Lesbian Heros

All my TV lesbian heros have been created by men. Cool men like Robert Tapert and Joss Whedon. Okay, yes, I am referring to geek guys as cool, because to me, geeks have always been the coolest and least conformiest.

Both Tapert and Whedon created strong women characters who were more than strong women, they were women identified women.

Xena & Gabrielle and Buffy & Willow held their own as women in their respective male dominated worlds.

So I started thinking about what kind of woman heroic shows would women, lesbians, create on their own.

It occurred to me that a woman created show would be more likely a trio of women – either three types of women of a similar age that reflected some juxtaposing of the maiden, the mother and the crone

go through the series to say what you would have written differently

like when Valesca becomes a goodess, why didn’t most of the amazons bow down?

why don’t the background characters react more to what they see rather than going along with the hero character

the amazons were willing to follow Valesca in life, why wouldn’t they have followed her as a goddess?

When we see and experience those big movie moments, we have to be moved and impacted, changed course because of them, following the natural curve to the plot will lead to much more interesting higher stake stories.

Xena: Season Six

By season six, Xena and Gabrielle were dedicated to The Way of Love and fighting for all the good things associated with it.

Their relationship didn’t need a label other than friend, because there was and is no word that could accurately capture the 360 degree encompassing love that they shared, transcending physical bodies or any one lifetime.

Episode 1: Coming Home

Xena, Gabrielle and Eve arrive to the Amazon lands, where they meet the new Queen, Marga. The Amazons are under attack by Aries, because he wants the ambrosia he thinks they keep hidden, to have his godhood restored.

Aries is also tasked by The Furies to kill Xena for destroying most of the Olympian gods, but Aries soft spot for Xena leads to some tense moments with the adult Eve, given that Aries had been her lover until Xena returned and Aries pined for the only warrior he could never win.

Episode 2: The Haunting of Amphipolis

Xena arrives home in Amphipolis with Gabrielle and Eve, only to find her home town deserted…and haunted. A Buffy style hellmouth was opened and Xena has to defeat the forces of hell to restore her home town and allow her mother to move on.

Episode 3: Heart of Darkness

An archangel called Lucifer is sent to Earth to force Xena to go to Hell as the new Queen and thus close the portal to Hell before too much evil takes control of the people. But the Warrior Princess has no intention of being Queen of Hell, in some small part because she knows that she’d be able to overrun heaven, because as Queen of Hell, there would be no checks and balances on Xena’s dark brilliance and former barbarian ways.

Thus, Lucifer, a prideful archangel with a chip on his shoulder had no chances against a woman who was so desirable that even the God of War was helpless before her.

Episode 4: Who’s Gurkhan?

With Xena’s home town sorted out, they travel to Potedaia, where Gabrielle surprises her sister Lila by returning after 25 years, unaged. Lila explains that she had a daughter, who was captured and sold as a slave and that her husband and parents tried to get Sarah back and were killed for their efforts.

Looking for revenge, Gabrielle sets out for the slavers, pretty harem costumes, a beheading and an inventive escape  to follow.

Episode 5: Legacy

Leaving the slavers to their fates, Xena and Gabrielle explore the deserts of North Africa as guests of a group of nomads being threatened by Romans.

Gabrielle accidentally kills the gentle son of the nomad leader and Xena uses the anguish of the death to inspire the nomads to fight the Romans – but Gabrielle is too wrack with guilt – and her confession makes the nomads not trust Xena’s military skills against the Romans.

Episode 6: The Abyss

While fighting a tribe of scary cannibals, Xena and Gabrielle declare finally in plain words their love for each other, as “soul mates”.

Episode 7: The Rheingold

Beowulf, the Norse hero, brings Xena a raven padlock, which Xena understand to mean that evil that she wrought needs to be nullified.

Gabrielle follows them and in Norselands, she meets Brunnhilda who tells her about Xena’s previous visit to the North – and Brunhilda falls in love with Gabrielle and tries to be worthy enough to replace Xena in Gabrielle’s heart.

Episode 8: The Ring

Gabrielle, Brunnhilda and Beowulf find Xena alive after the Grendel’s attack.

Xena reveals the monster was once the valkyrie Grinhilda, who put the Rheingold Ring on her finger as a desperate attempt to stop Xena’s reign of terror, and because Grinhilda hadn’t forsaken love, the ring turned her into a monster.

Except that Grendel is Grinhilda’s offspring.

