Notes on a Fandom: International Girl of Fandom

Notes on a Fandom is a column dedicated to lesbian/bi fandom in its various incarnations. It also feature thoughts and comments from you, the fans. Follow @DanaPiccoli on Twitter and Tumblr to keep up with the latest topics and questions.

One thing I’ve learned during my travels as a gay lady is that if there is lesbian content somewhere, lesbians will find it. If there were a show with a lesbian character being broadcast solely from the North Pole, there would be an Olivia cruise ship full of lesbians on its way there right now.

Today’s itinerary also includes whale watching, an acoustic set by a Tegan and Sara cover band, and a midnight vegetarian buffet.

Luckily, the combination of dedicated fans and the internet make this whole process a lot easier and fandom has become very international. In addition to bringing us new and exciting entertainment in all forms, access to international entertainment creates a broader and stronger community. Even people in remote areas who don’t have a local community are able to see their lives explored in art and connect with other gay fans.  As the world becomes more connected, so does fandom.

While television in the United States has some really wonderful LGBT storylines and characters, Europe, Canada, and the United Kingdom have also been pushing the boundaries with lesbian and gay content for years.


I’ve logged many hours over the years on YouTube cruising, researching lesbian entertainment. Last year, I came across a show that instantly transfixed me. The problem? It was entirely in Spanish, with inconsistent subtitles, and I had four years of high school French under my belt. I watched anyway, because I got the gist, and love is a universal language. The show is Tierra De Lobos, and if you like period pieces chock full of beautiful women, you will want to check it out. Meet Cristina and Isabel, also know as Crisabel.

You can watch part of their love story unfold here. A little NSFW.

Tierra de Lobos – Spain

You think modern relationships are tough? Try living in 19th century Spain and falling in love with your evil landowner father’s favorite prostitute, getting caught and sent to the worst nunnery ever, then having to get rescued  by your two gorgeous sisters and said prostitute/girlfriend. Whew. Last season ended with some major cliffhangers and fans of Tierra de Lobos are anxiously awaiting its return; however, the date of that return is still unclear.  If you have any scoop, let us know in the comments. Tierra de Lobos airs on the Telecinco network.

Hand aufs Herz  (Hand on Heart) – Germany

Fans of this wonderful little German soap were disappointed to learn that it would not be getting a second season. Part Glee-like, part serious drama, Hand aufs Herz brought viewers one of the most charming young lesbian romances we’d ever seen.

Emma and Jenny: Kind of like the German version of Quinn and Rachel, except with good storylines and make out session.
Photo courtesy of Photobucket

Emma Müller is an adorably shy glee club singer who finds herself crushing hard on transfer student/singer/athlete Jenny Hartmann. Luckily the feeling was mutual. In spite of the sometimes crazy soapy plot, the relationship between Emma and Jenny, or Jemma, was organic and sweet and all the things that puppies dream about when they sleep. Hand aufs Herz was unfortunately up against longtime running soap, Verbotene Liebe, in the same timeslot, which may have contributed to its untimely demise. While the show may be gone, it lives on forever in plentiful clips and of course, Heather Hogan’s fantastic recaps. Here is what you had to say about HaH on Twitter.

Verbotene Liebe (Forbidden Love) – Germany

The German soap, Verbotene Liebe, has featured many gay and lesbian storylines in its  nearly 20-year run.

Currently, Verbotene Liebe has not one, but two storylines featuring gay couples. Christian and Ollie, VL’s resident gay fellas, and Marlene and Rebecca. Or, as fans know them, Marbecca.

Care to take a dip, Marlene…in the pool, I totally meant the pool.

The character of Rebecca, a fashion designer who has the cutest pixie cut this side of the Rhine, has been exploring and becoming comfortable with her sexuality for the last couple of years on VL. This past season, however, Rebecca fell head over heels for Marlene, a chanteuse and club owner, who looks like she may have been carved out of marble. The problem? Marlene is Rebecca’s brother Tristan’s girlfriend. How perfectly soapy! After friendship turns into flirting and smoldering looks for months, real feelings surface between Marlene and Rebecca during a game of spin the bottle. (Isn’t that how it always goes?) Eventually the women give into their feelings,but Tristan and Marlene soon become engaged and ask Rebecca to, you guessed it, design the wedding dress. Marlene finds she cannot go through with the wedding, however, and since then, she and Rebecca have been an item. Hopefully the relationship will continue to develop and give us more forbidden love to love. Verbotene Liebe airs weekdays on German Central Broadcasting (MDR).