Straight actors who play gay: they’re everywhere. Let’s talk about lesbian roles played by straight actors. As the U.S. vs. Billie Holiday trailer made its way across the internet, questions were raised. Specifically this one: Damn, how many queer characters has Natasha Lyonne played at this point? And there’s nothing I love more in this life than compiling data to answer a question that does not objectively require answering but nevertheless is fun to consider!!
Before we get into this little stats grab, to be clear this is just a compilation of information, not a position, and there are so many positions to have! I personally am not an advocate of “only gay actors can play gay parts.” Do I love it when a gay actor plays a gay part? Hell yeah! Do I celebrate it when a straight actress announces her desire to play a gay part? Hell no! But intellectually, at this point in history when the idea of a fundamental or universal queer experience that would best inform any type of queer role (which can also have its own intersectional identities) grows shakier and less certain, I can’t make a strong argument for it. (However, if the character is gender non-conforming, it is upsetting when the small handful of butch roles that exist go to straight gender-conforming actors while actual masculine-of-center women or otherwise-suited-to-the-role queer people don’t get work!) Do note — this is not the same conversation as the one about trans status! Because yes, only trans actors should play trans parts but trans status and sexual orientation are very different categories. that said, it is really exciting to have more and more out queer actresses actually playing lesbian and bisexual parts.
This list is focused on living actors who do mostly English-language films and shows, just to keep it manageable. A minimum requirement to be on the list was three roles in Film or TV in which at least one of the roles was a lead or otherwise iconic and all three characters were explicitly queer, not just a “kissed a girl” part or a brief guest role. There are actually TONS of actors who’ve done three parts, simply having three parts is not enough okay thank you.
62. Katie McGrath
How Katie McGrath identifies is a mystery because she is a cryptid who isn’t on social media, but she has played on-paper queer in Dracula, Secret Bridesmaids Business, and a very special episode of Dates. And has played questionably-queer in Merlin, Supergirl, and pretty much everything she’s ever played. She also once famously said, “You can’t make a show without lesbianism.” (-Valerie)
61. Nicola Walker
Nicola is a straight actor who played gay Helen Bartlett in Scott & Bailey, Jane Oliver in Collateral and Lucy in The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders.
60. Shivani Ghai
Ghai had a regular role on Dominion as the queen of Helena, a recurring role on Batwoman as the queen of the pirate nation of Coryana and a recurring role as the secret lover in The Catch.
59. Brianne Howey
Howey is pretty young but is already racking up those! Gay! Roles! Specifically: Kat Rance on The Exorcist, Reagan on Batwoman and Whitney Taylor on Twisted.
58. Sofia Black D’Elia
What’s interesting about D’Elia is that her body of work is pretty small so far, so it’s interesting that so many of them are GAY. She entered our worlds in the unfortunate US reboot of Skins, playing a lesbian named Tea. She also had gay roles in The Mick and Betrayal.
57. Uma Thurman
Uma Thurman is very tall, like me. Actually she’s taller than me! Furthermore, gay in Henry & June, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, and The Con is On.
56. Laura Fraser
She was a lead in Lip Service before her sudden departure from the program, romances Shelley Conn’s character in Nina’s Heavenly Delights and is the target of a mission to remove lesbians from the army in The Investigator.
55. Rebecca Naomi Jones
A stage actress best known for her roles in American Idiot, Passing Strange and Hedwig and the Angry Inch; she’s also played gay onscreen a lot! For example: she was Gwen in High Maintenance, Davvy O’Dell in Sex & Drugs & Rock and Roll, and played Leah in the Netflix rom-com Someone Great.
54. Sasheer Zamata
You likely recognize her from Saturday Night Live but if you are very lucky you will also recognize her from her gay roles on Woke and The Last OG. This April, she will appear in the ABC sitcom Home Economics as the wife of a main character with whom she shares a very tiny apartment.
