From Avalance to Raymond/Kevin, there were many LGBTQ+ ships this year that shined bright enough to end up on our favorite LGBTQ+ ships of 2021 list. Plenty of them got their happy ending and we saw a wedding or two….or four. And some had to work harder at their relationship than they’d ever done in their lives. But at the end of it all, it paid off and we got to see these LGBTQ+ couples thrive and become the kind of representation we want to see more of.
Here are our favorite LGBTQ+ ships of 2021!
Alex and Kelly deserve to be on this ships of the year list because of the home they built together. And we’re talking physical, emotion, and familial. They built a safe space where they could be unapologetically themselves, hero suits and all. And they upped it by creating this emotional bond that lifted the other up while holding each other accountable for the actions they took in life. Then they brought Esme into the mix and grew their family while giving this young child the home that she’d always wanted, in turn, giving the queer community watching them a home in this relationship, bond, and family.
Mo and Perry, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
Mo and Perry are the kind of relationship we rarely see on TV, two POC in a loving, mature, adult relationship that yes, sometimes has its issues, but that is about more than those issues. There’s a joy to the two of them being together, a sense …not of belonging, but of finding a place for yourself that you never thought you could occupy, and then realizing that place is more suited to you than you would have ever believed. A true partner is someone who walks besides you, but also someone who always makes sure you hold yourself accountable, and that’s what these two do for each other.
Wayhaught, Wynonna Earp
Waverly and Nicole are what great LGBTQ ships are made of. They’re also everything that we’ve been asking for ages through fanfiction created by an audience ready to see themselves doing normal things on screen. And sure, Waverly was part Angel and Nicole was the protector a demon-riddled town. But that didn’t stop them from being just a normal couple. They teased, joked, talked, cuddled, fought for each other, stayed for the ups and downs, and oh did they have sex. The last one isn’t a deal-breaker but it was so riveting watching that part of their life be just as normal as the rest of it all. Because they are normal. And we need more of that.
Peter and Nick, Single All the Way
Peter and Nick had a relationship built on friendship that blossomed into something beautiful. Seriously, they had the makings of a grand romance grounded in mutual respect, kindness, compassionate, and giving. And when it really came down to it, when they were being tested, they chose each other, not because they were the last option. They were each others first. They just didn’t know it until the option opened up in front of them. And even then, when it was on the brink of collapsing, they treated each other with kindness and the respect they had earned in for each other over years.
Avalance, Legends of Tomorrow
Sara and Ava are very different women. But that difference of leading, living, and loving has led them to where they are today: married and happy to take on the universe’s biggest threats at each others side. And what a journey it has been. They were enemies at first, on the opposite sides of the law…or well, time law. Then they were hesitant friends who turned into occasional lovers. And God were they afraid. They both hadn’t experienced something like this before. But they put the work in, took their time, and ended up becoming one of the strongest couples on TV and then some.
Captain Raymond Holt & Kevin Cozner, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
There’s no one quite as romantic as Raymond and Kevin. Seriously, who gets an arc like they did? One that feels real, warranted, and ripped from the headlines during the last two years? These two do. That’s the answer. Even the work they put into getting back to a place where they felt like they could work on their relationship felt real. And don’t even get us started on the running in the rain scene. That was pure romance novel goodness and it was made even more special because it was a relationship between two men we rarely get to see on TV expressing their love and cementing their future.
Angel and Papi, Pose
Pose‘s Angel and Papi were THE fairytale romance. That’s not to say that they never had their struggles. They struggled with what they wanted, what they feared, and the world they lived in. But every roadblock thrown their way just made them stronger in the end. They brought warmth and love to a show already filled with so much care, and we loved seeing them get their happily-ever-after from their family to their wedding and every adventure that they have ahead of them.
Rue Bennett and Jules Vaughn, Euphoria
The thing that makes Jules and Rues relationship one we love is how much they love each other. These two girls give their all and they love hard. They’ve never judged each other and love each other for who they are. We want great things for these two and we are well aware they have some things to work through. If you watched each of their special episodes then you know they’re going through a lot.
Tarlos, 9-1-1: Lonestar
On other shows, TK and Carlos might just have been a token couple. 9-1-1: Lone Star, however, treats them as what they are, one of the main OTPs in the show. That means the ups and downs, the sex scenes and yes, even the love confessions in the midst of grave danger, because this is a procedural about first responders. But the couple, who have chemistry in spades, has never been just about checking a box. In fact, they’ve gotten to be just another couple, living their life, and that’s incredibly refreshing. Just as refreshing as that? The fact that this couple is played by two queer actors – Rafael L. Silva, who plays Carlos, has been out for a while, and Ronen Rubenstein, who plays T.K. came out as bisexual earlier this year.
Lily and Ola, Sex Education
Lily and Ola are proof that things don’t have to be what others expect them to be, and you don’t have to live your life, or your relationships, to satisfy anyone but yourself. And though they had a rough time of it in the latest season of Sex Education, the important part is that they didn’t give up on each other, and despite their differences, and the frustrations those differences might have caused, they never judged each other. Their relationship, bumps and all, has always been about mutual support and understanding. On a show where everyone’s trying to figure out not just who they are, but where they belong, Lily and Ola at least know they want to be together. That’s a leg up on …well, most people.
**Thank you to Lizzie and Shana for their contributions to this list.