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Patty Bouvier is one of Marge Simpson's cynical chain-smoking twin sisters (the other being Selma), who works at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and has a strong dislike for Homer. She is the show's only openly gay recurring character. Kavner voices them as characters "who suck the life out of everything".
Patty comes out of the closet as a lesbian. Hints of her sexual orientation have been dropped many times; in "Bart After Dark" she is seen coming out of a burlesque house. She is also seen saying "There goes the last lingering thread of my heterosexuality", when Homer runs past her, naked and screaming, in "Treehouse of Horror III", and hiding in a closet with Smithers on a parade float during a gay pride parade in "Jaws Wired Shut".
After coming out, Marge is hurt that Patty had hidden her sexuality for years, but learns to respect her sister. In the episode "Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife", Patty wooed a tenured professor of Yale University away from her husband. In "Rome-old and Julie-eh", it is shown she is attracted to Edna Krabappel. In "Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore", Selma says "I can't face prison" and Patty replies "I can." Long before coming out, Patty had dated Principal Skinner in the season 2 episode, "Principal Charming". She refused to marry him, claiming she was too devoted to Selma as a sister to leave her alone. However, she did consider Principal Skinner a gentleman and had seemed to take it hard that she could not marry him, ending their relationship with the words "Good night, sweet principal."
- Rhodes, Joe. "Flash! 24 Simpsons Stars Reveal Themselves", TV Guide October 21, 2000, via The Simpsons Archive: "[Matt] Groening says: 'My original idea about Marge's family was they were utterly joyless. The original note I gave to Julie was that they suck the life out of everything they see'".