Scroll To Top
TV

Love Island's Doomed Bisexual Love Triangle Deserved Better

'Love Island's' Doomed Bisexual Love Triangle Deserved Better

'Love Island's' Doomed Bisexual Love Triangle Deserved Better

Heterosexuality is a prison that needs to be abolished!

cornbreadsays

Reality dating shows are an aggressive display of heterosexuality and CBS' adaption of UK series Love Island is no exception. Airing every day of the week, viewers watch live as contestants date each other, vote to keep or add singles in the house, and we scream in delight as islanders couple up - and recouple - to stay in the extravagant villa. At the end, the final couple standing wins $100,000.

I was introduced to this time-sucking rabbit hole that is this series by my roommate, who has declared Saturdays in our house "Love Island Saturdays" (that's the day Hulu uploads a week's worth of the UK episodes at once). When the US version was announced, he even connected an antenna to our Smart TV to watch it every. single. night. 

I only sat and watched a few episodes, as I get enough of heterosexual flirtations standing in line behind handsy couples at Target, but one moment on an episode last week caught my attention. 

From the beginning, Kyra has talked openly in the house about her bisexuality. So when a new girl comes strolling into the house named Emily, she immediately catches Kyra's eye.

When Emily starts dropping hints that she's bisexual, the two eventually sit down and talk about their attractions to each other. I tensed up for this potentially game-changing moment.

They openly discuss their sexualities and Emily shares that she is open to dating women, she actually lost her virginity to a girl, but she hasn't fallen for a girl who liked her back - yet. 

"I would be down to trying maybe," she tells Kyra, "just to see where things go." 

On that same token, she's also interested in Westin (who owns far too much American flag-clad clothes for me to vibe with), but the conversation is lowkey groundbreaking for a reality dating show airing primetime on network TV, especially considering we've been so happily beaten over the head with The Bachelor franchise for almost two decades.

I let myself wonder, might Love Island see its first same-gender couple?

At the end of the next episode, Emily gets to pick who she wants to couple up with. My heart swells as she stands up and the camera pans over to Kyra, who looks on nervously as Emily begins to speak. The tension builds, the music swells, and she picks.... Westin.

Which is fine I guess. As a Native Texan, I don't understand why he's always wearing cowboy hats, but he seems like a perfectly fine dude-bro. But one big question looms over Emily and Kyra... Is a same-gender relationship even allowed?

My roommate informed me that there have been other bisexual contestants in the franchise's history, but none have actually attempted to purse a same-gender couple the way Kyra did. The tradition of romances on the show - and throughout reality dating TV - have been so heterosexually rigid that there hasn't been any room for contestants to explore same-gender attractions, which is a disservice to the contestants and to LGBTQ viewers. Not only is it inauthentic, it all feels quite repressive and regressive for something trying to be so cutting-edge.

Love Island might think itself progressive, but the contestants are still bound by the constraints of heteronormativity. The rules and traditions of the show implicitly discourage Kyra and Emily acting on their feelings and ultimately, the misrepresentation of actual people and sexualities is just another way to keep LGBTQ folk and their attractions on the sidelines.

I guess the sexually-fluid and deliciously messy cast of MTV's Are You The One? will have to do until the rest of television can catch up.

Advocate Channel - HuluOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

author avatar

Taylor Henderson

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one! 

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one!