As June nears its end, it’s time to count down some of the top LGBTQ+ fictional couples worth shipping during Pride Month. These couples fought for their place in the world and their relationships and walked so LGBTQ+ couples in TV and film today could run.
Whether portrayed by actors or animation, representing any or all orientations, or debuting today or a decade ago, some ships will be remembered for breaking ground for LGBTQ+ representation in media and for the characters’ courage to be proud of who they are.
Kurt and Blaine (‘Glee’)
Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) and Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) simultaneously filled everyone’s hearts and broke them during their six seasons on Glee. While the show was full of LGBTQ+ representation in the form of teen characters — from gay to lesbian to bisexual to transgender — it’s Kurt and Blaine who paved the way for the rest of them.
This couple, nicknamed “Klaine,” showcased the struggles of being in a male-male relationship while inviting all viewers into their love story with their sweet first kiss and memorable first time making love. After graduating as high school sweethearts and a heartbreaking breakup come college, the destined couple reunited and got married by the end of the series.
Stef and Lena (‘The Fosters’)
The Fosters aired on Freeform for five seasons and was groundbreaking for many reasons, especially in the LGBTQ+ area. Not only did this show star three major characters who were gay and lesbian, but several minor characters throughout the series who were transgender, while its spin-off Good Trouble features bisexual, non-binary, polysexual, and so many more characters across the board.
But it all goes back to Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum), the lesbian mothers who fostered and adopted most of their children. Despite sometimes disagreeing on how to raise their kids, these two fit together like two puzzle pieces, lifting each other whenever one needed it and even getting married twice during the series.
Will And Sonny (‘Days Of Our Lives’)
Will Horton broke ground on Days of Our Lives when he came out as gay in 2012 and later began dating the show’s first-ever gay character Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith). Will’s coming-out storyline wasn’t a first for daytime but was made memorable for Chandler Massey‘s portrayal of a young man struggling with his sexuality.
While Days is a soap opera and threw plenty of drama at the supercouple over the years, Will and Sonny made history with the first male-male wedding on daytime television in 2014 and remain together on the soap to this day after returning to Salem in 2021.
Emily And Sue (‘Dickinson’)
Apple TV+’s Dickinson follows Hailee Steinfeld as writer Emily Dickinson during her formative years in the 19th century, learning about herself, society and family while on her way to becoming one of the best-known poets in history.
While it’s tough to say whether the show is entirely true to life, it showcases Dickinson and her best friend Sue (Ella Hunt) hiding their romantic feelings and gestures in the form of poems during a time when their relationship would not have been accepted.
Alisha and Kiko Hawthorne (‘Lightyear’)
While Disney films and shows tend to take one step forward and two steps back with their inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters and stories, Pixar has made waves with its slow but steady process of featuring diverse casts of animated characters.
A lesbian couple in the background of Finding Dory and Officer Specter having a girlfriend in Onward led to Alisha Hawthorne (Uzo Aduba) in Lightyear.Despite Disney’s attempts to erase the scene, Pixar fought to include Alisha and her wife Kiko sharing a kiss in the new Toy Story spin-off, making film history for Pixar as this is the first same-sex kiss in one of their films.
Ruby and Sapphire (‘Steven Universe’)
Something you would never see on a children’s cartoon in the ’90s or 2000s were openly LGBTQ+ characters, let alone an LGBTQ+ couple, but Cartoon Network‘s Steven Universe took the plunge when the show’s producers confirmed in 2015 that female characters Ruby (Charlyne Yi) and Sapphire (Erica Luttrell) were a lesbian couple.
The relationship helped earn the show the honor of being the first animated series to win a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Kids and Family Program and not only showed the characters sharing kisses but also invited viewers to their wedding in a special 22-minute-long episode in Season 5.
David and Patrick (‘Schitt’s Creek’)
David (Dan Levy) and Patrick’s (Noah Reid) love story was one of the many memorable parts of Schitt’s Creek during its six seasons on POP. It all started in Season 3 when David and Patrick go on their first date, unbeknownst to David, and it ends with the couple’s first kiss.
The show went on to showcase David and Patrick’s love in cute, intimate moments and comical “I love you”s that led to their series finale wedding, all of which earned the show three GLAAD Award nominations and two wins.
Simon and Blue (‘Love, Simon’)
Love, Simon took the world by storm as the film adaption of the novel Simon vs. the Homospaiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. This book-turned-movie follows teenage boy Simon Spier on his journey to coming out and falling for his online friend who goes by Blue.
After Simon’s (Nick Robinson) heartwarming coming out, he discovers the identity of Blue is his classmate Bram Greenfeld (Keiynan Lonsdale), who later shares a romantic moment on a Ferris wheel that ends with a kiss and turns them into the couple known as “Spierfeld.”
Santana And Brittany (‘Glee’)
While Kurt and Blaine were Glee’s beloved gay couple, Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany (Heather Morris) were the show’s female-female supercouple. After Santana’s emotional coming out to her family, she gets disowned by her grandmother, ultimately a very different coming out experience than the one Kurt endured.
But it doesn’t stop Santana from falling in love with her openly-bisexual classmate Brittany, dating off and on throughout high school and college before inevitably getting married in the final season in a joint wedding with Kurt and Blaine.
Mitch And Cam (‘Modern Family’)
On the heels of Ellen and Will and Grace, Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) made strides on Modern Family as an openly gay couple on a primetime sitcom. The show saw the characters being authentically themselves in a chaotic family, eventually getting married, but not before adopting a child together.
The series premiere dove head first into a story about a gay couple adopting a child — a story not often seen on primetime television in the early 2000s — and ended with them going full-on The Lion King in front of their family to introduce their new daughter.
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