Last week on General Hospital, Kristina tried to come to terms with her sexuality in light of her attempts to seduce a better grade out of her college professor – or was it something more than that? (As Sonny’s daughter, shouldn’t she have tried hanging her on a meat-hook first?)
Like many of the social issues they’ve introduced over the years – interracial relationships, people transitioning genders, rape - soap-operas have a spotty record with introducing lesbian characters. (In the genre’s defense, when you’re producing 5 day a week, 52 weeks a year of content, some of it is bound to be clunkers. The real miracle is how many actually aren’t.)
In 1977, two shows attempted vaguely similar storylines. On The Young & the Restless, a lonely Kay began developing what appeared to be romantic feelings towards her roommate, Joanne, showering the formerly overweight and insecure woman with gifts and affection. Kay’s son, Brock (who never quite figured out where to draw the line when it came to his mother’s relationships), told Joanne about Kay’s presumed attraction, and Joanne promptly cut herself off from Kay.
Similarly, on Days of Our Lives, Sharon confessed that she was in love with her friend, Julie. Actress Susan Seaforth Hayes, who still plays Julie to this day, recalls that her reaction was something akin to freaking out and running out of the room. That was pretty much the end of Sharon.
It wasn’t until 1983 that daytime introduced its first openly gay woman in a recurring role. Donna Pescow (of Angie and Saturday Night Fever fame – though before she played the mother in Out of this World) appeared as Dr. Lynn Carson, a child psychiatrist working with Devon’s daughter, Bonnie. Devon, who’d had several awful relationships with men, developed a crush on her little girl’s doctor. But when she told Lynn that she was in love with her, Lynn informed Devon that no, she was not, she was just confused. That was also soon the end of Lynn.
By the year 2000, however, AMC was ready to commit to a long-term storyline dealing with the one and only Erica Kane’s daughter, Bianca, coming out.
To read what actress Eden Riegel, who played Bianca, had to say about it, as well as Guiding Light writer Jill Lorrie Hurst talk about the Olivia/Natalia pairing, go to: http://community.ew.com/2016/02/16/soap-opera-lesbian-characters/