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.
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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