Should Love Island, My Mum Your Dad cast LGBT singles too?

Diversity in reality TV doesn't just mean ethnicity, but do dating formats lend themselves to LGBT cast?

There’s a flurry of dating shows at the moment, some with more diversity than others.

But does the format of dating shows allow for diversity of LGBT representation, or only heterosexual couples?

Kate Langbroek, host of My Mum Your Dad said of the Nine show, “I almost think it would lend itself off to a dedicated version of it. Because otherwise, what do you do if you’ve got two gay guys or two lesbians? Do you only put two in and they’re expected to (connect)? I mean, at least in this regard, you’ve got the choice of six or seven.

“It’s a little bit too Noah’s Ark if we get gender diverse, but only with one or two couples. But it would easily lend itself to a version of that, which would, of course be probably even more entertaining!”

Alex Mavroidakis, executive producer of Love Island said, “We were the first territory in the world where two girls coupled up, in our second season. We had two bisexual girls couple up and it was fantastic. We loved it and we embrace it.

“But it is problematic because Love Island is a show where you’re essentially putting in boys and girls, and that’s how the firepits work, that’s how the dumpings work. The Americans just had exactly the same issue. They just had a female coupling, and in that scenario in the format of Love Island, one of those girls essentially has to become the ‘male’ in order to do the next picking at the firepit. Because it’s a numbers game so if there’s seven boys and six girls, the girls are picking the boys and one boy is going to be dumped …I realise this is very complicated…

“But bring on the day when two boys couple up, that would be an even better headline.”

My Mum Your Dad and Love Island are now screening on Nine / 9GO! respectively and 9Now.

13 Responses

  1. Anyone who has worked in locally and had this conversation will be familiar with the same old “rationale”.

    The truth is networks, Seven and Nine, consider their audiences homophobic. There might be an occasional token gay couple on a renovating show every half decade, but gay kissing?

    Despite the amount of LGBTQI+ folk who work in the industry, there is a huge amount of “don’t say the quiet part out loud” in regards to homophobia.

    1. As I gay man i feel like the diversity and image of gay men on television is very negative and that they only pick gay men that are very obviously gay or that they can make a spectical of. I look back at people like Gaz and Waz on the block and they were cast as a stereotype for entertainment and then there was Mick and Mark that were obviously cast because they were a stereotype and very bitchy and channel 9 could point to them as their attempt at diversity when they were just cast because they are the exact stereotype that is perpetuated in society. Even when you go back to Dave from big brother there was a big spectical around him being gay. I think television does better when it comes to gay women and the way they are represented. For men it’s basically Drag show or queer eye for the straight guy. The majority of gay men don’t want to be a spectical and would just want to be included casually like anyone else but unfortunately reality TV has to make clear their effort at diversity

      1. I hate to sound like I am disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing. But Gav & Waz were Australian TV’s first loving couple in a reality TV show. They were boldly shown in a 6:30 timeslot, sometimes renovating in their underwear. It was completely against all the rules and expectations. Yet the audience fell in love with them for being who they were. It was ground-breaking. Farmer Dave famously did not come out until half way through his series after his housemates (and audience) grew to know him without knowing his sexuality. He even said he wanted the housemates to get to know him without being considered the ‘token gay.’ He actually represents what you’re canvassing. TV has a whole lot more representation since then, including Reality.

        1. Sure Gaz and Waz being on TV back then was ground breaking but having two gay men prancing around in their underwear doesn’t do anything other than reinforce negative stereotypes.

          1. And yet history shows it did a lot! Loved by audience and still remembered today. Opened the door for so much more representation. It’s pretty disappointing the community criticises their own for being themselves. Let’s move on.

  2. I am gay myself and I would hate to see shows have versions that are dedicated to gay people or other non straight people. I personally feel like gay people are over represented by people that play into stereotypes and it would become more of a “freak show” and reinforce negative stereotypes. Everyone wants diversity in reality television but i feel like almost all of the time gay men are represented by stereotypical gay men. As a gay man i feel like i haven’t been represented or felt a similarity to any gay men on reality TV. I think it’s up to people in the television industry to create formats that are more inclusive in their format instead of having separate shows for straight people and for gay people.

    1. Let me outline why I disagree with you. I started TVT in the LGBT media in response to what was happening on screen. In the early 2000s there were many more gay men beginning to appear on TV via Big Brother, Idol, Queer Eye, The Block, Playing it Straight etc. There were a lot of males camp / attractive or as bitchy judges. But since then there’s been significant maturity. Now we have gay characters / couples LGBT families in dramas, teen / children’s plus people being themselves in reality, News, lifestyle, entertainment, sport. The rainbow is diverse whether as those loud and proud or others who prefer to let the work speak for itself. All are individuals and should be embraced and supported as authentic. If there is any area that is lagging it is probably in queer + Disablity / First Nations / Seniors. Perhaps if you feel the need to be represented better the answer is possibly to step forward?

  3. It’s never that the logistics of the format won’t allow it to happen – it’s always that the producers don’t want to tweak the logistics of the format to enable it to happen. It would take some effort but if there is a will they’d be a way. There just often isn’t the will.

  4. Kate Langbroek: “I almost think it would lend itself off to a dedicated version of it.”
    Exactly! Have two separate shows, one for straight people and the other for gay/lesbian. As long as it’s funded by advertisers and not the taxpayer, I won’t object. I won’t watch either, BTW.

  5. I think there’s some format limitations to the regular inclusion of LGBT people on most dating shows, but it’s not impossible to work around with shows with some adjustments.

    Like, on Love Island change the format slightly – at least for a season to include LGBT

    Recoupling could work by allowing each person pick anyone who hasn’t been selected – boy, girl or Non-binary.

    Cast can still include straight but would be at least half Gay/Bi people too.

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