It's about time

After 23 seasons, ABC’s “The Bachelor” is finally featuring a queer contestant

Demi Burnet, Bachelor in Paradise, queer contestant
Demi Burnet (image via ABC)

ABC’s reality TV romance competition The Bachelor has gone through 23 awkward seasons without having ever featured a gay, lesbian or bisexual lover as the catch of the season. But it seems like the series’ spinoff Bachelor in Paradise is finally featuring a queer romantic interest, breaking new ground in the mostly heterosexual series.

In The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, single men and women simultaneously “date” 25 people in some exotic locale while systematically rejecting all but one of them in a series of overwrought “rose ceremonies.” Bachelor in Paradise mixes up this formula by dropping a bunch of horny heteros at a Mexican beach resort and watching them frug and fight until some of them get engaged or just leave in tears — fun!

A recently released trailer for season six of Bachelor in Paradise promises “more tears than ever before” and shows off contestant Demi Burnet, a queer-identified woman who rolls around with another woman in bed and says, “I don’t care who sees this. I know that I love this girl. I’m just so happy that I found her, and I can definitely picture being with her for the rest of my life.”

Related: What is it like being the hunky gay Asian lead on a reality dating show?

Later, in a teary-eyed confession, Burnet tells another blonde woman, “I just don’t want to lose you.”

Here’s the trailer for season six of Bachelor in Paradise:

It’s not surprising that it took the franchise nearly 23 seasons to show an openly queer contestant considering that it took The Bachelor 18 seasons before presenting a bachelor of color, a Venezuelan man who referred to gay people as “perverts.”

It also makes sense that their first out queer contestant would be a woman as that’s more palatable to mainstream straight audiences than two men sucking face. The Bachelor has actually had three female contestants who identified as bi after leaving the show and Bachelor in Paradise‘s Australian version had a lesbian couple too, so perhaps the show has never been as straight as it seemed.

Of course, if all this isn’t gay enough for you, you can always watch the gay Bachelor parody featuring Jesse Tyler Ferguson as the unlucky “prize.”