There are few things harder to resist than watching a really sweet (or really steamy) kiss, and Valentine's Day is no exception. Curling up with a romantic film or watching characters from your favorite TV love story is a Valentine's tradition for people in and out of relationships.
But when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning couples on the screen, there's almost as long a way to go for equal rights in television and film as there is in real life.
Name an iconic kiss scene from a romantic movie, and the images that pop into your head will almost always be straight couples: Rhett and Scarlett in Gone With the Wind, Rose and Jack in Titantic, maybe even Allie and Noah in The Notebook.
Now try to think of a kiss scene with a same-sex couple. Kurt and Blaine in Glee and shows devoted to LGBTQ relationships like Queer as Folk and The L Word are likely some of the few that can come to mind.
How about romantic, uplifting movies with transgender characters? Now I'm betting it's hard even to think of one.
There have been a lot more gay and lesbian couples on big and small screens recently, and many of them serve as more than a punchline or a ratings ploy, an earlier trend documentaries like The Celluoid Closet take pains to document and discuss.
But even as more and more actors come out of the closet, and gay and lesbian couples continue to battle for equal rights in America, most LGBTQ
kisses on TV and in movies model themselves after the manipulative bi-girl trope of Cruel Intentions or the almost-there gay kiss in Philadelphia. Fans of Modern Family couple Mitchell and Cameron had to wait two seasons to see the dads kiss on screen.
This Valentine's Day 2012, take a moment--take several--to celebrate those fictional romances that defy the stereotypes, and which portray LGBTQ couples simply as what they are: two people who are very much in love.
From David and Keith in Six Feet Under to Megan and Graham in But I'm a Cheerleader, here are some of the most romantic and moving LGBTQ kisses in television and film. If you're not swooning by the time you're done, you might want to get your heart checked.
Brokeback Mountain: Ennis and Jack
Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist reunite after four years apart in Ang Lee's lush 2005 film.
Torchwood: Capt. Jack and Ianto
Ianto Jones and Capt. John Barrowman exchange a passionate kiss in season two, episode three of the British sci-fi series.
Six Feet Under: David and Keith
David Fisher and Keith Charles have many steamy scenes in the beloved HBO series, but this may be one of their most tender.
If These Walls Could Talk 2: Amy and Linda
Linda and Amy share their first kiss in this 2000 TV movie sequel to If These Walls Could Talk.
Glee: Kurt and Blaine
Blaine Anderson confesses his feelings for Kurt Hummel in season two, episode 16 of the musical TV dramedy.
But I'm A Cheerleader: Megan and Graham
Megan Bloomfield finally admits that she's in love with Graham Eaton.
Imagine Me & You: Rachel and Luce
Rachel and Luce share a passionate kiss in the back of a flower shop in this 2005 British-American romance.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara
Willow Rosenberg and Tara Maclay share some of their first kisses on the hit show after over a year of censors stopping the couple from actually embracing (skip to 13:00 and 14:10)
As The World Turns: Luke and Noah
Notable simply for being the first gay kiss on daytime television, this is the start of Luke Snyder and Noah Mayer's status as soap opera's first gay supercouple.
Higher Learning: Kristen and Taryn
Kristen gives in to her feelings for Taryn in this 1995 drama.
Dawson's Creek: Jack and Ethan
Jack McPhee confesses his feelings for crush Ethan. The ending may not be a happy one, but this kiss is still one of the most moving episodes from the WB series.
Choosing one kiss scene from either Queer as Folk or The L Word would be cruel and unusual punishment at this point. Instead, enjoy these compilations of some of the most romantic kissing scenes in both shows.
Queer As Folk: Kiss Me
Most Romantic Kiss Scenes in The L Word