YR fairbanks Grimes Mariah Tessa HW

Howard Wise/JPI

“Your hearts are filled with love and resilience.” 

If there’s one thing that The Young and the Restless‘ Mariah and Tessa have proven since first they fell for one another, it’s the truth behind the words “love is love.” And though the couple have faced their fair share of tests, they’ve managed to stay together, earning themselves a passionately devoted fan base along the way.

The love viewers have for both the couple and their portrayers, Cait Fairbanks and Camryn Grimes, goes both ways. And on Lesbian Visibility Day, Tessa’s portrayer took to Instagram to express just how much she appreciated “the wonderful LGBTQIA community that [has] been so supportive of Teriah and the graciousness and patience they’ve had.

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“As an ally,” she continued, “hearing your stories at fan events, shows and talking online has completely changed my life and the way I play this character. It has not been your job to teach me about your experience, but you’ve given it to me anyway because your hearts are filled with love and resilience I’ve been inspired by endlessly.”

After admitting she felt “so incredibly honored to play a complex female on television; that’s a very rare gift,” Fairbanks went on to express how grateful she was to do so “alongside one of the most generous actresses, Camryn Grimes. Thank you for everything. Without you, this experience wouldn’t be possible at all.”

What followed was an outpouring of love from devotees. “Thank you for representing us so perfectly with your amazing talent,” wrote patch33. “It means so much to me to have you as an ally. You’ve got a fan for life in whatever you do.”

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Isabella_bruder echoed that sentiment. “As a young person, watching Tessa over the years has changed my life in the most positive and beautiful way. I’m forever grateful to you for bringing this character to life and always showing you care.”

Sadly, it’s worth noting that Mariah and Tessa are currently the only gay or lesbian couple to be prominently featured on any of the daytime soaps. That wasn’t always the case, and perhaps looking back at some of the popular pairings from the past featured in the photo gallery below will remind daytime’s power brokers that “boy meets girl” isn’t how every love story begins.