The Hallmark Channel has long been known for its feel-good, romantic movies that are perfect for a cozy night in. In recent years, the network has made a conscious effort to include more diverse and inclusive storylines, including LGBTQ+ characters and relationships. This shift has been celebrated by many viewers who appreciate the representation and the opportunity to see themselves reflected on screen. In this post, we’ll be recommending which LGBTQ+ Hallmark movies that you can add to your watchlist. Updated to include 2023 Countdown the Christmas.
Are there LGBTQ-themed Holiday Movies on Hallmark?
In 2023, the Hallmark Channel experienced a notable uptick in movies featuring LGBTQ+ representation during the holiday season, marking a significant stride toward inclusivity.
These holiday movies embraced the spirit of love and joy, with storylines that resonated universally while celebrating the uniqueness of LGBTQ+ experiences. The inclusion of diverse narratives and heartfelt moments not only reflected societal progress but also garnered widespread appreciation from audiences eager to see their own stories reflected on screen.
- Christmas on Cherry Lane (2023) – Jonathan Bennett and Vincent Rodriguez III co-star as a couple who unexpectedly have the chance to expand their family on Christmas Eve celebrate the holiday as they navigate these turning points in their lives.
- Friends and Family Christmas (2023) – When Daniella and Amelia are set up by their parents, they agree to pretend that they are dating, to appease them for the holidays. However, as they spend time in each other’s worlds, they soon build a connection that is deeper than either of them could have hoped for. Starring Humberly Gonzalezand Ali Liebert.
Lack of Representation on Hallmark Channel Comes to an End
In late 2020, our podcast Girls Gone Hallmark began reviewing Hallmark movies. It became apparent to us that Hallmark was not embracing diversity as much as they should. We even incorporated a “diversity check” into some of our earlier episodes to highlight this issue.
What has changed?
Following the airing and subsequent pulling of a same-sex advertisement during Hallmark’s 2019 Countdown to Christmas season, the company’s then President and CEO resigned and was succeeded by Wonya Lucas.
Lucas set forth a new vision for the company, one that aimed to expand the diversity and authenticity of their storytelling, particularly in regards to depictions of love and family. She recognized that there was still much work to be done in creating a more inclusive and varied media landscape.
Which Hallmark Movie Features a Gay Couple as Leads
2022 marked a significant milestone for Hallmark movies as the network finally featured a gay leading actor and same-sex romance in one of its films. While same-sex couples had been portrayed in Hallmark movies before, this was the first time that a gay actor was cast in a leading role in a romantic storyline.
Starring Jonathan Bennett and George Krissa, “The Holiday Sitter” is a heartwarming tale. The story follows Sam (played by Bennett) as he babysits his niece and nephew during the holidays. Along the way, he meets their charming neighbor, Jason (played by Krissa), and the two find themselves in an unexpected romance.
Out actor and director, Ali Liebert served as director for “The Holiday Sitter.”
Luke Macfarlane Returns to Hallmark Channel
Luke Macfarlane told the LA Times in 2022 that “A Magical Christmas Village” would be his last movie for Hallmark Channel as he had felt he couldn’t play another straight firefighter. Did Hallmark Channel give Luke an offer he couldn’t refuse?
On September 16, 2023, Luke joins Ashley Williams, Peter Porte, and Marcus Rosner in “Notes of Autumn.” As Leo (played by Macfarlane) adjusts to his out-of-town sanctuary, he meets and befriends Matt (Peter Porte), a local resident. As they spend time together, they begin to realize that their connection might be deepening into something more significant. Meanwhile, Ellie (Ashely Williams) finds herself in a similar situation with Leo’s neighbor Sam (Marcus Rosner), adding an interesting twist to the story.
Other LGBTQ+ Hallmark Movies and Characters
In 2022 and 2023, we’ve seen a handful of Hallmark movies featuring LGBTQ+ characters.
- Ride (Hallmark Channel series) – a cowboy-drama centered around the McMurray family and their financial struggles. Joy Foy stars as Tuff McMurray.
- An Unexpected Christmas (2021) – Great rom-com with a fake girlfriend storyline starring Tyler Hynes and Bethany Joy Lenz. Alison Wandzura stars as Becca.
- Love, Classified (2022) – Emilia (played by the remarkable Melora Harden) returns home after a long absence to reconnect with her children who are also finding their own paths to love. Stars Arienne Mandi and Katherine McNamara as a same-sex couple.
- The Christmas House (2020) and The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls (2021) – This was Hallmark Channel’s first movie to prominently feature a same-sex couple. Jonathan Bennett and Brad Harder play a couple with two kids.
Check out this post from QC Approved. It’s a pretty comprehensible post of LGBTQ movies ranked but only goes through early 2022.
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