Meanwhile Brunnhilda finally understands that Gabrielle and Xena are inseparable and she used her Valkyrie magic to become an Eternal Flame barrier to protect Gabrielle until Xena’s memories are restored and Xena returns to reclaim her.

Episode 9: Return of the Valkyrie

A year later, Beowulf visits King Hrothgar and is shocked to discover the memoriless Xena, now called Wealthea, married to the King.

Beowulf persuades Xena about who she is and what she has to do: come back to the swamp to awake Gabrielle and return Grinhilda to her pre-monsterous state, returning honor to the Valkeryies.

Episode 10: Old Ares Had a Farm

Xena, Gabrielle and Ares enjoy the country life while hiding from a bunch of angry warlords pursuing the former god of War.

I would have thought Xena would have been in the middle of the Aries and Gabby sandwich, if only to keep Gabby to herself.

Episode 11: Dangerous Prey

A prince named Morloch is hunting the Amazons as if they were animals. When he kills Marga, Xena must teach Varia what she needs to know to succeed the Queen. Gabrielle stays at the Amazon village, and Xena and Varia, who learns the hard way to accept the Warrior Princess’ help, go their way to kill Morloch.

Episode 12: The God You Know

Archangel Michael asks Xena and Gabrielle to kill Caligula, Emperor of Rome turned into a god, who is pursuing Eve and the other Elijans. When Xena arrives to Rome, Ares prevent her from killing Caligula, because that would mean Aphrodite’s death.

Xena seduces Caligula into thinking she’s a Gallic Goddess who’s moving into the territory, then manipulates him into killing himself, freeing Aphrodite from being his god-recharger.

Episode 13: You Are There

One of the strangest and funniest episodes ever.

A modern day reporter arrives in the Norse country to find the truth behind Xena’s recent return, Odin’s paranoia about Xena’s plans regarding restoring Aries as the God of War and also to discover if she really is a hero or a villain.

We already know that most of the Olympic gods are dead and the universe is titling under the pressure of the change in competing religions. Xena needs the Norse Golden Apples to turn both Aries and Aphrodite back to gods, because without them, there was no love or hate in the world.

And finally, this episode gets to the series’ eternal question. Are they or aren’t they lovers. Asked just that bluntly. As Xena agrees to answer the question, she leans forward, says “Technically…” and then the reporter’s camera runs out of battery power and the credits roll as the reporter bemoans missing an on camera exclusive that he doesn’t even listen to what Xena’s fading off voice is saying.

Episode 14: Path of Vengeance

Eve comes to the Amazon lands, where she’s captured and judged by the Queens. While Gabrielle joins her sisters to try and save Eve, Xena discovers Varia has made a mistake once again by allying herself with Ares.

Xena demonstrates again that Aries cannot be trusted, and the Amazons agree that Livia is dead but that Eve is welcome among the Amazons.

Episode 15: To Helicon and Back

Varia is kidnapped by Belerophon, the son of Artemis, and Gabrielle leads the Amazons to his fortress in Helicon to rescue the Queen.

Episode 16 Send in the Clones

The nth reincarnation of Alti clones Xena and Gabrielle to make havoc in present World, helped by a trio of nerds with strangely known faces.

When a modern incarnation of Alti creates clones of Xena and Gabrielle, three Xena fans, two lesbians and a lesbro, prepare a variety of clips from the show to download into their memories.

When the Gabby clips are played – kissing, bathing, and general fooling around, the more butch than usual Xena makes a porno face and says: “All right”

This episode answered the are Xena and Gabrille lovers, in addition to soul mates, very well with the newly awakened Xena and Gabrielle watching clips from the show – Xena, slouching and eating pizza, looks at the scene of Xena and Gabrielle kissing and gets a porn boom chicka bow bow body rhythm and leer on her face as she nods and says “all right….” to the kissing shots.

But Xena and Gabrielle, brought back from the dead, thwart Alti, fake their deaths and ride off in a taxi cab with a champagne toast.

Episode 17: Last of the Centaurs

Ephiny’s ghost asks Gabrielle to help her son, Xenan, who is in danger from Belach wants to kill him because Xenan has kidnapped his daughter, Nicha.

But things are not what they appear, Xenan and Nica are in love and she’s going to have a baby.

Belach, is the son of Xena’s former lover Borias; and she feel respionsible for having taken his father away and worse that Borias has fought with the Centaurs against Xena and was a hero to them. While his son, in his anger, slaughters all but Xenan. And has to come to grips with a centaur granchid, who’s people he slaughtered.

