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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


Willow Rosenberg and Tara Maclay

Willow Rosenberg and Tara Maclay, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1998-2003)

Willow (Alyson Hannigan) is the best friend of main character Buffy Summers on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After a relationship with werewolf Daniel Osborne ("Oz") ends with Oz going on a quest of self-discovery, Willow starts to come out of her post-breakup depression only after hanging out with her new Wiccan friend Tara Maclay (Amber Benson). Though creator Joss Whedon couldn't get a lesbian sex scene past the censors, he used many of their bouts with magic as sweaty metaphors for copulation. Though Tara was out prior to meeting Willow, Tara is Willow's first female love. They became the most positive relationship on the series. When Buffy dies at the end of season 5, they move into Buffy's house together and take care of her younger sister, Dawn.

In line with all the other relationships on Buffy, their relationship is doomed, and it ends with Tara getting shot by a stray bullet meant to hit Buffy at the end of season 6. Subsequently, filled with rage, Willow goes on to attempt to destroy the world, not wanting to live without her. After the death of Tara, Willow finds love again with potential slayer Kennedy, with whom she does share the official first lesbian sex scene on television. Willow ranked number 7 on's list of the Top 50 Lesbian and Bisexual Characters.

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