53. Floriana Lima
Most notably Maggie Sawyer on Supergirl, Lima also was a gay regular in The Family and a queer FBI liaison in the short-lived Allegiance.
52. Jessica Leccia
Leccia played Natalia Rivera, one half of “same-sex supercouple known as Otalia,” during the end of Guiding Light‘s 72-year run. She then obviously appeared in the Otalia spinoff series Venice, as well as in queer parts in A Million Happy Nows and the indie film Slippery Slope.
51. Salma Hayek
First of all: Frida. We all know about Frida. Second of all: the infamous bisexual / lesbian taco in Sausage Party. Third of all, she is bisexual in Timecode.
50. Michelle Hurd
Although Hurd has played four queer roles, three of them were guest parts: E.R., Witches of East End and Younger. Her biggest queer bang is on Star Trek: Picard, where she plays Raffi Musiker, who has a romantic situation with Seven of Nine. Also I used to see her at the gym a lot and she is even hotter in real life, which is just a general FYI.
49. Anika Noni Rose
Most recently, she changed our lives as Paula Hawthorne in Little Fires Everywhere. Previously she played criminal/police officer Jukebox in Power and was the voice of Lorraine Hansberry in the American Masters TV series documentary.
48. Rachel Weisz
Rachel Weisz played two iconic lesbian roles back to back in Disobedience and The Favourite and previously did one kinda-queer role (her queer storyline exists in backstory rather than the film’s present-tense, as far as I can tell) in Definitely Maybe.
47. Kyra Sedgwick
In Losing Chase, she falls for a woman played by Helen Mirren whomst she has been entrusted to care for after her nervous breakdown, In What’s Cooking? she is dating a woman played by Julianna Margliues? In The Humbling she is the ex-girlfriend of the daughter of a friend of the film’s lead character, an aging actor played by Al Pacino? So we are all over the map here.
46. Allison Pill
Pill played a lesbian with a personality resembling a soft paper plate in American Horror Story: Cult and hooked up with Floriana Lima’s character in The Family. was Harvey Milk’s campaign manager Anne Kronenberg in Milk and Vice President Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter Mary in Vice.
45. Kathy Bates
Whats’ the verdict on Kathy Bates’ character in American Horror Story Apocalypse I can’t remember where we landed but I remember feeling that she was GAY but maybe also a robot? Anyhow, Bates was Pearl’s wealthy lesbian cousin Lenore in Tammy, openly gay political operative Libby Holden in Primary Colors (she got an Oscar nom for that one) and Gertrude Stein in Midnight in Paris.
44. Sharon Duncan-Brewster
British actress Sharon Duncan-Brewster played one of Jackson’s lesbian Moms in Sex Education, Edith’s on-and-off lover in Years and Years and Maureen in the BBC series Cucumber. She also played a sister in the quarantine theatrical production Stuck With You. She also was in Imagine Me & You and in Bad Girls although somehow she was not queer in either of them, which is unfortunate for us all.
43. Nia Long
Long was a problematic bisexual in Dear White People, a queer hippie in If These Walls Could Talk 2, and the girlfriend of Mary McCormick in Broken Hearts Club.
42. Judi Dench
Dame Judi was nominated for an Oscar for playing an old lesbian spinster who is obsessed with a young teacher in Notes on a Scandal, played bisexual novelist Iris Murdoch in Iris and the lesbian aunt in The Shipping News.
41. Cree Summer
In 1995 on Courthouse, she and the actress who played her character’s girlfriend became the first-ever Black lesbian characters on network TV. She voiced Foxxy Love in Drawn Together and played Octavia Laurent in Queen Sugar. She was also the voice of Souki Lou, a guest on The Goode Family.
40. Lisa Ray
In addition to starring in the classic lesbian films I Can’t Think Straight and The World Unseen, Lisa Ray also played a bipolar Bollywood star dating her trainer in Four More Shots Please.
