Love Island: Where’s The Gay?

Love Island: Where’s The Gay?

Love Island has grown to become one of the most watched reality TV show across the UK and US. Boasting a strong 4.5 million viewers per season, Love Island is a British dating reality TV show.

Herein, there is a group of contestants or commonly Islanders. They live in isolation from the outside world in a villa in Mallorca and are under constant video surveillance. To survive the show and win the 50,000 cash prize, they must be coupled with another islander. They must re-couple every few weeks or so where they can swap or stay with their current significant others. Besides this, they have to complete tasks that push at their intellectual and physical aspects. Island: Where's The Gay?

However, according to a research conducted Ipsos Mori, a majority of the Gen Z i.e those born from 1996 – 2010, identified as Queer or belonging to the LGBTQ+ community. This isn’t a shocker considering the surge in information and awareness of the same. Around 54% of UK’s Gen Z tuned in last year to watch Love Island’s finale.

While speaking of such numbers with such awareness, we come to wonder;

Why isn’t there Queer representation in Love Island?

Though the show claims that it’s open to just about anyone, the show sticks to its heterosexual structure. The 2019 show has already begun with its first episode on 3rd June. And ofcourse, there hasn’t been any different to the structure with 5  eager women lining up for the men to choose their pick.

In a past series, however, the world witnessed a bisexual couple. Sophie Gradon, who has since passed away, and her love Katie Salmon made history.  They were receiving love and support from fans, but that didn’t bring about enough change for the show.

Related: What It’s Really Like To Be A Bisexual Girl Island: Where's The Gay?
Sophie Gradon and Katie Salmon

Love Island producer Richard Cowles, shared insight to his views. He said that an LGBTQ+ show is a definite possibility but it would have to be its own separate and dedicated show.

A former Islander, Megan Hanson, recently claimed that she had lost space on the show due to her openly accepting that she is a bisexual. “I was super open and said I feel like I’m more into girls, but I think that’s what put them off,” she said of her audition experience to Digital Spy. When she applied the second time around in 2018, she got in. “In Love Island, I already felt I had a stigma attached to me because of being a stripper. I didn’t want to like add to it by revealing I like girls as well!” Island: Where's The Gay?
Megan Hanson love island

ITV met backlash last year when one of the show’s bosses said that LGBTQ+ contestants should not bother applying. He went on stating that the format of the TV show didn’t allow for it.

We agree that having gay and straight people in the same house would result in straight people making straight choices and gay people choosing likewise. What would a 100% gay person do in a 100% straight house?.

In such a case you’d need an all same-sex household. However, the show believes that people are likely to watch a heterosexual connection.

How do we overcome this?

Simple, Bisexuals. People who swing both ways. We see nothing wrong with having a household of straights and bisexual people. This would be given openness for a new sense of fun, wherein there is more inclusion to the different sexualities.

But ofcourse this comes with its own set of battles with people doubting the “true” intentions of the bisexual. Katie Salmon, one the bisexuals in the previous series, said that she felt like her sexuality was heavily in doubt.

There somehow remains a double standard within media. It confines those of the bisexual community into a box, spinning the legitimate attraction between two people as nothing significant. They continuously blame it on “experimenting” until the bisexual finds the right man or women for them. Island: Where's The Gay?
Courtesy – Queer Voices

What’s more annoying than any other, is the fact that there is a large demand for more sexuality inclusion, yet, with no progress.

So the facts play for themselves. There exists a core audience for the show that actively engages in a queer lifestyle, actively supports any same-sex attractions on the show and have readily given embrace to the show. Why then, are producers giving a blind eye to the existence of bisexual people?

It’s difficult to say that shows are completely anti-gay, but with such a lack of recreation, we can easily say that shows aren’t doing all that they can to support the community. We hope in the coming years we see more representation on this TV show.

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