In the mood for love? These five iconic queer love stories will open, break, and melt your heart.
– KEYS SOULCARE
Repeat after us: Love is love is love is love. While we love seeing queer and non-binary romance IRL, we always enjoy watching them play out in books, movies, and music. From summer trysts set against majestic landscapes, to deeply intimate accounts told through music and poetry, to human connections preserved in films that set our own hearts on fire, these love stories struck us from the moment we first saw them — and still do today. (Stand for love? We’re betting you’ll stan these picks, too.)
1. Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons by Marilyn Hacker
The 1986 poetry collection chronicles two women enveloped in a year-long affair. Marilyn Hacker takes us on cab rides and phone calls, baring all the intimate moments between these lovers. Spend some time — or, in our case, the wee hours — taking in the entirety of their relationship, from the thrill of the chase, to one heartbreaking goodbye.
2. Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman
Thecoming-of-age novel follows a budding summer romance between teenager Elio and older love interest Oliver, set against the backdrop of an idyllic Italian landscape. (The 2017 film is a visually stunning adaptation.) Tune into their attraction that’s portrayed through other relationships, life choices that stand to tear them apart, and everything in between. Like them, prepare to become so entangled in their story that you’ll leave it shaken to the core.
3. Frank Ocean’s open letter in advance of Channel Orange
The R&B phenom’s 2012 open letter, in which he bravely shared his bisexuality with the world, paved the way for inclusivity in the music genre. Channel Orange — inspired by his male first love — blurred the lines between masculine and feminine. Frank Ocean’s tender admission, in the form of a Tumblr post that was intended to be “liner notes” for the album, made the yearning in “Thinkin’ Bout You” all the more meaningful. We embraced his vulnerability with open arms.
4. The Final Scene of Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Forbidden desire and artistic passion ignite a most memorable love affair. Picture this: It’s the 18th century in France; Héloïse is the subject of a wedding portrait and Marianne the painter. Their time spent is fleeting, but their love is forever preserved in a literal passion piece. The closing scene — in which Marianne secretly watches Héloïse lost in memory as an orchestra powers through Vivaldi’s Four Seasonsclassical music masterpiece —made our hearts beat fast and ache all at the same time.
5. Collapsed in Sunbeams by Arlo Parks
Arlo Parks recently penned an album of mellow, intimate songs about teenage angst, heartbreak, and unrequited love. Parks shines a spotlight on beauty that lies not in its tragedy, but in underlying notes of hope. In “Green Eyes,” she sings to an ex-girlfriend: “Some of these folks wanna make you cry / But you gotta trust how you feel insi-i-i-ide / And shi-i-ine, and shi-i-i-ne.” (And yes, it sounds even better in person.)
When was the last time you got lost in a great romance? Share your recs in the comments!