39. Joey Lauren Adams
When Chasing Amy debuted in 1997, its portrayal of a lesbian who goes for it with a guy was pretty problematic, but also there was a part where they were on the swings and she was explaining fisting that truly changed my life. Anyhow! She reprised her role in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, and she dates one of Tara’s many personalities in The United States of Tara. She was involved in a triad with a man and a woman in Harvard Man.
38. Rose Rollins
Our beloved Tasha from The L Word appeared in the Girltrash: All Night Long, which featured a few other gay-for-payers: The L Word‘s Kate French as well as Mandy Musgrave and Gabrielle Christian from South of Nowhere. In 2004, she made her gay debut in the TV movie Nikki & Nora. AND ALSO SHE WAS GAY IN BOSCH!!! We are all praying she will also be gay in her new basketball show.
37. Christina Ricci
Ricci has played a lot of real-life queer people: Aileen Wournos’ girlfriend in Monster, LGBT activist Romaine Patterson in The Laramie Project, adapted from the stage play; and Lizzie Borden in the Lifetime series THe Lizzie Borden Chronicles. She was also a bisexual drama teacher in Australia who hooks up with Ruby Rose in Around the Block. In Now & Then she played the young version of Rosie O’Donnell’s character, Roberta, who was initially written as a lesbian but that whole story was thrown out to increase the film’s mainstream appeal.
36. Melanie Lynskey
Lynskey is all up in lesbian cannon with her starring role in Heavenly Creatures and her parts in But I’m a Cheerleader and The L Word.
35. Mandy Musgrave
Known and beloved for her groundbreaking role as Ashley Davies of Spashley fame in South of Nowhere, Musgrave went on to play queer in the film Girltrash: All Night Long and a three-episode bit on 90210. She also was featured in two lesbian webseries: Cowboy Up and 3-Way.
34. Penélope Cruz
She won an Oscar for having darkroom sex with Scarlett Johansson in Vicky Christina Barcelona and danced and romanced Charlize Theron in Head in the Clouds. In Pedro Almodóvar’s All About My Mother, she gets pregnant through a relationship with a trans woman and then begins a sex-free Mommi relationship with the trans woman’s ex. She also had a girl-on-girl scene in the 1980s Belgian TV series Elle et lui and the 2006 Spanish music video “Cosas Que Contar” by Eduardo Cruz.
33. Suranne Jones
Gentleman Jack herself played a bisexual sex therapist in the six-episode series Strictly Confidential and a no-nonsense bisexual detective investigator in A Touch of Cloth.
32. Piper Perabo
In addition to her very memorable lesbian turns in seminal films Lost and Delirious and Imagine Me & You, she also played a “funky” bisexual blonde who gets hit by a truck in Perception.
31. Sandra Oh
She’s in love with a killer in Killing Eve, is a pregnant lesbian in Under the Tuscan Sun and is married to Kathy Bates’ character in Tammy.
30. Sarah Shahi
Shahi played two very iconic queer television roles — Carmen De La Pica Morales in The L Word and Shaw in Person of Interest. Then she was in this film Guns For Hire that I’m gonna be honest you guys it looks really bad and if you google “Guns For Hire + Sarah Shahi” you are going to just get a bunch of porn.
29. Lena Headey
Headey played lesbian BDSM-focused sex worker Colette in Band of Gold, Clarissa Dalloway’s ex in Mrs. Dalloway and most legendarily, Luce in Imagine Me & You. She’s also said her “tomboyish huntress” character Angelika in The Brothers Grimm is gay, although that element was not explored onscreen. “I’ve got quite a big gay following,” Lena Headey allegedly said at some point. “I played a lesbian prostitute in the TV series ‘Band Of Gold’ but I think my following really grew when I played one in the film ‘Imagine Me & You,’ with Piper Perabo.” Also she was gay in Possession!
