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News’s Top 50 Lesbian and Bisexual Characters

In our first annual Top 50 Lesbian and Bi Characters poll, we asked you to vote for your favorite characters from film, television, and internet shows.

You cast your votes, and now we have the results. Before we reveal the winners, let's take a look at some of the trends that emerged.

Almost all of the characters were from films and television shows that made their debut after the year 2000. A few of the exceptions include Kerry Weaver from ER, and the ass-kicking ladies from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

While most of the characters were from Us productions, a fair amount came from international shows, including our top two characters (from the UK show Skins).

Also notable was the fact that some of your favorite characters, the leads from Xena: Warrior Princess (which ran from 1995-2001) and Idgie Threadgood from the film Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), were never officially presented as lesbian or bisexual.
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2009 Year in Review: Television

In 2009, the number of leading lesbian characters on primetime broadcast TV doubled — from one to two.

Out of the estimated 600 lead and supporting characters on network TV, seven of them of are lesbian or bisexual. And of those seven, five of them kissed women last year. And of those five, three of them made out during Sweeps.

Things looked bleak at the beginning of the year, but with the growing trend of lesbian brides getting gunned down or cheating on their wedding days, and the continued trend of bisexual characters only expressing their same-sex attraction during Sweeps, and the loss of Showtime's lesbian drama The L Word, we're ending the year on a downward spiral in terms of lesbian visibility.

Scripted Television: Broadcast


The most surprising story in 2009 was the relationship between Callie Torres (played by Sara Ramirez) and Arizona Robbins (played by Jessica Capshaw) on Grey's Anatomy.

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Pepa and Silvia Get Married

This Wednesday, on this season's second-to-last episode of the Spanish TV comedy/drama Los Hombres de Paco (Paco's Men), Pepa and Silvia are getting married.

Set in a police precinct, Los Hombres de Paco revolves around the professional and personal lives of several characters, include Pepa the cop (Laura Sanchez) and Silvia the forensics expert (Marián Aguilera).

The series has a large international following, thanks to the internet — you can watch the episodes online in Spanish at, and with English subtitles at various other places, and there are several fan sites and forums devoted to the show and the lesbian couple. This growing popularity is one of the reasons Sanchez landed on the Hot 100 this year.

The series has already been renewed for a ninth season, tentatively scheduled to air in October.

(For more background on this show and Pepa and Silvia, read our recent
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Spanish TV Embraces Lesbian Relationships

A lesbian police officer and her forensics expert girlfriend sneaking a quickie at work. A lesbian doctor and a female nurse house-hunting together after finally reuniting. A young woman trying to figure out how to tell her boyfriend of eight years that she's fallen in love with a woman.

No, this isn't the lineup of an American gay TV channel — this is what you'll see on some of the most popular national primetime series in Spain.

While the American primetime television landscape is virtually barren when it comes to lesbian and bisexual visibility — with very few lesbian/bi characters on broadcast TV, and only slightly more on cable or premium channels — lesbian/bi characters are flourishing on mainstream Spanish TV shows.

Spanish TV wasn't always this inclusive. Only 10 years ago, Lgbt characters were primarily limited to smaller shows on regional channels, with a few exceptions such as the lesbian couple
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