- Gay porn stars recreate ’12 Days of Christmas’ with sex toys because of course they have
- These Photos of Naked Men in Berlin Show the Intimacy of Gay Sex
- 15 Most Festive LGBTQ Christmas Movies
- 9 Christmas Movies Featuring LGBTQ+ Stories
- Underwear brand drops Christmas ad with gay couple sharing passionate kiss and homophobes are seriously triggered
- Same-Sex Kisses Under the Mistletoe: Holiday Movies Rethink a Formula
- ‚Make the Yuletide gay‘: Christmas films finally show same-sex couples
- Christmas Time Is Queer
- Troll the ancient Yuletide, Carol!
- All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Gay Leads
- May your gays be merry and bright
- It’s time to make the yuletide hella gay this holiday season!
- Mixed Nuts (1994)
- Serendipity (2001)
- Too Cool for Christmas (2004)
- The Family Stone (2005)
- Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)
- Make the Yuletide Gay (2009)
- Scrooge & Marley (2012)
- Love the Coopers (2015)
- Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)
- A New York Christmas Wedding (2020)
- Dashing in December (2020)
- The Christmas House (2020)
- Happiest Season (2020)
- The musical piece was recorded for the gay sex toy store AdamMale, which also released a number of ever-so-festive shots of Banks, JJ Knight, Zario Travezz, Nic Sahara and Dirk Caber.
- A behind the scenes video shared on Instagram featured the men hiding their Yule logs behind wrapping paper while RuPaul’s seminal Christmas classic ‘I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus’ plays.
- Get a compelling long read and must-have lifestyle tips in your inbox every Sunday morning — great with coffee!
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- Watch 9 of the world’s best LGBTI choirs perform holiday classics
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Did you scroll all this way to get facts about gay christmas? Well you’re in luck, because here they come. There are 9969 gay christmas for sale on Etsy, and they cost US$24.08 on average. The most common gay christmas material is metal. The most popular color? You guessed it: black.
Gay porn stars recreate ’12 Days of Christmas’ with sex toys because of course they have
For the first time in 2018.
In a country where LGBTI communities have come under attack, it is only fitting that some of the world’s most diverse choir groups will sing at this year’s Christmas service.
And in the UK we have the first-ever choir from the city of Cardiff – Chiltern – to take part.
The choir is part of the Cardiff based charity, OutWOW. It brings together a diverse and passionate group of people, all of whom are members of the LGBTI community.
They will be joined by their close friends from around Cardiff, singing some of our country’s most famous holiday songs with all the love and affection they deserve.
If you can’t make it to the Christmas service in Cardiff, tune in to BBC1 Wales at 1.30pm on the 25th of December.
And if you can’t face listening to the choir singing, just check out the video of their performance below.
Chiltern – 2018.
Chiltern – 2018.
Chiltern – 2018.
Chiltern – 2018.
Chiltern – 2018.
These Photos of Naked Men in Berlin Show the Intimacy of Gay Sex
Sam Morris was a Tumblr kid. Probably still is at heart. The platform was where he developed and honed his eye for aesthetics, and where he began to cultivate an audience. He still credits Tumblr as the place that he really came to understand imagery. But now, since the service’s ban on adult content, the photographer and former professional dancer has moved on.
Though we could not show the exhibition in full — sadly we do not show erect penises on the Out website, no matter the artistic context — we have curated a selection of the work here. Alongside it, Morris explains how Berlin helped him confront his ideas around sex and what its like to be an artist who relies on the ever-fickle Instagram.
15 Most Festive LGBTQ Christmas Movies
It’s a banner year for LGBTQ representation in holiday movies, with both Hulu and Hallmark releasing new flicks with LGBTQ characters in the lead. And at least seven more have come out in 2020 with some sort of queer representation. Lifetime aired the first gay kiss to appear in one of the channel’s holiday movies just last year. „Compared to previous years, and the amount of LGBTQ-inclusive films that are out, it’s like night and day,“ GLAAD’s CEO and president, Sarah Kate Ellis told CNN.“We’ve really gone from zero to 100.“ It’s not just Christmas movies that are seeing better representation either; this year saw the highest percentage of LGBTQ characters onscreen since GLAAD first started tracking those numbers 20 years ago. But don’t wave your Pride flags for the entertainment industry just yet, because we still have a long way to go (read our LGBTQ rights timeline). Of an estimated 879 regular characters on broadcast scripted prime-time programming, only about 10% (or 90 characters total) are explicitly LGBTQ, GLAAD reports.
Seeing LGBTQ characters onscreen makes members of the community feel seen. Straight couples may not blink an eye at who’s under the mistletoe, but seeing two people who look like you in the media (especially for young or still-closeted LGBTQ people) can validate those who may not have anywhere else to turn. Here’s our favorite holiday films that do just that, with some new options and old favorites. If we’ve missed yours, let us know in the comments. We’re always looking for the next great flick.
Based on the novel The Price of Salt, this film follows the forbidden love affair of Therese, a struggle photographer and Carol, a socialite going through a divorce. It’s gorgeously shot, positively rippling with tension, and oh, takes place at Christmastime.
This Hulu holiday film made a big splash when it came out this year. Harper (Mackenzie Davis) brings her girlfriend Abby (Kristen Stewart) home to meet her family, but on the way there, she reveals a catch: Harper’s not out to her family yet. Abby agrees to pretend to be her straight roommate and, well, chaos ensues. We laughed, we cried, we debated in the group chat all the way through.
Those of us who have a zany crew will see themselves in this movie about a quiet Thanksgiving between friends Molly and Abbey that turn into offbeat, hilarious chaos. If you’ve ever invited one pal to dinner and then had them show up with add-ons that change the whole vibe, press play on this one.
Layne is a budding star with a bad case of writer’s block. She heads back to Nashville for New Year’s to try and break through, but finds love where she least expects it. If you’re staying home when the calendar finally leaves 2020 behind, turn this on instead of the ball drop.
As tends to happen around the holidays, Phylis and Bill Mitchell summon their grown sons Mike and Brandon home for the holidays to recreate the Christmas house. But there’s a lot going on. Brandon and his husband Jake are anxiously awaiting details about adopting their first child, while Mike reconnects with Andi, his high school sweetheart.
Get your cowboy boots ready: Christmas cynic Wyatt Burwall returns home for the holidays to convince his mom to sell the family’s Colorado ranch. But Wyatt falls for hunky ranch hand Heath Ramos, who dreams of saving the property (not to mention its Winter Wonderland attraction). Watch to find out if he melts Wyatt’s Grinchy heart.
Wedding planner Cadence joins forces with Henry, the owner of a Christmas decoration company, to make a holiday wedding at Snowview Lodge really special. They grow closer as they continue working together, but a snowstorm threatens to ruin it all. This movie features the first kiss between two men on a Lifetime Christmas movie. You love to see it.
After she learns her pimp was unfaithful, trans sex worker Sin-Dee enlists the help of her friend Alexandra to get back at him. As they tear through Los Angeles on Christmas, things get rowdy. This one’s decidedly not for kids, so watch after yours go to bed if you’ve got little ones around.
