this kiss

Your conservative relative’s favorite TV show just featured a gay kiss and OMG

Four adults in Western clothing sit on a porch and look out over their ranch land.
Image Credit: “Yellowstone,’ Paramount

We at Queerty can admit to living in our own little gay bubble at times, which is probably why we only ever hear about Yellowstone when it makes headlines for being “the most popular drama on TV.” To which we say, “Wait, really?” Who’s watching that?! Certainly no one we talk to!”

It’s no secret that the Paramount Network series—a melodrama about a powerful ranch family in Montana—is a massive ratings hit, especially in America’s heartland, despite being largely ignored by the “very online” queer audiences who would rather dissect every frame of The White Lotus: Sicily.

In other words, with all of its blue-collar cowboy bravado (and not the homoerotic kind), Yellowstone‘s just not necessarily a show that felt like it was for us, you know?

Related: Sam Elliott goes on epic rant trashing “piece of sh*t” gay movie ‘Power of the Dog’

But that’s exactly what makes a small, gay moment in the drama’s latest episode so shocking. Yes, in its winter finale, “The Dream Is Not Me,” Yellowstone featured a kiss between two women—a proper lesbian smooch! Blink and you may have missed it, but that doesn’t make the moment any less significant.

For some context, the scene in question occurs when our protagonists, the Dutton family, head to the local fair. John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is now the Governor of Montana, and has to be mindful of what he says and does in public, which is why his fling, Summer (Piper Perabo), brushes him off—what will people say? But, as John reminds her, his own press advisor is sitting right behind them, making out with someone!

Cut to: Gubernatorial assistant Clara (Lilly Kay) locking lips with a butch queen in a flannel button-up and a cowboy hat. Yeehaw!

Two women in Western clothing kiss on a blanket at a county fair
Image Credit: “Yellowstone,’ Paramount via Justin Kirkland/Jezebel

And that’s it, really. No further comment is made, and—to John Dutton’s point—no one seems to mind that these two ladies are making out in public. It’s just your run-of-the-mill PDA—but make it gay!

Now, Yellowstone is far from the first show to feature a gay kiss, and this is ultimately just a small blip in the growing expanse of LGBTQ+ representation in media. But there’s something to be said about how casually it’s introduced, especially for a show with major viewership in Red States and among conservative audiences. The kiss is no big deal, which is precisely why it could help normalize queer inclusion in the eyes of people who may otherwise by exposed to Fox News’ casual homophobia and other fear-mongering folk out to label queer people as “groomers.”

And who’s to say there won’t be more where that came from? As Jezebel points out, Clara and her mystery lover aren’t even the first women we’ve seen on Yellowstone, though this is the first bit of queer romance shown on the series. And, maybe, when the show returns in 2023, we’ll get to learn even more about Clara, her queerness, and how she manages to get by in this very heteronormative world.

Well, what can we say, Yellowstone. You’ve intrigued us. And maybe now we’ll have to tune in ourselves. (After we finish our re-watch of The White Lotus, of course.)

Related: Howdy, partner: 12 queer cowboy movies that prove Westerns have always been gay AF

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