There have never been more out Lesbian, bisexual and queer women and/or trans actors than there are right now in this very moment. The LGBTQ+ community is plowing head-first onto stage and screen, playing a diverse array of roles, winning awards and headlining cinema films. But whomst amongst them is the most prolific? Who has simply managed to appear in the most things, accumulated the most imdb credits? It’s not who you think! (Besides Jane Lynch, you already knew Jane Lynch would be on this list.)
You won’t see a lot of the most popular lesbian and bisexual women actors on this list that you might expect to see — for example, Kristen Stewart and Angelina Jolie both do film, rather than television, pretty exclusively, and tend to be very particular about the roles they take on. There’ll also be plenty of names you’ve likely never heard before — I hadn’t! — but it turns out have been infusing their gay selves into our lives on a regular basis for the past several decades.
Because history is long and complicated, this list is looking only at living actors. This was all based on IMDB credits, for theater credits I just did the research using a variety of sources. One point was earned for each TV show, film, short, video short, TV movie, Broadway play or West End play in which the actor appeared. Projects that were still in development were not included. Points were not earned for being in music videos, narrative podcasts, or doing voice work for video games, or for appearing as themselves as guests in unscripted appearances in documentaries or on talk shows and game shows or similar. However, one point was awarded for hosting a TV show as themselves (e.g., an award show or a game show), or for being the narrator of a documentary as themselves. If an actor’s resume was 50% or more shorts, their ranking was evaluated with more scrutiny.
Obviously this does mean that actors who appeared on the same television program for multiple years, for example, had a disadvantage, as that only gave them one point while occupying copious amounts of time. It also gave a marked advantage to actors who do a lot of voice work for animated series, which takes less time to rack up more credits.
60 Most Prolific Bisexual and Lesbian Actors and Where You Can Watch Them Play Gay
61. Diora Baird, 39
Actress and former model Diora Baird’s most famous films include Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wedding Crashers and My Best Friend’s Girl. She’s done a ton of smaller parts on TV shows, including Shamelss and Cobra Kai. She has also appeared on the cover of every magazine ever! Baird came out in an interview with The Advocate in 2017.
60. Heather Matarazzo, 40
Matarazzo burst onto the scene in 1995 when she starred as middle school outcast Dawn Wiener in Todd Solondz’s indie darling Welcome to the Dollhouse. She’s also recognized for playing Heather Wiseman on Now & Again, Lily Moscovitz in The Princess Diaries and Tia in Saved!
Matarazzo’s gay roles include notorious Curve writer Stacey Merkin on The L Word, a regular part on the queer Logo series Exes & Ohs and being Phyllis Lyon in the documentary Equal.
Actress / singer / producer / advocate Haviland Stillwell’s work spans Broadway, film, television and animation — most famously voicing Raquelle in the Barbie: Life is a Dreamhouse series. She’s had roles on TV series including Six Degrees, Eastwick, The Client List, Stitchers, CSI: NY, The Witches of Eastwick, UnREAL: The Faith Diaires and Single Ladies and appeared in feature films like Magic Mike XXL and Selma. Recent voice work includes High Guardian Spice and Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir.
58. Guinevere Turner, 54
When it comes to actress/writer Guinevere Turner it’s easier to note the times she hasn’t played gay than it is to list every time she has: she’s all over lesbian TV/Film history, from her iconic ’90s indie Go Fish to writing and appearing in The L Word and co-starring in Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman. Her resume includes a lot of shorts as well as queer films like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Wild Nights With Emily.
57. Stephanie Beatriz, 41
The very funny bisexual actress Stephanie Beatriz recently warmed hearts as the voice of Mirabel Madrigal in Encanto and has a resume full of sitcoms and voice work.
She famously played bisexual cop Rosa Diaz in Brooklyn 99, queered the fuck out of In the Heights, and guested as gay cousin Pilar in One Day at a Time.
56. Jamie King, 43
Actress/model Jamie King is best known for the Sin City film series and blockbusters like Pearl Harbor and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. She also starred in the TV series The Hart of Dixie and the Netflix show Black Summer.
