WOMEN IN LOVE
QUEEN VICTORIA REFUSED TO BELIEVE TWO WOMEN COULD BE ROMANTICALLY OR SEXUALLY INVOLVED. oh, HOW WRONG SHE WAS
RAE JOAN ELKINGTON LOOKS AT 50 OF HER FAVOURITE FICTIONAL SAPPHIC COUPLINGS FROM ACROSS POP CULTURE IN THE LAST 50 YEARS, BUT THERE’S GOING TO BE A TWIST.
I fear that we have become too accustomed to unhappy endings for lesbian, female/female and non-binary couples. So, I shall be writing from a perspective of relationship best bits.
Not one of our Sapphic sweethearts will be killed off in some archaic trope, everyone will always be faithful, and they will all live happily-ever-after.
1. Anne Bonny + Mary Read
Hellcats (Audible Original)
“You’ll always be my best girl, you know that!” — Mary Read. Formidable power couple and best-known female pirates of all time, Anne and Mary found their way to piracy and each other in 18th- century London. It was fate that brought the pirate queens together.
2. Alex + Steph
Life i s Strange: True Colors (Square Enix)
“Hey, so are you into girls or what?” — Steph, to Alex. From their first meeting in a record store to bonding over foosball, if you make all the right choices in this RPG then the two fast become the cutest couple in Colorado.
3. Princess Bubblegum + Queen Marceline
Adventure Time (Cartoon Network)
“I like your handwriting, I think it’s really pretty,” Marceline to Bubblegum. The atmosphere between 1,000-year-old Vampire Queen Marceline and Princess Bubblegum starts out tense due to their romantic history, before becoming friends and finally realising their love deserves a second chance.
4. JJ + Elle,
Stud Life (Peccadillo Pictures)
“What is true love, and how do you know you’ve found it?” — JJ. JJ and Elle’s passionate relationship survives the colourful, light, gritty and very human urban landscape of early 00s East London. Loving each other was the easy part, it also made the fight worth it.
5. Dani + Jamie
The Haunting of Bly Manor (Netflix)
“I’m actually pretty in love with you, it turns out” — Jamie. For Dani and Jamie, it is love at first sight. This heartbreakingly beautiful relationship starts as a part of a ghost story and evolves into a contemporary parable about the difference between love and possession.
6. Charlotte + Cordelia
FALSETTOS (BROADWAY MUSICAL)
Falsettos (Broadway Musical)“She’s my doctor, And I love her! She’s got passion!” – Charlotte, about Cordelia. Charlotte and Cordelia are an established middle-aged couple living in 1980s New York . The self-titled “lesbians next door” show us that sometimes, true love is pretending to like your lover’s cooking.
7. Mary Anning + Charlotte Murchison
Ammonite (BBC Films)
“You were the most fascinating person there tonight. And I think the most beautiful” — Charlotte. Mary and Charlotte’s romance blossomed over paleontological remains against the exquisite backdrop of Victorian Lyme Regis. They may live in the 1800s, but true love has no expiry date.
8. Poussey Washington + Brooke Soso
Orange is the New Black (Netflix)
“I like people, not genders” — Soso. Poussey saved Soso’s life after finding her unconscious in Litchfield’s library following a suicide attempt. Their saviour/saved relationship leads to love, where the only label they need is “happy”.
9. Patty Bouvier + Evelyn
The Simpsons (Fox / Disney+)
“There goes the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality” – Patty. Patty and Evelyn put their relationship to the test by joining Patty’s sister and brother-in-law on holiday. It helps them realise how much they love one another, which they seal with a romantic zip-line embrace.
10. Mildred + wendolyn
“I Might Be That Kind Of Person. The Kind Of Woman… Who Enjoys The Company Of Other Women”, Mildred. Even serial killers can find love, as Nurse Ratched proved when she fell for political campaign manager Gwendolyn Briggs. Their first date at an oyster bar shows a surprisingly sweet and vulnerable side to the infamous Mildred Ratched.
11. Ruby + Sapphire
Steven Universe (Hulu)
“Okay, Sapphire. I gotta get dressed for a big day now, so no peeking. And no future vision either!” – Ruby, to Sapphire on their wedding day. Star-crossed lovers Ruby and Sapphire are quite literally one another’s other half, as their love can fuse them to become Garnett. When unfused and interacting, queer romantic moments are in abundance with these two.
