Those photos of actress and pop singer Lindsay Lohan nuzzling her "close friend," DJ Samantha Ronson, have attracted surprisingly little attention. A lot of female celebrities pretend to have girl crushes—it's edgy—and at first we automatically dismissed the images as publicity-seeking. Even the confirmation of a relationship by Lohan's semi-estranged father can be dismissed as his own quest for attention. But the relationship between the freshly rehabbed star and her lesbian friend is quite extraordinary, and here's why:

First of all, the rumors actually have some foundation. The duo were photographed cuddling at a party on P. Diddy's yacht in Cannes, a high-profile affair at which Lohan and Ronson kissed very publicly. They've also been spotted together in New York, L.A., and Chicago. Lohan's Dad is all duh, saying that the nature of their relationship is "evident to anyone with half a brain."

That means nothing. Photos can be misinterpreted or staged. Paris Hilton has made out with other girls, and nobody thinks she did so for any reason other than a need for attention. Even if the two were actually dating, Lohan's crush could be put down to the bisexual experimentation of an emotionally needy 21-year-old. And the Mean Girls star's creepy father Michael is so desperate to reinsert himself into his daughter's life that he'd say anything.

But tellingly, there's been no denial of the speculation from Lindsay's camp. Her PR rep Leslie Sloane said simply that the two are "close friends." Dina Lohan was quoted in US Weekly saying that Samantha was a "a sweetheart" and "the best spinner around," praising her DJ skills. Celebrity weekly insiders are convinced the romance is real-and serious.

Here's what's cool: Lohan has been entirely matter-of-fact about the whole affair. She's continued to appear in public with her rumored lover. There has been no moaning from her about private-life intrusion from the media, and no cries from her cougar mom to "Leave Lindsey ALONE!"

Of course same-sex relationships aren't as scandalous in Hollywood as they once were. There are plenty of openly gay actors and TV personalities, from Ellen De Degeneres to Jodie Foster. But they tend to be much much older when they come out-actors, for instance, when they're no longer up for parts as the heterosexual romantic lead and have less to lose professionally. In the case of leading man Cary Grant, for instance, it was only decades later that his "roommate" Randolph Scott was revealed to have been his lover.

So Lohan's openness is a big deal, and it's awesome! Despite her bouts of rehab and some unfortunate recent roles, she's young and still has most of her career ahead of her, so the stakes are high. Lohan acts as if she's in love with another woman-and she's put her personal happiness over any standard Hollywood career logic. Lohan's love has conquered all! She may be a mess; but someone give her one of those GLAAD awards for surprising us all as a modern gay hero.

[Photo: Celebrity Vibe via]