This classic Christmas movie plot with gay main characters feels like sipping a hot cocoa. Hugo and Patrick are growing closer as they enjoy the season together, but then Hugo gets offered a promotion across the pond in London. He has to decide what matters most: his career or their budding love story.
A snowstorm in a small town brings a group of young people together, and the love stories are as plentiful as the flurries. One of those centers on Dorrie and Kerry, a lesbian couple. It’s as light and fluffy as new-fallen snow, and the perfect watch for a lazy December afternoon.
With lots of winks and nods to its own cheesiness, this campy holiday romp follows themes lots of us will recognize. Nathan has nowhere to go for the holidays, so he surprises his boyfriend Olaf. Turns out, Olaf has his own bombshell: He hasn’t told his family he’s gay. This one’s as sweet as a Christmas cookie.
Jess goes on an amazing first date with Ben but then accidentally „ghosts“ him when she dies in a car crash on the way home. She wakes up as a ghost and, with the help of her best friend Kara, has to settle her unfinished business. Sure, Kara’s love for her girlfriend Mae is a subplot, but it’s still an adorable movie.
Holiday Heart is a drag queen who takes in drug addict Wanda and her daughter Nikki, forming a chosen family that’s full of love and acceptance. It gets a bit dramatic, but Holiday’s portrayal is honest, empathetic, and totally heartwarming.
This 2013 movie is renamed The Unattainably Perfect Gay Christmas on Amazon Prime, but it’s a great holiday watch by any name. Jordan proposes to his boyfriend Dave in the days before Christmas, but he waffles about his decision. As you can imagine, that makes for one awkward family holiday.
As her wedding approaches, Jennifer still feels like there’s something missing in her relationship with her fiancé, David. Then, she meets an angel who shows her what her life would have been like if she’d gotten together with her childhood best friend Gabrielle instead. A queer Christmas story with a woman of color as the lead? All the way in.
9 Christmas Movies Featuring LGBTQ+ Stories
Happiest Season is getting a lot of attention because it’s the first mainstream LGBTQ+ holiday movie with a same-sex couple at the center. The film follows Kristen Stewart’s Abby as she plans to spend the holidays with her girlfriend, Harper (Mackenzie Davis), and her family. Immediately, things aren’t what Abby expects when she learns that Harper has not told her parents that she’s gay. Happiest Season may be one of the first mainstream LGBTQ+ Christmas movies, but it’s not the only one.
Before Happiest Season, there were a few LGBTQ+ films set around the holidays that featured gay or bisexual characters as the main protagonist or one of the important supporting characters. 2020 especially is a year where many networks and streaming services are opening up the world of Christmas movies to include more diverse stories, especially those involving same-sex couples or gay characters. Let’s look at several LGBTQ+ Christmas movies that you can stream, purchase, or rent, and a few upcoming ones.
Underwear brand drops Christmas ad with gay couple sharing passionate kiss and homophobes are seriously triggered
Clothing brand BONDS dropped its Christmas ad campaign, copping criticism from anti-gay customers. (Instagram/BONDS)
Australian clothing brand Bonds debuted a gay Christmas advert starring a couple kissing and the response was precisely what you would expect it.
Yesterday, the retailer’s Instagram became a battleground between LGBT+ and homophobic customers.
The two camps argued about how ‘appropriate’ an advertisement featuring two men, shirtless, kissing is.
In the ad, two men share a kiss over breakfast, with one man hopped on a kitchen counter.
The post was captioned: “It’s the little moments that make the Christmas season so special.”
Same-Sex Kisses Under the Mistletoe: Holiday Movies Rethink a Formula
In a conservative genre that has mainly told straight stories, six new films, including titles on Hallmark and Lifetime, center on gay or lesbian characters.
Will the adorable couple adopt a baby in time to celebrate Christmas with Mom and Dad and the neighborhood kids? Sounds like a delightful holiday TV movie. But this is disruptive 2020, so here’s the thing: the couple are Brandon and Jake and the channel is Hallmark.
“The Christmas House” is one of six new original holiday films released since November with something rare: main characters in same-sex relationships. Others include Hulu’s “Happiest Season,” a lesbian coming-out comedy starring Kristen Stewart; “The Christmas Setup,” a Lifetime rom-com debuting Saturday and starring the real-life husbands“Dashing in December,” a drama starting Sunday on the Paramount Network about two men who fall in love on a ranch.
More under the radar but still noteworthy are two indies: “A New York Christmas Wedding,” a drama on Netflix about a woman who has relationships with both a man and a woman, and the scrappy on-demand “I Hate New Year’s”rent on major platforms), a lesbian romance set on New Year’s Eve in Nashville.
L.G.B.T.Q. characters aren’t new to holiday movies, and six films may not sound like a revolution. But so many leading queer love stories — and same-sex kisses! — is a sea change for Christmas cinema, a conventionally heterosexual universe with more stories about puppies than gay people.
“It’s the start of something bigger,” said Clea DuVall, the director and co-writer of “Happiest Season.” She added, “Networks and streamers are starting to see the value in telling these stories that have always been there but were not given the platform to get out to wider audiences.”
According to Hulu, “Happiest Season” is the first holiday rom-com about a same-sex couple from a major Hollywood studio. Nicole Brown, the president of TriStar Pictures, which sold “Happiest Season” to Hulu in October, called the queering of the Christmas picture “very organic.” So what took so long?
“Film has always been under the assumption that the safest kind of characters are the way to go,” Brown said. “Our studio felt confident that the script and Clea’s vision and her ambition were aligned to make a commercial story, and that the quality of her storytelling would bring everybody in. When something’s great, it’s great.”
This shift is most seismic for Hallmark, which has become shorthand for “holiday movie.” “The Christmas House” is one of 40 new holiday films released this year on the Hallmark Channel and its sister network Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, the leaders in the holiday moviemaking machine. What’s most striking about “The Christmas House” is that Brandon and Jake, played by Jonathan Bennett and Brad Harder, are unconditionally accepted as part of the family.
L.G.B.T.Q. people “work on a lot of these Christmas movies,” said Bennett, who is gay but has played straight in Hallmark films before. “For the first time we feel we belong at the holiday table.”
Last December, the Hallmark Channel faced a firestorm when it pulled four television ads with kissing brides after a conservative group petitioned the network to “reconsider airing commercials with same-sex couples” and to refrain from adding L.G.B.T.Q. movies to its schedule. Days later, Hallmark apologized for removing the commercials, and said it would work with GLAAD, the media advocacy organization, “to better represent the L.G.B.T.Q. community.”
Michelle Vicary, executive vice president of programming and network publicity at Crown Media Family Networks, the parent company of the Hallmark Channel, said in an interview that her chief goal this year was to make “a bigger holiday table where people can see themselves on TV.” In 2021, Hallmark “will be moving forward, not backward,” she said, with more L.G.B.T.Q. tales at Christmas and during the year.
