“Carmilla“: Based on one of the earliest works of vampire fiction by Joseph Sheridan Le Fenu, this web series features some fantastic representation of powerful, queer women. The series follows Laura Hollis, a first-year at the mysterious Silas University. When her roommate disappears, Laura begins searching for answers, but the arrival of her new roommate, Carmilla Karnstein, throws a wrench in the works. By the end of the first season, you’ll go from bawling your eyes out to jumping for joy in the span of three episodes. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys comedy, weird paranormal stories and adorable true love.
“But I’m a Cheerleader“: This satirical rom-com from the late 1990s is the perfect cure to a bad day. Natasha Lyonne (yes, the one from “Orange is the New Black”!) stars as Megan, a cheerleader who is sent to a conversion therapy camp to “cure” her lesbianism. Megan, who hadn’t even realized she was gay until she arrives at True Directions, ends up figuring out a lot about herself with the help of fellow camper Graham. Don’t let the setting of this movie put you off; this campy comedy features RuPaul playing an “ex-gay,” a huge amount of visual gags and a heartwarming romance to top it all off.
“Steven Universe“: If you haven’t heard of this Cartoon Network award-winning show, I’m glad I can be the one to tell you about it! “Steven Universe” is a heartwarming coming of age story following the titular Steven and his magical, humanoid-alien-mother figures the Crystal Gems. The plot of the show is a bit more complex than I can describe here, but it is more than worth it to binge through all five seasons right now. The show made a big impact this summer when two characters, Ruby and Sapphire, became the first same-sex couple to get engaged and married in an animated children’s show. The two gems are an explicitly lesbian couple who come together to form Garnet, a literal embodiment of their love and devotion to one another. While this is a show aimed at younger audiences, I can’t think of many people who wouldn’t enjoy its warmth, wit and whimsy.
I could easily go on and on about movies and TV shows featuring lesbian characters who actually get a happy ending, but I doubt anyone would want to listen to me ramble for that long. As the times continue to roll forward, more and more positive representations of queer female characters are appearing in media, and I could not be more excited about that. For so long, I thought that girls who liked other girls only ever wound up alone, hurt, demonized or dead, which is really quite damaging to a young queer woman. But I keep my chin up and keep searching for the stories that don’t end like all the others; that gives me the drive to keep being an actual, real-life, live lesbian. Who knows — maybe I’ll be making those stories one day.