Sick to death (literally) of TV’s dead lesbian syndrome (DLS)? We know we are. So we’re proud and excited to announce that we are 100% behind the upcoming web series Different For Girls, which promises, not quite tongue-in-cheek, that “no lesbian will be killed or harmed during it’s making.”
The crowdfunded project is the work of BAFTA award-winning producer Jacquie Lawrence, who means to offer a much-needed corrective to DLS. “The numbers are horrific. Seriously,” she says.
“What started off as a mild irritation has become an epidemic. The reaction to Kate’s death in Last Tango In Halifax was amusing for the press, but the fallout over Lexa’s death in The 100 has managed to put the ‘syndrome’ in perspective: disposing of lesbian characters so regularly has an acute effect on young lesbians and their self-esteem.”
Different For Girls is an adaptation of Lawrence’s fiction novel of the same name – first published as an e-book in 2014, and then as a paperback in 2015. The drama series will feature a group of lesbian and bisexual women based in Chiswick – the ‘real lesbian housewives of West London’, if you will – women “whose lives and loves revolve around children, marriage, betrayal and divorce. That’s not to say that there isn’t room for drink, drugs, sex and dancing; there is. Just not in front of their wives and children”.
Author Jacquie Lawrence:
DIFFERENT FOR GIRLS is a web drama series featuring a group of lesbian and bisexual women whose lives and loves revolve around children, marriage, betrayal and divorce. That is not to say that there isn’t room for drink, drugs, sex and dancing. There is. Just not in front of their wives and children. Set in Chiswick, these women are the real lesbian housewives of West London!
We have cast from the most talented lesbian, gay, bi and trans actresses and actors out there. There are many lesbians who have not been able to play on-screen lesbians. Usually lesbians have been played by straight women and whilst there have been some brilliant performances, we want to redress this imbalance and we want to cast and crew a more diverse range of talented people from the LBGQT and BAME communities.
The cast is slated to feature the likes of Rachel Shelley (The L Word), Sophie Ward (Land Girls, Doctors), Heather Peace (Lip Service), Janet Ellis (Doctor Who), Amy Lamé (RuPaul’s Drag Race, Loose Women) and Nimmy March (Wallander, Thin Ice) among others, should it reach its crowdfunded target of £50,000.
And you, dear reader, can help make this happen – while earning some exciting perks in the process. Incentives for donors – who can gift anything from £5 to £1000 – include everything from signed photos and t-shirts to a walk-on part (ooh!) and an invitation to the wrap party.
“It’s easy to be glib about DLS but in reality the constant ‘disposal’ of lesbian characters has an acute impact on younger viewers who are struggling with their sexuality,” Jacquie says. “There have been 12 lesbians killed off in 2016 so far. That may seem like a small number but given that in 2015, there were only 35 lesbian characters on primetime television in the US and the UK you can understand the fallout.
“The Trevor Project, which saves the lives of literally thousands of LBGQT teens every year, said that the deaths of popular characters like Lexa in The 100 and Dr. Denise Cloyd in The Walking Dead put their work back years. We are desperate to see lesbian and bi characters that manage to live their dramatic and complicated lives, on screen, without fear of death by car, helicopter crash, house fire or stray bullet.”
Lawrence is also invested in bringing a truly queer cast and crew on board – another corrective given TV and film’s woeful on-going record of employing straight (and cis) actors to play queer (and trans) roles.
“So many great lesbian parts on television and in films have been played by straight women and it must be really frustrating for lesbian and bi actresses to see this. Even in lesbian specific series like The L Word and Lip Service with ensemble casts, only one or two actresses were lesbian or bi whilst the rest were straight.
“DFG turns this on it’s head. The caveat for casting non-lesbian or non-bisexual actors is that they have played gay with pride, like Rachel Shelley, who played Helena Peabody in The L Word with such panache and has written/spoken about it ever since, rather than erasing it from her CV like some actresses.”
Why the decision to crow-funded this project? Jacquie explains: “As the web has opened up opportunities for queer dramas to thrive, so it has for writers, producers and directors to collate financial support for projects that are outside the mainstream. There’s an amazing community of people who support queer projects because they want to see themselves and their life-styles represented.
“We wanted to make the web series this summer and so a crowd funding campaign seemed the most immediate and inclusive. People can invest financially at the level they are comfortable with, receive a perk and feel like they are part something special. We couldn’t do it without people’s support.”
The dedicated team have raised a mighty one-third of the required funds to bring Different For Girls to life, but need another £50,000 to reach their target. Head over to their Indiegogo page and give what you can to this promising, potentially game-changing series.
Want to know more or contribute? Click here
Thanks to Divamag.co.uk and other sources.