'L' Is for 'Look Out, World'

Longtime lesbian has whole life edited by very hot TV show

How about my high school sweetheart, the one I loved for years, and even knowing she loved me back, almost never slept with? I remember asking a friend in college whether he had sex with his girlfriend of several years (this was an important question in our fundamentalist South), and he said, "Laura, we've been together since high school." Yeah, well, so had we, and so would we, off and on, for years. Depending on how you count, we made love three times, maybe four.

Call us sorely in need of a diagram. With The L Word, we'd have had one, though I'd argue those actresses have way longer arms than I do. We'd have had a diagram for living too: Move to a city. Get hitched. Find jobs. Buy a house. You can do it.

Mia Kirschner as Jenny and Sarah Shahi as Carmen: Showtime has our number—and it won't stop calling.
photo: James Dittiger/Showtime
Mia Kirschner as Jenny and Sarah Shahi as Carmen: Showtime has our number—and it won't stop calling.


Look for more queer coverage throughout the week

The Queer Issue:

  • She Is 'The L Word'
    Talking with producer Ilene Chaiken

  • Diff'rent Strokes
    Mixed-race loving in the gay community turns the rainbow into a reality
    by Brad Sears
    Plus: How to Date a Whiteboy
    by James Hannaham

  • We Are Not OK
    Crystal meth marks a new crisis for the gay community—and an all too familiar underlying problem
    by Patrick Moore
  • Kids today, they have no idea. A high school girl from Mississippi, same as I once was, wrote an article for The Advocate this spring about the troubles she and her girlfriend face at school. Twenty years ago, we could scarcely show our faces, let alone face our troubles. We had no gay magazines, no gay TV, no gay anything. The whole world was straight, even Richard Simmons. We had one known lesbian in my junior high, and I spent several months in eighth grade trying to bring her to Jesus.

    Little did I know Jesus was coming for me, in the form of that blue-eyed girl one seat over, or years later in the form of two women on-screen trying desperately to stay together.

    I'm not saying The L Word or its companions—from Queer as Folk to The O.C.—have brought us all to paradise. Too many Americans still think it's their birthright to deny us any rights at all. I don't much relish a visit home, and I may never feel 100 percent comfortable around straight girls.

    Another dozen or two episodes and The L Word may go the way of women's professional soccer. These worlds of ours still seem so vulnerable. For now, The L Word lets us, and women in particular, cash the big checks and drive the fast cars and live in the perfect houses and drink perfect drinks in that perfect California weather. We're in a better place—even if it's just Bette and Tina's bed on a Sunday night.

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