Episode 18: When Fates Collide

Julius Caesar escapes from the Underworld and changes the loom of the Fates, so he changes destiny. He now is married to Xena and rules a powerful Roman Empire with the Shamaness Alti for help.

Gabrielle is a successful theatre writer who’s life is empty of the emotions her plays are drenched in. Xena, the empress, is discontent with her life and fascinated by Gabrielle.

Caesar realizes that you can only change the fates so much – so he decides to execute Xena and Gabrielle so Caesar and Alti can march on Chin and gain Lao Ma’s wisdom and magic.

Joxer returns as a competent and compassionate Roman soldier.

Episode 19: Many Happy Returns

The fantasy ending show, where Xena and Gabrielle literally fly off into the sunset together.
Happy birthday again, Gabrielle! This time the girls fall victims of their reciprocal practical jokes, but with the help of Aphrodite and a lovely poem by Sappho the couple makes peace and with Hermes Helmet on her head, Xena flies Gabrielle off into the sunset.

Episode 20: Soul Possession

A follow up to the Season 4, episode Deja Vu All Over Again, a new scroll is revealed at a Xena convention that explains why Gabrielle didn’t die in a fire chasm at the end of third season.

Aries saved both Hope and Gabrielle, but forces Xena to agree to marry him in exchange for Aries helping Xena find Gabrielle.

But the modern day counterparts prevent Aries from claiming Xena as his bride – and Aries magics Xena and Joxer out of Annie and Harry and puts Xena in Annie and Joxer in Harry – leaving Xena and Gabrielle to be together again as a lesbian couple.

So, the last three episodes before the final two parter, show Xena and Gabrielle getting to live a life together in many forms – and we know from past shows that they live many times, are always together to fight the good fight for love.

Before I really understood that that was what the show was really about, I didn’t watch, because I felt cheated by the way the series ended – but when I look at it as a whole it makes sense, as you’ll see:

Episode 21: A Friend in Need: Part 1
Episode 22: A Friend in Need: Part 2

When I first watched this final pair of episodes, I was heart broken, but hopeful that once again, Gabrielle and Xena would triumph over death and be reunited, as they were over other season endings. But this was the series ending and I was heartbroken.

But then I realized from the India cycle – Xena must complete the saving of 40,000 souls in order to be re-born as the Mother of Peace in India. Where Xena is the woman of peace and Gabrielle her warrior defender – and a much younger man.

IF we die and are reborn, then the age difference for their next lives, can only be accounted for by Xena’s early death and Gabrielle coming into her own as a warrior and Amazon – because Xena held Gabrielle back from that life, that they could have had, if they’d stayed with the Amazons’ after Eve was born.

We know from all the episodes that had gone before that Xena and Gabrielle would spent many lifetimes bringing about The Way of Love – so that this particular incarnation ended with Xena dying and Gabrielle carrying on as a girl with a chakram.

One of the things that made Xena unique is that the show moved from a hero/sidekick buddy series to being a show with two heros in their own rights.

The Warrior Princess and the Amazon Queen.

When Xena accepts that she must to fight Yodoshi as a ghost, she teaches Gabrielle The Pinch and spends her last 30 seconds of life staring into Gabrielle’s eyes – giving Gabrielle her love to carry always.

Xena then removes the pinch and she and Gabrielle go off to their separate missions. But from that moment on, Xena’s life is over and while she knows that she won’t be coming back, Gabrielle hasn’t figured it out yet.

But knowing that Xena will remain dead, makes the show more poignant from a simple understanding of having seen it before – but moreso – elegant and epic, to understand the why and the Way, this time around, the series, instead of feeling cheated of a happy lesbian ending with a one must die ending that touches on the epicness of the Well of Loneliness and countless cautionary lurid pulp lesbian novels – instead, there is a cosmic rightness, because it’s not about this incarnation or this life.

But rather bending to the will of the universe, the way of love – with the assurance of being able to be together throughout time and transcending time.

So thank you Robert Tapert – Uber Lesbro – for showing the world that lesbians do love and can bring about massive good works and deeds to the world.

Fag Hags and Gal Pals

It’s curious to me that straight women and gay men have two strongly bonded relationships – the fag hag and the gay best friend – while there are no parallel relationships being lesbians and straight men.

