10 Most Iconic Movie Kisses in LGBTQ + Movie History

Quality queer representation on screen is so important for the LGBTQ + community to see themselves and their stories shared on screen and their experiences recognized and validated. That said, the LGBTQ + community has faced an uphill battle for queer representation in movies, going as far back as 100 years to the earliest days of cinema.

Historically, depictions of the LGBTQ + community have been less than flattering: LGBTQ + characters were either queer-coded or portrayed as deviants to appease the inequitable Hays Code (1934-1968), which prohibited movie studios from producing favorable LGBTQ + content, as one was not allowed to portray subjects deemed “immoral.” During this time, it was a rarity to see a touching and emotional story with any truth to it, let alone any outright LGBTQ + romance movies.


It was not until the Stonewall Riots in 1969 that queer movies began to infiltrate the mainstream as movie studios began to see the untapped potential in the queer community and began creating stories to draw in queer audiences. By the 90s, the New Queer Cinema Movement took off where several independent filmmakers began writing meaningful, empathetic, and honest stories dedicated to the LGBTQ + community. If not for this important movement in history, we might not have a plethora of LGBTQ + shows and movies with meaningful stories and representation today, such as Queer As Folk, Euphoria, Moonlight, etc. In honor of Pride Month, here are the 10 most iconic movie kisses in LGBTQ + Movie History.

Cheryl & Diana – The Watermelon Woman

The Watermelon Woman is a historic work in New Queer Cinema as it marks the first feature-length film written and directed by a Black lesbian filmmaker. Cheryl Dunye writes, directs, and stars in this groundbreaking film about Cheryl, a lesbian who works as a video store clerk to support her passion project, a documentary about a 1930s Black actress subjugated to mammy roles. Cheryl is attracted to customer Diana, and the pair eventually go on a date. The steamy first kiss soon follows as Diana seductively and playfully lights Cheryl’s cigarette.

Related: Best LGBTQ + Movies About Women, Ranked

Tenoch & Julio – Y Tu Mamá También

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, Y Tu Mamá También is a critically acclaimed Mexican coming of age story about two teenage boys who take a wild and emotional cross-country road trip with an older woman. The trip challenges their perceptions of each other and ultimately brings them closer together. During an unexpected sexual encounter, the two men share an exciting and passionate kiss that earns its place as one of the most iconic LGBTQ + kisses of all time.

Ben & McKinley – Wet Hot American Summer

Bradley Cooper stars as camp counselor Ben in the teen comedy Wet Hot American Summer, which follows the raucous exploits of a group of camp counselors on the last day of Camp Firewood. In one of the most iconic LGBTQ + kisses of all time, Ben and fellow counselor McKinley sneak off to the tool shed together for some passionate alone time. The film was considered a flop upon its initial release, but later gained a cult following. The film would eventually spawn a Netflix series titled Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.

Meghan & Graham – But I’m A Cheerleader

Natasha Lyonne and Clea Duvall star in the satirical teen comedy But I’m a Cheerleader. The film follows all-American girl Meghan who self-identifies as a straight woman. Her family and friends, however, are not convinced and send Meghan to True Directions, a “sexual redirection” camp to encourage her heterosexuality. Once at the camp, Meghan meets and falls for fellow camper Graham, who helps her find her true sexual identity despite the desires of her inner circle. Meghan confesses her love to Graham one night in one of the most tender LGBTQ + love scenes to ever hit the big screen.

Ronit & Esti – Disobedience

Disobedience stars Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams as a pair of women reunited by tragic circumstance. After Ronita’s father dies, Ronita returns to her Orthodox Jewish community for his funeral. Her congregation, however, has ostracized her, so she is instead welcomed in by her friend Esti and her husband. During a visit to Ronita’s childhood, Esti summons the courage to finally express her love for Ronita with a tender and iconic kiss.

Chiron & Kevin – Moonlight

In Barry Jenkins’s exquisite exploration of Black masculinity Moonlight, we see one of the most iconic LGBTQ + kisses in movie history. Chiron and Kevin meet on the beach and eventually share their first kiss. The kiss is iconic as it is a moment that breaks down all the walls of toxic masculinity as Chiron and Kevin see and accept each other fully before giving in to each other in an incredibly intimate moment that leaves a lasting impression.

Related: Best Movies About Black LGBTQ + Characters, Ranked

Adele & Emma – Blue is the Warmest Color

Blue is the Warmest Color is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Jul March. It follows Adele, an aspiring painter, and her relationship with Emma from adolescence into adulthood. When Adele catches a glimpse of Emma in passing one day, she can not get her out of her mind. The pair is later reunited at a lesbian bar and strike up a friendship. As their friendship grows, the women share an iconic and passionate kiss one day at a picnic, backlit by the bright sun. Blue is the Warmest Color is a Palme d’Or winner and has been dubbed one of the most romantic French films of all time.

Corky & Violet – Bound

The neo-noir thriller Bound follows ex-con Corky and her lover Violet planning a heist to rob a suitcase full of mob money from Violet’s boyfriend Caesar, who launders money for the mafia. After Caesar interrupts them making love on the sofa one day, Violet follows Corky back to her car and states, “I am not apologizing for what I did, I am apologizing for what I did not do,” before the women share a passionate kiss. Leading lady Gina Gershon recently told Entertainment Weekly that the Wachowski sisters were offered more money to cast a man in Gershon’s place, but they stuck to their creative vision.

Jack & Ennis – Brokeback Mountain

The iconic kiss in Brokeback Mountain is a passionate one and long overdue for both the characters in the film who reunite after 4 years, and also for the audience who is eagerly waiting for the expression of their love. Since its release in 2005, Brokeback Mountain is still regarded as one of the most influential gay films of all time.

Jack & David – Wings

The most iconic LGBTQ + kiss of all time takes place in the silent war-era romance Wings. It is a historical kiss as it is the first-ever on-screen gay kiss, shared between a dying man and his beloved friend. While the inner titles speak of friendship, seeing the way the two men look longingly at each other and caress each other, one could certainly surmise there was a deeper bond between the two. Wings was also historic as it was the first-ever Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards.

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