24 Oldest Lesbian and Bi Women Celebs (and Why We Love Them)

From Jane Wagner to Robin Roberts...

Not long ago, I celebrated the oldest gay male icons and what they have brought (and still bring) to the culture. Well, naturally, I’m doing the same for the ladies. Here are the 24 oldest lesbian and bisexual female notables, in descending order of age. A toast to their longevity.

Jane Wagner, 85

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LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Actress Lily Tomlin (L) and writer Jane Wagner attend People And EIF's Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Gala at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for People Magazine)

Lily Tomlin’s wife and collaborator in all things, Jane wrote Lily’s Broadway triumph The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe and also films like The Incredible Shrinking Woman. Her role in Lily’s life has never shrunk.

Lily Tomlin, 80

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LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Lily Tomlin attends 13th Annual Outfest Legacy Awards at Vibiana on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/FilmMagic)

Jane Wagner’s wife, Lily has had a long, genius career trajectory from the TV sketch comedy show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In to the classic film Nashville to her current Netflix series Grace and Frankie.

Joan Baez, 79

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US singer/songwriter Joan Baez attends the Latin Grammy Special Merit Awards Presentation in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 13, 2019. (Photo by Valerie MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

The extraordinary singer-activist has had romances with men, including Bob Dylan and Steve Jobs, but has also talked about the affair she had with a woman.

Margarethe "Grethe" Cammermeyer, 78

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Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer in uniform, posing next to tank as she visits her post, Camp Murray; she has been discharged after 23 yrs. of exemplary service as an Army/Natl. Guard nurse because she disclosed that she was a lesbian, re the USAF ban on gay .personnel (Photo by Kim Komenich/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)

A colonel in the Washington National Guard, Cammermeyer had previously been married to man, but when she disclosed that she was a lesbian, she was honorably discharged. She sued and not only got back in, she became an icon, with a 1995 TV movie called Serving in Silence, starring Glenn Close as her. Cammermeyer is married to artist Diane Divelbess.

Robin Tyler, 78

The groundbreaking comic had a feminist act with her soulmate, the late Patty Harrison, with whom she played clubs, TV shows, and demonstrations. Just as significantly, with Tyler vs. the State of California, Tyler and her late wife Diane Olson were the first lesbian plaintiffs to file the suit that ended up getting same-sex marriage in California. Tyler’s gone back to her one-woman show Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Groom, reminding me that the 1979 album of the same name made history as the first out gay or lesbian comedy album. Tyler is the subject of a documentary being made.

Holland Taylor, 77

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Holland Taylor attends the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Mike Coppola/VF19/Getty Images for VF)

One of the most revered actors in the biz, Taylor is known for TV (The Practice, Two and a Half Men), movies, and theater. She is in a relationship with another biggie, Sarah Paulson.

Billie Jean King, 76

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: Billie Jean King attends the 2018 New York City Pride March on June 24, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/Getty Images)

The tennis superstar was married to a man when she started dating a woman, who forced Billie Jean to come out when she filed a 1981 palimony suit. King—the subject of the 2017 film Battle of the Sexes, about her tiffs with misogynistic rival Bobby Riggs—is partnered in life with another ex-tennis star, Ilana Kloss.

Angela Davis, 76

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: Angela Davis speaks at the rally at the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)

A fiery activist, writer, and USC professor, Davis is the subject of a biopic being made by Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust).

Alice Walker, 76

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SEATTLE, WA - MAY 31: Writer Alice Walker attends Seattle International Film Festival world premiere of "Alice Walker:Beauty In Truth" at Egyptian Theater, Seattle on May 31, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Dana Nalbandian/WireImage)

Walker has said she’s not a lesbian, bisexual, or straight, “I’m just curious.” The Georgia-born Pulitzer winner wrote the legendary 1982 novel The Color Purple, about the emancipation of the downtrodden Miss Celie with the help of bisexual party gal Shug Avery.

Nona Hendryx, 75

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PALM SPRINGS-October 10, 2015: Musician Nona Hendryx performs on stage during the Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival on October 10, 2015. (Photo by Sherry Rayn Barnett/Michael Orchs/Getty Images).

Nona was one of the 1960s and ’70s girl group trio Labelle, the original “Lady Marmalade” ladies, who were managed by a lesbian genius named Vicki Wickham, 81. Nona has always been a fearless singer-songwriter-producer.

Rita Mae Brown, 75

Brown is the feminist author whose 1973 novel Rubyfruit Jungle was a lesbian coming-of-age tale that broke new ground. She doesn’t believe in gay or straight labels, but lesbians do worship her stuff.

Meredith Baxter, 72

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UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - APRIL 24: Actress Meredith Baxter attends the 42nd Annual Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards at The Universal Hilton Hotel on April 24, 2015 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

The “family queen”—known from TV series like Family and Family Ties—Baxter was married to three men, including actor David Birney, before she announced that she’s a lesbian. Baxter began a relationship with general contractor Nancy Locke in 2005, and they married in 2013, officializing their family ties.