28. Gina Gershon
After her iconic role as a soft butch criminal in Bound, Gershon found her lesbian icon status “kind of scary at first [but] then kind of amazing.” She went on to engage in amazing lesbian experiences in the also iconic but for a different reason Showgirls as well as in Prey for Rock ‘n Roll. Gershon also had a small role on Ellen‘s coming out episode.
27. Sherri Saum
Sherri Saum is of course best known for her lesbian Mom role in The Fosters, which she reprised in Good Trouble, and she also did a lesbian guest spot on Grey’s Anatomy.
26. Breeda Wool
After her breakout role as a lesbian contestant in a Bachelor parody on UnReal, Breeda starred in a spin-off series centered on her character, The Faith Diaries. But her first gay part was in the lesbian film A.W.O.L. in 2010. Breeda went on to play gay Lou Linklatter in Mr Mercedes and a guest gay part on Strangers. She told Out magazine that to prepare for her role on UnREAL, she watched the (actually very good) L Word Mississippi.
25. Vanessa Redgrave
She was an elder lesbian mourning the loss of her wife in If These Walls Could Talk 2, Clarissa Dalloway in Mrs. Dalloway, suffragette Olive Chancellor in The Bostonians and was a guest star on “Political Animals” as a lesbian Supreme Court Justice. In 1986 she played trans tennis player Renee Richards in Second Serve.
24. Jodhi May
She was Nan’s socialist activist girlfriend in Tipping the Velvet, one of Anne Lister’s exes in Gentleman Jack, played murderous maid Lea Papin in Sister My Sister, has a triad in Sleep With Me, and played Emily Dickinson’s sister-in-law, Susan Gilbert, in A Quiet Passion.
23. Elizabeth Mitchell
Most iconically, Mitchell played Gia’s girlfriend in Gia, clawing at a fence to make out with Angelina Jolie and Weaver’s first lesbian girlfriend on ER. She also played gay in Nurse Betty and The Expanse.
22. Shelley Conn
Conn starred as Nina in British lesbian film Nina’s Heavenly Delights and had regular gay roles as a patient who falls for Sue Perkins’ veterinarian character in Heading Out, “the most shameless of the cheating sirens” in Mistresses and a lesbian DA in Liar.
21. Mariel Hemmingway
In 1982, Hemmingway starred in Personal Best, one of the first-ever lesbian films to earn a wide release, and “a revolution for queer female sexuality on the big screen.” Hemmingway participated in the infamous Roseanne kiss of 1994, played a lesbian secret service chief in In Her Line of Fire, has a threesome that leads to a lesbian awakening in The Sex Monster and did a lesbian guest spot on Crossing Jordan.
20. Rooney Mara
She glove lunched in Carol, she tracked a killer of women and got an Oscar nomination in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and then also was queer in the terrible 2017 American experimental romantic musical drama film Song 2 Song. In the very bizarre thriller Side Effects, she has an affair with her counselor, Victoria, with whom she plots to kill her husband.
19. Lili Taylor
Taylor played the legendary Valerie Solanas in the ’90s indie I Shot Andy Warhol, was a stifled New Jersey housewife who becomes lovers with Courtney Love’s character in Julie Johnson, feels attracted to the bisexual Theo in The Haunting (a 1999 film that everybody hated, same source material as The Haunting of Hill House), is part of a butch-femme couple with Juliette Lewis in Gaudi Afternoon, played gay in Pret-a-Porter and had a gay guest run on The Good Wife.
18. Mena Suvari
A young Joey Solloway wrote the story arc featuring Mena as a lesbian performance artist who befriends Claire in Six Feet Under. In Hemingway’s Garden of Eden, she created a triad for herself and her husband and another woman. Furthermore and henceforth, she performed as the Black Dahlia in American Horror Story! Oh right and she had lesbian sex in Becks and in Standing Still. “The sexuality of a character, playing gay or straight, has never meant anything to me,” she told NewNowNext. “I see much deeper than that, and that’s also how I go through life.”