“We are really focused on continuing our commitment to the authenticity in our storytelling for all of our characters, and making sure that everyone can see themselves represented on Hallmark services,” she said. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Lifetime, Hallmark’s biggest Christmas competitor, has featured original holiday films with L.G.B.T.Q. characters in supporting roles and story lines before; last year for the first time it ran one with a same-sex kiss. But “The Christmas Setup” — one of 34 new holiday movies on Lifetime this year — breaks ground as the channel’s first such film with an L.G.B.T.Q. romance front and center.
Tanya Lopez, Lifetime’s executive vice president of movies, limited series and original movie acquisitions, said having gay leading characters in a film was “an incredible positive.” But the real breakthrough?
“Remember when we would lower our voices and say a movie has a very special holiday twist?” she whispered. “We’re not doing a very special kind of Christmas.” Gay characters “being treated normal in storytelling is what feels fresh,” she added, “and that’s the norm I want to create.”
Holiday TV movies generally follow a formula — a young city gal unexpectedly finds love with a small-town handyman or prince in disguise. Viewers show no signs of fatigue with that basic plot, and it’s a pretty white world. But while racial diversity has become more prevalent in the genre, if only a little, queer representation has not kept pace with even that minimal progress.
Guaranteed, aspirational feel-good: that’s the name of the holiday movie game, said Joanna Wilson, the author of the Christmas entertainment encyclopedia “Tis the Season TV.”
“These movies are fantasies where the real world doesn’t exist,” said Wilson, who also runs the blog . “Families don’t worry about different political viewpoints or health care. These are very cautious, conservative stories to begin with. But changes are coming, and that matters.”
Wilson traces the holiday TV bonanza to ABC’s “Carol for Another Christmas,” a 20th-century “Christmas Carol” written by Rod Serling and broadcast in 1964. Original holiday films blossomed on the networks in the ’70s and ’80s, and in the ’90s, cable TV first marketed them as niche programming, Wilson said. This year, there are an estimated 115 new holiday movies on cable and major streaming platforms, including original films on Fox Nation, the Fox News streaming service.
If ratings are an indication, the move toward L.G.B.T.Q. story lines isn’t a fluke. Hallmark said “The Christmas House” attracted over two million total viewers in its premiere last month. “Happiest Season” got the biggest audience for any Hulu original film in its opening weekend, according to Hulu.
Complaints remain. One Million Moms, the conservative group that took credit for Hallmark’s decision to pull ads last year, is boycotting the company. Some L.G.B.T.Q. advocates are dissatisfied that the husbands in “The Christmas House” take more of a back seat to the film’s straight romance. There’s also disappointment that trans characters and actors are scarce.
But for holiday movie fans like Kevin A. Barry, a higher education administrator in West Hollywood, Calif., there’s joy in knowing the days are numbered for watching only straight people smooch under a snow-coated gazebo.
“We’ve always had to fight for love,” Barry said. “These movies remind us that love always wins.”
‚Make the Yuletide gay‘: Christmas films finally show same-sex couples
When Jonathan Bennett’s agent called about a leading romantic part in a new Christmas movie, the actor’s first reaction was „Great, who’s the girl?“
Although Bennett is gay, the former „Mean Girls“ star is used to playing straight roles opposite Hollywood actresses — particularly within the conservative, often formulaic genre of holiday films.
„There was a pause, and they said ‚Jake.‘ My jaw hit the floor!“ Bennett recalled, laughing. „It was a long time coming.“
„The Christmas House,“ released last month, is the first Yuletide film from the Hallmark Channel to prominently feature a gay couple — Bennett’s character Brandon and husband Jake (Brad Harder) are trying to adopt a child.
It is one of a groundbreaking batch of high-profile same-sex storylines appearing in prominent Christmas movies this year, including Kristen Stewart’s „Happiest Season,“ which has broken premiere records for streaming service Hulu.
„It feels like a part of progress,“ Bennett told AFP.
„I imagine what younger me would have thought, sitting there watching a movie that had characters in it that looked like me, that were in relationships like I wanted to be in when I got older. It’s just so important.“
In a trend dubbed „the gayest Christmas ever“ by pop culture website Decider, Lifetime this month also released „The Christmas Setup“ and Paramount aired „Dashing in December.“ Both feature same-sex romances.
Stewart’s „Happiest Season“ has drawn the most attention of all, thanks to its star-studded cast that also includes Mackenzie Davis, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza and Dan Levy.
Director Clea DuVall, who is gay, said she had „never seen my own experience represented“ in holiday movies, with LGBTQ characters usually „in the background“ if they feature at all.
Produced by Sony and sold to Hulu as the pandemic keeps theaters closed, it claims to be the first holiday rom-com about a same-sex couple from a major Hollywood studio.
Even as gay representation in Hollywood has increased — particularly across new streaming shows — the predictably plotted but wildly popular Christmas movies produced by the likes of Hallmark have until now been something of a holdout.
Last year, the family-oriented channel was slammed by LGBTQ groups after buckling to conservative pressure by removing adverts for a wedding company that featured a same-sex couple kissing at the altar.
Having initially called the adverts a „distraction,“ Hallmark restored the commercials and apologized after Ellen DeGeneres tweeted: „Isn’t it almost 2020? What are you thinking?“
With „The Christmas House,“ the company has gone a step further. Although Bennett and Harder’s storyline is just one of three interwoven romantic plots in the film, they kiss on-screen before either of the straight couples.
„When we did our first kiss, the crew was just so overwhelmed — there wasn’t a dry eye,“ Harder told AFP. „Just to have everybody’s story told…
„Is it overdue? Absolutely. But I’m glad we’re here… it’s really powerful.“
The trend has drawn wide praise, with Bennett reporting „thousands of messages“ from grateful fans and Harder expressing hopes for a sequel to „The Christmas House.“
But it has also drawn criticism — including from some LGBTQ viewers.
„Happiest Season“ centers on a lesbian couple struggling to come out to highly traditional parents — a storyline some critics found old-fashioned, and which should not define them as characters.
By contrast in „The Christmas House,“ „the fact that my character is gay, married to a man, never comes up once in the film,“ said Bennett.
But, Harder pointed out, „Christmas for the LGBTQ community is particularly challenging,“ especially for those whose family members are not „super accepting.“
And while „Happiest Season“ might take a different approach, the important thing is that movies „let everyone have a seat at the holiday table,“ said Bennett.
„They’re making movies with gay leads on Hulu — that is a step in the right direction,“ he said.
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Christmas Time Is Queer
“I think when they said make the Yuletide gay, they meant it,” said Jonathan Bennett, one half of the gay couple at the heart of Hallmark’s The Christmas House. By featuring a married gay couple front and center (Brad Harder plays Bennett’s onscreen spouse), the film is a major step forward for the network.
But what led to this shift? Blake Lee—who stars in Lifetime’s The Christmas Setup alongside his IRL husband Ben Lewis—had a guess: “After four years of the current political administration, I think that queer writers were like, ‘Fuck this, I want to see representation. I want to create the world that I want to live in.’” The networks—Hallmark, Lifetime, Paramount—finally donned their gay apparel, justifying decades of passion for this historically heteronormative holiday. Because, honey, the gays have always been here for Christmas—even if Christmas hasn’t always been here for us.
