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Why Demi Is the Bach Nation Cast Member We Desperately Needed

We can’t deny it— Bachelor Nation isn’t known for being the most diverse reality television show out there. In addition to the lack of racial and cultural diversity within the cast, the show is rooted in heterosexual ideals. They’ve been taking steps in the right direction, such as making Rachel Lindsay the first black Bachelorette. Plus, the Bachelorette brings out a little bit of feminist energy by putting the women in charge. At the end of the day, it still ends with a guy getting down on one knee and a woman being swept off her feet. That changed this summer when the Bachelor in Paradise welcomed its first same sex couple.

Demi Burnett was already a fan favorite heading into Paradise. She’s been making waves since Colton’s season, bringing a much-needed voice of youth and humor to the show. She didn’t hold anything back and was always unapologetically herself, or so it seemed. When she arrived in Mexico, she quickly coupled up with Derek Peth on the beach, and all seemed in typical "Bachelor" fashion. While Demi tried to open up and build a relationship with Derek, she was quietly dealing with an internal struggle all too familiar. She knew how she felt: that there was a woman she would rather be with. But there was no telling how the rest of the people on the beach—or the world for that matter—would react to this revelation of her sexual orientation.

I can imagine some of the worries that might've been going through her head. Would her friends treat her the same? Would the public believe her since she had publicly dated men on the show before? Would the homophobic trolls lurking on the internet get to her? Was she even sure this was what she wanted?

Despite the potential worries, Demi took a huge leap of faith and invited her girlfriend, Kristian, to join her in Paradise. And, I for one, can’t begin to thank her enough.

Our media—movies, songs, television shows, books, everything—is laden with heteroromantic norms. I grew up watching men save women from their trials and tribulations. A happily ever after meant getting married to a boy who treated you like a princess and popping out his babies. From what I saw as a kid, this was the only way to do it. The key to happiness was love, and love was between a man and a woman.

As I’ve gotten older and society has steadily improved our level of acceptance, I’ve learned that this is far from the truth. Love is love, and love can happen anywhere, at any time, between anyone (as long as it’s consensual amiright). We’re getting better, but representation is still severely lacking.

When there aren’t examples of diversity in our media, it’s much more difficult to normalize things such as same sex couples. People who stray from what is commonly accepted can be left feeling ostracized and unincluded. Too often, queer individuals struggle to accept who they are because of a fear of the unknown. But thanks to role models like Demi and Kristian, we are slowly but surely learning that love can come in all forms. The more we see couples like these two embrace who they are, the more queer people can feel seen, heard, and accepted.

With that, I’d like to thank these queer queens for their bravery, for teaching the world to be more accepting, and for making people like me feel like we have a place in Bachelor Nation and in this heteronormative world. We can only hope that the rest of modern media continues to take steps toward diversity and inclusion. Representation is where it's at. 

Image Credit: GIF 1, Image 1

Emily Brekke

U Iowa '20

Emily is a senior at the University of Iowa studying Global Health with minors in Business Administration and Spanish. She is passionate about social justice in all its forms and wants to work to make the world a better place for us all.
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