MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss history: Same-sex, gay, and lesbian kisses on show (VIDEO).

How the MTV Movie Awards’ Best Kiss Helped Young People Embrace Same-Sex Intimacy

How the MTV Movie Awards’ Best Kiss Helped Young People Embrace Same-Sex Intimacy

Outward
Expanding the LGBTQ Conversation
April 10 2015 12:16 PM

The MTV Movie Awards’ Best Kiss Category and TV’s Embrace of Same-Sex Intimacy

150410_OUT_MTVAwards
Selma Blair kisses Sarah Michelle Gellar at the 2000 MTV Movie Awards.

Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images.

Best Kiss is everyone’s favorite MTV Movie Awards category, but starting in 1998, it began to take on a new lease of life. That year, when I was 11 and tuning in from my parents' living room, I saw something I didn’t expect—it was the first time I remember watching two men share a romantic kiss.

In the video above, watch how the same-sex kiss became an institution at the awards, roping in straight guys, Marvel superheroines, and even, occasionally, characters who were actually gay. On a celebratory platform favored by young viewers, Best Kiss quietly became an important symbolic outlet for normalizing images of same-sex intimacy.

Jeffrey Bloomer is a Slate associate editor and video producer.

Daniel Hubbard is a writer, editor, and director living in New York City.