June 3, 2012

Icon8 lesbilicious fictional characters we wish would come out


Batwoman: out and proud since 2006

DC Comics’ Green Lantern came out this week and can now join Northstar from X-Men and Batwoman in the metaphorical gay bar of the superhero world.

Aside from the odd superhero, there aren’t very many gay characters in pop culture. Well, there’s Dumbledore. But (spoiler alert!) he’s dead.

That’s not to say that there aren’t queer characters out there. It’s just that they haven’t officially come out yet.

In an effort to move things on, here’s your guide to closet-case characters we’d love to see come out.

Many of them will never have the opportunity, as their stories have been wrapped up and their creators are long-gone. But for others, an acknowledgement of their latent homosexuality (or bisexuality!) remains a tantalising possibility.

Peppermint Patty

Are those Birkenstocks?

Peppermint Patty (Peanuts)

Let’s start with an easy one. Peppermint Patty likes sports, she wears board shorts, she has a close – extremely close – friendship with her friend Marcie. Who, incidentally, fawns over Patty, and calls her ‘Sir’.

Case for: we’re hardly the first to spot this one. Peppermint Patty has been represented as a lesbian in Family Guy, and she pinged the gaydar of a couple of characters in Alison Bechdel’s Dykes To Watch Out For comic back in the 80s too.

Case against: Maybe she’s straight and just has a platonic master/slave relationship with Marcie?

Lesbian Batwomans score: 5/5

The Worst Witch

Bullies are always mean to the ones they like

Ethel Hallow (The Worst Witch)

The Worst Witch was a British series of books about schoolgirl witches, way before the days of Hogwarts or Sunnydale High.

The hero of the story was Mildred Hubble, a nice if accident-prone witch; the bad girl was Ethel Hallow, a posh girl with a mean streak who was forever dreaming up new ways to cause trouble for her crush arch nemesis.

Case for: Ethel, the prettiest and most popular girl in school, just can’t stay away from  Mildred. And nothing says ‘I want to snog you in the broom cupboard’ like turning a girl into a frog.

Case against: Sometimes mean girls are just mean.

Lesbian Batwomans score: 2/5

The Famous Five

George is the one rowing, naturally

George (The Famous Five)

Enid Blyton books are generally as progressive with gender roles as they are with race relations – that is to say, not at all – and in the Secret Seven series, the boys are forever sneaking out in the evening looking for clues while the girls do the washing up.

But in the Famous Five we have the wonderful George (never ‘Georgina’) who will go off adventuring better than any boy, and by jove she’ll jolly well thump anybody who tries to stop her.

Case for: Total tomboy, refuses to adhere to 1930s gender roles, owns her own island (surely the dream of all modern-day camping lesbians).

Case against: Not the case against, exactly, but maybe George is trans rather than tomboy?

Lesbian Batwomans score: 4/5

Velma from Scooby Doo

A mystery in tangerine

Velma (Scooby Doo)

Scooby Doo, the funfair crime fighting team, are made up of a dog, a stoner, a jock, a cheerleader and a nerd.

Cartoons don’t generally like showing complex, multi-faceted characters, so female characters are invariably sexy and helpless, or clever and unattractive.

Since ‘unattractive’ so often seems to be a synonym for ‘lesbian’ for straight male audiences, Velma is a lesbian. Obviously.

Case for: She does wear those trendy dykey glasses…

Case against: She’s more interested in books than women.

Lesbian Batwomans score: 1/5

Subtext? What subtext?

Lisa Simpson (The Simpsons)

A strong-minded, intelligent girl who often feels out of place in her famously dysfunctional family, Lisa is also a vegetarian, an environmental activist and a musician. Perfect gay stereotype material, and a definite step up from Velma.

Lisa has had many, many crushes on boys over the years but she’s a pretty open-minded gal: what’s to say she won’t turn out to be bi?

Case for: Lisa ends up in a delightfully queer “friendship” with a girl named Juliet in a Heavenly Creatures parody (no, really).

Case against: Recently depicted as married to Milhouse in the future.

Lesbian Batwomans score: 3/5


Miss Agatha Trunchbull (Matilda)

The hapless pupils of Crunchem Hall Primary School (or Elementary School, if we’re talking about the Americanized film version) were terrorised by Miss Trunchbull in Roald Dahl’s 1988 classic, Matilda.

This massive headmistress is pretty much the embodiment of the scary, manly lesbian construct so feared by the Conservative government of the time, who enacted Section 28 that very same year.

Case for: Miss Trunchbull’s appearance just screams “dyke”.

Case against: She may be unmarried, but would anyone want to marry Agatha?

