Xena has enjoyed a particular cult status in the lesbian community. Some of the lesbian fan base sees Xena and Gabrielle as a couple and has embraced them as role models and lesbian icons. A group called The Marching Xenas has participated in many gay and lesbian pride parades.

A subject of much interest and debate among viewers is the question of whether Xena and Gabrielle are lovers.The issue is left deliberately ambiguous by the show’s writers. Jokes, innuendo, and other subtle evidence of a romantic relationship between Xena and Gabrielle is referred to as „lesbian subtext“ or simply subtext by fans.The issue of the true nature of the Xena/Gabrielle relationship caused intense shipping debates in the fandom, which turned especially impassioned due to spillover from real-life debates about same-sex sexuality and gay rights.

The sexual nature of Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship was discussed in an interview given by Lucy Lawless to Lesbian News magazine in 2003. Lawless stated that after the series finale, where Gabrielle revives Xena with a mouth-to-mouth water transfer filmed to look like a full kiss, she had come to believe that Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship was „definitely gay… there was always a ‚well, she might be or she might not be‘ but when there was that drip of water passing between their lips in the very final scene, that cemented it for me. Now it wasn’t just that Xena was bisexual and kinda liked her gal pal and they kind of fooled around sometimes, it was ‚Nope, they’re married, man.On the other hand, in the interviews and commentaries on the DVD sets released in 2003-2005, the actors, writers and producers continued to stress the ambiguity of the relationship, and Ares was also considered at least as a potential love interest