Kate Clinton, 72

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Host Kate Clinton speaks onstage at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the Marriott Marquis on March 28, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)

The hilarious comedian swings at targets both personal and political, and more seriously, she’s married to longtime activist Urvashi Vaid, 61.

Jewelle Gomez, 71

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Same-sex couple Diane Sabin,(L) and Jewelle Gomez, react to the decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage inside the San Francisco City Hall. The court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and ruled that Proposition 8 supporters of California's ban on gay marriage, could not defend it before the Supreme Court. (Photo by Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images)

An important author, critic, playwright, essayist, and activist, Gomez and her partner, Dr. Diane Sabin, were among the litigants for same-sex marriage in California.

Annie Leibovitz, 70

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EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 13: Annie Leibovitz attends LongHouse Reserve Presents Laurie Anderson's Concert For Dogs at LongHouse Reserve on August 13, 2016 in East Hampton, NY. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Conde Nast’s favorite portrait photographer, Annie has long been the go-to person to capture celebrities in both elegance and realness. She was partnered with the late writer Susan Sontag. [Also: Caitlyn Jenner, 70 (71 in November) has raised visibility for trans women who love other women, though not everyone is a fan.]

Sapphire, 69

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MIAMI, FL - JULY 27: Author Sapphire real name Ramona Lofton, discusses and signs her new book 'The Kid' at Miami Dade College on July 27, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Sapphire is the author of the bestselling novel 'Push'. Precious, the 2009 film adaption of her novel received the Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and Best Supporting Actress. (Photo by Vallery Jean/FilmMagic)

Born Ramona Lofton, the bisexual author made big waves with her very first novel, Push—a harrowing tale of incest and abuse, which was made into the award-winning film Precious.

Fran Lebowitz, 69

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WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Author Fran Lebowitz arrives for the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Sunset Tower on February 24, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Larry Busacca/VF13/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

The NYC essayist became an icon with her collections Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, which established her as the new, lesbian Dorothy Parker.

Janis Ian, 69

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Portrait of musician Janis Ian at the Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, Illinois, August 8, 2008. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

In 1975, the singer-songwriter’s “At Seventeen” became an anthem for anyone who felt like an outcast in their awkward years. She came out as a lesbian in 1993 with the release of her Breaking Silence album and married lawyer Patricia Snyder in 2003.

Suze Orman, 68

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TODAY -- Pictured: Suze Orman on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)

The financial advisor may have made her best deal of all when she wed her business partner, Kathy Travis. Also: Actor Melanie Mayron (Girlfriends), 67.

Marsha Warfield, 66

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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: Honoree Marsha Warfield attends during the 2017 LOL Comedy Honors Awards Show at Alhambra Ballroom on August 24, 2017 in the of New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

So salty and funny on Night Court, the actor-comic was in the glass closet for many years, but she officially came out in 2017, saying, “Nobody should have to hide their sexuality.”

Monika Treut, 66

The German filmmaker specializes in sexually daring works like Seduction: The Cruel Woman and Virgin Machine. In her hands, a title like My Father’s Coming (her 1991 romp) obviously has more than one meaning.

Sandra Bernhard, 64

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TORONTO, ON - MARCH 22: Sandra Bernhard performs at the Canadian International Comedy Fest for Canadian Music Week at Winter Garden Theatre on March 22, 2013 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Isaiah Trickey/FilmMagic)

The longtime comic provocateur—who’s partnered with writer-producer Sara Switzer—has always been there first, no matter what. Madonna’s gal pal became the world’s.

Reno, 63

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NEW YORK CITY, NY - NOVEMBER 8: Citizen Reno attends ATLANTIC MONTHLY'S 150th ANNIVERSARY at Kimmel Center on November 8, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

A comic-performance artist who’s acted in films like Quiz Show and Kinsey, Reno is also known for her 2001 Bravo reality show, Citizen Reno, produced by Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin.

Martina Navratilova, 63

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Martina Navratilova during Sports Icons Press Conference Unveiling Plans for the Museum's Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center at National Sports Museum in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Brian Ach/WireImage)

The Czech-born tennis great came out as bisexual in 1981 but later defined herself as a lesbian. In 2014, she married businesswoman and former Miss USSR Julia Lemigova, with whom she redefines the tennis term, “love.”

See also: Actor Cherry Jones, 63; Producer-writer Ilene Chaiken, 62; Mamma Mia! film director Phyllida Lloyd; actor Kelly McGillis, 62; TV host Ellen DeGeneres, 62; bisexual author-performer Susie Bright, 62; comic Lea DeLaria, 61; director Amanda Bearse, 61; Megan Mullally, 61, who says everyone is innately born bisexual; comic actor Jane Lynch, 59; comic strip and graphic memoir author Alison Bechdel, 59; and GMA anchor Robin Roberts, 59.

Main image: Fran Lebowitz.