55. Fortune Feimster, 42
Comic Fortune Feimster made her TV debut in 2010 on Last Comic Standing and then became a regular on Chelsea Lately and After Lately before snagging roles on TV shows like 2 Broke Girls, Glee, Mulaney, Workaholics and The Mindy Project. She still does a lot of reality competition show hosting and judging, such as Is It Cake? and Nailed It! as well guest spots on various TV shows and voice roles on shows like The Simpsons and Q-Force.
Feimster almost always plays gay: including Rudy in short-lived sitcom Champions, a small role as Alice’s cousin Heather on The L Word: Generation Q, on The Mindy Project and Tales of the City and The Simpsons and Summer Camp Island and Q-Force and Sunnyside and Craig of the Creek.
54. Gillian Anderson, 54
There is truly no shortage of established affection in these parts for the legendary bisexual actress Gillian Anderson, who at some point in The X-Files or Sex Education or The Fall or Hannibal or American Gods made you gay.
Anderson played bisexual detective Stella Gibson in The Fall and bisexual powerhouse Eleanor Roosevelt in Showtime’s The First Lady.
53. Tessa Thompson, 39
Adored queer actress Tessa Thompson’s breakthrough roles in Mississippi Damned and For Colored Girls led to more: Dear White People, Selma, Creed, Passing, and eventually taking on Valkyrie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Valkyrie is a queer character — something Thompson herself has affirmed multiple times, although Marvel remains hesitant to actually fully go there. “At this point I can’t tell if Tessa Thompson is purposefully playing all her film characters as bisexual, or if it just jumps out when she least expects it, but I really don’t care,” wrote Carmen of Thompson’s role in Men in Black International. She also had guest queer roles on Cold Case and Bojack Horseman.
52. Alyson Stoner, 29
Music videos aren’t part of the count for this list, but that’s where queer actor/singer/dancer Stoner made her debut: as a dancer on Missy Elliot’s “Work It.” Around the same time, she became a Disney Channel star and appeared in the 2003 film Cheaper by the Dozen. She hosted Disney Channel’s Mike’s Super Short Show, played Max in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, and showed up in the Step it Up franchise series. These days, Stoner mostly does voice work, on shows like The Loud House, Hamster & Gretel, The Legend of Korra and Phineas & Ferb.
51. Kathleen Monroe, 40
This Canadian actress has appeared in nearly 50 TV shows, including Stargate Universe, Alphas, CSI:NY, Call Me Fitz, FBI, Resurrection, Patriot, Cold Case, Without a Trace and Haven.
Kathleen Munroe played a bisexual recurring role in the beloved queer Facebook Watch series Strangers.
50. Sophie Ward, 58
This British actress snagged her first on-screen credit at the tender age of 11, going on to be known for Young Sherlock Holmes, Book of Blood, Heartbeat, Land Girls and Jane Eyre. More recently, she showed up in the Netflix series A Very British Scandal.
Sophie Ward played gay in the 1995 TV Movie A Village Affair and had a very small queer guest spot in an episode of Agatha Raisin and a very small queer part in The Hunger.
49. Sarah Paulson, 48
Queer actress Sarah Paulson made her Broadway debut in 1993 as Amy Ryan’s understudy in “The Sisters Rosensweig,” and continued doing theater and TV work through the next two decades, including lead roles on American Gothic, Jack & Jill and Deadwood. Her career has really taken off hard in the past 15 years, especially through her work on Ryan Murphy projects, including an Emmy-winning turn as Marcia Clark in The People Vs OJ Simpson, as well as in films like 12 Years a Slave, Carol, Ocean’s Eight and Bird Box.
Sarah Paulson plays gay in American Horror Story: Cult, American Horror Story: Asylum, American Horror Story: Hotel, The Other SIster, Ratched and Carol. Also, I think we can all agree that her character in Ocean’s Eight is gay.
