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SheWired Top Ten Women Who Play it Gay

SheWired Top Ten Women Who Play it Gay

Long before it became trendy for starlets to lose their on-screen lesbian virginity on The L Word, a handful of mavericks earned their Sapphic stripes a few times over. We asked you to vote for your favorite women who have loved women on screen, and now we present the results of your votes in our Top 10 Women Who Play it Gay!

Playing it gay -- or gay girl -- in Hollywood once carried with it a career-killing stigma. But in post L Word Hollywood, in which everyone from former teen idol Jennifer Beals to Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin to timeless silver screen beauty Cybill Shepherd has gone whole hog, playing lesbian is no longer considered the career-defining no-no it once was. Now we have lesbians on Primetime on Grey’s Anatomy and on daytime on All My Children.

Long before it became trendy for starlets to lose their on-screen lesbian virginity onThe L Word, a handful of mavericks earned their Sapphic stripes a few times over. From A-lister Angelina Jolie's early on-camera lesbian leanings to multiple gay girl performances by indie darlings Clea Duvall and Melanie Lynskey. In November, we asked you to vote for your favorite women who have loved women on screen, and now we present the results of your votes in our Top 10 Women Who Play it Gay!

10. Penelope Cruz

Spanish darling Penelope Cruz first turned heads as Pedro Almodovar’s latest muse in All About My Mother. But the chestnut-haired beauty sealed the deal with the ladies when she got steamy with Charlize Theron in 2004’s Head in the Clouds. Penny committed to her love scenes with Charlize with heart-rending gusto. And her subsequent public flirations with pal and Bandidas co-star Salma Hayek didn’t hurt her standing with lesbians either. Following her star turn in Volver, Penelope played it bi-sexual this summer in a sexy tryst with Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johannsson in Woody Allen’s Vicki Cristina Barcelona. Penny might be with Javier in real life but those kissing scenes with Scar-Jo lit up the screen!

9. Chloe Sevigny

Before she became a sister-wife in HBO’s break-out show about polygamy, Big Love, Chloe Sevigny practically had a clause in her contract to play lesbian, bi, or otherwise identified. The quirky actress nabbed an Oscar nomination for playing Hilary Swank’s love interest in 1999’s Boys Don’t Cry. Of course, Swank’s Brandon Teena was a FTM trans man but still, Chloe's commitment to the role was fearless by prissy Hollywood standards. A full-on chameleon, Chloe went old-school butch for the seventies’ segment of HBO's If These Walls Could Talk: 2. Throw in the mix a television appearance as a real-estate “flipping dyke” and Edie Falco’s arm candy on Will and Grace and a memorable cameo as Jessica Lange’s receptionist / lover in Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers and Chloe just about takes the gay cake.

8. Clea DuVall

Cutie Clea Duvall first made people look twice as the Wizard of Oz obsessed patient in Girl Interrupted but she cemented herself as a gay-girl fave as the sexy bad-girl dyke Graham in Jamie Babbit’s bubble-gum romp But I’m a Cheerleader. Clea and her Cheerleader co-star Natasha Lyonne turned in a pretty steamy sex scene but that was just the beginning. She’s gone on to play lesbian or bi or just curious in HBO’s Carnivale and The Laramie Project as well as in the lesbian-themed POWER UP film Itty Bitty Titty Committee.

7. Melanie Lynskey

Since she came out of the gate, the adorable kiwi Melanie Lynskey has played it gay, or at least starred in just about every lesbian-oriented movie ever made. As the brooding Pauline opposite Kate Winslet in Heavenly Creatures, Melanie proved herself a formidable and fearless actress. Flash forward to 1999 and Melanie was all grown-up and playing lesbian in homosexual rehab in But I’m a Cheerleader. Add to her resume the charming lesbian short, The Nearly Unadventurous Life of Zoe Cadwaulder, an appearance in Itty Bitty Titty Committee and Alice’s possible new love interest on The L Word and Melanie’s about as gay -- on camera -- as it gets.

6. Elizabeth Mitchell

Ivory-skinned beauty Elizabeth Mitchell broke collective girls’ hearts playing Angelina Jolie's devoted lover in Gia. But when she showed up in the halls of the ER as Dr. Kim Legaspie, the woman who nudged Laura Innes’ uptight Kerry Weaver out of the closet, Elizabeth had sealed the deal with her lesbian fans.

5. Kate Winslet

Blonde bombshell of a Brit, Kate Winslet, captivated audiences with her spot-on portrayal of the matricidal teen Juliet Hume in Peter Jackson’s 1994 film Heavenly Creatures. A complete force of nature in the film that introduced Kate to the world, she and co-star Melanie Lynskey’s obsessive friendship was both impossible to turn away from and difficult to watch. Once she'd established herself as a formidable starlet in Titanic and with a spate of Oscar nominations, Kate later portrayed the younger version of bi-sexual writer Iris Murdoch to Judi Dench’s older version in 2001’s Iris.

4. Gina Gershon

From the moment the girls' got an eyeful of Gina Gershon as the bad-ass Corky in Bound, that babe with the ever-kissable lips became an instant lesbian icon. And her steamy sex scenes with Jennifer Tilly’s femme fatale Violet surely heightened her appeal. But before Gina bowled the girls over in Bound, she stole the show as a bi-sexual, over-the-top diva in the modern camp-classic, Showgirls teasing Elizabeth Berkley's hapless character Nomi Malone to distraction.

3. Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron’s Oscar-winning performance as serial killer Aileen Wournos isn’t exactly positive lesbian imagery, but Charlize -- almost unrecognizable in her make-up -- and co-star Christina Ricci’s slow skate to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is a modern classic. But for a real dose of girl-on-girl Charlize gets hot and heavy with the fiery Penelope Cruz in 2004’s pre-WWII drama about wild young things in Europe, Head in the Clouds.

2. Piper Perabo

While Piper Perabo had been acting for some time, her turn as a boarding school student in love with her roommate in Lost and Delirious really made the girls’ sit up and take notice. A lesbian fencing aficionado in boarding school garb was just about all the gay gals could take but then Piper really turned up her lesbian Kinsey 6 when she fell for the luscious Lena Headey in the romantic comedy, Imagine Me and You.

1. Angelina Jolie

Once upon a time before she became just about the most famous woman in Hollywood, there was a little girl named Angelina Jolie who wasn't merely unafraid to play gay on screen, she also let loose about her own semi-Sapphic sensibilities to the entire Hollywood press corp. Before Angelina became larger than life and “Brangelina,” she starred in a pair of lesbian-tinged potboilers. As the charismatic new girl in school, “Legs” Sadovsky, in 1996’s Foxfire, Angelina wooed every girl on and in front of the screen. But it was her portrayal of heroin-addicted, lesbian super-model Gia Carangi in HBO’s Gia that cemented Angelina as a true lesbian icon. The fire between Angelina and co-star Elizabeth Mitchell is still palpable.

Don't forget to vote on our December Women We Love Top Ten and we'll reveal your top picks on January 1st!

 Miss the last SheWired Top Ten Women We Love? Read it here.

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