I’m sure by now you’ve noticed an influx of rainbows both online and out in the world. That’s because June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month! This month celebrates the lives of members of the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual) community. People on this spectrum have faced intense social and political discrimination for centuries, so Pride Month exists to remind everyone that love is love, and nobody should be shamed or attacked for being themselves.
WLW (women loving women) is an acronym used to describe women who are attracted to other women. This term encompasses not only women who identify as lesbians, but also bi and pan women. “Sapphic” can also be used in the same way. To celebrate Pride Month, here are some of my favorite WLW couples from various fandoms!
1. Catra and Adora from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power
Some people enjoy the enemies-to-lovers trope, while others prefer friends-to-lovers. Catradora caters to both sides by being friends-to-enemies-to-lovers. This remake of the 80s cartoon has a cast full of LGBTQ characters, and the protagonist Adora (who transforms into the titular She-Ra) is one of them. Catra and Adora’s shared history lends strength to their relationship, while their changes in allegiances add an interesting layer of conflict that they’re able to overcome with their love for each other.
2. Harleen Quinzel (Harley Quinn) and Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy) from DC
Harley Quinn was originally created as no more than the Joker’s sidekick and girlfriend. However, her character has branched out a lot more in past years, and in the comics and HBO Max original series, this growth includes a new love interest: fellow villainess Poison Ivy. After years of being abused and manipulated by the Joker, it’s refreshing to see Harley in a relationship with someone who treats her as an equal. Unfortunately, their romance is unlikely to transcend the comics and cartoon, seeing as Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn has now starred in three movies with no Poison Ivy, and Lady Gaga’s upcoming version of the character will be the love interest of Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker.
3. Michiru Kaiou (Sailor Neptune) and Haruka Tenou (Sailor Uranus) from Sailor Moon
Even people that have never watched a single anime have probably heard of Sailor Moon. So, such a mainstream anime having a same-sex couple is awesome for LGBTQ representation. It’s a bit frustrating that it still caters to heteronormativity by having Haruka appear more masculine (to the point that she’s often mistaken for a man), but it’s a start. Besides, at least the original Japanese series didn’t hide the romantic nature of their relationship, unlike the English dub in which the two women are cousins! Cloverway can’t fool us, though: these two have clearly always been in love.
4. Ruby and Sapphire from Steven Universe
In Steven Universe, Gems (an alien race) can fuse their bodies and minds together to create a new entity. This transformation is usually temporary, but Ruby and Sapphire stay together so long that their fusion, Garnet, is a main character in the series, and we rarely see her un-fused. It’s one thing to want to spend every waking moment by your partner’s side, but Ruby and Sapphire love each other enough to happily literally share a body. Garnet brings the concept of self-love to a whole new level. In addition to their symbolic union, Ruby and Sapphire literally get married on screen, despite protests and warnings from Cartoon Network. This was a major win for the LGBTQ community and opened paths for more openly queer characters and couples—for example, the next couple on this list!
5. Princess Bonnibel Bubblegum and Marceline Abadeer from Adventure Time
With 280+ episodes, Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time had plenty of room to develop characters and relationships. One such relationship that grows significantly over the course of the series is that between Marceline and Princess Bubblegum. These two are embodiments of that one meme of a black house alongside a pink and purple house, which is also one of my favorite relationship dynamics. A pink candy princess and a punk-rock vampire might not seem like they have enough in common to form a lasting relationship, but PB and Marcy make a perfect team.
6. Poussey Washington and Brook Soso from Orange is the New Black
Prison is not exactly a good environment for fostering meaningful romances. However, Poussey and Soso found a connection that even curfews and orange jumpsuits couldn’t come between. Orange is the New Black shows us that breaking the law doesn’t automatically make someone a horrible person, and the sweet, genuine love Poussey and Soso have for each other is proof of that. As Rihanna once said: they found love in a hopeless place
7. Asami Sato and Korra from Avatar: The Legend of Korra
When two girls share an ex-boyfriend, the outcome is often one of two scenarios: they hate each other and view the other girl as a rival, or they hate the boyfriend and team up to destroy him. But Korra and Asami chose a totally different path after both of them dated Mako: they got with each other. Asami was a valuable friend and ally to Korra from the start and was there for the Avatar during her hardest times. Even though the creators weren’t allowed to show more than the two of them holding hands, that slight gesture still cemented the first ever canon LGBTQ relationship in a Nickelodeon show.
8. Striga and Morana from Castlevania
The revelation that Alucard is bisexual was huge for the Castlevania fandom, but the half-vampire protagonist is not the only openly queer character in the Netflix series. Striga and Morana, who debut in season 3, are members of an all-female vampire council. The two women have been lovers for who knows how long (they’re both immortal, after all), and they balance each other out perfectly: Morana is the brains while Striga is the brawn.