Brandi Carlile calls for a lesbian Golden Girls: ‘We don’t see an old version of us’

Brandi Carlile

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile has called for a lesbian version of Golden Girls, admitting that a lack of representation on TV had made her feel like she’d never live to old age.

The “Right On Time” singer was honoured at last week’s Out100 gala with the Icon of the Year award and used her acceptance speech to draw attention to the importance of different kinds of LGBTQ+ representation in the media.

Carlile acknowledged that “representation matters” can be overused to the point that it becomes a “buzzword”, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

The Golden Girls
Brandi Carlile says there should have been a lesbian Golden Girls. (NBC)

In fact, she says, after a recent hangout with soccer star Abby Wambach and her wife Glennon Doyle, Carlile says she realised she had developed a deep-seated belief that she would die young. 

After some soul-searching, she realised that that belief was brought on by a lack of older queer representation on TV when she was young.

“It’s our battle cry. We cry it all the time, at every corner of pop culture in the West, to try and justify the fact that so much of what we believe we are, so much of what we know we are comes from pop culture,” she said of calls for representation among the LGBTQ+ community.

You may like to watch

“We don’t have a lesbian Golden Girls, you know what I mean? 

“And I thought about the annals of LGBTQIA+ history and the fact that so few of us are represented in domesticity, in family, and the aged state. 

Brandi Carlile
Carlile revealed that she thought she would die young because she was queer, since there was no elder LGBTQ+ representation on TV. (Out 100)

“And I thought about the fact that the way we identify ourselves is so interwoven into Western pop culture that if we don’t see an old version of us, we don’t think we will live a long life and that’s why nights like tonight make so much of an impact on our family and our community.”

Of course, Golden Girls did have its queer moments – particularly the iconic 1986 lesbian joke that has outlived the sitcom and is still hilarious today.

But there was space for real, well-rounded representation in classic television shows like Golden Girls that was rarely ever filled. 

Thankfully, though there’s still a long way to go, entertainment media is far more representative of queer identities in 2023.

Standing on a stage in front of some of the most influential queer figures and allies in the world, the singer noted what a full-circle moment that moment was for her younger self.

In an emotional conclusion to her heartfelt speech, she said: “To think that I was cutting out pictures of lesbians in power suits as a kid and that I might be that lesbian today in a power suit that some little girl might cut a picture out of me and hang me on her wall and give me a kiss before she goes to sleep.”

I’m not crying, you’re crying!