17. Lucy Lawless
She is XENA THE WARRIOR PRINCESS. When counting her total number of queer roles, I thought I’d forgotten to put her L Word role in the TV database but then i realized her L Word role wasn’t explicitly gay, which was a weird journey for me, because why wouldn’t it be? Why even cast Xena if you’re not going to make her gay?!!?!?! Anyhow, it’s fitting that it was Lawless’s character investigating the death of Kirshner’s character because you know who else dies a lot???! Lucy Lawless characters. Lawless leaned into subtext as Number 3 in Battlestar Galactica, was Ruby in Ash vs The Evil Dead, hooked up with fellow often-gay-for-payer Jamie Murray in Spartacus and was immediately murdered as Isabelle Hartley in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She also played Xena in Hercules the Legendary Journeys and apparently appeared in a short film produced by Tig Notaro about a lesbian telephone hotline that also starred Kate Moennig, Sandra Bernhard, Clea Duvall and Nicol Panoe? Almost feels like someone is playing a trick on me with that one.
16. Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi was nominated for an Oscar for her breakout role as Celie in the 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel, The Color Purple. She then lezzed out as Jane in Boys on the Side (1995) and as a lesbian cop in the 1999 film A Deep End of the Ocean. In 2017, she played Activist and Lesbian Mothers Union co-founder Pat Norman in the miniseries When We Rise. Also: the 2003 Broadway revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom starred Whoopi Goldberg as Ma. She produced a documentary about lesbian comic Moms Mabley for HBO in 2013 and a TV movie about a lesbian custody battle in 2001, in which she played a lawyer. She has been a high-profile supporter of LGBTQ rights and AIDS activism since the 80s and won a GLAAD Vanguard award in 1999.
15. Vanessa Morgan
In addition to Pimp, in which Drew says her character’s sexuality is sort of vague but “definitely feels gay,” Morgan has played some pretty major queer TV roles: Toni on Riverdale, Bird Castro on Finding Carter and Lyria on The Shannara Chronicles. “When people see “bisexual,” they still confuse it with promiscuity, which is so wrong,” she said after being cast as Toni. “So I was so pumped to be the first bisexual on Riverdale and just normalize that for viewers.’
14. Sarita Choudhury
Choudhury burst onto the scene in the 1994 flick Fresh Kill, playing one of two lesbian Moms raising their daughter in a converted garage on Staten Island. (!!!?!) She did girl-on-girl Kama Sutra things in the 1996 film Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, and had a guest spot as a lesbian who died in Blindspot. In 1997, she turned up in a short by Lisa Cholodenko called “Dinner Party” that won a lot of LGBT film festival awards, although I’m not sure what her role was. (She also worked with Cholodenko in High Art but her character wasn’t gay, she was basically Luce and Greta’s token straight woman friend.) In 2004, she was amongst a cadre of lesbians who sought impregnation the same man in Spike Lee’s She Hate Me, inspiring a line in Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s poem “femme in film stars” in which she recalls having to “sit through She Hate Me for five minutes of Sarita Choudhury.” She also had an affair with Jeri in Jessica Jones.
13. Sandrine Holt
Holt’s psychologist character on Law & Order SVU was their first recurring queer woman character, and y’all remember her skinny game of Strip Poker with Helena Peabody on The L Word. Other queer roles include The Returned, The Expanse, and a guest spot on Sanctuary.
12. Yolonda Ross
Ross’ gay resume is extensive, beginning with starring in Cheryl Dunye’s Stranger Inside as Treasure, for which she accumulated many awards and nominations. The gay roles did not stop there: she went on to play lesbian rocker Faustus in Shortbus; Whitney Houston’s girlfriend, Robyn Crawford, in Whitney; Ginger in Slippery Slope and a lesbian detective in the gay film noir Kiss Me, Kill Me. AND she had queer roles in the shorts Dani and Alice, Guinevere Turner’s Hung and Happy Birthday. ALSO ALSO ALSO she had been cast to play Wade Dawson on The Farm, the terrible L Word prison spinoff that didn’t get picked up. Luckily I got my hands on enough Farm-related materials to tell you that Wade Dawson was a “cocky and handsome” inmate who is on meds and self-medicates her internal rage with sex.
