The cast of The Bi Life / Image via E!
Is reality television becoming increasingly LGBTQ-friendly?
It seems reality tv has come a long way. We’ve already talked about how LGBTQ people are thriving in positive reality television, but it seems the typical dating programs, that were once the bad lands for LGBTQ life, are also becoming more inclusive too.
As Telegraph reminds us, there was a large LGBTQ controversy in the reality tv world in 2004. At a first glance, the show There’s Something About Miriam seemed like many others. A bunch of contestents tried to win the heart of a picture-perfect model. But it was then revealed as a final twist that Miriam was trans. After finding out, the participants sued Sky One and production company Brighter Pictures for “conspiracy to commit sexual assault.”
Then you fast forward to today, and you see several dating shows with LGBTQ people on it. Last year, E! Entertainment debuted the Bi Life with RuPaul’s Drag Race and Big Brother star Courtney Act as the host. In that show, several bisexual people socialized and dated in Barcelona.
The focus on the Bi Life was more on the friendships and relationships that formed. In addition, the show spotlighted life as a bisexual person. Mariella talked about being considered straight unless she was in a gay club. Many of the girls revealed that they’ve never met an openly bisexual man. And even one contestant, Daisy, showed suspicion when on a date with one of the men.
“The only thing that kind of niggles in my brain would be like, ah, and this probably sounds insecure, but, ‘Is he looking at guys, is he looking at girls?’” she said.
Sean and Chris from “Shipwrecked” / Image via Channel 4
But as eye-opening as that show was, it wasn’t the only one of late. Channel 4 released a show called Shipwrecked, which included a blossoming gay romance. At first, Tiger islander Chris showed no interest in romance on the competition and dating show. But when new arrival Sean joined the program, all of that changed. Chris was seen talking with other guys on his island about making moves on Sean just as the others discussed flirting with girls. There was something beautiful about that normalcy in conversation.
Then there’s this year’s Are You The One. MTV’s annual dating show was changed into a program sexually-fluid participants this year. This led to the wonderful introduction of scenes like trans member Kai flirting with cast member Jenna and taking his routine testosterone shots in front of her.
“I lived the first 20-something years of my life as a completely different person, and now I’m in a new frame of mind, I’m in a new body, I’ve got a brand new $10,000 chest!” said Kai in the diary room after the conversation.
This relationship and conversation is grandly different then the “gotcha” plot twist presented more than a decade ago on There’s Something About Miriam. It shows the levels of evolution that reality dating shows have undergone in the past few years. Then there are even more dating shows with LGBTQ people like Naked Attraction, Netflix’s Dating Around, and even Logo’s failed Finding Prince Charming.
It seems reality television is becoming more and more LGBTQ by the day, and, no matter your thoughts on reality television, that’s pretty great.