So we have already explored a few of the big name straight actors that played gay characters on screen but what about actresses? I said before in my article here that some of my favorite performances showcase the actors ability to switch sexual preference on screen. A sexual preference is an integral part of our identity, and playing a character with a different sexual identity can be very difficult.. I already wrote about straight males who switched sexual preferences to play homosexuals, you can check that out HERE, now let's look at some females who did the same!
1. Laura Prepon- Orange Is The New Black
Laura Prepon is an actress best-know for her role as Donna on That 70's Show, but today is one of the lead actresses on Netflix's Orange Is The New Black. OitNB is a show that does not shy away from portraying the true life inside a woman's correctional facility, that includes lesbianism. Throughout the series, Prepon's character Alex is seen becoming intimate with other women, and she does a great job at portraying it in a believable manner. If you haven't seen Orange is the New Black I highly recommend it for anyone that is looking for an interesting story, with great acting, and a lot of humor!
It’s interesting because, when Jenji [Kohan, the show’s writer/creator] first wanted me to play Alex, I was like, “Okay, well, there’s two things that I’ve never done before.” Well, I had done nudity in one other thing, but nudity for an actress is a very particular thing. It has to do with the material, and making sure it’s not gratuitous, that it’s done in a way that’s shot beautifully, and it’s for a reason. And I’d never played a lesbian before. Of course, we’re supportive of the gay and lesbian community. I’ve just never portrayed that on camera. Once I met Taylor I knew that it was going to be really comfortable and okay, but the nudity was a little bit of an issue for me, so Jenji and I talked about it.
2. Lena Headey- Imagine Me and You
Yes, before playing the famed queen Cersei Lannister on HBO's Game of Thrones, she played the role of a lesbian named Luce who seduces a married woman and makes her fall in love with her. An independent British film in the beginning, the film made great strides in the LGBT community and was praised for its portrayal of same sex love. The film was eventually picked up by 2 major studios and is a firm favorite among the community.
"I think what strengthens (the film) is that Piper doesn't sort of go, 'Now I'm a big lesbian!' It's just that she's fallen in love. And I like that Luce is steady and makes no excuse for who she is, 'that's who I am' kind of thing. I love that about it."
3. Heather Graham- Gray Matters
It seems that everyone, male or female, has a crush on Heather Graham. While she is no stranger to doing roles that bring along a certain level of sexuality, she caused some controversy within the LGBT with her 2006 film Gray Matters. Graham plays a character named Gray alongside Tom Cavanaugh who plays her brother Sam. Everyone thinks that the two are a couple but that is far from the truth. Sam meets a girl who he seems to fall in love with but Gray begins to develop feelings and discovers she is a lesbian. The film generated controversy and many felt that the stereotypes displayed in the film were extremely offensive. All in all it is a pretty good film however.
I liked that it was about someone kind of learning to accept themselves for who they are and celebrating who they are. I kind of felt like I could relate to that even though I hadn’t gone through the exact same thing but it’s hard to really learn about yourself and to accept all the different parts of yourself. I thought it was a very happy story."
4. Hilary Swank- Boys Don't Cry
Hillary Swank's performance in Boys Don't Cry is often considered one of the best LGBT coming of age films ever. Hillary Swank's performance as Brandon, a transgender male, is truly inspiring and really began to raise awareness towards the LGBT community. I don't want to give anything else from the plot because the film is truly outstanding and Hilary Swank's performance can not be underestimated. If you haven't seen this already I highly recommend it, it is outstanding.
"I knew that if I couldn't pass as a boy on the street then the movie wasn't going to work. I was in it 24/7. I was sleeping with the sock in my pants trying as much as I could to be like Brandon Teena. This is a person's life, this is someone who really lived, it wasn't even a fictional character and I felt a huge responsibility to him. When I got the part I thought 'I can't mess this up, this story is too important.' I received so much mail from that movie, running the full gamut from trans people to people who said, 'this has changed my outlook.'"
5. Jada Pinkett-Smith- The Women
The wife of Will Smith, Jada Pinkett, is very well known to be open for any role that comes her way. In The Women, she plays a lesbian writer who is very outspoken. The name of her character Alex Fisher (Any Gotham fans?) and this is often considered one of her best roles! And luckily for Jada she got to be in a relationship with EVA MENDES! Thats a dream come true!
“I play a lesbian, which is fantastic, and I got to be in love with Eva Mendes, which is even more fantastic.”
6. Jennifer Lopez- Gigli
Jennifer Lopez played a lesbian in the film Gigli alongside Ben Affleck. A pretty good film in its own right, where Affleck's character begins to have feeling's towards Lopez. This film is best known however as the stepping stone for the beginning of Lopez and Affleck's high profile relationship. One of the most popular celebrity couples in recent memory, the relationship did not end well. Lopez of course will not speak on her role in Gigli for obvious reasons but she is producing a show about a biracial lesbian character in the show The Fosters.
“I had an aunt who was gay. I lived with her and I loved her. She just passed away from cancer. I thought of her often when I was thinking about taking on this project and the prejudices that she faced. She didn’t have her own family and I often wondered if she wanted it. It [The Fosters] was kind of like a little bit of an homage to her. I think she would be really proud.”
7. Cate Blanchett- Carol
Cate Blanchett is a fan favorite actress, especially among the geek community. Known for playing Galadriel in The Hobbit series, her performance in the 2015 film Carol is probably the best of her career. Her performance was subject to more than a few standing ovations in theaters. Set in the 1950s, the film is the tale of two young women who fall deeply in love. It honestly is an amazing film, the writing, directing, and acting are all executed perfectly. If you haven't seen Carol, do yourself a favor and go check it out!
Is there any other actresses that you would like to mention? Comment down below and let us know!