“It’s so classic, so typical that the queer communities have often loved a lot of these institutions that have not necessarily loved us back,” said Ben Lewis, the other half of The Christmas Setup’s gay power couple, sharing a sentiment echoed by pretty much everyone else interviewed.
Benjamin Bradley, the host of Netflix’s Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas, had a theory: “I think there are certain elements [of Christmas] that we didn’t fully experience as children, because there was already a recognition that maybe we were different and we weren’t sure quite where we fit in. And so I think for gay men, I think even for Christmas enthusiasts, I think we’re chasing after that childhood comfort and safety that maybe we missed at that time.”
Nina West, a drag performer with an all-consuming affection for the holidays, came to a similar conclusion, pointing out that Christmas is “safe and familiar, and it’s also this idealized life. So when you’re young and queer, you are afraid—or at least, I was afraid of losing everything that I ever saw in front of me, and Christmas was one of the most sacred things.”
“I talk a lot about my childhood Christmases in Connecticut, which were very on-the-surface, very storybook, very Christmas card, very Hallmark,” said RuPaul’s Drag Race alum who released a feature-length holiday special with Jinkx Monsoon this year. “But in true WASP New England fashion, that’s just the shiny glaze on top of the hardened fruitcake that nobody wants. I always felt as a kid that, even though all the trappings were there, something didn’t feel how it seemed like it was supposed to feel.”
“Christmas was always my favorite time of year, because it was a time that I really felt like my family came together and put things aside and committed to doing their best to be a happy loving family,” said Monsoon, echoing her collaborator’s sentiment. “It was only as an adult that I look back on things and realize yes, that was there, but it was also traumatic at many moments. That challenge of trying to create the perfect holiday is inherently stressful, and puts us through the wringer.”
This trauma and fear of abandonment are an essential part of the queer Christmas experience—as much as our shared love of “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” But this unique layering of joy and pain isn’t exactly like what you see in, say, A Christmas Story or even It’s a Wonderful Life. You do see it in Happiest Season, 2020’s addition to the Christmas canon.
Victor Garber—a hero to a generation of gay people thanks to his work on Broadway, Titanic, Alias, Legends of Tomorrow, and just being Victor Garber—played it straight in Happiest Season as closeted Harper Caldwell’s uptight politician father. But the struggle depicted in the movie rang true for Garber. “I grew up a Jewish kid in Ontario. Christmas was always just a family thing, and I think that if you are accepted in your family, then [Christmas is a dream]. Otherwise, it’s a nightmare. I remember meeting a lot of gay kids when I was growing up who weren’t so happy about Christmas and, not unlike Happiest Season, would have to go home and pretend [to be straight].”
“I think the queer community has a pretty love/hate relationship with with the holidays in general,” said DeLa. “We’ve been inundated for decades with imagery about homecoming and family that doesn’t include us, it doesn’t represent us and isn’t necessarily representative of our experience. But at the same time, Christmas is glittery, and it’s colorful, and everybody puts on sequined sweaters and puts their trees in drag.”
Troll the ancient Yuletide, Carol!
“Your house becomes this other thing for this season,” said Lee, touching upon many gay men’s reason for the season. “I loved dressing up when I was a kid, and playing make believe. To see my whole family get into it was so huge. Because you’re like, ‘You’re doing what I want to do all the time!’”
Obviously decking the halls is a major source of joy during December—or, if your nickname is Mr. Christmas, even earlier. “Typically, we don’t really even acknowledge Halloween around here,” said Bradley, who’s turned his passion for pinecones and garland into a career and a Netflix series. That series—Holiday Home Makeover—serves a different purpose in 2020’s avalanche of gay content. That show is hosted by an out gay man who casually refers to his partner in front of the straight families he’s been tasked to make merry. Seeing a gay man openly talk his your same-sex partner at Christmas around strangers? That’s a transformative notion for a lot of gay people.
Even celebrating the holidays with your same-sex partner can be a little transformative—just ask Victor Garber. “My life changed when I met Rainer [Andreesen], my partner. My sister and I and my best friend Nikki, we used to meet every year for Christmas and we used to call it ‘Three Jews on Christmas.’ And then Rainer came into my life and everything changed.” It turns out, Garber is married to his own Mr. Christmas. “The first time he decorated our living space, I didn’t know what to do. There was no place to sit! The decorations were lavish and beautiful, because he’s a brilliant artist. From then on, our Christmases became something else. I just fell into it and was a very fortunate recipient of his generosity and his love for Christmas. I was kind of indoctrinated into the whole Christmas world. And happily so!”
Even if gay audiences haven’t seen literal gay characters on screen, we still have our touchstones. Benjamin Bradley loves Christmas in Connecticut for gay icon Barbara Stanwyck, and Nina West returns to White Christmas every year thanks to the looks and stunts of Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney. BenDeLaCreme realized as an adult that Christmas at Pee-wee’s Playhouse is “the gayest thing,” in part because “Miss Yvonne is the best Christmas drag queen anyone could ever hope for.”
But when it comes to queer Christmas entertainment (pre-2020), it’s all about the Muppets. “I identified with A Muppet Christmas Carol, because I think Muppets are the closest thing to drag queens,” said Jinkx Monsoon. “I think I think you can justify that Miss Piggy is a drag persona.”
Ben Lewis (The Christmas Setup) agrees 100%: “A Muppet Christmas Carol is huge for me. Frank Oz, for example, is not a gay man, but somehow created Miss Piggy, who is the most iconic, most canonical ‘gay’ character.” While thinking aloud, Lewis realized why so many Christmas specials seem so low-key gay. “There is something very gay about puppetry and stop motion animation, just in general. Particularly with stop motion — to put that amount of painstaking detail, the amount of hand glittering that must have gone into the making of any one of those movies, is textbook gay.”
Another unlikely queer Christmas icon: the Grinch. “He’s this amazing bitchy gay guy! I kind of love that, with his little dog,” said Blake Lee of The Christmas Setup.
“I think an honorable mention would be the Jim Carrey Grinch movie,” said Monsoon, eliciting a teeny bit of surprise from BenDeLaCreme. “It inspired multiple drag performers to do sexy versions of the Grinch. [Laughs] Which, I love a sexy Grinch and I love a sexy Krampus. But also because Christine Baranski is in the film, and any film that Christine Baranski is in becomes queer with her presence.”
All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Gay Leads
“I think [Happiest Season is] groundbreaking because it’s an honest-to-god holiday-themed romcom that is for queer people, by queer people,” said Jinkx Monsoon of Happiest Season, Hulu’s star-studded, major studio gay holiday romcom starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis. Monsoon and DeLa were cast as local drag performers by director and co-writer Clea DuVall—herself a queer woman and drag superfan. For Monsoon, that authenticity comes across. “I see a lot of queer representation in media that was clearly written and directed by straight people, and is geared towards straight people. So at the end of the day, I’m watching something that’s totally queer and not relating to it at all. Whereas Happiest Season is not like that at all.”