Lesbian Batwomans score: 2/5

Don't mess with this tomboy

The entire cast of Lord of the Rings

Well, we could talk about this one all day. But let’s set aside Sam/Frodo, Gimli/Legolas and Gandalf/any hobbit he can get his hands on, to instead concentrate on a little-recognised lesbilicious possibility within The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s homoerotic fantasy epic.

Enter Éowyn: shieldmaiden of Rohan.

Case for: Sick and tired of the limitations of womanhood in a man’s world, Éowyn cross-dresses and goes to war. Unlike George from the Famous Five, she’s still proud of her womanhood: a fact that the Witch-King and his monstrous steed discover to their cost.

Case against: Seems mostly into very hairy men. Then again, this might just be because lesbians didn’t exist in Oxfordshire circa 1954.

Lesbian Batwomans score: 2/5

She's also a little kinky

Wonder Woman (Wonder Woman)

Where do we even start? There’s a good reason why a Google search for “wonder woman lesbian” yields almost two-and-a-half million results.

Depicted as gay by both fans and detractors, the definitive female comic book hero comes from an island populated entirely by scantily-clad amazons, and has barely showed an interest in men in over seventy years.

Case for: It’s argued that Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston based her character upon both his wife Elizabeth… and his wife’s other sexual partner, one Olive Byrne.

Case against: Erm… she’s not out?

Lesbian Batwomans score: 5/5

Did we miss anyone off the list? Did we get the scores right? Let us know in the comments!

Article by Ruth Pearce and Milly Shaw

16 Responses to 8 lesbilicious fictional characters we wish would come out

  1. Anelim says:

    Pippi Longstocking :-) Lives by herself in a house, owns a horse and a monkey, is so strong she can lift the horse with one hand, and goes around sailing with her dad who is the king of an island ;) OK, race issues are a bit dodgy, and Pippi is only 9 in the book, but she is definitely looking like a future awesome adult proud of what she is!

  2. PonchoMoncho says:

    Lisa Simpson is, like, 9, and Peppermint Patty is also a school girl!!! Surely calling children lesbians is going a tiny bit too far????

    • Milly Shaw Milly Shaw says:

      @ponchomoncho – why is calling children lesbian going too far? Nobody seems to have a problem assuming that children are heterosexual, so why wouldn’t it make sense to assume some are queer? (And where do you think queer adults come from?)

    • Ruth Pearce Ruth Pearce says:

      Don’t worry, we’re not going to force them to undergo any kind of sapphic brainwashing…adult consent is a wonderful thing.

    • emma dickson says:

      milly-1 ponchomoncho-0

  3. herecosyouare says:

    I think we can also side-step the child issue just because the series’ have run so long! How long would they be by now if they actually aged?!

    I’d like to suggest C.S.Lewis’ Lucy, from the books, less so the films. Mostly looking at the hair and the fact we know she isn’t in to parties and boys like her sister. But then she only loves God. I mean Aslan.

  4. Carl Saggers says:

    I wouldn’t say wonderwoman has barely shown any interest in men over 70 years. Steve Trevor has been a long term love interest for most of that time, the two were married prior to The Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1984, and he’s since been re-introduced in the new 52. In addition to that she’s been romantically tied with both Superman and Batman.

    • Ruth Pearce Ruth Pearce says:

      Yeah, but it’s not like she actually paid him a great deal of attention until their rather sudden (and very brief!) marriage, was it? Also, has she actually *done* anything with Superman or Batman?

  5. Sacha says:

    Reckon Rainbow Dash merits at least four Lesbian Batwomans(women?). Dat rainbow mullet.

    Nice one including George as well, I thought I was the only one who remembered her.

    Desperately trying to remember if Zhaan from Farscape had any canon preferences…

  6. Slide says:

    Ace from Dr Who, circa late ’80s. She was my first girl crush.

    • mashuganali says:

      Oh good call. ditto on the first girl crush. i can’t believe more people don’t remember her!

  7. Natacha says:

    You can’t have George, the Worst Witch or Velma without Marmalade Atkins or Tyke Tyler. Marmalade is a kick-ass girl, the ultimate teenage rebel. If you read “the Turbullent Term of Tyke Tyler”, it is so cleverly written that you go through the whole book thinking she is a boy until the last chapter.

    • Ruth Pearce Ruth Pearce says:

      Tyke Tyler *seriously* messed me up when I was a kid. The ending came as such a shock that I locked myself in a toilet and cried for about an hour.

  8. Lola says:

    Moody Margaret and Sour Susan from Horrid Henry are definitely doing a ting.

  9. Gabs says:

    April O’Neil from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has to be gay as she hardly spends anytime with her boyfriend and would rather kick bum with 4 Ninja Turtles.

Ruth Pearce


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