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Rosie Wilby's Top 10 Lesbian Moments From The 90s

Jul 15, 2014

By Rosie Wilby
I’m going back to the 1990s for my Edinburgh show, Nineties Woman, this year and so, just for Dattch, I’ve compiled my top 10 most lesbian things of a decade very close to my heart
1. Ellen coming out
In 1997 in a famous episode, her character comes out – inadvertently to an entire airport terminal.  Simultaneously Ellen came out in real life, provoking a huge backlash and declining ratings.  The show was pulled in 1998 but it all worked out ok for Ms DeGeneres in the end.
2. The Brookside kiss

I was born in Liverpool so always had a soft spot for Brookie. It was the grittiest soap until it’s final days when the scriptwriters clearly took acid and Jimmy Corkhill was abducted by aliens. Or something. But in its halcyon days in 1993, it featured the first ever pre-watershed lesbian kiss on terrestrial Brit TV between gorgeous Anna Friel and…er… The other one… Perhaps Anna’s character Beth was reinforcing old stereotypes about ‘troubled’ lesbians with dead fathers under the patio.. And the kiss itself was relatively tame… But still I stayed in on a Friday night to watch this. And did star jumps around the room.

3. Kd lang getting shaved by Cindy Crawford on the cover of Vanity Fair
A genuinely queer moment
4. Rhona Cameron presents Gaytime TV

My personal favourite was her interview with a newly out, gorgeous Sophie Ward who had got it on with Kerry fox the previous year in A Village Affair.
5. Dyke TV
A very 90s looking Clune (holla if you can find video footage of Dyke TV, we couldn’t!)
A 1995 season of lesbian themed docs, films, entertainment featuring no-longer-lesbian Jackie Clune
6. Bound
The 1996 noir crime thriller starring Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon. They employed sex educator Susie Bright to choreograph the super hot sex scenes.
7. Dr martens

Indie fashion worked well for lesbians. Gender neutral clothes were de rigueur.
8. Lesbian Avengers

A direct action group set up in 1992 in New York City expanded into worldwide chapters including a London one which I fleetingly attended. Actions included performing an all lesbian Romeo and Juliet outside Hackney Town Hall to support Jane Brown, the head teacher vilified by press and councillors for ‘failing to take pupils to see Shakespeare’s play on the grounds that it was too heterosexual’
9. Angela Eagle
Angela (left) with her wife Maria Exall, picture from Daily Mail
Eagle became the first openly lesbian British MP in September 1997 but have many of the MPs that followed her flown where the Eagle dared?  Not really; more open lezzers in parliament please!
10. Bad Girls
The women’s prison drama snuck in just at the end of the decade.  I once performed at a club night with all the cast.  Lucky me.
Honourable mentions go to Newcastle lesbian Huffty on The Word, fiesty Anna on This Life and the androgynous Justine Frischmann fronting Elastica.

Rosie is the host of radio show Out In South London, is also a writer and performer and you can find her tweeting at @RosieWilby

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