The cast of Happiest Season knew they were doing something different. “We all felt like we had something quite unique and special,” Garber said of playing mayoral hopeful Ted Caldwell in the film. “I couldn’t believe this feeling on the set, just how everybody just clicked. It was amazing. And I think everybody was aware of it, and everybody you talk to would say the same thing. We just had a wonderful time. It just felt immediately like a family.”
On the small screen side of things (Happiest Season was slated for a theatrical release before COVID-19, thus its arrival on Hulu), Jonathan Bennett was keenly aware of the importance of Hallmark’s The Christmas House from day one. “I remember getting in the van, the first time I met [onscreen husband] Brad [Harder], and we were driving to set and I looked at him and I said, ‘You realize what we’re doing right?’ And he turned to me and said, ‘We’re making history.’ And right then, we just looked at each other and we knew.”
Gay creators have been trying to make history for a minute. Jake Helgren, the writer/director behind Paramount’s Dashing in December, is a veteran of the holiday TV movie business. He learned years ago, however, that even putting queer characters in supporting roles irked certain online trolls. That may be why he didn’t initially consider making Dashing in December a gay romance—and then leapt at the chance to make this particular dream come true (a dream starring out actors starring Peter Porte and Juan Pablo Di Pace).
“We originally pitched [Dashing in December] as a straight movie and at some point [producer Stephanie Slack] suggested [we make the leads two men],” said Helgren. “I said it would be a dream come true for me to tell that story.” This simple tweak opened up the entire story for Helgren, turning what was just a couple sentences of plot into a full-fledged screenplay that speaks to not only the holiday season, but to the specific experience of being gay in a small, rural community. Helgren was encouraged by Paramount to make Dashing in December the sweeping, theatrical romance he’d long dreamed of making: “If Brokeback Mountain and Sweet Home Alabama and Hallmark all got together and had a love child, [it would be Dashing in December].”
By casting gay actors, the performers felt emboldened to put their own experiences into their characters. Bennett felt incredibly lucky to be co-starring in an adoption storyline in The Christmas House alongside Harder—who’s gone through the adoption process twice with his husband. The baby that characters Brandon and Jake adopt in the film is even Harder’s real son.
The scene that mattered the most to Bennett, and every single queer person watching The Christmas House at home, was Brandon and Jake’s kiss—yes, a gay kiss on Hallmark. “That scene mattered more than any other scene in my career,” said Bennett. “When we were done with that scene, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. One of our art department guys who’s gay came up to me and had tears in his eyes. And he said, ‘You know, I do art department for a lot of Hallmark movies, and for the first time, I feel like I’m part of the family now, too.”
“[The Christmas House] is so inspiring as it [represents] so many different types of people that haven’t been able to share this story of love, family and Christmas,” Brad Harder wrote via email. “Diverse stories are needed because we matter, our stories matter and it’s important for these stories to get told.”
Ben Lewis felt compelled to make sure that his character’s emotional arc in Lifetime’s The Christmas Setup would resonate with gay audiences. “One thing that we wanted to see more of in the script was a sense that this community in Milwaukee had this strong, progressive, queer movement happening,” said Lewis. “The traditional narrative of these movies is the big city kid — which was me, in this case — gets drawn back into their hometown, and sort of reevaluating what their priorities are. And so I think for my character, who has this really thriving career in New York, it’s like, what is realistically going to draw him back to Milwaukee? And the answer is Patrick and the queer initiatives that he’s sort of spearheading in their community.”
May your gays be merry and bright
“It’s so refreshing to see something that really just gets to be lighthearted and heartwarming,” said BenDeLaCreme of Happiest Season. “So much queer representation is always tinged with that assumed tragedy of what it is to be a queer person. I mean, there are struggles [in Happiest Season]. The protagonists have to overcome things, but they’re still common, relatable experiences that seem like they’re in the canon, and not uniquely tinged with that sadness that we get put upon us, [sadness] that is not necessarily a part of how we enjoy the holidays.”
Brad Harder also felt proud to provide families with a film that’s filled with love. “Christmas can be a tough time of year as an adult. I haven’t been connected to my family since I came out, so it can be a sad time of year. The Christmas House is so important because it gives so many of us with these experiences the hope and joy of seeing a family of unconditional love and acceptance.”
It’s also not hyperbole to say that these movies, part of incredibly popular cable lineups that have become a 21st century tradition for millions of families, will change lives.
It’s time to make the yuletide hella gay this holiday season!
From Clea DuVall’s Happiest Season to Hallmark’s The Christmas House, this year has seen an explosion of gay Christmas films, a major change to a genre that has historically excluded LGBTQ+ people.
But that rule has not been true across the board. From its pageantry to its camp to its carols, Christmas has always been queer — and films, implicitly and explicitly, have nodded at that for decades.
Below, take a sleigh ride to the productions that made the yuletide gay.
Mixed Nuts (1994)
Nora Ephron followed her hit rom-com Sleepless in Seattle with Mixed Nuts, a critically panned holiday ensemble flick led by Steve Martin as the head of a suicide-prevention hotline service. The film is notable for being the first movie appearance of Liev Schreiber, who portrays a transgender woman named Chris. The comedy does not hold up well in present day, but the character is memorable for a sweet romance she develops with a ukelele player named Louie (Adam Sandler).
Kate Beckinsale is Sara and John Cusack is Jonathan, who meet and begin a sweet courtship at Christmas before parting ways only to be reunited a few years later. Molly Shannon plays Sara’s lesbian best friend, Eve, who attends a bachelorette party in New York City where the main couple has a serendipitous encounter. Eve is not part of the central couple, but she’s integral to the plot.
Too Cool for Christmas (2004)
Last year, a 2004 holiday film called Too Cool for Christmas went viral after it was discovered that there was an alternate version, A Very Cool Christmas, which featured straight instead of gay parents. Director Sam Irvin said it was a common practice to shoot different versions of films for different markets with varying levels of acceptance toward LGBTQ+ issues — which, actually, still happens today.
The Family Stone (2005)
In the star-studded The Family Stone, everyone hates the uptight Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) when Everett (Dermot Mulroney) brings her home to meet his family for a surprise proposal. But everyone loves Thad and Patrick, a gay couple trying to adopt their first child. In a family of straight messes, it was refreshing (in 2005) to see the gays keeping it together for the holidays.
Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)
The queen of Christmas movies, Melissa Joan Hart, stars in Holday in Handcuffs as a dumped waitress who has a nervous breakdown and kidnaps a customer, played by Mario Diaz, to bring home to her family as a boyfriend. If that doesn’t sound gay enough, the film also features a coming-out scene for her brother Jake (Kyle Howard).
Make the Yuletide Gay (2009)
Happiest Season stands on the shoulders of Make the Yuletide Gay, a 2009 romantic comedy from Rob Williams in which Gunn (Keith Jordan), who is out at college, goes back into the closet for the holidays to appease his parents. Then his „roommate,“ Nathan (Adamo Ruggiero), shows up and the Yuletide, inevitably, is made gay.
