Lauren Lewis (Lost Girl)
Who is she?: Played by the Zoie Palmer, Dr Lauren Lewis is a scientist who has been enslaved to the Fae – a society of mystical figures who live in our world and who view humans as little more than chattel – and is tasked with the work of healing, treating and exploring the multitude of powers that the Fae have. Currently coming to the end of its third season on Showcase Canada, Lost Girl presented Lauren to us as a woman who fell in love with the central character of the show and has explored their relationship in a way that’s engendered great love for her from viewers. The show’s casual attitude towards sexuality has broadened the scope of gay visibility on television and proven that Canadian television is willing to do what other shows can’t or won’t, and not make a big deal out of it in the process.
Why we love her: She’s smart – like, super smart. Even when she’s making cupcakes, Lauren can explain how the chemistry works, which is something she has with Bo in double helpings. She’s sensitive, passionate and loves Bo even though she knows she shouldn’t. But she’s also very human in the midst of a show that really isn’t, full of self-doubt and brings the angst like nobody else. This season, we’ve cried over Lauren’s acceptance that, for Bo, she’s simply “not enough”. We feel you, Lauren; we’ve all been there.
Notable features: Hair porn, arm porn, lab coat of lust and a thousand smiles designed to make you fall in love with her.
Best moment: Finally losing her composure with The Ash in Season 2. Angry!Lauren, it seems, is hotter than the sun.
Betty McCrae (Bomb Girls)
Who is she?: Played by Ali Liebert, Betty is a tomboyish, skilled worker supporting the Canadian war effort in a munitions factory during WWII. In the period drama, aired on Global, Betty is in charge of training the Blue Shift’s newbies and becomes the spokesmodel for the factory in a war campaign film. In the first season, we saw her struggle with finding her identity and having feelings for one of her co-workers: Kate. The show presents us with the inevitable problems heaped on Betty by society, by her own confusion and eventual acceptance of who she is, and sets it all within the “live for today” element of experiencing war. Part of the group comprising the four main leads, Betty has fast been adopted as our favorite underdog.
Why we love her: Betty understands us – through her self-discovery and attempts to manage her feelings for Kate, we can all empathize with the difficulties of exploring our own sexuality while wanting to protect ourselves. She’s a marshmallow of a character: hard on the outside and fiercely protective of what – and whom – she loves, but inside she’s just a ball of adorable mush. We love Betty because even though she’s insecure and terrified of people discovering her sexuality, she’s a fighter. In the second season, Betty has fallen for a soldier, Teresa, and we all melted at how happy it made her as she finally got some love and affection that was rightly deserved.
Notable features: Betty can sass with the best of them, throwing punches at bigots, using strawberries as foreplay.
Best moment: Even though it wasn’t the wisest decision she’s ever made, when Betty stood up to the insults and unwanted attentions of a group of men, we all cheered her on.
Santana Lopez (Glee)
Who is she?: Played by Naya Rivera on the Fox show, Santana was originally introduced as a sidekick to Quinn Fabray, but quickly became popular enough to be promoted to series regular in Season 2. Since then, her antagonistic nature and biting comments have proved that we love to watch our girls snark almost as much as we love to watch them make out. Santana’s storyline revealed that she was struggling with her romantic feelings towards best friend Brittany, and eventually this developed into a full blown relationship that was in turn sweet, difficult and firmly placed in the high school experiences of many viewers. Not always well-received by its audience, the show has explored Santana’s sexuality and eventual coming out, as well as the trials and tribulations of being a gay high-schooler. Now in Season 4, Santana appears sporadically but when she does, we usually sit up and take note (no pun intended).
Why we love her: What’s not to love about Santana? She’s fierce (in almost every way) and fights even when (and especially when) she doesn’t need to. Santana Lopez won’t take any crap from anyone, but she’s also increasingly loving and tender when it comes to her relationship with Brittany. She does have a heart, and sometimes that’s at odds with what she thinks people expect of her, but there’s no denying that when Santana Lopez is in town, or onstage, you can’t take your eyes off her.
Notable features: Bitchiness, snark, eye-rolling, vulnerability and a pair of lungs that can blow you away.
Best moment: In Season 4, Santana and Quinn sleep together after Will and Emma’s wedding. Fun, no emotional fallout and a wholeheartedly huge nod to just how far Santana’s come.
Who is she?: Played by Lauren German, Shay is a Paramedic on NBC’s new show this season. She forms part of a team that resides in Firehouse 51. With her partner, Gabriela Dawson, Shay is on hand to provide medical assistance to the firefighters’ efforts. Openly gay from the first episode, Shay’s personal life has been full of pitfalls, including a relationship with her pregnant ex and her own desire to have a baby. Shay lives with Severide – the show’s Lothario – and has recently asked him to be the father to her baby, putting a strain on their relationship. Her friendship with and relationship to her partner, Dawson, has fast become a ship that’s sailing on the high seas of fandom, prompting a positive response from both actresses and proving that even when the show won’t go there, the rest of us will.
Why we love her: Shay is adorable and stubborn and never gives up. She’s fiercely loyal to her friends, especially Severide, and brave beyond the telling of it. But her true bravery – that we all sighed over – was in her vulnerability and desire for love when she took back her former girlfriend. Seeing Shay fall in love with the baby her partner had (and successively took away when she moved to New York) was poignant and heartbreaking. We might roll our eyes at the “lesbian wants a baby” storyline, but we simply can’t deny our attachment to Shay and how we’ll root for her every single week.
Notable features: The uniform, the blurting, the way she and Dawson have an understanding that we want to turn into something else.
Best moment: Shay’s description to Severide of just how they’re going to make a baby was toe-curlingly embarrassing and all of us wish she hadn’t said it. Severide most of all. But that’s who she is, and honestly, you have to love a girl who’s willing to put that much on the line to get what she wants.
Arizona Robbins (Grey’s Anatomy)
Who is she?: Played by Jessica Capshaw, the pediatric surgeon has just completed 500 episodes of the ABC show, which isn’t bad considering that she was brought in for a three episode arc four seasons ago. We discovered she was gay when she kissed Callie Torres in the bathroom at a bar (shush, we’ve all been there) and their subsequent on/off relationship has culminated in them getting married and raising a baby together. Of course, with Grey’s Anatomy being the show it is, there have been car crashes, trips to Africa, amputations and shootings in between. For our favorite lesbian surgeon, it’s not so much been a case of surviving a relationship with Callie, but rather more a case of simply surviving, period. Widely adored by the fanbase, Arizona was the first openly gay female on network television in the US and has remained popular; the show’s creator calling her and Callie “Made For Each Other”.
Why we love her: Overly perky and with butterflies on her scrub cap, Arizona was that hot doctor we’ve all had a crush on. We loved the way she took a chance on Callie and believed in her; we loved her speeches and ate up every word with a lesbian spoon. But when it comes down to it, what we love about Arizona is that she’s smart, feisty, and puts Callie in her place far more than anyone should really have the right to. She loves what she does and feels great sorrow over it, too. And in the current season, when Arizona has to deal with losing a limb, we just wanted to take care of her.
Notable features: Wheelies (gone but not forgotten), crying when angry, that thousand-watt smile, her relationship with Alex Karev.
Best moment: The “tiny coffins” speech kind of broke my heart, and made me realize that the scrub cap and pep was a front Arizona’s developed to help her deal with what she does every day.