The summer dating show returns 19 July


It was recently revealed that 24-year-old bisexual stylist Courtney Boernner will be entering the villa as part of the upcoming US series of Love Island, which returns on 19 July.

Telling E! News that she has had 19 plastic surgeries and couldn’t live without her vibrator, the new bombshell also mentioned that she has dated both men and women. Boerner said that she “loves a great personality” and that a green flag for her would be “if he’s emotionally intelligent”. 

The summer phenomenon of a dating show has long made headlines for its heterosexual havoc, with thousands of tweets flooding in every evening as viewers discuss the dating drama. Winners and popular contestants have gone on to become social media stars and work in TV and modelling, and the series has spurned many viral moments. 

Love Island is a show known for its overwhelming straightness, however: last year ITV commissioner Amanda Stavri famously told Radio Times the show could not feature LGBTQI contestants as they would pose a “logistical difficulty”. This phrase quickly took off among queer people on social media, and is sometimes still used now. ITV managing director Kevin Lygo also described the show as “about boys and girls coupling up” when speaking at a TV festival in Edinburgh.

In spite of this, the show has featured several bisexuals over the years, and last year a source told The Sun that producers wanted 40% of Love Island contestants to be bisexual or pansexual, in a bid to improve its diversity. 

The American iteration of the show has seen multiple LGBTQI contestants, including Kyra Green, who spoke about being bisexual in the US series’ first episode, alongside season three Casa Amor addition Leslie Golden, another bisexual woman. Love Island USA has never had a WLW couple, however: the only queer pairing on the show to date has been in the UK 2016 series, when Katie Salmon and the late Sophie Gradon coupled up. 

Other LGBTQI contestants on the UK show have included 2021’s Sharon Gaffka, who told Metro that her conversations about her sexuality in the villa were cut from the broadcast. Recently, 2018 star Megan Barton Hanson came out as pansexual, and called for a “fully LGBTQ+” version of the series. 
While it seems like Love Island is welcoming more bi and pansexual contestants into its beachy hetero utopia, we are still yet to see any change to the format, or LGBTQI stars beyond bi and pansexual women. This has left many queer viewers split between frustration at the lack of representation, and acceptance of the fact that the show centres around and revels in its own chaotic heterosexuality.

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