12. George + Mae
Feel Good (Netflix)
“I came into your life like a tornado full of sticks and poo” — Mae. Mae and George help each other deal with their struggles and provide unwavering acceptance in contemporary Manchester. The relationship is constantly evolving and has long defied convention, but it is clear that they genuinely love each other.
13. Catra + Adora
She-Ra And The Princesses of Power (Netflix)
“Adora! Please, stay! I love you! I always have! So please… stay” – Catra. Growing up together as child cadets in an evil force fighting against The Rebellion, Catra and Adora’s relationship is another of rivals-to friends-to lovers.
14. Casey + Izzie
“Let’s forehead promise to never leave each other again” – Casey, to Izzie. The friendship-turned romance between running teammates Casey and Izzie is mostly intense hand holding, giggles and urgent kisses. They are so cute together, it’s clear that they bring light to each other’s lives.
15. Bernie + Serena
“They love who they love despite what happened to them, not because of it” — Serena. Serena and Bernie’s relationship began as a professional power struggle between surgeons. Competition ultimately gave way to love, with Bernie eventually getting down on one knee on Holby’s roof, showing us that fairy tales do exist.
16. Celie + Shug
the color purple (novel, alice walker)
“Folks don’t like nobody being too proud, or too free” Shug. When Shug and Celie become lovers, Celie learns to be proud of her body and how to use it to enjoy sex. Shug’s love and guidance help Celie feel physically and emotionally at ease.
17. Jack + Diane
Jack and Diane (Magnolia Pictures)
“I more than like you. I just wanna like unzip my body and put you in there” -Jack, to Diane. English Diane meets the devastatingly handsome Jack in a New York vintage clothing store, leaving both girls instantly smitten. Their relationship is both light and dark, innocent yet lust-fuelled, in that incomprehensible and engulfing love can be before you learn to tame the monster.
18. Pauline + Mal Hawthorne
Little Fires Everywhere (book by Celeste Ng)
“I see the monsters too, and I love them fiercely”-Pauline. Esteemed photographer and professor of the New York School of Fine Arts, Pauline lives with her wife Mal in a luxurious loft apartment. Pauline and Mal become like parents to a young student, Mia, with the couple only ever having eyes for each
19. Darcy Olsson + Tara Jones
“You’ve befriended the school lesbians!” – Darcy.Chaotic, extroverted, and loving Darcy loves to make straight-laced, quiet and observant Tara laugh. This adorable young couple are a classic attraction of opposites.
20. Anissa + Grace
lack Lightning (Warner Bros.)
“It’s you, Grace. Your heart, your soul, your essence. That is what I’m in love with. Just you” – Anissa. Vigilante Annisa met shape-shifting meta-human Grace, who was then a bartender, at the Ruby Red Lipstick Bar. They developed an on-again-off-again relationship and eventually became fiancées. The couple now work together, with Grace becoming an active member of Black Lightning’s team.
21. Patsy Mount + Delia Busby
Call The Midwife (BBC1)
“Where I go next, you’re coming with me” — Patsy. Patsy and Delia kept their feelings for each other secret whilst coupled up in Nonnatus House (due to negative feelings toward homosexuality in 1950s London.) The fashions may have moved as have societal views, but their romance is timeless.
22. Fran + Em
“I love you, and I want to be part of everything about you” Em. When Fran, a first-generation Nigerian-British woman living in Portland, met Em, she was trying to live her best single life. Non-binary Em however, had the raw sexual magnetism power to inspire Fran to push past her defences leading to a sweet, deep romantic relationship.
23. Anne Lister + Ann Walker
Gentleman Jack (BBC1)
“You made my whole world a little bit brighter that day” — Ann Walker, to Anne Lister. Lovers and life-partners Anne Lister and Ann Walker navigated their romantic lives together whilst facing social pressures and business matters in 1800s Halifax. Everything is better when they live side by side at Shidben Hall.
24. Wolfsbane + Psyche
The New Mutants (Marvel comics)
“It’s just like every other love story.’ They look at each other and they like each other, you know?” Marvel. It’s love at first sight when lycanthropic teenager Rahne (aka Wolfsbane) and telepathic mutant Danielle (aka Psyche) first cross paths at a hospital. Close from the outset, they protect each other and bring out the light in one another.
