The saying “love is love” couldn’t be more apt than during Pride Month, when LGBTQ+ Americans celebrate their right to express their love regardless of what governments, institutions or close-minded individuals or communities have to say. In that spirit, we wanted to celebrate some of our favorite romantic moments from films and TV shows that celebrate the spectrum of sexuality.
1. The jukebox scene, Moonlight
One of the most pivotal scenes from Moonlight is also the most electric. It happens when Black (Trevante Rhodes) finally reconnects with Kevin (André Holland) after years as a gangster. He quickly reverts to his vulnerable self around Kevin after meeting him in Kevin’s place of work, a local Miami restaurant. His vulnerability gives way to desire as Kevin plays the jukebox in the restaurant. All the love and lust that had been pushed down for years between them comes flooding back to the surface.
2. Pray Tell’s date with Keenan, Pose
Intimacy comes in many forms and one of Pose’s most intimate moments was when Pray Tell (Billy Porter) bravely tells bartender Keenan (Blake Morris) about his HIV diagnosis during their date. Between losing his former boyfriend Costas (Johnny Sibilly) from AIDS and his fear of his own mortality, Pray Tell is certain Keenan will reject him. However, this fear falls flat as Keenan sweetly tells him that all is well between them.
3. Angel and Stan’s connection, Pose
Even though Angel (Indya Moore) and Stan (Evan Peters)’s relationship eventually breaks down and dissolves once Angel realizes she needs better in her life, their first meeting is, indeed, romantic in its innocence. Angel, who is a sex worker at the time, is picked up by Stan, and the two head to a motel. Angel soon realizes that all Stan wants to do is talk, and their growing bond is what makes you root for them at first. Even when you start to root against Stan, you still know he’s a decent guy, which is what Angel likes about him. But unfortunately, he’s a guy who also doesn’t know what he wants out of life or who he wants to share that life with.
4. Culber comes back from the dead, Star Trek: Discovery
Star Trek: Discovery fans took umbrage with the show’s first season when Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) was unceremoniously killed off. But in the second season, Culber was brought back in the most magical and pseudoscientific way–as a ghost of sorts trapped in an intergalactic web of space mycelia. He is able to be brought back to our plane as a new version of himself, to the happiness of everyone on board, especially his grieving partner, Lt. Cmdr Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp).
5. Lena and Stef get married, The Fosters
The Fosters has been one of TV’s most recent portrayals of a long-term LGBTQ romantic relationship with Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum) becoming foster parents to several children. But their love was taken to the next level as they finally take the vows of marriage after the Supreme Court declares same-sex marriages legal, to the delight of their family and viewers.
6. Wade and Noah make up, Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom
The entirety of Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom is about the big wedding between Noah and his fiance, Wade in Martha’s Vineyard. Of course, issues come up in the form of an old flame and relationship drama, which leads to Noah and Wade reassuring each other that they want to get married to each other. The scene between them working out their differences is part of what made Noah’s Arc revolutionary as the singular television show to prominently showcase gay Black men dealing with love and friendship.
7. Bessie and Lucille’s bedroom scenes, Bessie
Most of the scenes between blues singer Bessie Smith (Queen Latifah) and her long-term partner Lucille (Tika Sumpter) are full of sizzle, so it’s hard for me to pick just one. One of the scenes includes when Lucille wants to know just how unconditionally Bessie loves her. The scene gives an insight into just how much trust and care the two have for each other. If they were in a different time, you wonder if they would have been able to be even more public about the nature of their relationship.
8. Ziki and Kena kiss, Rafiki
Wanuri Kahiu’s film about two women, Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) and Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) finding love might have gotten Kenya’s government riled up, but the film hit a chord with its audience all over the world, including within the country, where tickets to the film sold out after Kenya’s entertainment board temporarily lifted the ban on the film. The entire film is a direct challenge to the government’s stance on homosexuality, so its romantic moments are also inherently political. One of those scenes includes when Ziki takes Kena to her home to tend to her wounds after Kena was attacked by Ziki’s friends. The tender moment leads to the two of them kissing, a slight reprieve from the drama that happened before. It’s also as an oasis of happiness before the emotional trauma that ensues later, including when Ziki’s mom catches them kissing.
9. Grace comforts Anissa, Black Lightning
The relationship between Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Grace (Chantal Thuy) is one of the best parts of Black Lightning, and the love they share was shown in a gentle way when Grace joins Anissa to wait at the hospital after Khalil (Jordan Calloway) is hurt by villain Tobais Whale (Marvin Jones III). She provides emotional support as Anissa awaits news of Khalil’s fate, and even though there is no kissing, the scene shows that there is more to romance than the physical.
10. Jane 57281, Zen and Ché’s beach getaway, Dirty Computer
Dirty Computer continues Janelle Monáe’s sci-fi storytelling, but this time, the LGBTQ overtones are even more overt, particularly when it comes to the polyamorous relationship between Jane 57821 (Monáe), Zen (Tessa Thompson) and Ché (Jayson Aaron). While the videos for “Pynk” and “The Way You Make Me Feel” show the playful side to sexual exploration, an beach-set interlude towards the end of the film, before Jane’s dramatic and tragic transformation, shows how at peace she, Zen, and Ché were in each other’s company. It’s a scene without words, but it gives the most transcendent look at Monáe indulging in love without fear of repression.
11. Kelly and Yorkie get intimate, Black Mirror
The “San Junipero” episode of Black Mirror is one of the most popular episodes of the anthology series. The most romantic scene between the episode’s two love interests, Kelly (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Yorkie (Mackenzie Davis) is when Yorkie and Kelly finally explore their feelings at Kelly’s house. The two end up in bed together, but the feelings each person have come to the surface afterward when they’re talking about their lives outside of the San Junipero simulation. Kelly, for instance, reveals that she’s had a husband for decades who died. She also doesn’t have long to live, and she just wants to have fun before it’s her time to go. The heartfelt talk about life beyond San Junipero deepens their relationship and makes the happy ending even more romantic.
What are some of your favorite scenes?
Photo: Film Movement