Pride Month 2020: Rebecca Dowery on 'The L Word: Generation Q' is a priest we wouldn't mind having on our side
Played by Olivia Thirlby, Rebecca is a Metropolitan Community Church Minister, wholly involved in the wellbeing of those belonging to the LGBTQ community
For Pride Month 2020, MEA WorldWide is honoring characters on television and movies who contribute to important conversations around LGBTQ+ issues on the big screens. These characters are responsible, to some extent, for improving the quality of creative representation of the community on the screen. One such character is Rebecca Dowery on 'The L Word: Generation Q'. Played by Olivia Thirlby, Rebecca is a Metropolitan Community Church Minister, wholly involved in the wellbeing of those belonging to the LGBTQ community.
The church has a specific outreach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families with a mission for being social as well as spiritual by standing up for the rights of minorities, particularly those of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. When she meets Sarah Finley (Jacqueline Toboni), the two immediately fall for each other. But Finley is nervous about their relationship throughout the time that they were together. Her main issue? Rebecca is a priest. She relies on alcohol for the liquid courage to get things going with Rebecca but cannot seem to forgive herself for dating a priest.
Rebecca doesn't think of her sexuality as a sin. Finley, on the other hand, cannot look beyond the fact that Rebecca is a minister. Finley's feelings for her might be genuine but her painful past practically forbids her to be invested in a relationship with Rebecca. It is via this narrative that the show hints at the possibility that Finley might have been sent to conversion camp as a young girl by a very orthodox family (that has broken most ties with her). And that is the source of the trauma that affects her relationship with Rebecca.
When their relationship gets rocky, Rebecca infers that Finley nurses a lot of hurt and pain within her - painful memories of a past that she cannot let go of. If she cannot go off them, she cannot move on. This conversation shows Finley what's missing from her approach, but she still lacks the strength to confront her past. After Finley and Sophie Suarez (Rosanny Zayas) sleep together just before Sophie's marriage to Dani Nunez (Adrienna Mandi), a guilt-ridden Finley turns to Rebecca for help.
At this low point in her life, she is seeking direction. Finley constantly blames herself for ruining her own childhood because of her sexuality, her relationship with her parents, and now Dani and Sophie's relationship. But it is Rebecca who reassures her that her past doesn't dictate her future - not unless she allows it.
What makes Rebecca's character essential to Finley's character is that without her, the troubled lesbian wouldn't have redemption. Her constant struggle with religion and sexuality is neutralized by Rebecca's belief and strength. Had it not been for Rebecca, she wouldn't have returned home to Missouri to sort her past out. The conversation she has with Finley resonated with many. "Came here to say how visible I felt, heck feel, watching her character and all of the idiocy that comes with it. Rebecca giving that whole 'taking responsibility' and 'good people make mistakes' schpiel had me so shook I literally paused the episode, switched to Spotify to listen to my lo-fi beats for a hot second, downed the rest of my water and braved myself for the next half," a fan had tweeted following the episode's 'Lapse in Judgement' airing.
Rebecca and Finley might not have gotten their happily ever after with each other, but had it not been for the priest, Finley would never have gotten the courage to reclaim her past. Her constant battle with religion and herself is confronted as Rebecca aims to support her through this all. Thirlby might have played Rebecca in just five episodes this season, but she sure deserves the credit for pushing Finley to her limits - beyond fear, self-hate and prejudice. And lastly, to accept her true self - not behind liquid courage.