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Film and TV

Courtney Act: society isn’t ready for LGBT contestants on Love Island

Amy West July 23, 2019

Courtney Act won Celebrity Big Brother Season 21 (Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

When Love Island relaunched in 2015, it was just one of many similar reality shows that didn’t seem to include LGBT+ contestants.

But as competition series such as Shipwrecked and Are You The One? open themselves up to queer participants, Love Island‘s lack of representation is more apparent than ever.

Now, RuPaul’s Drag Race star Courtney Act has come out in defence of the show, saying that she’s “thought about it” but “can’t work out the model to be all inclusive.”

In an exclusive interview with Metro, the Celebrity Big Brother winner claimed that seeing Islanders embark on same-sex relationships in the show could have a negative effect on the bigger picture, because it would likely be considered “scandalous.”

Curtis Pritchard (left) and Tommy Fury in ‘Love Island’ (ITV)

Act explained: “This is the problem… Imagine, in a completely hypothetical world, [current Islanders] Curtis Pritchard and Tommy Fury have a pash on the day bed. I think the world would explode and the fact that it would be such a big deal is testament to the fact of how far we’ve got to go.

She went on to say that while UK attitudes towards LGBT people are a more progressive than in Australia or the US and that “queer culture is popular and visible, society is still not at a healthy place when it comes to sexuality and masculinity.”

Drag Race star Courtney Act hosted the UK’s first bisexual dating show last year

In 2018, Act hosted the UK’s first bisexual dating show The Bi Life, which aired on E! Consisting of ten episodes, it saw a group of non-straight singletons share their everyday experiences while trying to find love in Barcelona, Spain.

“If you could cast a few bi guys and girls it would spice it up a little, but I think gay Love Island would be detrimental to the gay narrative.”

During the interview, Act – whose real name is Shane Jenek – went on to talk about how appearing on Celebrity Big Brother allowed her drag to be taken more seriously.

“I didn’t have to make a dick joke to be allowed the space in the mainstream,” she noted. “I still love a dick joke but before it was, ‘Come on we’ll wheel you in, you make a dick joke and then we’ll wheel you out’, but in the UK there is a respect and understanding.”

More: Courtney Act, love island, reality dating shows

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