48. Lily Tomlin, 83
Lesbian actress Lily Tomlin had regular roles in so many TV shows: Murphy Brown, Grace and Frankie, The West Wing. She voices Mrs. Frizzle for The Magic School Bus and has played her character Edith Ann in TV, movies, and Sesame Street. Robert Altman cast Tomlin in many of his projects: Nashville, Short Cuts, A Prairie Home Companion, The Player. Then there’s iconic films like 9 to 5 and Big Business.
Lily Tomlin played gay in the indie film Grandma and in Tea With Mussolini
47. Maria Bello, 55
In the mid-90s bisexual actress Maria Bello parlayed her guest spot on E.R. into a regular role and hasn’t slowed down since. Unlike most actors on this list, there’s no abundance of shorts or voice work on her resume — just movies (e.g., Coyote Ugly, A History of Violence, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee) and TV shows (e.g., Prime Suspect, Touch, 73 episodes of NCIS).
Maria Bello played gay in the first season of Goliath on Prime Video and on Law and Order: SVU.
46. Keke Palmer, 29
“The biggest key to my consistency is I try to have no ego. A lot of people are like oh I used to be or I did such-and-such and I can’t do that job. I’m very much so like are the people cool? Is the material good? They gonna have lunch? Let’s go. You know?” Keke Palmer has said of her prolificness. “I always keep it to what I’m passionate about, what I connect to. When someone comes up to me and is like, why haven’t I seen you on the big screen in a minute? Well I’ve had three movies that went direct to DVD and you didn’t see any of them. People don’t realize as an actor, the point is to get a job, the point is to work, whether it’s gonna be a big blockbuster or not is no something you can control. All you can do is do your best and do what you love.”
This Emmy-winning singer / actor started acting at the wee age of 11, appearing in movies like The Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Akeelah and the Bee and Madea’s Family Reunion. She starred in her own TV series, Tru Jackson VP, has done live-action work like Star and Scream: The TV Series as well as voice gigs, including the recent The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder.
45. Jo Vannicola, 54
This Canadian actor/writer was ten years into their career when they won a Daytime Emmy in 1991 for a CBS Schoolbreak Special. You’ve perhaps seen them recently in The Expanse or Slasher, but they’ve also done a lot of voice work, with regular roles in ten different animated series.
Jo plays gay in The Expanse.
44. Rosie O’Donnell, 60
Lesbian comic / actor / producer Rosie O’Donnell made a lot of money in the ’90s with her talk show, and thus has been able to pick projects she genuinely wants to do going forward, from being a series regular on SMILF to guest and recurring spots on The Fosters, Will & Grace, Bomb Girls, Queer as Folk, Nip/Tuck, Drop Dead Diva, Curb Your Enthusiasm and The L Word: Generation Q. A League of Her Own was her first movie (and she has a cameo in the reboot), and was followed by hits like Sleepless in Seattle, The Flintstones, Now and Then, Harriet the Spy and Beautiful Girls.
43. Jillian Armenante, 54
Since 1991, Armenante has been appearing in truly SO many single episodes of TV shows and films, as well as being a series regular in Judging Amy and a recurring character in Fresh Off the Boat.
Jillian Armenante plays gay in The Sex Lives of College Girls and Strong Medicine.
42. Kate McKinnon, 38
Lesbian Saturday Night Live icon Kate McKinnon has picked some pretty exciting film and TV projects — Ghostbusters, Bombshell, Rough Night, Joe & Carole — and recently left Saturday Night Live to pursue even more of them.
41. Raven-Symoné, 37
Raven started acting when she was a mere four years of age, with a spot on A Different World that led to a three-year run on The Cosby Show. She’s appeared in a whopping 398 episodes of live-action television, with a bulk of those accounted for by That’s So Raven (100 episodes), Raven’s Home (95 episodes), Hangin’ With Mr Cooper (79 episodes) and The Cosby Show (64 episodes).
Raven-Symone played gay in Black-ish.
40. Stephanie Allynne, 36
39. Ione Skye, 52
Skye’s big break was playing Diane Court in the 1989 rom-com Say Anything, followed up by Wayne’s World and Gas Food Lodging. Since then, she’s done a few TV, film and shorts every year, and recently has been in Camping, Arrested Development, Good Girls and La Brea.
