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LGBT Friendly Reality Shows To Watch This Month

LGBT Friendly Reality Shows To Watch This Month

This week Lifetime’s Project Runway will return to the little screen, and if the previous nine seasons are any indication, it will be choc-a-block with queer contestants, including Gunnar Deatherage, who was eliminated in the first episode last season and is (surprise!) back again. In fact, more and more reality shows are featuring LGBT contestants or cast mates including Jake Nodar, the gay horse trainer on Full Metal Jousting; Robear Chinosi the gay tattoo artist on NY Ink; and Dani Shay and Tyler Ford, the lesbian and transgender (respectively) musicians on The Glee Project. Here are a few reality shows with LGBT characters you won’t want to miss.

DeliciousDiane

This week Lifetime’s Project Runway will return to the little screen, and if the previous nine seasons are any indication, it will be choc-a-block with queer contestants, including Gunnar Deatherage, who was eliminated in the first episode last season and is (surprise!) back again. In fact, more and more reality shows are featuring LGBT contestants or cast mates including Jake Nodar, the gay horse trainer on Full Metal Jousting; Robear Chinosi the gay tattoo artist on NY Ink; and Dani Shay and Tyler Ford, the lesbian and transgender (respectively) musicians on The Glee Project. Here are a few reality shows with LGBT characters you won’t want to miss.

Chef Wanted With Anne Burrell
Network: Food Network
Season Start: June 28, airs Thursdays

Why You Should Watch: Think of this as the world's toughest job interview and LGBT job seekers are front and center — as is recently-out chef Anne Burrell (who didn't even shrug when cohort Ted Allen told the world she was in a relationship with another woman recently). On the show, when top restauranteurs need a new executive chef, Burrell scours the U.S. for the top four candidates and she and the owner put each through a gauntlet of difficult challenges. After each challenge, one job seeker gets sent packing. The final two must then face off, by managing the restaurant as the executive chef for a night. It's nerve wracking and exhausting just watching (how do they do this without developing ulcers, one wonders) but for moments like when Tully Wilson, a gay chef from the South, manages to impress even hardcore foodies like Todd English — landing the job of a lifetime — it's so worth the TiVo space.

Food Network Star
Network: Food Network
Season Start: May, airs on Sundays

Why You Should Watch: You won’t want to miss lesbian contestant Michele Ragussis who, as of press time, is still fighting it out with the three other remaining finalists to see whose pilot gets picked up by Food Network. A season of quirky coaches (Good Eats’ Alton Brown, Grill It’s Bobby Flay, and Everyday Italian’s Giada De Laurentiis) and even quirkier contestants (like an adorkable hipster who I hope is gay) has made for memorable moments. But all eyes now are on 42-year-old spikey-haired Ragussis, who looks vaguely like a lesbian version of the show’s season two winner Guy Fieri. She wants to explain New England fare to the masses; we want to listen. We’ll see how America votes.

Top Chef Masters
Network: Bravo
Season Start: July 25

Why You Should Watch: Season 4 features three gay chefs and one gay judge, but truthfully, even without them this would be homodelicious. Top Chef Masters brings 12 award-winning chefs to Las Vegas to compete for $100,000 for the charity of their choice. In each episode the winners of every quick fire challenge will be awarded $5,000 while the victors of the elimination challenges will receive $10,000 for their designated charities. Het-but-hot celebrity chef Curtis Stone is back as series host and there are several discerning judges including James Oseland, the gay editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine. Perhaps most fascinating — besides the weekly hour of food porn — is the rotating cast of guest judges including many LGBT and ally folks like the Indigo Girls, burlesque star Dita Von Teese, The B-52’s, Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano, and bisexual porn maven Holly Madison. The chefs of note are Art Smith, executive chef and co-owner of LYFE Kitchen and Southern Art Restaurants (who is sexy and flirtatious in the interstitials of episode one — let’s hope that continues) and partners Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, owners of Arrows (who are both competing for LGBT charities).

Big Brother
Network: CBS
Season Start: July 12, airs Sundays and Wednesdays

Why You Should Watch: Like that case of the clap that just won’t go away, Big Brother has returned for it’s umpteenth season of guilty pleasure viewing. But, this season introduces a cute lesbian housemate: Jenn Arroyo — who already gained queer icon cred as bass player for the all-girl metal band, Kittie. Can this 37-year-old lesbian beat the usually sexist, ageist, and often lesbophobic BB house? Let’s hope so. She’s says if she wins BB, she’s going to “head right back into the studio and record a full length album and then head out on the road with my band and tour. Start a music program to help underprivileged kids stay focused. Music has saved my life and I want to give back to what has been so good to me.”

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Diane Anderson-Minshall

Diane Anderson-Minshall is CEO and editorial director of Pride Media, the parent company of PRIDE, Out, The Advocate, Plus, and Out Traveler.

Diane Anderson-Minshall is CEO and editorial director of Pride Media, the parent company of PRIDE, Out, The Advocate, Plus, and Out Traveler.