All 199 Dead Lesbian and Bisexual Characters On TV, And How They Died

People die. Characters die. This is perhaps life’s most unfortunate fact: that people will die and leave the rest of us behind. It’s incredibly rare that any dramatic television series lasting over three seasons will never kill a main or recurring character, and all those deaths have driven a stake through the heart of fandom: Joyce on Buffy, Lady Sybil on Downton Abby, Charlie on Lost, Ned Stark on Game of Thrones, Jen on Dawson’s Creek, Nate on Six Feet Under — but when the person who dies is a lesbian or bisexual character, queer fandom takes it pretty hard.

The history of lesbian representation on television is rocky — in the beginning, we seemed exclusively relegated to roles that saw us getting killed/attacked or doing the killing/attacking. And until the last five or so years, lesbian and bisexual characters seemed entirely unable to date an actual woman or stay alive for more than three episodes, let alone an entire run, of a show. Gay and lesbian characters are so often murdered on television that we have our very own trope: Bury Your Gays. We comprise such a teeny-tiny fraction of characters on television to begin with that killing us off so haphazardly feels especially cruel.

Not every death listed below was wholly uncalled for. In many genres, like soap operas and shows about vampires, zombies, criminals, or games of thrones, characters are killed on the reg. That’s a different trope — Anyone Can Die. Furthermore, shows composed entirely of queer characters will inevitably kill one. But regardless, they still add to the body count weighing down our history of misrepresentation.

And, due to the recent untimely death of Lexa on The 100, this week seemed like a good one to count down everybody we have lost over the years.

This list contains every television death of an OPENLY lesbian or bisexual or queer female character on a television show. With a handful of exceptions, these are all characters who appeared for more than one episode. The exceptions were deemed exceptional because something about the characterization still fits in with the Bury Your Gays trope. Victims-of-the-week from crime procedurals (Law & Order, Cold Case, CSI, Criminal Minds or older shows) or patients-of-the-week from hospital dramas (Chicago Hope, E.R.), aren’t on this list, as that is an entirely different kind of list, but recurring characters from those shows are on this list. Nor is subtext on this list, because we’re not gonna give Xena showrunners Queer Character Credit for a character they refused to make openly queer when she was really so obviously queer. You know? [ETA: Okay, I’ve added Xena after doing further research and because if one more commenter takes up space on this thread — a thread I’m using to find more characters to add, and also to engage with thoughtful/funny readers who have opinions and feelings — to tell me that I “forgot” Xena without reading this introduction, I will become the 200th dead lesbian and the cause of death will be “Walked off a cliff with a commenter in her arms. Murder-suicide.” But Xena will be the one and only inclusion based on subtext.] Also, although I’ve done tons of research, I haven’t personally seen all of these shows, so mistakes may very well exist, and feel free to politely inform me of them in the comments, or tell me about characters I may have missed — it’s especially helpful if you can tell me the cause of death and the year.

Unsure if this needs to be said but… SPOILER ALERT.


Every Regular or Recurring Lesbian or Bisexual Female Character Killed On Television

Julie, Executive Suite (1976)

Cause of death: Hit by a car. Her love interest had just walked into traffic after realizing her lesbianism and Julie was chasing her.

geraldine-brooks


Franky Doyle, Prisoner: Cell Block H (1980)

Cause of death: Shot by a police officer after escaping from prison

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Sharon Gilmour, Prisoner: Cell Block H (1980)

Cause of death: Pushed down the stairs by a corrections officer

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Karen O’Malley, Casualty (1987)

Cause of death: Head Injury

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Cecília, Vale Tudo (1988)

Cause of death: Car Accident

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Cicely, Northern Exposure (1992)

Cause of death: Shot by a gunman employed by the town’s evil overlord who doesn’t want to let the lesbians change his town. The shot was intended for her girlfriend Roslyn, but Cicely, who was already sick, blocked the bullet and died in Roslyn’s arms, thus magically healing the town’s long-simmering feuds and leading them to re-name the town “Cicely.”

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Talia Winters, Babylon 5 (1995)

Cause of death: Activated a sleeper personality that wiped out her actual personality, effectively killing her

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Beth Jordache, Brookside (1995)

Cause of death: Genetic heart condition, died in prison

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Susan Ross, Seinfeld (1996)

Cause of death: Toxic envelope glue

SeinfeldSusan


Naomi “Tracy” Richards, Band of Gold (1996)

Cause of death: Stabbed herself

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Lucy, The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders (1996)

Cause of death: Caught thieving and hanged

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Kathy, NYPD Blue (1997)

Cause of death: Shot by a hit man hired by her girlfriend Abby’s ex, who wanted to get rid of Kathy so she could get back together with Abby. Abby was pregnant at the time.

