Thursday, June 17

TV's Historic Gay Kisses: From 'Dawson's Creek' to 'The Fosters'

Breaking boundaries! Despite facing backlash from some viewers, Dawson’s Creek, The Fosters and more series are proud to have made major strides when it comes to LGBTQ romances on TV.

In 2000, Dawson’s Creek fans watched as Jack (Kerr Smith) and Ethan (Andy Kaufman) locked lips during the season 3 finale, marking a big milestone in pop culture history. More than 10 years later, the actors reflected on what that moment meant for them — and for viewers.

“I didn’t want it to be just an innocent little peck,” Smith told HuffPost in 2015. “That’s not what Jack was trying to tell Ethan. … The whole point is that he was really going for it. That’s what that kiss needed to be.”

The scene proved to be more influential than anyone could have expected at the time. “Every show has a gay character now. It’s no big deal, and that’s the way that it should be,” Smith teased. “We’re proud of what we did. We paved the way for the way things are today.”

While the inclusion of queer story lines is more commonplace on modern TV shows, there are still plenty of “firsts” occurring on screen. The Fosters is responsible for the youngest same-sex kiss between two characters, and though some viewers of the family series weren’t happy with the scene, the show’s creators stood by the decision.

“If people want to judge it, I think maybe they should watch and see how carefully, delicately and chastely it was handled. We are not here to sensationalize or exploit anyone,” cocreator Peter Paige told TheWrap in 2015 after two 13-year-olds showed PDA during the second season. “This story is very true. Both Brad [Bredeweg, cocreator] and I are gay men and it felt very true to both of our early coming out experiences.”

Paige continued, “More than anything else, we felt [a] responsibility to those kids and to our younger selves who didn’t see themselves reflected anywhere.”

The Fosters kept its PDA rated PG, but How to Get Away With Murder pushed the limits with raunchy love scenes and makeouts — both straight and gay. Jack Falahee, who played Connor on the ABC drama, was “glad” that the show started a conversation.

“I think that that’s the aim of entertainment. And if we can have a dialogue about it, it can become more accepted,” he told E! News of the series’ same-sex romances in November 2014. “TV is sort of catching up and it’s been very black and white what we’ve seen on the screen and very paranormative and patriarchal and I think that now that we’re exploring it, it’s something that’s being talked about which is great.”

Scroll down to see more of the most swoon-worthy same-sex kisses on TV:

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‘Dawson’s Creek’

“We’re proud of what we did. We paved the way for the way things are today,” Smith told HuffPost in 2015 of the groundbreaking kiss between his character, Jack, and Ethan (Kaufman) during the season 3 finale, which aired 15 years prior.

The WB/Hulu

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‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’

Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) had one of the most positive relationships on the ‘90s series. “It is not about being controversial or making a statement,” the How I Met Your Mother alum previously said of her onscreen romance with a woman. “I think the show is handling it really nicely. It’s about two people who care about each other.”

The WB/Hulu

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‘The Fosters’

Not only does the Freeform series showcase a lesbian couple raising a diverse, blended family, but it was also responsible for the youngest same-sex kiss in TV, which occurred between teens Connor (Gavin Macintosh) and Jude (Hayden Byerly) on season 2.


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‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) were an unexpected pair, but an important one all the same. Ramirez portrayed one of the longest-running LGBTQ characters in television history, appearing in more than 200 episodes across 11 seasons before exiting the series in 2016. Though they didn’t get their happy ending, the couple helped the ABC series make great strides for representation.


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The show choir singers shared their first kiss in Glee’s second season. While they faced plenty of ups and downs in their relationship, Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss) eventually exchanged vows during a double ceremony with Brittany Pierce (Heather Morris) and Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera).


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‘How to Get Away With Murder’

The steamy Shonda Rhimes series certainly wasn’t short on PDA and Falahee was proud to be part of a growing movement. “I think it’s great that people are relating to Connor and other characters on the show on a lot of different levels,” he told E! News in November 2014. “And the fact that there are members of the LGBT community, and friends of the community, that are feeling just pleased and happy to see a character on TV that is depicted in maybe a positive light, I think that’s great.” 


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‘Pretty Little Liars’

Emily (Shay Mitchell) didn’t have the easiest of high school experiences on the suspenseful Freeform series, but she learned to accept her sexuality with the help of her crush Maya (Bianca Lawson). 


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‘Schitt’s Creek’

David (Dan Levy) described his orientation as liking “the wine, not the label,” and when Patrick (Noah Reid) comes to town, he can’t help but fall in love. By the series finale, which aired in 2020, the twosome got their happily ever after. 


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‘As the World Turns’

Luke (Van Hansis) and Noah (Jake Silbermann) were the first male couple to lips on a daytime soap opera — and it didn’t go over well at the time. In the mid-2000s, the American Family Association called for a boycott of Procter & Gamble, which sponsored the series, but the creators stood by the plot line.


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