25. Fabiola + Eve
Never Have I Ever (Netflix)
“The only things I love are my family, friends, robots…. and you” – Fabiola, to Eve. Shortly after Eve’s baking soda romantic gesture to save Fabiola’s punch soaked jacket, the two begin dating. They go on to win Cricket Queen & Queen and declare their love to each other at the Big Winter Ball.
26. Batwoman + Detective Maggie Sawyer
Batwoman (DC Comics)
“My feelings for you are deeper than anything I’ve ever known” – Maggie. It all started with a shared glance in precinct headquarters after Kate got treatment for minor injuries. Kate Kane, aka Batwoman, and her long-time partner Detective Maggie Sawyer, are now married, and have one of the most compelling same-sex relationships in DC Comics.
27. Deb + Pam
Q Force (Netflix)
“I just want to enjoy a BBQ with my wife, our friends and our 16 trauma dogs” Pam Q-Force’s resident lesbian mechanic Deb and her child psychologist wife Pam are two peas in a pod. They live a pretty picture-perfect life together, sharing a passion for rescuing traumatised pit-bull terriers.
28. Emily Fields + Maya St Germain
Pretty Little Liars (Warner Bros.)
“I care about you, so I’ll wait” Maya, to Emily.After Maya helps Emily come to terms with her sexuality, the two have a first official date at the Rosewood Movie Theatre. When Maya redecorates her room with a water theme to make Emily feel better about not being on the swim team, you can tell their love is deep.
29. Carol Aird + Therese Belive
“You’ve got one helluva crush on this woman, is what. You’re like a schoolgirl” -T herese’s ex, Richard. Aspiring photographer, Therese, develops an instant connection with an older woman while working in a department store in 1950s New York. The two women from very different backgrounds find themselves in an unexpected, passionate love affair.
30. Lena + Stef
The Fosters (ABC)
Stef: “Will you marry me?” Lena: ”I thought you would never ask”. When enrolling her then five-year-old son into school, Stef met assistant vice principal Lena and the two fell head over heels. The Fosters were married after 10 years together and are now co-parents to five children.
31. Willow + Tara
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (20th Century Fox)
“Can You Just Be Kissing Me Now?” – Willow, to Tara. The love of Willow’s life, Tara, is her partner and guide in witchcraft. Both part of a team fighting evil forces in Sunnydale, they each gain confidence in life, love and their magical talents.
32. Tara + Leah
The High Table (a play, by Temi Wilkey)
“She doesn’’t even look like a man,” – Tara’s mother on meeting Leah. Tara and Leah are planning a perfect Nigerian wedding in London, under the gaze of their ancestors who are watching from the afterlife.
33. Poison Ivy + Harley Quinn
“It’s you ‘n me against the world, right red?” – Harley, to Ivy. When Ivy and Harley’s close bond matured into a romantic one, it ended over 26 years of flirtation and sexual tension. This slow-burning love story between two of the most iconic female villains in comic book history, at its core, is one of patience and healing.
34. Bette Porter + Tina Kennard
The L Word (Showtime)
”First, last and forever” – Tina, about Bette. After forming an electric connection at an art show, Bette was the first woman Tina had fallen in love with. The ultimate lesbian power couple are forever united through the love of their daughter Angelica.
35. GIA + JENNY
“You were the one, you were the only one and you were amazing”- Gia, to Linda. Having moved to New York, fashion model Gia and make-up artist Linda become entangled in an intense, passionate love affair after the two pose nude for a photoshoot and make love afterwards. Their love is raw, steamy and fragile like a bomb.
36. Sue + Maud
But the more I think it, the more I want her, the more my desire rises and swells” — Maud. Brought together by the most complicated circumstances (even by Victorian London standards), amidst much deception and thievery, the most valuable things Sue and Maud steal are each other’s hearts.
37. Megan + Graham
But I’m A Cheerleader (Lions Gate Films)
“You didn’t tell me you were taking me to a gay bar?” – Megan. When sent to “homo rehab camp’”True Directions, Megan and Graham quickly develop mutual romantic feelings. A temporary separation follows before Megan returns to perform a cheer for Graham declaring her love, and the two drive off together into the sunset.
38. Brittany Pierce + Santana Lopez
“I’ve seen the world and I’m sure now, more than ever, that I belong with you” – Brittany. From teenage friends with benefits to married women, cheerleaders Santana and Brittany have clearly always loved each other as more than just best friends. A post college relationship break allowed them to grow before getting back together forever.