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Sondra Westwood, Pacific Drive (1997)

Cause of death: Murdered by a serial killer

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Jadzia Dax, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1998)

Cause of death: Blasted by an alien-possessed alien

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Sonia Besirky, Lindenstraße (1998)

Cause of death: Drug overdose from medication given to her by her ex-lover’s husband

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Leila and Rafaela, Torre de Babel (1998)

Cause of death: Explosion in a shopping mall

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Susanne Teubner, Hinter Gittern (1999)

Cause of death: Shot during a bank robbery (she was a customer)

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Shaz Wiley, Bad Girls (2000)

Cause of death: Bomb, died in resulting fire

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Laura Hall, Shortland Street (2000)

Cause of death: Heart attack

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Diamond, Dark Angel (2001)

Cause of death: Used as a lab rat for research that killed her

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Xena, Xena the Warrior Princess (2001)

Cause of death: Beheaded

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Beate “Bea” Hansen, Hinter Gittern (2001)

Cause of death: Injuries from an explosion

Walter (Katy Karrenbauer, li.) und Bea (Sonia Farke) haben sich bei Jutta ein paar Tage in Freiheit erpresst.


Jule Neumann, Hinter Gittern (2001)

Cause of death: Suicide

Anke-Rahm


Frankie Stone, All My Children (2001)

Cause of death: Murder Mystery!

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Bridgit, 24 (2001)

Cause of death: Shot by a man in front of her girlfriend

Bridgit


Tara Maclay, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2002)

Cause of death: Shot in the heart by a stray bullet

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Kelly Hurst, Family Affairs (2002)

Cause of death: Pushed down the stairs by her lover’s husband

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Megan Hartnoll, At Home With The Braithwaites (2003)

Cause of death: Electrocuted in the bathtub

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Juliet Becker, The Bill (2003)

Cause of death: Stabbed

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Tina Greer, Smallville (2003)

Cause of death: Impaled through the chest on a large piece of wood during a fight with a male character

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Sandy Lopez, E.R. (2004)

Cause of death: Injuries sustained from fighting a fire in an abandoned warehouse

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Al Mackenzie, Bad Girls (2004)

Cause of death: Poisoned

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Hanna Novak, Verbotene Liebe (2004)

Cause of death: Stroke, died in her girlfriend’s arms

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Ines Führbringer, Hinter Gittern (2004)

Cause of death: Throat slit, died in girlfriend’s arms

Ines-Fuhrbringer


Thelma Bates, Hex (2004)

Cause of death: Murdered by a demon

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Flora, Deadwood (2004)

Cause of death: Beaten by a man who then forced a woman to shoot her with his gun

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Brenda Castillo, Charmed (2004)

Cause of death: Stabbed with a cursed blade by a man, causing her to rapidly age and then die

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Tosha, The Wire (2004)

Cause of death: Shot during a heist gone wrong

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Marissa Cooper, The O.C. (2005)

Cause of death: Car crash after being driven off the road by her drunk ex-boyfriend

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Servilla, Rome (2005)

Cause of death: Stabs herself in front of her rival house, inhabited by the mother of her lover

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Dusty, Queer As Folk (2005)

Cause of death: At a benefit at a gay club when a bomb went off

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Dana Fairbanks, The L Word (2006)

Cause of death: Breast cancer

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Helena Cain, Battlestar Galactica (2006)

Cause of death: Shot by her ex-lady-lover

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Manuela Wellmann, Hinter Gittern (2006)

Cause of death: Stabbed, died in girlfriend’s arms

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Maya Robertson, Hex (2006)

Cause of death: Hit by a car

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Natalie, Bad Girls (2006)

Cause of death: Bludgeoned to death with a brick

natalie


Gina Inviere/#6, Battlestar Galactica (2006)

Cause of death: Set off a nuclear weapon

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Eve Jacobson/Zoe McAllister, Home & Away (2006)

Cause of death: Inside a building when it was blown up

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Van, Dante’s Cove (2006)

Cause of Death: Killed by the Shadows
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Angie Morton, Stritctly Confidential (2006)

Cause of death: Suicide. Jumped off a building.

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Riese is the 36-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key power lesbian 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.

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