Hallmark promises LGBT+ Christmas films are on the way after its painfully heterosexual reveal of new titles

Hallmark LGBT characters Christmas

Hallmark has announced details of 18 new Christmas films – and while none have LGBT+ lead characters, the company has promised that change is on the way.

Hallmark’s parent company Crown Media announced the 18 new Christmas titles yesterday (15 July) and will announce a further 22 festive films for the 2020 holiday season.

And the company insists that there will be LGBT+ representation along the way.

Crown Media spokesperson George Zaralidis told PinkNews: “Yesterday we announced 18 movies of the estimated 40 holiday movies we will produce by year-end.

“Of those 40, I can confirm that we will include LGBT+ storylines, characters and actors. We are in active negotiations and look forward to announcing more details when we can.”

LGBT+ fans have been crying out for a queer-themed Hallmark Christmas movie for some time.

Hallmark Christmas films are widely loved for their charming – if somewhat samey – storylines about successful women relocating to small towns at Christmas time where they discover true love, as well as the holiday spirit.

But Hallmark has not yet made a Christmas film with LGBT+ lead characters – and queer fans are crying out for one.

Zaralidis insisted that diversity and inclusion is a “top priority” for Hallmark and said they will be making “some exciting programming announcements in the coming months, including announcements about projects featuring LGBT+ storylines, characters and actors”.

He added: “We are committed to creating a Hallmark experience where everyone feels welcome.”

We are in active negotiations and look forward to announcing more details when we can.

If Hallmark airs an LGBT+ themed Christmas film this year, it will be the first time such an event will take place in the network’s history.

The traditionally conservative channel has tended to shy away from featuring LGBT+ lead characters in its original films.

However, last December, Hallmark CEO Bill Abbott told the Hollywood Reporter that he was “open” to LGBT+ representation in its Christmas line-up.

He made the comments following swift backlash from the LGBT+ community when it became clear that none of its 40 Christmas films for 2019 would feature a queer lead character.

The network’s CEO said they were ‘open’ to making Christmas films with LGBT+ lead characters last year.

Asked if the company had thought about “incorporating stories about same-sex couples at Christmas”, Abbott responded: “We’re open to really any type of movie of any type of relationship.”

Hallmark executive Michelle Vicary told The Wrap last year that the network was “continuing to expand” its diversity.

“We are looking at pitches for LGBT+ movies and we are looking to expand and represent the United States as a whole,” Vicary said.

Last year, Hallmark was forced to apologise after it removed a 30-second advert showing a lesbian kiss following fierce backlash from right-wing evangelical group One Million Moms.

The network later reinstated the advert and apologised for “the hurt and disappointment” it caused by pulling it in the first place.