LGBTQ inclusion in Christmas movies feels all wrong


The big gay news this holiday season is that both Lifetime and Hallmark — those veritable factories of seasonal, feel-good movies — have made the move to include same-sex romantic storylines in a couple of their Christmas movies.

The two holiday offerings, Hallmark’s “The Christmas House” and Lifetime’s “The Christmas Setup,” have generated no small amount of enthusiasm, telling by the clickbait-y articles on them that include details about out, queer screenwriters and cast members.

And God knows, given how long LGBTQ activists and the community in general have fought for better representation everywhere — including on TV and movie screens — this should count as an epic leap forward. Now we’ve broken down one more barrier, moving into traditional turf once seen as inherently straight. I know I should be celebrating.

So why am I only seeing dark clouds, when everything should be rainbows and light? Why is my stomach churning, rather than my heart warming? Why have I frantically emailed my doctor, asking that my antidepressant dosage be cranked to the max?

Sometimes the most obvious answer is the correct one: these movies are bad — and not in an interesting way, just nonironically dreadful. And I say this as someone who has “Showgirls” and “Valley of the Dolls” posters framed and up on my wall — they don’t even qualify as groan-worthy camp. These Christmas movies are perhaps best described as porn movies with the sex scenes removed.

But LGBTQ entry into the seasonal-movie industrial complex is unnerving for another reason. I can still recall a time when queers were marginal, banished from the realm of good taste and respectability. We were forced underground, either resisting in the nonmainstream trenches or creating our own distinct stealth code to transmit a message. We were once seen as dangerous — and while that sometimes carried a price, it also made our art exciting and stimulating.