ITV, can I pull you for a chat?
BY ELLA GAUCI, IMAGE BY ITV
A British summer feels like a lot of things: a glass of Pimm’s at the end of the day, the constant drone of football chants, and the sound of Love Island every night at 9pm. After the smashing success of Netflix’s Ultimatum: Queer Love, we now have an appetite for queer dating shows. Love Island, we’re looking at you now.
ITV commissioner Amanda Stavri has told Radio Times in the past that an LGBTQIA Love Island would be a “logistical difficulty”. Something tells me that the Love Island crew haven’t seen the beautiful chaos of a bisexual friendship group…
Let’s not forget that Love Island has had queer cast members before. In a groundbreaking moment for reality dating shows Sophie Gradon and Katie Salmon coupled up with each other in series two. However, at the time, the culture surrounding the pair felt heavily sexualised by the male gaze. If we had a queer Love Island, these sorts of relationships wouldn’t be placed under such scrutiny. They would be just another couple.
Other openly queer contestants from previous seasons include: Megan Barton-Hanson, winner of the fifth season Amber Gill, and season seven queen Sharon Gaffka.
With Paramount+ hosting their own pansexual Bachelorette this year called LoveAllways, these so-called “logistical” difficulties are a thing of the past. Queer representation is not just needed in art house indie films or music. We want to see ourselves represented in all parts of life – even the drama-filled messiness of Casa Amor.
Dating shows like Ultimatum: Queer Love and I Kissed A Boy provided audiences with nuanced looks at queer life in all its glory. It was chaotic, entertaining, and most of all, started some really important conversations about queer issues. Queer Love delved to areas such as butchness, race, and parenting – topics which are often excluded from mainstream conversations about sexuality.
We want to see hot queer people spending eight weeks by a pool! We want to make memes about it on Twitter! We want to vote for our favourite couples and watch them make up stupid games to pass the time! It’s time that queer people were invited into reality TV spaces where they were respected, not made to be a spectacle.
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