Scrooge & Marley (2012)
Charles Dickens’s holiday classic A Christmas Carol gets a gay makeover in Scrooge & Marley. In this version of the oft-told story, Ebenezer (Ben) Scrooge is the owner of a piano bar, where he hates Christmas and underpays and terrorizes his employees. That is until he’s visited by one ghost who takes him to his past in a gay disco in the 1970s, to the present where his lesbian niece and her partner hold a heartwarming Christmas Eve party, and to the future where everyone essentially dances on his grave. Eventually, he sees the light and ends up donating money to the local LGBTQ+ center before spending Christmas with his niece.
Love the Coopers (2015)
Dysfunction abounds at Christmas in Love the Coopers, which stars Diane Keaton as the matriarch of the family that comes together for one last holiday season before she announces that she and her husband (played by John Goodman) are splitting. Olivia Wilde, Marisa Tomei, Alan Arkin, and Amanda Seyfried play generations in the Cooper family. Anthony Mackie is a gay police officer struggling with coming out until he gets a boost from one of the Cooper family members.
Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)
A zombie Christmas musical with queer characters sounds too good to exist, but it does in Anna and the Apocalypse. Dickinson’s Ella Hunt stars as Anna, a Scottish teen who wakes up to find herself in the middle of a zombie outbreak that is taking out everyone in her town. She, her friend Jonathan, and their badass lesbian choreographer Steph (Sarah Swire) set out to save their friends who are trapped at school, battling the undead and belting musical numbers all with the backdrop of holiday decorations.
A New York Christmas Wedding (2020)
Netflix’s latest LGBTQ+ holiday movie, A New York Christmas Wedding, which features a bisexual lead character, delves into the world of do-overs and second chances when Jennifer (Nia Fairweather) second-guesses her imminent wedding to her fiancé, David (Otoja Abit).
As is the stuff of Christmas flicks, a twist of fate brings Jennifer, who’s reeling from the recent loss of her father and the long-ago loss of her best friend, Gabrielle (Adriana DeMeo), together with her guardian angel, Azrael (Cooper Koch). He conjures an alternate world in which Gabrielle and Jennifer’s father are still alive and Jennifer gets a second shot at love with Gabrielle.
Dashing in December (2020)
What’s better than gay cowboys? Gay cowboys at Christmas! And that’s exactly what Dashing in December delivers when Wyatt (Peter Porte), a New York City financier, connects with his roots and a handsome ranch hand on his mom’s ranch/Winter Wonderland attraction when he returns home for the holidays to try to convince her to sell the place. While visiting his mother, Deb, played by Andie MacDowell, Wyatt meets Heath (Juan Pablo Di Pace) and the attraction is palpable. Cue the Brokeback Mountain, God’s Own Country gay ranch vibe, albeit with a decidedly happier ending for all.
The Christmas House (2020)
Hallmark got into the gay Christmas movie game this year with The Christmas House, starring Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls) as Brandon and Brad Harder as Jake, a gay couple returning home for the holidays while also anxiously awaiting a call from an agency about adopting their first child. Treat Williams and Sharon Lawrence star as Brandon’s parents in this sure-to-be heartwarming movie from the network renowned for its wholesome fare.
Happiest Season (2020)
The first LGBTQ+-focused holiday rom-com backed by a major studio, Happiest Season is directed by Clea DuVall and written by her and her writing partner Mary Holland. It tells the story of Harper (Davis) and Abby (Stewart), who run into problems when, as they are headed home for the holidays to visit Harper’s overachieving family, Harper reveals some crucial information. The movie costars Holland, Dan Levy, Victor Garber, Mary Steenburgen, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza, and Ana Gasteyer. It’s a full-on same-sex romantic comedy with all of the holiday fixings. And it also features a soundtrack of all LGBTQ+ musicians that is the icing on the gingerbread people cookies.
The musical piece was recorded for the gay sex toy store AdamMale, which also released a number of ever-so-festive shots of Banks, JJ Knight, Zario Travezz, Nic Sahara and Dirk Caber.
A behind the scenes video shared on Instagram featured the men hiding their Yule logs behind wrapping paper while RuPaul’s seminal Christmas classic ‘I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus’ plays.
@beaux_banks @nicsahara_official @therealjjknight @tubajack @zariotravezz on set at the 12 Days of Xmas video shoot. Use code MERRY at for 50% Off 1 Item + Free Shipping in the US & Canada. *Some items not eligible for full discount* Directed by @hammerbrad #gay #instagay #gayguy #gayboy #gayman Clip and free music made with Prequel.
A post shared by AdamMale (@adammaletoys) on Dec 12, 2019 at 7:44am PST
Honestly, Beyoncé and her measly ‘8 Days of Christmas’ were found shaking.
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Keith Jordan and Adamo Ruggiero in 2009’s Make the Yuletide Gay.
It’s a week before Christmas and all through the house, not a holiday movie is playing because you didn’t know such a thing existed. Until now. I scoured the web to round up 10 films that are either totally gay or have prominent gay characters. I even found one starring Miss Richfield 1981.
Red Lodge (2013, 78 min): A man proposes to his boyfriend. The offer of marriage is accepted, and then quickly rejected — all in the days leading up to Christmas. —IMDB
(2012, 91 min.): Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is an all-too-familiar story that has had its fair share of Hollywood adaptations. With Scrooge & Marley, debut directors Richard Knight Jr. and Peter Neville attempt to modernize the well-worn holiday tale by putting a gay spin on it. —Philadelphia City Paper
Make the Yuletide Gay (2009, 89 min): Gunn is totally at ease with his sexuality when it comes to everyday life. But going home to spend the holidays with his well-meaning Midwestern parents — who have no idea he’s gay — is a little different. Of course, his closeted charade seems to be working fine until his mom and dad try to set him up with an old flame (Hallee Hirsh) — and his current boyfriend (Adamo Ruggiero) shows up unannounced. —Netflix
Holiday in Handcuffs (2007, 86 min.): During Christmas dinner, the holiday comes to an abrupt end when aspiring painter Trudie’s (Melissa Joan Hart) parents begin to fight, her brother announces that he is gay, and her sister says that she has quit Law School and bought a Pilates studio with her parents’ tuition money. —Wikipedia
(2006, 129 min.): This one doesn’t scream Christmas, but the holidays play a special role in this story about a gay teen trying to come to terms with his sexuality in a family of macho brothers and a bullheaded dad. Instead of yuletide tunes, you’ll be regaled with a great soundtrack of sounds from the ’60s and ’70s, like Pink Floyd, David Bowie and even Miss Patsy Cline.
The Family Stone (2005, 106 min.): A family gathers for their annual holiday celebration at the home of their liberal, New England parents. One of the guests is Meredith, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, which is almost gay enough, but those looking for the extra dose of homodays will enjoy the side story about gay son and his partner who announce to their family that they’re ready to adopt.
