEELS.

  7. I don’t think that the second L Word picture is labelled correctly. Looks like Leisha, Mia, Kate, and Rose (Tasha). I don’t see Laurel or Pam anywhere…unless they’re hiding under Kate’s ridiculous dress.

  8. Al

    This just reminds me how much I miss the L Word, and Mia Kirschner in general.

  9. Yeap, that picture of Sarah Paulson killed me. I’m now blogging from the great beyond.

    • YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS……….. I seriously contemplate moving to LA to have a better chance of dating her.

      • I follow her on Twitter and I just don’t understand how she is single.

  10. kd lang has such a great profile! At least… I think that’s her? In the Ellen pic, obvs.

  11. Where can I get that picture of The L Word girls in poster size and framed for my living room?

      • Psh! I want the one where they’re all in pretty dresses looking like they got too drunk and just want to cuddle. I would cuddle puddle them so hard.

    • Yes yes yes this.

      I mean, Shay definitely falls into the category of My Type every day of the year, but Lindsey?? DAMN WHY ARE YOU SO HOT BEHIND THE SCENES…because I don’t see it on screen.

        • I’m not into butch or MOC women, so when they butch up Lindsey it doesn’t do anything for me.

      • I think the show tries to downplay her looks actually. Though they do seem to be dressing Paige better this year

  12. Ria

    1. This made me realize how much I miss Tess from Lip service
    2. Ugh that pik of Kate Moneeig in a dress and heels. My do I love me some gender fluid girls!

  13. Ria

    Also: in the L word dress pik, Tasha’s legs look sexy as fuck and why is Alice the only one wearing UGGS and not heels? A woman after my own heart.


    Comment brought to you by someone who just binge-watched all 3 seasons a week ago.

    • GoS

      I just finished the first season! I’m so into it. I love Lauren.

  15. I can’t believe no one’s mentioned Kathryn Prescott and Lily Loveless yet. Hellooo? Did you guys watch Skins? Do you realise that their storyline is the most perfect representation of a girl-girl relationship to ever grace our tv screens? Do you see how adorable their faces are?


    (i have a lot of feelings about this)

  16. As a Jessica Capshaw Identified Human, I would like to thank you for picture #5. How eat-her-face-off-cute is she? Gahhh!

    Seriously – I realized I was gay when I saw her in a power suit in “The Practice” way back in 2002. Jamie Stringer… my gay awakening.

  17. Ava

    Am I the only one dying over the Buffy pics? Possibly b/c behind-the-scenes pics from the pre-twitter/instagram era are more rare and I’ve never seen either of these before. The one of Alison, Joss, and Tara is so adorable, and Willow with her 3 stunt doubles is gr8. Ugh, I love that show so much.

    • My words exactly. I’m like a toddler “more! more!”
      Gah. I haven’t watched Grey’s Anatomy in a long time but that picture of Sara Ramirez warmed my heart. And that basketball L word picture is bringing back some awesome flashbacks of me at 20 watching lesbians making out for the first time on my computer screen.
      I love behind the scenes photos because when you watch characters who have some much on-screen chemistry there’s a part of you that wants to believe that the chemistry isn’t fake or accidental (like, please don’t tell me they hate each other in real life or something), so when you see that the people who portray the characters you love are actual friends off screen, well it’s wonderful.

  18. I’m just now realizing there’s a third season of Lost Girl… NETFLIX Y U LIE TO ME?? I’ve been missing out on so much :(

  19. Lj

    They should maintain that because she’s reaaallllyyy hawt, she’s gone thru style evolution and that pic#2 look suits her I think. Hehehe :-3

    • Lj

      Why did my reply to @ItzaMe‘s comment go here? O.o anyway I was referring to Lindsay being Paige.

  20. I am very very happy about this post, but how has no one seen Orphan Black yet???

    • orphan black presented a challenge because the actress who plays the gay character also plays all the other characters

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