Ione Skye played gay in Carmilla.
38. Drew Barrymore, 47
Another actor who’s been working steadily since childhood, Drew has recently been producing her own talk show, but is first and foremost a movie star: E.T., Boys on the Side, Never Been Kissed, Ever After, Poison Ivy, Scream, The Wedding Singer, Charlie’s Angels, the list goes on!
Drew Barrymore played gay in Everybody’s Fine, Poison Ivy and Roseanne.
37. Megan Cavanagh, 62
Her very first role was as Marla Hooch in A League of Their Own, so Megan really got her career off to a fantastic start, followed by guest spots on all the important sitcoms of the era and gradual foray into voice work, including many projects in which she voiced Judy Neutron.
Megan Cavanaugh played gay in the short-lived lesbian Logo sitcom, Exes & Ohs.
36. Cherry Jones, 66
Nominated for her first Tony in 1991, Cherry Jones’ Broadway credits include Angels in America, Doubt, and the 2013 revival of The Glass Menagerie. She’s been doing film and TV since the early 80s, too — including a regular role on 24 and delightful turns on Transparent, Five Days at Memorial,The Handmaid’s Tale and Succession.
She played gay in Apple TV’s Defending Jacob, What Makes a Family, The Party and Transparent.
35. Janet Varney, 46
Comic / actor / writer Janet Varney is the voice of Korra in the Legend of Korra and has been in tons of TV shows since 2004, including You’re the Worst and playing Melina Marquez in the underrated lesbian comedy series Take My Wife. She came out as bisexual in 2018.
34. Jenna Malone, 38
The child of lesbian moms, Jena’s first major role was starring in the film adaptation of legendary lesbian author Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina at the age of ten. Then there were hits like Contact, Air Force One and Stepmom and indies like The Dangerous LIves of Alter Boys and The Ballad of Jack & Rose. She’s well-known for playing Johanna Mason in the Hunger Games movies.
Jena Malone played queer roles in the arthouse films Lovesong and The Neon Demon.
33. Jodie Foster, 60
Lesbian actress Jodi Foster has been picky with her projects, but being in the industry since 1969 has still enabled her to rack up quite a few! This actress, director and two-time Oscar winner’s memorable roles include — and are absolutely not limited to — Contact, Taxi Driver, The Accused, Panic Room, The Silence of the Lambs, Little Man Tate and Freaky Friday.
Jodie Foster plays gay in Hotel New Hampshire and Carny.
32. Michelle C. Bonilla, 50
Since 1995, Bonilla has been working consistently, mainly in 1-3 episode runs on various television series, as well as regular roles on E.R. and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
31. Wanda Sykes, 58
Iconic lesbian comic Wanda Sykes had her very own tv show, Wanda At Large, in 2003 and was a regular in several others in subsequent years, such as The New Adventures of Old Christine, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Alpha House, Black-ish, The Other Two and The Upshaws; as well as numerous animated series.
Wanda Sykes plays gay roles in Q-Force and Broad City as well as in the movies Breaking News in Yuba County and Friendsgiving.
30. Queen Latifah, 52
Queen Latifah is accomplished in so many realms and in addition to being the first lady of hip-hop she has starred in multiple rom-coms, musical films like Chicago and Hairspray, TV series like The Equalizer, Living Single and Star. She also has 48 producer credits on top of that impressive acting resume.
29. Aubrey Plaza, 38
Beloved bisexual queen Aubrey Plaza has brought her droll attitude to Parks & Recreation, Legion, White Lotus and millennial comedies like Ingrid Goes West and Addicted to Fresno.
28. Taryn Manning, 44
Despite being a consistent presence on the list of “actors who are extremely difficult to work with,” Manning sure has gotten a lot of work! Her most recent iconic role was playing Pennsatucky in Orange is the New Black, and she was previously known for Britney Spears masterpiece Crossroads and Eminem biopic 8 Mile.
