Making the yuletide gay. Everyone deserves to fall in love with a cheesy holiday movie at Christmas — and many networks and and streaming services are making their offerings more diverse than ever.
“[Christmas movies] give everyone everything they want,” Jonathan Bennett, who has appeared in multiple Hallmark films before executive producing 2022’s The Holiday Sitter for the network, told Us Weekly in November 2022. “Yes, [The Holiday Sitter] an LGBTQ+-led movie, but it’s not for just LGBTQ+ people. [It’s] is a movie for everyone just like Hallmark Channel is for everyone. And Christmas is for everyone.”
The Mean Girls star’s comments came shortly after Candace Cameron Bure — who starred in 10 of Hallmark’s holiday films over the course of 13 years — opened up about her decision to leave the network in favor of Great American Media. “My heart wants to tell stories that have more meaning and purpose and depth behind them,” she told the Wall Street Journal‘s WSJ. Magazine in November 2022. “I knew that the people behind Great American Family were Christians that love the Lord and wanted to promote faith programming and good family entertainment.”
She continued: “I think that Great American Family will keep traditional marriage at the core.”
After the Full House alum’s comments made headlines, Hilarie Burton Morgan — who has starred in several Hallmark holiday films before opting to work with Lifetime — slammed her via Twitter. “Bigot. I don’t remember Jesus liking hypocrites like Candy,” Burton Morgan wrote, alongside an article about Cameron Bure’s big move. “But sure. Make your money, honey. You ride that prejudice wave all the way to the bank.”
The One Tree Hill alum also criticized Bill Abbot, who left Hallmark for GAC himself in 2020 following a controversy over the network’s decision to remove an ad featuring a same-sex couple. “Now they’re just openly admitting their bigotry. I called this s–t out years ago when Abbott was at Hallmark,” Burton Morgan wrote at the time. “Glad they dumped him. Being LGBTQ isn’t a ‘trend.’ … There is nothing untraditional about same-sex couples.”
The rise of LGBTQIA+-centric holiday movies over the past few years proves Burton Morgan’s point and allows a wider group of people to relate to and enjoy Christmas content.
“I am a huge fan of holiday movies and rom-coms, but I’d never really seen my experience represented,” Happiest Season director Clea DuVall told Elle in December 2020. “I know my experience is not singular, so there were probably a lot of other people feeling the same way I did. It felt like a great idea to tell a universal story from a new perspective.”
She later added: “There are so many [LGBTQ] stories, and they all deserve to be told. This is just one.”
Keep scrolling to see the best LGBTQIA+ Christmas romances — and where to watch them: