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Bisexual Bachelorette Contestant holds Promise but Bewilders Some

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Photo courtesy of The Bachelorette Australia Instagram
Photo courtesy of The Bachelorette Australia Instagram

Fans of The Bachelor have tuned in for decades to enjoy the reality series, which showcases the messy, sexy, chaotic, and complicated sides of dating. Since March 25, 2002, people across the world have enjoyed watching abnormally attractive men and women throw themselves at the coveted title of bachelor or bachelorette.

The show has recently begun attempting to diversify racially, welcoming the first Black bachelorette, Rachel Lindsay, in 2017, and the first Black bachelor, Matt James, in the latest 2021 season.

Speculation that the franchise could continue on the diversity track by including more openly queer representation has been in the air for years now. However, many have also questioned whether an openly Gay or Lesbian lead would evoke the same kind of competition — after all, couldn't contestants just partner up with each other instead of vying for the star?

Australia has decided to take the plunge, though. This month it was announced that the next Bachelorette Australia will be none other than 26-year-old Brooke Blurton, an Indigenous, Bisexual woman, and an advocate and youth worker for the Noongar-Yamatji people of Australia.

Because Blurton is Bisexual, The Bachelorette Australia will offer a groundbreaking and revolutionary new season — one that includes both male- and female-identifying contestants. That's right: the cast will include straight and Bisexual men, and Lesbian and Bisexual women!

When asked about some of the backlash this decision has been receiving, Blurton responded by saying, "If it makes people uncomfortable in any way, I really challenge them to think about why it does. Times are more progressive, and sexuality and gender expression are just so fluid these days."

Regarding the possibility of some of the contestants falling for each other, instead of her, Blurton said, "I would be really supportive if that is what they want, but I would also be a bit disheartened if I didn't get the chance to develop that relationship with them as well. It is what it is; you have to roll with it."

The backlash a queer season of The Bachelorette Australia is facing — particularly that it could turn into one giant orgy — continues to perpetuate problematic stereotypes about Queer people, and Bisexuals in particular.

For decades Bisexuality has been invalidated by both Queer and straight people as either nonexistent or an expression of hypersexuality. For many, the idea of a binary is so rigid that Bisexuals are considered either confused, closeted Gays and Lesbians, or straight but looking for attention and a way into the LGBTQ+ community.

These attitudes have made it especially difficult for many Bisexual people to come out, as they fear rejection from both sides, and it has also led to higher rates of depression. In a 2020 study by Randolph C.H. Chan et al., it was found that Bisexual individuals face much higher rates of mental illness, including depression and anxiety, than Lesbians and Gay men. The study states that "bisexual individuals were more likely to report identity uncertainty, conceal their sexual orientation, and have a weaker sense of connection to the LGBT community, which were in turn associated with greater affective symptoms and poorer mental well-being."

If the upcoming season of The Bachelorette Australia is successful, though, a new precedent can be set, showing straight audiences that Queer people, and especially Bisexuals, exist as more than just their sexualities.

No matter the outcome, this season will be revolutionary for the entire Bachelor Nation franchise, as it will put a Queer woman at the center of the series. Furthermore, it will allow audiences to get a peek at what dating is like for millions of Bisexual woman across the world.

The Bachelorette is known for being messy, sexy, chaotic, and complicated — and what could be more sexy, chaotic, and complicated than the inner dating life of a Bisexual? So here's to The Bachelorette Australia: may she pave the way for more Queer representation in the franchise and more acceptance of bisexuality. And if she dares to choose a straight man, may he at least exude "bi wife energy."