Miss Richfield 1981: Fall on Your Knees Christmas Extravaganza (2005, 60 min): Holiday comedy show from Minnesota’s Mistress of Mayhem! This camp production showcases a spectacle of variety, live on stage from her sold out show, and comes with music. Includes Miss Richfield’s candid interaction with audience members at a pre-show celebration. —IMDB
Too Cool for Christmas (2004, 96 min): Sixteen-year-old Lindsay Dearborn (Brooke Nevin) is “too cool for Christmas,” and wants no part of the family celebration being planned by her two male homosexual parents (Adam Harrington and Barclay Hope) and her kid sister Alexa (Jodelle Ferland). —
Home for the Holidays (1995, 103 min.): Every year, Claudia (Holly Hunter) dreads her trip home for Thanksgiving. Between her parents (Charles Durning and Anne Bancroft), her sardonic [GAY!] brother (Robert Downey Jr.) and her overdramatic sister (Cynthia Stevenson), things are bad enough. But this year, Claudia has more reason for angst. She’s lost her job and is dealing with her daughter’s (Claire Danes) revelation about her sexual activities. Jodie Foster directs this ode to dysfunction. —Netflix
A Tuna Christmas: The second in a series of comedic plays … set in the fictional town of Tuna, Texas, the “third-smallest” town in the state. … The plays are at once an affectionate comment on small-town, Southern life and attitudes but also a withering satire of same. The plays are notable in that two men play the entire cast of over twenty eccentric characters of both genders and various ages. —Wikipedia
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Make The Yuletide Gay (2009)
Degrassi: The Next Generation star Adamo Ruggiero stars alongside Keith Jordan in Make the Yuletide Gay. The film has almost the same premise as Happiest Season. When abandoned by his family on the holidays, Nathan (Adamo Ruggiero) surprises his boyfriend Olaf (Keith Jordan) by joining him for the holidays. Olaf then gives Nathan a surprise by informing him that his family doesn’t know that he’s gay.
Make the Yuletide Gay is one of those comedies with a lot of winks and nods to its own jokes. It’s a little cheesy at times but the film is sweet with its heart in the right place. Despite Olaf’s parents being very quirky (with names Anya and Sven–yes I think they may have a Frozen too), he still worries that they may reject him if he reveals that he’s gay. Make the Yuletide Gay is available to rent or buy on your favorite VOD service.
The Christmas House (2020)
The Christmas House is Hallmark’s first movie featuring an LGBTQ+ couple as key characters. It follows the star of the fictional series Handsome Justice, Mike (Robert Buckley) as he heads back home to help his family turn their home into the Christmas house. Quickly, Mike learns that this Christmas isn’t going to be as happy and magical as he expects.
Jonathan Bennett plays Mike’s brother Brandon and Brad Harder plays Brandon’s husband Jake. Treat Williams and Sharon Lawrence play their parents. Ana Ayora plays Andi, Mike’s hometown love interest. The Christmas House was quite different from many Hallmark Christmas movies, in a good way–mainly because it dealt with more somber topics before it got its Christmas cheer. Brandon and Jake’s storyline was a subplot, but an important one as it dealt with them trying to adopt.
The LGBTQ+ storyline was seamlessly and naturally added into the fold without Hallmark making a big deal about them being a same-sex couple, or adding any prejudice or coming out storylines. The Christmas House premiered on November 22, 2020. It’s currently not available to stream on Hallmark’s streaming service. For now, you’ll have to catch it on one of Hallmark’s repeat showings.
Let It Snow (2019)
Let It Snow features a collection of interconnecting stories happening around Christmas time and focused on young love. One of the stories focuses on a lesbian couple. The two girls had a magical day together, but when one of them tries to show her affection to the other in public, she’s ignored and rejected.
Let It Snow is a simple Netflix Original Movie that’s great for some good ol’ Christmas fluff. At first, it seems like Dorrie (Liv Hewson) and Kerry (Anna Akana)’s romance story might be one of the few in Let it Snow without a happy ending, but then it gets the cheesy happy ending that it deserves.
The Unattainably Perfect Gay Christmas/Red Lodge (2013)
Originally this film was entitled Red Lodge, but on Amazon Prime, it’s called The Unattainably Perfect Gay Christmas. The film starts with Jordan (Joseph Lim Kim) proposing to his boyfriend Dave (Richard Pierre-Louis), but Dave is hesitant to respond. This leads to an awkward Christmas with Jordan’s family.
The Unattainably Perfect Gay Christmas is a film that feels authentic. Everything that happens and is said between Dave, Jordan, and their family feels believable. I appreciated that the film felt so realistic and simple. The movie also has an appearance by Stephnie Weir as a “psychic” that’s the highlight of the film because it’s just so funny.
Dashing In December (2020)
Paramount Network will premiere in Dashing in December. Juan Pablo Di Pace, Peter Porte, and Andie MacDowell star in this film. It centers around two gay men meeting when Wyatt (Peter Porte) returns to his hometown for the holidays.
Based on the trailera typical rom-com setup with two men from different backgrounds at first having a clash of cultures, but then they get to know each other and fall in love. It seems like a cute Christmas movie that fits well into the Christmas TV movie world. Dashing in December premieres on Paramount Network on December 13, 2020.
The Christmas Setup (2020)
The Christmas Setup is Lifetime’s first Christmas film centered on a gay couple. It features real-life married couple Blake Lee and Ben Lewis. Hugo (Ben Lewis) travels home to Milwaukee to spend Christmas with his best friend, Madelyn (Ellen Wong), his mother, Kate (Fran Drescher), and brother, Aiden (Chad Connell). His mother tries to play matchmaker by setting Hugo up with his old high school crush, Patrick (Blake Lee).
The Christmas Setup is part of Lifetime’s massive 30 new Christmas movies. The Christmas Setup looks adorable and the added power of Fran Drescher makes this a must-see movie. The film premieres on Lifetime on December 12, 2020.
The world of Christmas LGBTQ+ movies is very small, but I hope that this is just the start and they’ll become the norm, especially cheesy romance ones. The world needs a little more love, in every form.
Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I’m not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.
Anti-gay customers decry underwear advert for being ‘sexual’.
Many fans down under praised the brand for promoting “love is love” and showered the post with heart emojis, while others some wondered if it was “necessary”.
One user called Ray wondered: “Is this really necessary to advertise underwear, I mean each to his own but c’mon.”
In response, several users reminded the him that, in the world of underwear advertising, it’s rather commonplace for two people to kiss.
Which Ray replied: “I’m happy for you to love who ever you want, I just find this post over the.”
“I think your marketing team is confused,” stated a user, “this has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas.”
“It’s a [sic] inappropriate picture doesn’t matter what sexuality the people are kissing it would still be inappropriate if it was a man kissing a women like that,” said Jenna.
Meet Steve and Nick, bonded by chance, having met on a train 9 years ago. ? Tag that special someone you bonded with by chance. #BondsAus #BondsXmas #BondedBy #BondsMakeTheSeason
A post shared by BONDS (@bondsaus) on Nov 6, 2019 at 2:00pm PST
In response, several users reminded the him that, in the world of underwear advertising, it’s rather commonplace for two people to kiss.
Which Ray replied: “I’m happy for you to love who ever you want, I just find this post over the.”
“I think your marketing team is confused,” stated a user, “this has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas.”
“It’s a [sic] inappropriate picture doesn’t matter what sexuality the people are kissing it would still be inappropriate if it was a man kissing a women like that,” said Jenna.