27. Bella Thorne, 25
Bella Thorne, the youngest actor on this list, has — to be honest — been in a lot of mediocre movies, but also good for her for staying gainfully employed while also pursuing a music career! Her biggest TV roles were in Shake it Up, Famous in Love and Scream, and her most notable film appearances are The Duff and Midnight Sun. Although not included in her overall count, she’s been modeling since she was a baby and has appeared in 40+ commercials.
26. Fiona Shaw, 64
This classy Irish lesbian actor has made her mark onstage and onscreen and has been nominated for and won many awards along the way. You know her from Killing Eve and True Blood and the Harry Potter franchise.
She played gay onstage in The Powerbook.
25. Clea Duvall, 45
She made you gay in But I’m a Cheerleader and remained a ’90s and early ’00s teenage dream in The Faculty and Girl Interrupted, then went on to appear in films like Argo and on TV series like Heroes and Carnivale. More recently she wrote the infamous lesbian Christmas movie Happiest Season and wrote/produced The Intervention as well as the recent Freevee series High School.
Clea Duvall has played gay in the films Committed, How to Make the Cruelest Month and But I’m a Cheerleader and the TV shows Saving Grace, American Horror Story: Asylum, Veep,The Handmaid’s Tale and The First Lady.
24. Emily Hampshire, 41
Canadian actor Emily Hampshire was in our lives in a big way while in Schitt’s Creek and dating Teddy Geiger, and since 1994 has done a mix of voice roles and TV series and TV movies, earning plenty of Canadian screen and TV awards along the way.
23. Niecy Nash, 53
Since snagging her first on-screen credit as “woman at Diner” in Boys on the Side in 1995, the incomparable comedic actress and producer Niecy Nash was best known for her iconic role as Deputy Raineesha Williams on Reno 911! and more recently, playing Desna Simms on Claws. She’s done voice work for animated series and steals the screen in every role she has, including Masters of Sex, When They See Us and Scream Queens.
Niecy Nash is currently playing a lesbian role in The Rookie: Feds and previously played gay in The Mindy Project.
22. Alia Shawkat, 33
Like the other youngsters on this list, Shawkat’s acting experience, which starts when she was a mere 11 years old, is a mix of live-action and voice-actor projects. She entered the mainstream as Maeby in Arrested Development.
21. Cassandra Peterson, 71
Cassandra Peterson has had, believe it or not, a very robust career playing Elvira in a mix of Elvira-focused projects and guest appearances as Elvira. Of her 91 on-screen credits since 1971, over half are videos, TV series and films in which she played Elvira.
20. Sandra Bernhard, 67
Comic / actress Sandra Bernhard is a gay legend — from her groundbreaking role on Roseanne to her homoerotic friendship with Madonna to later roles in Will & Grace, Pose and The L Word. Her main gig is stand-up and live performance, but she’s managed to do a few roles a year for the last 40, on shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, 2 Broke Girls, Switched at Birth and Ally McBeal.
19. Anna Akana, 33
Akana’s an actor / director / writer / producer who arrived on our gaydars in Stitchers and gay holiday rom-com Let it Snow and has a resume including dozens of TV roles (Jupiter’s Legacy, A Million Little Things) and a ton of shorts (many of which she also wrote and/or directed).
18. Ali Liebert, 41
Canadian actress Ali Liebert arrived in our lives in 2012, playing ’40s butch lesbian Betty McRae in Global TV’s Bomb Girls, but she’d been consistently snagging guest spots and recurring roles in filmed-in-Canada TV shows (including The L Word!) since 2003, and continued to, appearing in Family Law, One of Us is Lying, Van Helsing and more. In recent years, she’s been appearing in and directing Christmas movies for Hallmark, including the queer-inclusive Every Time a Bell Rings.
17. Nicole Byer, 36
Another actor on this list who’s got a ton of voice credits is comic Nicole Byer, who’s blessed animated series including Rugrats, The Boss Baby: Back in the Crib, Woke (a show that blends animation with live-action) and Tuca and Bertie. But you’ve also seen her face in Grand Crew, Home Economics, Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates, Transparent and her very own show, Loosely Exactly Nicole.
