Love is love! Shows like Schitt’s Creek, Modern Family, and The Fosters have put LGBTQ romances front and center — and made audiences swoon over their characters’ love stories.
In the beloved Pop TV series, Schitt’s Creek, writer and producer Dan Levy illustrated the complexities of coming out and finding love in a small town. His character, David Rose, falls for his business partner, Patrick Brewer, who hadn’t opened up about his sexuality to his family yet. When his parents show up in town for a surprise visit, Patrick leans on David for support, fearing that they won’t accept him for who he really is. In the end, however, they reveal they’re just happy to see their son with someone who makes him feel complete.
“It was an episode that I knew I had always wanted to write because [Patrick], up until this point, has been an ideal person who didn’t have a lot of things wrong with him,” Levy said during a sit-down with his costar, Noah Reid, in March 2019. “For me, it was important as a gay person to tell that story. But it was even more important to tell that story in a way that was counter to the experiences that I had seen on television.”
Many stories that feature LGBTQ characters use stereotypical tropes or end in some kind of tragic downfall. However, shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Modern Family were able to bring a more positive portrayal of queer love to the table.
The longtime ABC sitcom, which starred Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet as Cam and Mitchell, changed the game when it came to the acceptance of gay couples on primetime TV. In 2015, the same year of the watershed Supreme Court vote that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, Ferguson praised Modern Family for its authentic portrayal of gay men.
“They’re fathers, they’re sons, they’re a lawyer and a teacher — they’re also gay, but the series does not lead with that,” he told Variety at the time. “That was progressive and bold, even though it shouldn’t be. Modern Family has become a pop-culture touchstone, an easy and safe way to expose audiences to many different relationships in a way that doesn’t feel threatening.”
Scroll down to see more of the sweetest LGBTQ romances in pop culture history!
Yuri and Juliana, (‘XO, Kitty’)
The two KISS classmates (played by Gia Kim and Regan Aliyah, respectively) embark on a secret relationship throughout the first season of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before spinoff series. XO, Kitty — which premiered in May 2023 — follows Lara Jean’s youngest sister, Kitty (Anna Cathcart), when she transfers to an international boarding school in South Korea. Kitty is quickly caught in a love triangle with crush Dae (Minyeong Choi) and his fake girlfriend Yuri, who enlists Dae to help hide her romance with Juliana from her disapproving parents.
Bill and Frank (‘The Last of Us’)
In the HBO show’s first season, fans were pleasantly surprised with an episode dedicated to the love story between survivalists Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett). The couple met amid the global pandemic and quickly sparked a romance. Over the years, Bill and Frank built a life for themselves and ultimately died together.
Alex and Michael (‘Roswell, New Mexico’)
Since the show debuted in 2019, fans have been rooting for Alex (Tyler Blackburn) and Michael (Michael Vlamis) to find their way back to each another. During the season 4 premiere, which aired in June 2022, the pair took the next step in their relationship by moving in together.
Levi Schmitt and Nico Kim, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’
After Grey-Sloan Memorial resident Levi Schmitt (Jake Borelli) came out as gay, he sparked an on-and-off connection with orthopedic surgeon Nico Kim (Alex Landi).
Nick and Charlie (‘Heartstopper’)
The Netflix series, released in April 2022, followed openly gay teen Charlie (Joe Locke) through a term at his British private school after he falls for Nick (Kit Connor), who he believes to be a straight rugby player. However, Nick starts to question his sexuality as he realizes he likes Charlie as much more than a friend in the romantic coming-of-age story, based on the webcomic by Alice Oseman.
Jed and Ben (‘Legacies’)
Werewolf Jed Tien (Ben Levin) confessed his feelings for new Salvatore School student, demigod Ben (Zane Phillips) during season 4. The couple shared their first kiss during the thirteenth episode, which first aired in early 2022.
Ryan and Sophie (‘Batwoman’)
While Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) and Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy) got off on rocky footing amid Ryan’s season 2 debut as Batwoman, the pair’s bond has strengthened throughout season 3, which first aired in early 2022.
