Hallmark Stars Who Are Proud Members Of The LGBTQIA Community

When you think of wholesome television content, Hallmark is surely at the top of your mental list. With its regular movie and series programming and holiday-themed content, it's become a family staple for many people all year round. The Hallmark channel is not only an expert in crafting the perfect stories that are guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes during any season, but they are also leading the charge with making their content friendly for the entire family; which includes the LGBTQIA community.

Although not many TV networks are taking up the mantle to make their content more inclusive, Hallmark is geared toward making a positive difference in the way queer people and couples are portrayed in the media. There are actually a lot of queer Hallmark stars who are loud and proud about their sexuality and use it to drive the inclusion conversation forward, not just by starring in pro-LGBTQIA movies, but also by producing and directing them as well.

Jonathan Bennett feels Hallmark allows him to be authentically queer

The Hallmark channel boasts of its original, family-oriented movies and shows which celebrate love from all walks of life, including queer people. There are quite a number of Hallmark stars that are proud members of the LGBTQIA community, some of whom you definitely know.

You may know Jonathan Bennett as the man-candy and bone of contention from "Mean Girls," and from various Hallmark movies such as "Wedding Of A Lifetime" and "Christmas House." What you might not know is that Bennett is openly gay and even starred in the first queer-led Hallmark movie, "The Holiday Sitter." However, it wasn't always this easy for him as a gay actor in Hollywood. The "Love at First Glance" star told Out that at the beginning of his career, he'd been told to keep his sexuality a secret.

Now, however, he has the freedom to express himself. "Hallmark Channel has created a safe space for me as a queer filmmaker to tell stories, and there's no better place than that when you are a queer artist in the industry telling stories." Bennett affirmed his interest in forging content that everyone can relate to and carry with them. "To be a part of this movement that is making sure that the people watching these amazing Christmas movies feel like they're represented on-screen . . . is so important."

Ali Liebert is flexing her directing muscles with Hallmark's new queer film

Ali Liebert is another queer Hallmark star that is using her voice to make space for queer representation. The "A Gift To Remember" actor put her movie-directing chops to the test with Hallmark's GLAAD-nominated movie "The Holiday Sitter." Liebert told GO that she wants to see more LGBTQIA representation in the media. "As I move forward as a producer and hopefully director, I'm focusing on — really taking the opportunity to create queer content."

Although most of us are excited and supportive of Hallmark's support for on-screen queer representation, not everyone is on the same boat and Liebert witnessed the pushback firsthand. When she shared an on-screen kiss with her co-star Lyndie Greenwood in "Every Time A Bell Rings," some people found it offensive and left nasty comments on the movie's trailer. However, not even the haters could rain on Liebert's parade because she focused on what really matters — the massive support and the opportunity to inspire other queer people. The actor told CBC Radio: "I have been overwhelmed with the love and positive comments as well that I have been receiving from folks all over the world who have been watching the movie and feeling so excited that this storyline is in a Hallmark Christmas movie."

Jake Foy leads an LGBTQIA Hallmark series

Queer representation with Hallmark isn't limited to just feature films, but also TV shows as well and Jake Foy stands front and center. The charismatic performer stars as Tuff McMurray, a gay cowboy in Hallmark's "Ride," which he describes to Pop Culturalist as an "enriching" experience. Foy expressed his satisfaction that Tuff's sexuality isn't a central plot device and the character doesn't have to suffer familial ostracization and rejection because of it. 

The actor also hopes Tuff finds a way to juggle his personal hobbies with his love life in the coming seasons. "One of the greatest joys I've experienced is balancing love for my career and my calling in the world with another person," he explained. "If we're able to watch Tuff wrestle with that, it would set a lovely, lovely precedent for a lot of young people, gay or not. That would mean a lot to me."

For Luke Macfarlane, we could all use a little more love in the world

"Maggie's Miracle Christmas" actor Luke Macfarlane was surprised his queer status would ever land him a gig. He was cast alongside Billy Eichner for the 2022 gay romantic comedy titled "Bros." Speaking to Page Six, the Hallmark star said: "I came out almost 17 years ago and I never thought it would actually get me a job but it turned out that it did."

The actor also believes that Hallmark is on the right track with depicting real LGBTQIA love on-screen because it replenishes the waning affection between people in the real world. "People watch Hallmark and Hallmark is successful because there is a lack of romance in our culture, there's a lack of love, we've become a little bit cynical," he said. "People watch Hallmark on repeat because they want to watch people fall in love and I think we've kind of forgotten that."

Donia Kash made history as the first openly non-binary actor in a Hallmark movie

When Donia Kash stepped onto the Hallmark scene, they became the first non-binary actor to star in any of the network's movies with "The Secrets of Bella Vista." An achievement like this is a big win for the LGBTQIA community and for queer actors who need to know that they can and should take up space in the industry. For Kash, the journey from pre-production to actually shooting was a great experience because of how respectful everyone was to their identity, right down to using the right pronouns.

The Persian actor affirmed via Diva Magazine the importance of other non-binary people seeing themselves in a place of love. "The opportunity to play Suzette in 'The Secrets of Bella Vista' taught my hard shell of a heart that I am moving through this particular world that easily expresses love and the importance of family on the screen," Kash stated. "To allow the queer community see themselves thriving out there in this world."

George Krissa is glad to see queer people in wholesome, seasonal films

George Krissa joined Jonathan Bennett to star in Hallmark's first gay-led feature film, "A Holiday Sitter." Speaking to CBC Arts, Krissa talked about how the movie is sure to bring up joyous feelings about the holiday season to anyone who watches. The actor also delved into the reason why making movies that make people happy and where everyone is represented is needed. "I would have loved to see this as a kid, to see everyone's accepted and that their families love them," he said. "And, it's really, really special to be part of it."

The "Coroner" star applauds Hallmark for its underrated efforts in making sure that the LGBTQIA community can watch wholesome, heartwarming movies and actually see themselves being portrayed in a way that doesn't bring trauma and chaos. "If you watch the Countdown to Christmas this year, there's LGBTQ folks all over the place," Krissa shared. "And what's really wonderful in what they're doing is that they're not making a big deal out of it."

It is clear that Hallmark's intentionality about achieving more diversity in its media is reflected in the creative freedom enjoyed by its queer actors.