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Best LGBTQ+ Rom-Coms in History, Ranked

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The romantic comedy genre has been very popular all throughout the history of cinema. It generally follows the classic formula: the main characters have a tender meet-cute moment, they have instant chemistry, they part ways for some reason, and finally they meet again, all set to unleash their love story. One of the reasons why this movie genre hooks audiences is that it portrays romantic relationships as fun, dreamy, and perfect despite their imperfections. Most of the genre’s love stories tend to be idealized, and many of them make the audience wish for something like that to happen to them as well.

In the last few years, per Collider, the rom-com genre made a comeback, with several productions across streaming platforms telling cute, romantic stories. Unfortunately, however, most of the couples starring in these movies and TV series are heterosexual, and the lack of diversity in the stories prevents people from the LGBTQ+ community from feeling represented by these movies. Not to mention the representation of queer people of color, which is even scarcer in all kinds of productions. There have been some more diverse and inclusive films and series popping up lately, such as Sex Education

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or Heartstopper, Netflix’s latest hit that has already been renewed for another two seasons. However, the rom-com genre has yet to continue working in terms of expanding the repertoire of narratives and characters for a broader representation of communities. While waiting for that to happen, here’s a look back at some of the best LGBT+ rom-coms in history, ranked.

The Watermelon Woman is a film written, directed by and starring Cheryl Dunye, which is considered a landmark of queer cinema and the first production ever directed by a Black lesbian woman. Because of its cultural and historical significance, this movie was chosen to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2021.

This 1996 production follows the life of Cheryl, a young black lesbian who lives in Philadelphia and works alongside her best friend at a video rental store. Cheryl is determined to produce a documentary about a Black actress popularly known as Watermelon Woman. Yet, as she closes in on the whereabouts of this actress, Cheryl’s life is turned upside down as she discovers her feelings for Diana. This film won a few awards, including the Cinema Eye Honors Legacy Award in 2021, showcasing its relevance and cultural contribution even despite the years that have passed since its release.

Related: Best LGBTQ+ Movies About Women, Ranked

Love, Simon is a 2018 film directed by Greg Berlanti and inspired by the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. It stars Nick Robinson as Simon, a closeted gay high school student struggling with his hidden sexuality and a sense of being constantly out of place. He eventually initiates (anonymous) email communication with another boy at school who is equally out of place and subsequently falls in love with him. Unfortunately, a fellow student discovers these emails and threatens to tell the entire school about Simon’s secret.

In addition to Robinson, the cast features leading actors such as Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford, and Alexandra Shipp, among others. Upon release, the movie was very well reviewed, garnering 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and even earning some awards, such as an Ally for Equality Award for Nick Robinson, and a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film Wide Release. What’s more, per Independent, Love, Simon broke ground as the first gay rom-com to be produced by a major studio.

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