16. Karen Robinson, 54
This Canadian comedic actress has been all over the television and movie screen since 1994: Mary Kills People, Lars and the Real Girl (2007), A Million Little Things, Frankie Drake Mysteries, Shoot the Messenger and more.
Karen Robinson played gay in Schitt’s Creek and Pretty Hard Cases
15. Cynthia Nixon, 56
After Cherry Jones; Tony, Grammy and Emmy-award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon has the most Broadway credits on this list with 13 shows under her belt, beginning with The Philadelphia Story in 1980 and including The Heidi Chronicles, Angels in America, Wit and The Little Foxes. But of course she’s best known for Sex in The City, one of nine series on which she’s had a regular or recurring role. Somewhere amid all that she found time to run for governor.
14. Maile Flanagan, 57
Another prolific comic and voice actress (most known for voicing Naruto Uzumaki in the English dub of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations), you’ve possibly seen Maile’s real live face in Shameless, E.R., The Office, Lab Rats or Grey’s Anatomy. She notably thanked her female partner Lesa when receiving an Emmy for Outstanding Performance in an Animated Program in 2006. They’ve been married since 2008.
Maile played gay in the lesbian webseries 3Way.
13. Dot-Marie Jones, 58
Since playing the “Muscular Woman” in a 1994 episode of Full House, Jones turned up for a minute on so many era-defining sitcoms: Married… with Children, Roseanne, and Cybill. With recurring roles on shows like Glee and Lizzie McGuire, Jones has mostly continued to appear in guest spots on popular TV shows, including a few niche lesbian webseries.
12. Margaret Cho, 54
The star of the first-ever sitcom focused on an Asian-American family (All-American Girl, 1994-1995), Margaret Cho’s resume is wide-ranging and fun as hell — animated series, gay indie films, guest spots on queer-inclusive shows and roles in TV shows like Drop Dead Diva.
11. Meredith Baxter, 75
Mama Keaton from Family Ties racked up most of her credits in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, appearing in a whopping 50 TV movies, 33 TV guest spots and seven regular and recurring roles on television. She came out in 2009.
Meredith Baxter played a gay guest role on Glee, a lesbian mom on a CBS Schoolbreak Special, a queer part in the internet TV series We Have to Stop Now and a gay part in Other Mothers.
10. Mary Lynn Rajskub, 51
Best known for her co-starring role in 24, this artist / musician / actress / comic has done a mix of guest spots and recurring/regular roles on a vast array of TV programs, like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Girlfriend Experience, Veronica’s Closet, The Dropout and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. She’s been dating men and women since the 1990s, which she spoke of in more depth in 2012. She published a book called Fame-ish: My Life at the Edge of Stardom in May 2022.
Mary Lynn Rajskub played a lesbian character in Sunshine Cleaning.
9. Claudia Christian, 57
This actress has a face you know by heart even if you’ve never matched it to a name. Beginning with a spot on Dallas in1984, she’s appeared in numerous TV movies and TV series including a regular role as Captain Elaine Maynard on 9-1-1.
She played the very early bisexual character of Susan Ivanova on Babylon 5.
8. Bai Ling, 56
Chinese-born bisexual actress Bai Ling has been working since the tender age of 14 and is now, as per her imdb bio, “undoubtedly one of the world’s most diverse and captivating actresses!” Like many on this list, Bai Ling has said yes to roles really spanning the gamut, from Sharknado 5: Global Swarming to prestigious projects like Oliver Stone’s Nixon to indie films like The Beautiful Country, as well as guest spots on Entourage and Lost and reality TV programs like Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew and But Can They Sing? Her life story is pretty compelling, too: she got into acting as an artist soldier in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, and worked in Chinese theater and film before moving to the U.S. in 1991. She’s been openly bisexual for eons.
Bai Ling played a queer part in Spike Lee’s She Hate Me.