Similarly, Mel called the Christmas campaign “unnecessary, why do they need to be so sexual?”
Although, a post from May which featured a woman sitting on the floor in-between the legs of a man, garnered no similar observations.
Moreover, Helen highlighted: “How does this have anything to do with Bonds?”
This came despite the models explicitly wearing Bonds-branded underwear.
Gay Christmas underwear ad celebrates ‘deep and meaningful bonds’.
Bonds head of marketing Kelly McBride told The Daily Mail Australia: “It felt natural that our finale to the year would be a celebration of the deep and meaningful bonds that make the festive season so special.”
Despite anti-LGBT detractors threats to unfollow the clothing account, it did little to drown out the overwhelmingly positive response from fans.
“Yay for representing love in all of its forms,” said Melissa.
“I’m going to buy some undies to support them for including two fellas in their Christmas campaign.
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Midwinter; fires are crackling, the home smells sharp of evergreen, candles flicker, glass glitters, the table sags. Drink flows like rivers and you and your partner snuggle up on a couch to shag and booze the holiday away.
But this isn’t Christmas: it’s Saturnalia, the ancient Roman festival dedicated to the fertility god Saturn around the first century BC. And it’s the true origin of Christmas.
What a queer festival it was. Sources mention lads running naked about the place, cross-dressing for dinner, tops becoming bottoms, masters waiting on their servants (just for a day, mind), sausages, wine, cunnilingus and fruitcake.
There’s less solid historical information about lesbians and trans men, sadly, but of course they would have been there.
As most good things come in gay packages, most of our traditions, from Christmas trees to Christmas presents, are rip-offs of gay pagan solstice celebrations.
This was the day the Sun was reborn and so was sacred to the deity Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun. He was a beefcake of a god, popularised around 220AD by that great same-sex, selfish, cross-dressing, proto-transgendered Emperor, Elagabalus.
The beautiful young Elagabalus loved a good party. His dancing during the midwinter festival wowed the Roman legions into declaring him emperor. He shimmied his way to power.
But his Saturnalian practical jokes could go too far. One group of banqueting guests were literally suffocated by the weight of violets dropped through a false ceiling. Others might wake from a drunken debauch to find a pet tiger sniffing their crotch.
Roll reversal isn’t just for Saturnalia though: Elagabalus said he was ‘delighted to be called the mistress, the wife, the Queen of Hierocles,’ his lover who was a charioteer.
Not surprisingly, his reign lasted less than four years but Sol Invictus became a favourite of the Roman people.
Even Saint Augustine (of whom more below) later admitted its importance, saying Christ’s birthday replaced that of the Sun.
Everyone loves presents, and so did the Romans during the Saturnalia. They gave statuettes of beautiful youths and ‘hermaphrodites’, phallic cakes, books of filthy epigrams, cosmetics and hair extensions for either sex.
Not just statues, either, but real life slave youths and hermaphrodites would be given.
The Christmas tradition wrongly insists the first gifts were brought by the Magi. But even this Bible myth may have a real queer history.
In 63 CE Tiridates of Armenia came to Rome with his entourage of Magi to end a drawn-out war and do homage to the Emperor Nero, that great bisexual showman of Roman history.
They gave gifts, the wise men made their predictions and Nero sang some early version of Three Coins in a Fountain.
He extravagantly kissed handsome Tiridates to seal the bargain. And he closed the doors of the temple of Janus, the two faced god who represents beginnings and endings, including New Year and January, to symbolize peace on earth.
Not long after, someone remembered this: and the three Magi and their kingly gifts made their first and only appearance in Matthew’s Gospel doing homage to the ruler of the earth.
Greenery was used to decorate the house during midwinter festivals from ancient Rome to Tudor England’s Yuletide in the 1500s.
Christmas trees are an invention of the pagan North: a symbol of rebirth or, according to one tradition, a Christian replacement for the pagan oak in the spiritual lives of the ancient Germans.
But the best story about the first Christmas tree is surely this:
Long ago a young count of Luxembourg called Otto was famous for spurning all the young women of the neighbourhood. He preferred the company of his male friends and ‘manly’ pursuits.
Like all young men who reject the charms of comely maidens, one Christmas Eve he fell for a fairy who, in return, gave him a wondrous tree all decked out with silver lights and shiny baubles. It was quite the campest thing he’d ever seen, and from then on his heart belonged to those creatures who are neither one thing nor the other.
Kissing under the mistletoe, has even queerer credentials, almost lost in the mists of the ancient lands it came from.
In Iron Age Britain, Ireland and Gaul, Druids were the ‘professional classes’ and religious leaders. One of their jobs was to gather mistletoe at the winter Solstice.
Many Druids were also gay, their otherness singling them out as special and holy. All good until that ‘otherness’ meant they were called on to sacrifice themselves to save the tribe in times of war or want.
If that happened, they’d eat mistletoe berries, the juice of which was thought to be gods’ semen.
Do NOT try this at home. Mistletoe is also poisonous.
Saturnalia was an enormous feast. Masters would serve their slaves, as all were equal in the golden age of Saturn’s reign.
The well-healed were supposed to let their less wealthy neighbours gorge at their tables, but as Lucian, a second century satirist, complains they could be as tight-fisted as Scrooge. His revenge was to pray all their fine clothes be eaten by mice and their pretty boyfriends’ hair fall out.
To avoid this, gay Emperor Hadrian preserved his lover’s locks by insisting on sampling all the trimmings from all the tables at dinners he hosted.
Saturnalian dinners were just a prelude to something even better than a feast…
As the first century Roman poet, Martial says: ‘give me kisses, boy, wet with wine/… if on top you’ll add a fuck, Jove couldn’t be happier with his Ganymede than I am with mine.’
There’s nothing ancient about Jesus in his crib. The first Nativity scene was a piece of live theatre organised by Saint Francis in 1223.
As he moved ox and sheep and Virgin around to strike the perfect tableau, one of the people watching was Elias, the man Francis had loved since boyhood.
Francis spent all his time with Elias, sharing intimate secrets, calling him ‘Mother’. In a sweet slip of the quill, Elias even confessed he knew Francis’ body intimately.
He was present at all the turning points in Francis’ life and death, but later biographers wrote him out of the story.
St Augustine didn’t write the first one but he is credited with popularizing the festival in the late fourth century, through sermons reminding Christians that on this day ‘God became man’.
Augustine wrote some pretty vile stuff about gay people too, but then he had the zeal of a convert. In his youth he loved a boy his age so violently and passionately and physically, he was devastated when the young man died. He turned to religion.
The ghosts of Christmas present owe a lot to those of Christmas past. The great tradition of tolerance and warmth that Christmas borrowed from gay Roman Saturnalia is with us still.
Jesus is a god of love, even if some of his followers forget that.
As the pagans in the fourth century fought to preserve their ways and festivals, one of them made an eloquent plea to a Christian Emperor. It serves just as well for a Christmas message:
‘We gaze up at the same stars; the sky covers us all; the same universe encompasses us. Does it matter what practical system we adopt in our search for the Truth? The heart of so great a mystery cannot be reached by following one road only.’