It’s strange to think that the very first lesbian scene was only 23 years ago, when in L.A. Law, a character named Amanda Donohoe kissed another woman on the lips on network TV for the first time. (pictured above)
For years after we got lots of minor girl on girl kisses, all of which were greeted only with controversy. Two years after the controversial L.A. Law scene in 1993, Picket Fences aired a kiss between two teenage girls, a kiss which ABC insisted be shot in partial darkness because it was same-sex.
It was only in 1996 did we get a full lesbian storyline, with Friends character Carol marrying Susan and surprise surprise, it also featured them taking care of Ross and Carol’s baby, which is something still “scandalous” today.
Whether this bout of drama was responsible for the upcoming lesbian dry spell that was about to happen on TV, we don’t know, all we do know is that it was only in 2001 that things started to change again. On Buffy the Vampire slayer, of all things, Willow and Kennedy become the first fictional lesbians to ever make love on network TV. It wasn’t much of a sex scene, but while watching it as a teenager, I remember it opening a door for me. All I have to say about that is thank you, Joss Whedon.
It was only then that lesbians slowly and quietly began to pop up on TV shows everywhere. And by quietly I mean, in backgrounds, in subplots. Which is nice, but is also like sleeping in someone else’s bed: nice and comfy, but not yours.
Fast forward to 2004 with – drum roll please- The L Word. Suddenly there was a show that completely centered on lesbians. With interesting lives. Who don’t only kiss to boost ratings. What?! That’s still wasn’t the reason why this show is literally apart of the initiation into liking women though. The real reason? Because it was not afraid to bare all. It was full of nudity and didn’t fade out as soon as the clothes started coming off. This show was literally the transition from having barely any lesbians even mentioned on TV to having a show almost entirely based on lesbian sex. So thank you Showtime.