11. Tracie Thoms
Thoms cleaned up the lesbian floor near the end of the ’10s when she appeared as the wife/girlfriend of a main character in 9-1-1 and The First and had a recurring role as a power lesbian TV executive in UnREAL. But to so many queers, she will always be Joanne in the movie version of RENT — a role she reprised on Broadway in July 2008 as part of its final cast (captured on the DVD Rent: Filmed Live on Broadway (2008)) and for RENT at the Hollywood Bowl in August 2010. “I do play lots of lesbians,” Thoms tweeted in 2017. “Proudly, I might add. I did kiss Idina [in Rent.] And Betsy [in Falsettos on Broadway]. And Eden Espinosa [in Rent Filmed Live on Broadway]. And Nicole Scherzy [in Rent in the Hollywood Bowl]. I’m a lucky girl.”
10. Indira Varma
Varma played the bisexual bastard daughter of a nobleman in Game of Thrones and appeared in the 1996 film Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, in which a servant and a noble princess grow up together, learn the skills of seduction through the Kama Sutra, and also enjoy sexual activities with each other. Varma also played the lesbian character Charlotte in the Hulu dramedy This Way Up and the malicious Elaine Markham in the 2013 BBC thriller What Remains. In the legal drama For Life she plays Safiya Masry, a prison warden married to a District Attorney played by Mary Stuart Masterson. AND also played gay in the TV show Attachments.
9. Gemma Wheelen
“Every single thing I do, there’s a lesbian touch to it,” Wheelan told Gay Star News. “Long may I continue to be typecast, if that’s the way it goes.” She has brought her gay touch to playing Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones, a lesbian detective in The End of the F*cking World, as well as parts in the BBC comedy Upstart Crow (she was also in the West End stage production of Upstart Crow, which includes a romantic storyline and A WHOLE ENTIRE KISS for Gemma). She was a cross-dresser in BBC4’s Queers and also a lesbian in the BBC One min-series Mapp and Lucia. I also somehow feel like I owe her gay points for being in Killing Eve and Gentleman Jack, despite playing straight characters in both?
8. Jamie Murray
Often adorned in a very specific period or otherwise unusual costume, Murray played bisexual time traveler H.G. Wells on Warehouse 13, Gaia in Spartacus and Stahma Tarr in Defiance, as well as a lesbian businesswoman in Ringer and a an arc as a lesbian casino hostess in The Bill. When cast in The Bill, she told The Mirror, “I must have one of those faces. I played a lesbian in a shocking play called Handbag, so by the time I left drama school I’d already kissed three women. Let me tell you, it’s nice than some men I’ve kissed.” Let’s not forget Fright Night 2: New Blood, where she is a vampire who, like all vampires, is pansexual. “It’s an under-representeed demographic and it’s a really loyal fan base and it’s really nice to play those roles without making a big deal about it,” she told the Metro in April 2013.
7. Robin Weigert?
Robin Weigert’s sexual orientation is a bit of a mystery, so it is anybody’s guess if I should remove this. Weingart starred in lesbian film Concussion, showed up very briefly but gayly in The Politician, fought for her life in Jessica Jones, was nominated for an Emmy for playing Calamity Jane in Deadwood, played Pippa’s kindhearted lesbian aunt in The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (married to Julianne Moore) and also had queer parts on Law & Order and ER as well as in the film Synechdode New York. On an unrelated but somewhat related note, she also has intense therapist vibes (and yes, played one in Big Little Lies).