For context, I beleive in diversity when it comes to friends – the more kinds the merrier. But the Fag/Fag Hag relationship seems to be a particularly unhealthy relationship, when a woman makes a gay man the centre of her emotional well being, because it is a role that a gay man cannot fulfill, they can do anything for love, but they can’t be straight.

At least, there seems to be no parallel between straight men and lesbians; but I think it’s there – just not named.

Yes, anyone can be friends with anyone, and without any subtext and in all honesty, some of my best friends over my life have been and are straight men – but these friendships were on par with any other friendship with any other person – the closeness was owing and arising from the personality rather than tapping into any social role.

And it’s movies and TV programs that reflect the relationships that we form in life, art reflecting life, which is in return, copied back into real life.

It used to seem like there were straight people and gay people and each side contained the genders; but when you consider people behaviorally in a broader spectrum, neurologically, it seems that gay men have much more in common with straight women than with straight men – but straight men and lesbians also have overlaps, they do not form the same friendships and relationships that gay men and straight women do.

At some levels, the strong bonds between gay men and straight women can be harmful, if not counterproductive. A fag hag is not merely a woman who enjoys the company of gay men and is friends with some or one in particular, but rather the fag hag is a woman who is in love with a gay man that she cannot fulfill a romantic and sexual relationship with – in a way, he is her idealized safety net that prevents her from forming romantic bonds with an available male, who could harm her, disappoint her or let her down – all the things that happen in a real relationship from time to time.

In a way, the fag hag to fag relationship, is reflected in the current angsty virginal teen to vampire – an eternally unrequited love, the attraction between innocence and a self aware darkness, the promise to be unfulfilled, lest it wholly consumes and destroys the parties.

As a lesbian, it has been a curiosity to me to see straight women flock to be – not groupies in the rock n roll sense, or harem in the Arabian sense – but a level of fannish girl crushes in adult women who are otherwise fully engaged in life – marriage, children, work and personal relationships, – never the less, turn into swooney teens and indulge in some kind of group fantasy of unrequited and therefore safe attraction and semi-devotion to attractive, but needy and insecure gay men who, not exactly string the women along, but who certainly revel in the attention.

Although, it seems that there are some on both sides who take it farther – to the fag/fag hag stage – and the gay man and straight woman, end up in a tight bond of everything that is meaningfully a marriage relationship, except for the sex, which, the woman is often so devoted to the gay man, that she doesn’t form romantic or sexual relationships with available straight men, and accepts that the gay man is having sexual and romantic or sexual relations with other gay men.

It occurs to me to wonder why these women are seeking such strong emotional attachments that can do anything for her, but it can’t do that one thing.

In a parallel, I also wonder about women who work in the criminal justice system, who fixate on a prisoner, often going so far as to marry him – full knowing he is in jail for life, often for violence crimes against women for rape and murder. What is it about him? That forbidden, that he has harmed and maimed and killed, and that you will be the one woman to save him? To rescue him from himself? To be so loveable that a man who has harmed, maimed and killed other women won’t be able to treat you in the same way? To be unattainable because imprisonment holds you apart and wreck vengeance?

Is love for violent prisoners incarcerated a manifestation of the vampire’s self imposed restraint?

Do we just enjoy flirting with disaster and our own destruction?

After all, to fall so completely in love with someone we cannot have for some reason – they aren’t real, they are gay, they are in jail – that they would harm us either by taking our lives, as in the case of vampires and criminals, or use our life vitality, as in vampires and gay men – what is the fatal attraction that straight women seem to have for the unattainable, the harmful, the destructive?

Is this fatal attraction what separates straight women from lesbians – and why lesbians do not have comparable relationship intensities with straight men as straight women do to gay men?

It’s not like fatal attraction to the unattainable is absent from lesbians – many desire straight women – to rescue or steal from the men, the unattainable, the forbidden the unconquerable holds a fascination, has a compelling aspect, a siren song that is difficult to ignore for some.

But consider:

During World War II, the men of Canada and America went abroad, while the women stayed home with all the other broads.

The woman who stayed home and became Rosie the Rivetter became friends with the men who didn’t qualify for military service. The Geeks.

Geek men, charlie males, computer – dungeons and dragons – anime – braniacs – these are the men that are friends to lesbians – our Gal Pals.

Men who aren’t afraid of strong women, who admire them even, just as they are.

Joss Whedon, creator of the Buffyverse, and Robert Tapert, creator of the Xenaverse, are Gal Pals.

They are guys who are pals to women, who are strong, who are determined, and who are willing to leave their own unique mark upon the world.