A Decade of Lesbian Entertainment, Politics, and General Silliness Part 2: 2001 – The Netherlands Rule!By Grace Chu
After nine months of casting spells while looking longingly at each other, Willow and Tara on Buffy finally kiss on screen just in time for February sweeps week. Unlike participants in other lesbian sweeps kisses, however, Willow and Tara’s relationship lasts over two seasons – until Tara is shot in the back by a stray bullet. In the back? That’s cold.
On April Fool’s day the Netherlands becomes the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Much to the chagrin of religious conservatives, it isn’t an April Fool’s joke. Too bad so sad for them (as if same sex marriage affects them anyway). But #Yaygay!
On Friends, Rachel runs into a former sorority sister, Melissa (played by Winona Ryder), who she had kissed one night after drinking too much sangria. Rachel informs Phoebe of her drunken same-sex kiss back in the day, but Phoebe doesn’t believe her. Melissa claims not to remember the incident, so Rachel reminds her by re-enacting the incident, minus the coconut bras.
Melissa is never seen again.
Kissing Jessica Stein is released. Our heroine Jessica dabbles in a same-sex relationship but eventually goes back to her ex boyfriend. This part isn’t problematic. However, watching Jessica’s New York style neurosis for a full 98 minutes is enough to make a sane person want to go to Fresno to be whisked away by a spaceship.
Germany allows same-sex couples to enter into “registered partnerships,” which is sort of like marriage, except without joint adoption rights and full tax benefits, so basically, it was pretty lame but better than nothing. Also, the German translation for registered partnerships, “Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft,” is really hard to pronounce if you don’t speak German. Meanwhile, the German word for marriage is the much more pronounceable and Twitter-friendly “Ehe.” German gays should get full marriage rights for that reason alone.
The Ellen Show, Ellen’s second prime time sitcom, premieres on CBS. People are unimpressed. It lasts one season.
The film Mulholland Drive is released, and it doesn’t make any fucking sense, because it’s a film by David Lynch, a weirdo who likes to make films that make no fucking sense. But there is hot lesbian sex, so all is forgiven, even though one of the lesbians hires a hit man to whack her lover and then presses the “killself” button. Tragic lesbian so tragic. But pretty film so pretty.
Ellen DeGeneres hosts the 2001 Emmy Awards, which had been canceled twice due to the 9/11 attacks. In her opening monologue, she quips, “What would upset the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews?” Later on, she makes fun of Bjork’s fashion sense.
Sometime in 2001, Ally McBeal star Portia de Rossi and then-girlfriend Francesca Gregorini were photographed by the paparazzi getting a little frisky in an alley. Blogs like Perezhilton.com had yet to be a twinkle in geeky pop culture hacks’ eyes, so no white squiggly lines appeared in the photoshoots. And no one rushed to write “FIRST POST!” But quite a few people said “OMG!”
Also in 2001, Tammy Lynn Michaels walked into a lesbian bar in Los Angeles. She approached Melissa Etheridge and asked her out, which is probably the exact opposite of what you should do if you are a closet case intending to stay in the closet. The rest is history.