From Corky to Anne Lister, we’re here to celebrate our favourite butch representation 


Happy butch appreciation day! In order to honour all of our fabulous butch readers, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most iconic butch characters from all your favourite TV and films. Whether it be Anne Lister or “Big Boo”, we’re here to celebrate butch identities in all their glorious array. 

Hattie from Twenties 


Created by the iconic Lena Waithe, Twenties follows the story of Hattie (Jonica T. Gibbs) and her two straight friends navigating life and chasing their dreams. Semi-autobiographical, the show received praise for its unfiltered look at being black and queer. 

In an interview with W Magazine, Jonica “Jojo” said: “Hattie is so unique. She’s not a character I’ve ever seen on television before. I’ve seen lesbians, but beyond Cleo from Set It Off, you don’t see masculine-presenting lesbians often”

Anne Lister from Gentleman Jack 


We’ve still not fully dried our tears at the prospect that we won’t be getting another season of Gentleman Jack. But what we can appreciate is how amazing Anne Lister’s (Suranne Jones) rep of butch identity is. Depicting a person who is often known as “the first modern lesbian”, Suranne did such a brilliant job of showing us Anne’s character in all of its aspects. We see the complexity of her character and her relationships in a way in which often queer characters are not able to show. 

Max from A League Of Their Own 


We fell in love with Max (Chanté Adams) in A League Of Their Own and were rooting for her baseball aspirations throughout the show. The show was based on the hit 1992 baseball film, and queer fans everywhere rejoiced as we watched Max’s character navigate her identity and her reality. 

Corky from Bound 


We can’t be the only ones who fell head over heels for lesbian ex-con Corky (Gina Gershon). Right? Corky oozed confidence and lust in this 1996 classic which has aged like fine wine. We can still hear the line “I’m trying to seduce you” in our dreams… 

Carrie from The L Word: Generation Q 


This wouldn’t be a DIVA list without us bringing up The L Word at least once. Generation Q brought us the fabulous character Carrie (Rosie O’Donnell). Despite her flaws, it was so powerful to see a representation of older, butch lesbians. 

Jean and Viv from Blue Jean 


If you haven’t seen Georgia Oakley’s masterpiece about Section 28, go and watch it now! Blue Jean features a whole host of butch characters, including the couple Jean and Viv. While Viv is able to express her queerness and her butchness overtly, Jean – a teacher – is forced to hide parts of herself from society in order to keep her job. 

Alike from Pariah 


Adepero Oduye’s performance as Alike from the 2011 film Pariah has been heralded for its significance. Playing a 17-year-old Black girl, the film follows Alike working out her identity as a butch lesbian. This coming-of-age tale provided a voice for so many people who had never seen themselves on the screen. 

“Big Boo” from Orange Is The New Black 


Who doesn’t love to take a quick trip down to Litchfield Penitentiary? “Big Boo” – real name Caroline Black – is played by none other than Lea DeLaria

In an interview with Metro Weekly, she said: “But the biggest thing and the most beautiful thing about Orange is the New Black, for me, is that I’ve been able to put a positive face on what it is to be butch.”

“I’ve been able to bring this butch character out into the world, and those people are all seeing a real live, positive portrayal of a butch dyke. She’s not drunk all the time. She’s not beating up her girlfriend. She’s not a truck driver. She’s not starting bar fights. She’s not ignorant. And not only is she not ignorant, she’s probably the smartest person in that prison. And she’s written that way.”

Cleo from Set It Off 


Queen Latifah took the world by storm in her portrayal of Cleopatra “Cleo” Sims in the box office hit Set It Off. Playing an overconfident bank robber, Cleo was the epitome of butch on the big screen. 

Abby from Work In Progress


Work In Progress is a hilarious comedy written and produced by Abby McEnany and Tim Mason. Semi-autobiographical, it follows the life of Abby – a 45-year-old self-identifying “fat, queer dyke” who lives with depression and OCD. 

Nikki from Bad Girls 


Who doesn’t love a bit of a throwback? As one of our favourite Bad Girls, Nikki provided screens across the UK with the butch representation that was sorely missing from primetime TV. Helen and Nikki’s love story still gives us all the feels. If you want a trip down memory lane, check out our Bad Girls interview with Simone Lahbib and Mandana Jones

Eve from Eastenders 


And lastly, we have the glorious Eve from Eastenders played by the fabulous Heather Peace. Joining the iconic cast in 2021, Eve is the “tough-as-nails” prison cellmate and wife of Stacey Slater. We have absolutely loved watching Eve’s storylines in the show, and we are just a *tiny* bit obsessed with Heather Peace now… 

DIVA magazine celebrates 29 years in print in 2023. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQIA media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 

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