6. Charlize Theron
Theron has expressed her disappointment upon discovering that she herself is woefully heterosexual, but! Charlize is an oft-celebrated ally with a trans daughter. She won an Oscar as serial killer Aileen Wournos in Monster, kicked stuff in a trench coat in Atomic Blonde, casually referenced her bisexuality in Tully, and hooks up with Penelope Cruz in 1930s Paris in Head in the Clouds. In 2020, she played bisexual action hero Andy in The Old Guard, with a slightly-too-subtextual-but-fine relationship with Quynh told in flashbacks. She won the GLAAD Vanguard Award in 2006.
5. Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore has played some very big gay parts in some very big gay movies, including lead roles in The Kids Are All Right, The Hours (for which she earned an Oscar nomination), Freeheld and Chloe. In Rebecca Miller’sThe Private Lives of Pippa Lee, she plays Pippa Lee’s aunt’s lover. In 2014’s Maps to the Stars, she played an actress who has a threesome with her boyfriend and a woman they pick up together. She was the “Final Girl” in Gus Van Sant’s 1998 Psycho remake, a role he says was intended to be a lesbian although it is apparently not apparent to the audience.
Last year she told NBC Out, while reflecting on The Kids Are All Right, “Here we were, in this movie about a queer family, and all of the principal actors were straight. I look back and go, ‘Ouch. Wow.’ I don’t know that we would do that today. I don’t know that we would be comfortable.”
4. Mia Kirshner?
Kirshner’s sexual orientation is a bit ambiguous although she has only dated men, so I’m not sure Where The Community Stand on this one and was unclear if I should include her here or not. However, I am sure that I will get a lot of feedback on this! (Please do note I am a #1 fan of Mia Kirshner and head of the Emmy For Mia campaign via my podcast To L and Back.) Kirshner has said that sex scenes with women are “more fun and easier.” Obviously Mia shone as Jenny Schecter in The L Word, and also played regular queer roles on The Vampire Diaries, 24 and Defiance. She’s played characters one might describe as ranging from bisexual to heteroflexible in films likeThe Black Dahlia, Not Another Teen Movie, New Best Friend and Exotica. Unfortunately a lot of Mia’s characters end up dead.
3. Chloë Sevigny
Chloë Sevigny has said she is drawn to LGBTQ roles because they are characters who are often “marginalized [and] misunderstood” and outcasts, which she relates to. Memorably, she played an old school butch with a motorcycle in If These Walls Could Talk 2 and Lizzie Borden in Lizzie, which put her in the enviable position of kissing Kristen Stewart with tongue. She recently played a lesbian army Mom in We Are Who We Are. Other queer roles include a guest spot on Will & Grace and parts in Portlandia, Broken Flowers and Party Monster. Although not included in her tally because they aren’t queer roles, she also (unfortunately) portrayed a trans woman in Hit or Miss (which she says she’d “never do again”) and first emerged into the public queer consciousness when she played Lena, Brandon Teena’s girlfriend, in the 1999 tragedy Boys Don’t Cry.
2. Heather Graham
There are so many pictures on the internet of Heather Graham kissing girls in movies! The only films on this list that I’ve actually seen are Gray Matters and Even Cowgirls Get The Blues — but her lesbian and bisexual resume also includes The Oh in Ohio, Father of Invention, Bowfinger, Terrified, Kiss & Tell, Compulsion, Broken, Boogie Woogie and About Cherry.
1. Natasha Lyonne
Here is our number one woman and it is also where this whole list began. The conversation has been HAD in MANY locations in recent weeks as the U.S. vs Billie Holliday trailer has caused many queer women to pause and ask, how many gay things has this woman been gay in??? Recently in my group chat a question was posited: why does Natasha Lyonne play so many gay parts, yet somehow is not gay? I do not know the answer to this question, besides that she is always vaguely messy and has a deep voice, which I guess screams “gay” to some people. Her most iconic lesbian roles occurred in But I’m a Cheerleader and Orange is the New Black. Other adventures in queer behavior include the films Sleeping With Other People, American Reunion, Intervention, Modern Vampires, Freeway 2, If These Walls Could Talk 2, and Addicted to Fresno.
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