7. Holland Taylor, 79
Our Queen Mother Holland Taylor has been in one episode of or played a medium-sized role in… every TV show ever? She won an Emmy for The Practice, and was nominated for Two and a Half Men, The Lot and Hollywood. Other memorable TV roles include Bosom Buddies, Mr. Mercedes, The Chair and All My Children. We all loved her in Legally Blonde. She was nominated for a Tony for Ann in 2013, one of eight Broadway credits to her name.
Holland Taylor was absolutely iconic in a queer role as Peggy Peabody in The L Word and her character on Two and a Half Men had a little lesbian fling.
6. Mae Whitman, 34
Surprised to see relatively young actor Mae Whitman down here at the top? Me too! But what you might not know is that Mae is a very accomplished voice actress, appearing in voiceover for 40+ shows and movies (as well as numerous video games, which weren’t counted for these rankings). Born in LA to a voice artist mother and manager / set coordinator, Whitman began her career appearing as a wee child in the mid-90s in films like One Fine Day, Independence Day, Hope Floats and When a Man Loves a Woman. She’s also recognizable for her series regular roles in Parenthood and in Good Girls, where she plays the mother of a trans child. She came out as pansexual in 2021.
Mae Whitman voices queer character Amity Blight in The Owl House and played a queer part in Scott Pilgrim Vs The World.
5. Wendy Crewson, 66
You might not recognize this Canadian actress who came out as a lesbian in 2014 but you’ve definitely seen her — she’s had recurring or regular roles in 18 TV shows including Saving Hope and Workin’ Moms, guest roles in 25 more and appeared in 43 TV movies. Her mainstream film spots include Air Force One, Room, The Covenant and The 6th Day.
Wendy Crewson played a gay role in the legendary lesbian film Better than Chocolate as well as in An Unexpected Love and Mercy.
4. Carlease Burke
Lesbian actor Carleese Burke has been acting onscreen and onstage since 1986, including recurring roles on Mixed-ish, Dave, Crowded, Heroes and Switched at Birth and guest spots on dozens more. Highlights of her film career include In Her Shoes and The Terminal.
She played a lesbian guest role as Monica’s surprise girlfriend in Shameless.
3. Miriam Margolyes, 81
With 180+ on-screen credits and an award-winning theatrical career, you likely recognize British lesbian actor Miriam Margoyles from her role as Professor Sprout in Harry Potter, or maybe Call the Midwife or Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. She’s been with her partner, Australian academic Heather Sutherland, since 1968.
2. Maria Olsen
South African actress Maria Olsen apparently is a consistent fixture in a genre of film around which I hold no interest: horror! Like, TONS of horror movies. Just really an incredible amount of horror movies!!!! They seem to be small niche horror movies? The only movies on her resume I’ve heard of are Paranormal Activity 3 and Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.
1. Jane Lynch, 62
Surprising absolutely nobody, Emmy winner and 13-time Emmy nominee Jane Lynch has been steadily and unendingly employed at superhuman rates since 1988 and therefore easily tops this list, just like she topped Jennifer Coolidge in Best in Show. A July 2022 Vanity Fair profile notes that, it “used to be, Jane Lynch popped up on your favorite sitcom for an episode or two, and she’d bring a smile to your face,” but that post-Glee, her career picked up with more regular and starring roles, although her “love for working — a lot — has not abated.”
If there’s a show or a movie, Jane Lynch is in it. You know her from Glee, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Two and a Half Men, The L Word, Space Force, The Good Fight, Criminal Minds. You’ve heard her voice in dozens of cartoons, including American Dad! and Tucca & Bertie, telling Vanity Fair that voice work was her “main source of income” for much of her career.
Jane Lynch also proof that being an easily clock-able lesbian from any distance does not get in the way of a robust career littered with heterosexual roles or “who is Jane Lynch’s husband?” appearing as a suggested question by Google. She recently appeared on Broadway in Funny Girl and is considered one of the greatest character actors of all time.
There was once a time when Lynch said she “said yes to everything,” continuing, “And luckily, I was getting offered good things and not bad quality, but I just loved showing up every day to go to work. I wasn’t taking it out of financial fear or irrelevance fear, but because I loved it.”
Her gay roles include The L Word, Best in Show and American Dad!