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Out in TV Land: Queer Youth Characters on the Small Screen

A Sampling of Fictional LGBT High Schoolers, Past and Present

June 28, 2013


The Girls of Glee

The Girls of Glee (2009-Present)

Glee's two most prominent "same-gender-loving" female characters are Santana Lopez, played by Naya Rivera, and Brittany S. Pierce, played by Heather Morris. Fellow cheerleaders to main character Quinn Fabray, the two are introduced as minor characters in season 1. True to a common cheerleader fantasy, they're framed as "easy" with boys while alluding to their sexual dalliances with one another. In season 2, mean girl Santana and ditzy Brittany get more depth and shape to their characters; the real chemistry between the two young actresses enriches their onscreen friendship, which opens into a full-fledged love story in which Santana sings to and confesses her love for best friend Brittany.

"I'm a bitch because I'm angry," Santana says in that classic scene; "I'm angry because I have all of these feelings, feelings for you, that I'm afraid of dealing with because I'm afraid of dealing with the consequences." When she finally talks about her feelings for Brittany, Brittany is in a relationship with classmate Artie; but the two girls eventually become a couple and, after frustrating fans with their chaste physicality as girlfriends after two seasons of subtextual buildup, finally share an onscreen Valentine's Day kiss. Santana's parents are supportive of her being a lesbian, but her grandmother disowns her when Santana comes out to her. The character of Santana, like Rickie Vasquez before her, is also an inspiration to young queer women of color.

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