Reality TV hasn't always been welcoming or particularly kind to queer and trans cast members, and that was even truer when it came to LGBTQ+ relationships. Things have changed with the times, thankfully, with both new and established reality shows now starting to feature all kinds of relationships on television.
When it comes to well-established dating shows like The Bachelor and Love Island, there is still a huge resistance from producers to include queer and trans cast members. And yet, certain contestants have managed to sneak in same-sex relationships even in those franchises. In the meantime, networks have been producing LGBTQ+ dating shows to make up for this general lack of diversity in other series.
Between LGBTQ-inclusive reality competitions and queer contestants that were featured in mostly straight-centric dating shows, there have certainly been a few iconic LGBTQ+ couples in the history of reality TV.
Scroll through to check out some of the most iconic LGBTQ+ showmances in reality TV history.
RuPaul's Drag Race season six runner-up appeared in the fourth season of MTV's Ex on the Beach. Viewers were initially interested in finding out more about her relationship with Jakk Maddox, but it didn't take long for that showmance to become an iconic trainwreck.
Amanda Grace & Hina Sabatine (12 Dates of Christmas)
The very LGBTQ-inclusive dating show 12 Dates of Christmas only lasted two seasons. However, viewers loved the fact that queer people were cast in leading roles. One of the most iconic couples in the series were Amanda Grace (lead) and Hina Sabatine (contestant). Though things did not end up well for them, this was a very refreshing couple to see on reality TV.
Photo: HBO Max
Kenneth Niedermeier & Armando Rubio (90 Day Fiancé: The Other Way)
Most fans of the 90 Day Fiance universe are in love with Kenneth Niedermeier and Armando Rubio as a couple. Given how many unlikable people are in that franchise, it is truly a feat that this gay couple has become such fan-favorites over the years. They initially met in the 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way spinoff.
Basit & Jonathan (Are You the One)
Jonathan spent a long time thinking that Basit wasn't his perfect match on Are You the One season eight. Basit kept insisting on it and, in the end, it turns out that Basit was right. Though this couple ultimately didn't work out, the dynamics between Jonathan and Basit were very interesting to watch.
Demi Burnett & Kristian Haggerty (Bachelor in Paradise)
A same-sex couple in The Bachelor franchise?? Yup! Demi Burnett broke the system by revealing she had feelings for a woman, Kristian Haggerty, who she had met prior to appearing on Bachelor in Paradise season six. Producers brought Haggerty into BiP, and she ended up proposing to Burnett by the end of the season.
Haley Grable & Brianna Murphy (Tampa Baes)
Reality TV fans who kept up with Tampa Baes on Amazon Prime Video had a blast getting to know this cast of queer women. The concept of the show was, on its own, pretty revolutionary... and one couple in particular, Haley Grable & Brianna Murphy, undeniably stood out among fans.
Photo: Amazon Prime Video
Jeff Perla and Alex Van Gurp (The One That Got Away)
Jeff Perla went into The One That Got Away with the mission of reconnecting with a person that he thought might've slipped through the cracks despite having the potential to be his soulmate. Over the course of this show on Amazon Prime Video, Perla's relationship with Alex Van Gurp was a treat for LGBTQ+ fans to watch.
The OG showmance of RuPaul's Drag Race was Manila Luzon and Sahara Davenport. Though they appeared in different seasons, they both talked about their long-term relationship and their deep love for each other. Unfortunately, Davenport passed away in 2012 at just 27 years of age.
Matt & Dan (Married At First Sight UK)
It took several years for the UK version of Married of First Sight to feature a same-sex relationship. When Matt and Dan were introduced in the series, the public absolutely fell in love with their connection.
Photo: Channel 4
Mike Mulderrig & Arisce Wanzer (Ex on the Beach)
One would be hard pressed to think of a dating show on a major network that featured a relationship between a trans woman and a bisexual guy, but that's exactly what happened in the fifth season of Ex on the Beach. Besides making history for their LGBTQ+ representation, it was a lot of fun to follow along as Arisce Wanzer and Mike Mulderrig attempted to figure out their relationship on the show.
Robert Sepúlveda Jr. & Eric Leonardos (Finding Prince Charming)
Logo TV's Finding Prince Charming was an attempt to create the gay version of The Bachelor. Let's keep it real: the show didn't work, and it was a mess from start to finish. With that said, this was still a pretty groundbreaking show for 2016, which makes the showmance between Robert Sepulveda Jr. and Eric Leonardos pretty iconic.
Photo: Logo TV
Alaska & Sharon Needles (RuPaul’s Drag Race)
During her time on season four of RuPaul's Drag Race, Sharon Needles talked about her boyfriend, Alaska, who was also a drag queen. In the following year, Alaska was cast on Drag Race season five. During their time together, Alaska and Needles were considered the most popular Drag Race showmance ever.
Drag Race producers tried for many years to make a showmance happen during the filming of a season. It took until season 11 for Vanessa Vanjie Mateo and Brooke Lynn Hytes to start some random kissy-kissy around the werkroom and admit that they were liking each other. That relationship didn't last very long outside of the werkroom, but it was still an exciting showmance for fans to keep up with at the time.
Vanessa Vanjie Mateo & Jack (Vanjie: 24 Hours of Love)
Though her relationship with Hytes didn't work out, Vanjie ended up getting her own dating show on WOW Presents Plus, Vanjie: 24 Hours of Love. The hilarious Miss Vanjie ended the season with Jack, who many viewers didn't expect to be a frontrunner until the very end of the season.
Photo: World of Wonder
Zoe & Jenna (Married At First Sight UK)
Another LGBTQ+ showmance that made reality TV history was Zoe and Jenna, who met on Married At First Sight UK. This was another case of a well-established dating competition finally listening to viewers and including a queer relationship along with their straight counterparts. During that season, Zoe and Jenna definitely had the attention of viewers.