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Demi Burnett Came Out on Bachelor in Paradise, and It Wasn’t a Total Disaster

Demi also came out to Tayshia Adams last night, and Tayshia offered, “I hate that you feel you have to hide behind such a strong shield and not be who you really want to be.” Obviously, we should be at a place where queer people shouldn’t have to worry about straight people blanching at the notion of same-sex love—but clearly, we’re not, and Demi was justified in being nervous to open up.

The show’s host, Chris Harrison spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about Demi’s storyline and admitted, “I’m not exactly sure how we would have embraced Demi’s situation in year’s past.” He added, “I am not so naïve as to think that dealing with a same-sex relationship is going to be this happy rainbow conversation and all of America is going to rejoice.” But ultimately, Harrison said they’ve “leaned on” the queer producers behind-the-camera to tell the story “properly.”

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“I felt that I owed it to them and to everybody else in that community to do this right and to make it respectable,” he said. “To tell this story properly in their honor. I leaned on them and we all leaned on them to make sure they felt like this was being fairly and respectfully portrayed.”

In the episode, Demi also opened up to Derek Peth, who she’s been casually seeing on Paradise, about the woman she’s been dating—and still has feelings for—back home. He, too, happily surprised me. He never made any gross or reductive comments, something I always fear in telling straight men that I date women. Instead, he was so purely human in his response, fearing that Demi’s heart was somewhere else, regardless of the gender of that other person.

Peth asked, “How can you both consider that and me simultaneously? And have this be just as meaningful, if not, you know, potentially more?” Any BiP love triangle would’ve begged the same question. Derek’s no hero for treating a queer person like a person, but he did do his part in normalizing queerness on this show.

So far, BiP is nailing Demi’s storyline. However, I have to say I’d be interested to see what the reactions from both male and female contestants would’ve looked like had a man come out as bisexual on the show. Regardless, it’s a start—and I can’t wait for Demi’s girlfriend to show up and burn this heterosexual island to the ground.

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