Hallmark releases its first-ever Christmas film featuring a gay lead couple.
Hallmark Channel had faced criticism for lack of diversity in their movies in the past.
So it decided to air its first same-sex wedding earlier this year, in the film Wedding Every Weekend, which debuted in August.
And now, it has released its first-ever Christmas romance film featuring a gay couple.
The film, The Christmas House, premiered on Nov. 22. It follows Brandon (Mean Girls star Jonathan Bennett) and his husband Jake (Brad Harder) as they try to adopt their first child.
While visiting Brandon's parents for the holidays, the couple spends the time anxiously awaiting a call about their adoption.
Speaking about the film, Bennett said:
My agent called and said, 'Hey, you're doing a new movie for Hallmark. I got this offer.'
I said, 'Oh, great.' Like all the other offers from Hallmark, I'm like, 'Awesome. Who's my girl? Like, is it gonna be, is it Lacey (Chabert)? Is it Danica (McKellar)? Who is it?' And they're like, they go, 'Jake.'
And my jaw hit the ground.
I was so excited because I've been part of the Hallmark family for a long time. But with this movie, it is the first time I feel like I get to play a character that's more authentically me, to who I am.
This Definitely is a Huge Step for the Channel
In an interview with NBC News, Bennett explained:
I'm proud of everyone at Hallmark Channel for making the holiday table bigger and more welcoming and warmer this year.
What I love about the characters in the movie is that we aren't caricatures or stereotypes.
We are two loving, stable, kind men who are in love and want to start a family of our own.
Many fans have been looking forward to LGBT+ characters in Hallmark films for years.
Bennett hopes the LGBTQ community will now be proud of the representation in The Christmas House.
Representation is important, but correct representation is more important.
Not just for viewers who may not interact or accept LGBTQ people, but it's also important for LGBTQ people to see themselves in media.
Michelle Vicary, Hallmark Channel's executive vice president of programming, also said in a statement:
Our holiday table is bigger and more welcoming than ever.
This year's movies reflect our most diverse representation of talent, narratives, and families.
The Film Has Already Been a Big Hit with Fans
Taking to social media, many fans are expressing their excitement to see Hallmark airing a film featuring a gay couple.
One fan said:
As a gay couple hoping to also be a family of three next year, this one is tugging at our heartstrings right now.
To all the people saying they're boycotting Hallmark for finally having some LGBTQ+ representation, stop using the 'It's a family channel' argument. Because guess what? Gay people ALSO have families, so it's STILL A FAMILY CHANNEL.