Lynn Redgrave pondered her role as a lesbian in "My Two Loves" Monday night on ABC.

"I've played a nun, a hooker, a bisexual and a saint," she mused. "Why should this part be a problem?"

The part is that of a hard-driving businesswoman "who happens to love other women."

The object of her desire: Mariette Hartley in the role of a widow returning to the work force, where she encounters Redgrave. Things are complicated by the fact that Hartley is also being wooed by Barry Newman.

"This is somewhat new ground for television," said Redgrave, insisting that everything is in good taste. (ABC advises parental discretion.)

This role is the latest in a string of parts of the type Redgrave says she loves best -- the ones that take her entirely outside her own experience. The transition was therapeutic when she was in her teens and has helped build a sizeable body of work as she matured.

"When I was 17, I didn't particularly like myself," she said. "To become someone else was a liberating thing. I was terribly shy when I started acting. Assuming another person's identity made me incredibly free."

Now, at 43, Redgrave exudes self confidence and security and points with quiet pride to a 19-year marriage and a family of three children, 41/2, 16 and 18. "Life," she said, "is full and lovely."

Oddly enough, one of Redgrave's most widely seen and acclaimed performances was as the ugly-duckling Georgy in "Georgy Girl" in 1966. Unlike the parts she now favors, this one hit close to home. Wasn't Georgy reminiscent of the girl Redgrave disliked at 17?

"Yes, she was awkward. I identified with large parts of what she was," said Redgrave. "I didn't at first, but looking back I see more of her in me than I did at the time."

The next run of scripts she saw had her playing variations on the Georgy theme. She escaped movie typecasting by fleeing to the theater. Her stage roles have included Joan of Arc. She returned to films in parts that made the Georgy image only a memory, such as her portrayal of Xaviera Hollander in "The Happy Hooker."

So, what's there to playing a lesbian?

"I didn't find it hard," she said. "It's fun to play people who are not like yourself."