Anne Lister and Ann Walker (‘Gentleman Jack’)
In the HBO historical drama, landowner Ann Lister (Suranne Jones) is intent on taking a wife, choosing neighboring heiress Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle). The pair’s nuptials were chronicled in the first season finale.
David and Patrick (‘Schitt’s Creek’)
These business partners transformed into romantic partners and melted fans’ hearts with their authentic, powerful love. David (Dan Levy) and Patrick (Noah Reid) are goofy, supportive and protective over each other’s hearts in a town that never thought twice about their budding relationship.
Robert and Sol (‘Grace and Frankie’)
The coworkers-turned-partners (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) faced plenty of challenges after coming out to their ex-wives Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin). However, their love for each other conquered all.
Titus and Mikey (‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’)
Though their relationship wasn’t always easy, the couple proved that opposites really do attract. By the end of the Netflix comedy series, Titus (Tituss Burgess) and Mikey (Mike Carlsen) got their happy ending, complete with two “beautiful ethnic babies.”
Maya and Emily (‘Pretty Little Liars’)
As Emily (Shay Mitchell) came to terms with her sexuality, Maya (Bianca Lawson) was constantly by her side. Emily experienced plenty of “firsts” throughout her relationship with Maya, who was killed in the season 2 finale.
Carol and Susan (‘Friends’)
While Ross (David Schwimmer) wasn’t always a fan of his ex-wife Carol’s (Jane Sibbett) new flame (Jessica Hecht), the romance marked a major milestone for LGBTQ representation on network TV in the ’90s.
Simon and Blue (‘Love Simon’)
This coming of age movie changed the conversation about what it means to be a young queer person in the digital age. For nearly the entire film, Simon (Nick Robinson) doesn’t know the identity of the person he’s developing feelings for, having only spoken to them online. After facing the harsh ridicule of fellow high school students, Simon eventually finds himself — and the boy he’d fallen for.
Santana and Brittany (‘Glee’)
The cheerleaders (Naya Rivera and Heather Morris) started off the series as nothing more than best friends, but once they both admitted their feelings for each other, they became two halves of a power couple who had each other’s backs through all of the ups and downs of high school.
Cam and Mitchell (‘Modern Family’)
Modern Family premiered in 2009 and played a huge role in normalizing queer representation in mainstream pop culture. The ABC sitcom showcased Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) in an honest way, and helped pave the way for more inclusive primetime TV programming.
Stef and Lena (‘The Fosters’)
The matriarchs of Freeform’s The Fosters carried countless inspiring and empowering scenes throughout the show’s five seasons. Fans loved the foster parents so much that they petitioned for Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum) to have their own spinoff to put their romance on full display.
Captain Holt and Kevin (‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’)
While Brooklyn Nine-Nine is chock full of comedic genius, the moments between Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher) and his husband (Marc Evan Jackson) bring the emotion. As a black gay man, Holt often recalls the rampant discrimination he faced in the police force — but credits Kevin’s love and support for getting him through it all.
Kurt and Blaine (‘Glee’)
Even years after the series went off the air, “Klaine” still holds a special place in pop culture fans’ hearts. The innocent romance between Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss) made viewers yearn for their own person to promise “to always love you, to defend you even if I know you’re wrong, to surprise you, to always pick up your phone call no matter what I’m doing.”
Willow and Tara (‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of the first television shows to portray a lesbian relationship, which was groundbreaking during the 1990s. For many young viewers, Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) were the first characters to make them feel represented, understood and comfortable with their own identities.
Angel and Collins (‘Rent’)
Rent is a classic musical that still feels ahead of its time when it comes to its representation of queer love. Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia) and Collins (Jesse L. Martin) exude confidence when they walk arm in arm to the tune of one of the most heartwarming songs in the Broadway canon. Though their romance ends in tragedy, their faith in and love for each other is palpable.