39. Ellie + Dina
The Last of Us 2 (Playstation)
“We have a family. She doesn’t get to be more important than that” – Dina, to Ellie. Close friends for a long time, Ellie and Dina kept their crushes on each other secret until a shared kiss brings their feelings to light. After falling in love, they make home together on a farm in Seattle with their son, JJ.
40. Nan + Flo
Tipping The Velvet (BBC1)
Nan: “I don’t know how to hide” Flo: “Then don’t hide” After finally shaking off the toxic Kitty Butler, former music hall star Nan finds true love with sweet, genuine socialist Flo. Along with Flo’s brother and baby Cyril, the two create the sort of domestic bliss most Victorian lesbians could all but dream of.
41. Emily Fitch + Naomi Campbell
“We’re still holding hands through a cat-flap, aren’t we?” — Emily, to Naomi. Students of the Bristolian Roundview College, Emily and Naomi’s bittersweet teenage love story is full of sexual tension. When the couple tenderly make love for the first time, the countryside setting is impossibly idyllic.
42. Madame Vastra + Jenny Flint
Doctor Who (BBC1)
“Good evening. I am a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife” -Madame Vastra. Madame Vastra (a Silurian) and Jenny Flint (a human) are a married couple living in London during the 19th century who also work together, solving crimes as part of the Paternoster Gang.
43. Lucy Diamond + Amy Bradshaw
Amy: “Am I gonna see you again?” Lucy: “Do you wanna see me again?” Supervillain Lucy and spy-in-training Amy meet after a stakeout goes wrong. Whilst holding each other at gunpoint, sparks fly. Their sweet, self-conscious developing romance shows that love can melt even the evilest hearts.
44. Betty + Teresa
Bomb Girls (available to watch on Amazon)
“Not trying to be a hero. I’m trying to live my life”— Betty. In this Canadian TV series. munitions factory worker Betty McRae found love with Women’s Army Corps Sergeant Teresa in Canada during World War II. It wasn’t love at first sight though – it took a full five minutes.
45. Leila + Saskia
TELL ME AHAIN HOW A CRUSH SHOULD FEEL (NOVEL, SARA FARIZAN)
“I was doing fine until you were so ridiculously sweet at just the right times” – Laila.Sophisticated, beautiful new girl Saskia and Persian-America Laila have a love that’s very sweet, with an innocence only a first love can have. Laila’s feelings for Saskia inspire her to take risks she never thought she could.
46. Nina + Madeleine
Two of Us (Magnolia Pictures)
“We could get a place? Just the two of us.” Nina, to Madeleine. Nina and Madeleine are a loving, cute and passionate mature couple who have built a beautiful, memory-laden life together (albeit between two interconnecting apartments). After keeping their relationship secret for two decades to protect it from the people around them, the couple now dream about what retirement could offer them.
47. Cam + Mary LAWSON-Oliver
My Mum, Tracey Beaker (CBBC)
“To the best mum in the world, and her amazing wife Mary” — Tracey Beaker. Author Cam married primary-school teacher Mary in London, where Cam’s adopted daughter Tracey Beaker was their best woman. It’s safe to say that Cam married a Mary she could not live without!
48. Laila + Khanum
Margarita with a Straw (Netflix)
“For me, I just like to be who I am all the time” — Khanum. Laila, a talented, sensitive, and beautiful young Indian woman with cerebral palsy, builds a passionate connection with Khanum, who is blind. For a perfect moment in time their hearts speak the same language against the busy backdrop of Manhattan.
49. Maureen + Joanne
Rent (Broadway Musical)
“There will always be women in rubber flirting with me! Give me a break!” – Joanne. In New York’s Lower East Side in the late 1980s, vibrant bisexual performance artist Maureen Johnson and no-nonsense lesbian lawyer Joanne Jefferson have a passionate relationship. Mutual vulnerability and forgiveness are the glue that keeps the two together.
50. Nomi + Amanita
Sense8 (Netflix)”I don’t think there’s been a single day where I haven’t had that voice in my head, telling me, whatever you do, do not let her go” -Amanita. Following a suitably adorable double proposal, Sapphic revolutionary Amanita and proud sensate transgender woman and Nomi exchanged vows at that quintessential romantic spot, the Eiffel Tower.