After a suggestion on this similar question, I've made a change. All the answers for that question were focused on written stories, none on video or film.

So I removed that part of the question so it could be focused on specifically, since the two are different. Mores have changed throughout centuries. At one point same sex relationships might not have been an issue, but by limiting the question to video and film, that puts it more in line with contemporary mores. Also, if you're dealing with American media, for example, that means there are issues like the Hayes code and network censorship, which were not issues for print media.

Which means this question is only about visual media, specifically film and television.

Within that restriction (works done only for film and television), when was the first same sex relationship in science fiction or fantasy?

  • 2
    NOTE: Please don't post Xena/Gabrielle answers. There are earlier examples. Feb 11, 2012 at 5:21
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    @DVK: Thank you -- I didn't think of that. Another point is that the producers stated they intentionally kept that relationship ambiguous because they didn't want to commit to it being one way or the other.
    – Tango
    Feb 11, 2012 at 5:26
  • does the question limit itself to "mainstream" movies/TV shows? There were plenty of exploitation and outright porn SciFi/Fantasy works in the last decades, but I feel that's cheating. Feb 11, 2012 at 5:35
  • Well, if your sister made a movie and showed it in three coffee houses and at a party thrown by your aunt Margie, that won't count. But if, by "not mainstream" you mean porn, I think it'd be appropriate to include mainline answers and porn if possible.
    – Tango
    Feb 11, 2012 at 5:37
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    Google "pre-code homosexuality". Here's a good example of discussion, with some fantasy/horror references: filmreference.com/encyclopedia/Criticism-Ideology/…
    – dubiousjim
    Dec 6, 2013 at 0:02

5 Answers 5


In film: Roger Vadim's 1960 Et mourir de plaisir (US: Blood and Roses) is a retelling of the novella Carmilla (1872), which concerned a same-sex relationship between a female vampire and a young woman. Although other film versions of Carmilla had been made, this was the first version that did not hide the same-sex nature of the relationship.

Then in 1970 Roy Ward Baker's The Vampire Lovers re-told the same story, this time with explicit lesbian sexuality. Notably this film actually had a decent cast, with Peter Cushing and Kate O'Mara.

So either 1960 or 1970 would be the first occurence in film, depending on how you want to look at the question.

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    Thank you for something that had absolutely nothing to do with American media!
    – Tango
    Feb 11, 2012 at 17:15

Wild Palms was a TV mini-series aired in 1993, which featured virtual reality. The characters Tully Woiwode and Tommy Lazlo were gay.

If you're including animated TV, in Dragonball (and later Dragon Ball Z), General Blue is gay, although only in the Japanese (original) version (this was edited out for Western audiences).

Sailor Moon (1992-1997) also had several homosexual characters (e.g. Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus) - again this is changed for American audiences (Neptune and Uranus are now cousins).

Dracula's Daughter, from 1936, has a lot of lesbian overtones, and apparently early drafts made this quite explicit (although I don't think there was a 'relationship'). Although this was toned down in the final version, it's still quite apparent.

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    I'm not positive that these are the earliest, BTW. I am positive that you should be looking outside of the USA.
    – Tony Meyer
    Feb 11, 2012 at 9:57
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    For first 3, Were they merely "gay orientation" or did they have relationship depicted on screen as the scope of the question indicates? Feb 11, 2012 at 13:08

SciFi TV: Talia and Ivanova — Babylon 5, S2 (1995)

Fantasy TV: A tie between Willow and Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (S5E16: The Body, 2/27/2001) and Xena: Warrior Princess (However, the latter didn't have an explicit relationship, so as per OP, doesn't count).

Fantasy Movies: The Hunger (1983) [ though you may quibble that there was no "relationship"? ]. I don't count Dracula's Daughter from 1936 because it wasn't overt homosexuality.

Wiki lists some more movies, but nothing that seems to jump out as a good example.

  • I thought Talia and Ivanova were the first on TV, but I wasn't sure.
    – Tango
    Feb 11, 2012 at 5:35

There was also the DS9 episode "Rejoined" that aired October 30, 1995 (so it's close)

But this is actually a really interesting question as to whether it qualifies as a same-sex relationship. The episode's about Jadzia Dax encountering a former mate. For those who aren't familiar with DS9, Jadzia Dax is a Trill and as such is actually a symbiotic pair of two organisms - the Trill symbiant and the Trill host. It's a little like the arrangement in Stargate: SG1 except obviously the Trill aren't intergalactic totalitarian power hungry despots. The Trill symbiants tend to live much longer than their hosts - barring a disease or disaster that would kill the symbiant through trauma, they tend to survive through about 10 hosts. But statistically, so many joined Trill end up in situations where the symbiant can't be saved that not all that many make it past 6 or 7 hosts - so the ones that do are considered to have really "been around the block". Jadzia is just such a host.

But the crux here is that Dax encounters a former mate - Lenara - who she was married to when she "was a man" (her host, Torias, was a man), and Lenara was "Tolani" (a woman). Torias died in a shuttle accident and Tolani went on as a widow. Tolani eventually died and the symbiant moved on to Lenara, but all of the memories and emotions are shared. It's one of the central aspects of this episode that the organization in the Trill government that dictates the policies of joined Trills specifically forbids / frowns upon Trills interacting with former mates or people they knew in their former life. It's a very imperfect policy, what with hundreds or thousands of joined Trills running around, it could prove difficult to avoid encountering former husbands, wives or even children.

But Jadzia and Lenara strike up their old flame for awhile. So this might count as a same-sex relationship.

  • tend to survive through about 10 hosts - there is no known upper limit, at least in the tv series. It's just that Jadzia was and Ezri were the 8th and 9th hosts, with a 10th in an alternate timeline and a different 10th that was only for a single episode.
    – Izkata
    Feb 11, 2012 at 23:15

In the US, the Hayes Code banned movies which showed "4. Any inference of sex perversion". This meant that in the US, at least, any movie that dealt with homosexuality would be treated as pornography and banned from theaters. Code words for homosexuality in book and movie titles included "twilight", "third sex" and "strange". I am not aware of any library with a collection of old porn, but if you were looking for American "firsts" that would be the place to look. I can't find the reference this morning, but I remember coming across references (while researching a term paper) to some early (1920s to early 30s) German films that we'd recognize today as "fantasy" that had some same sex relationships. I remember some of them having been destroyed (along with the studios) except for a few stills by the Nazis as "degenerate". Many would not count as fantasy though.

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