It turns out that Love Island 2021 actually did boast some LGBTQ+ representation this year, but it was cut from the show. (It must’ve been a logistical difficulty?)
In an interview with Metro, Sharon Gaffka – who exited the villa after 19 days – revealed that she spoke with fellow Islander Faye Winter about her sexuality and her romantic endeavours with women following a challenge, in which she admitted to having a threesome.
“I had a conversation with Faye about it and she asked, “Are you bisexual?” And I said, “It’s something I’ve explored but I’ve never been in a relationship with a woman,”” Sharon exclusively told the publication.
“A lot of the conversations I had were about modern dating on the show were never aired, but I was very open about sexuality and being a mixed-race woman in modern dating.”
The scene being cut doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
Despite various campaigns for the ITV series to include LGBTQ+ contestants, network boss Amanda Stavri said gay Islanders would present a “logistical difficulty” for the series, which has run for six seasons since 2015.
Ahead of the season seven premiere, she told Radio Times: “There’s been quite a few rumours circulating about featuring gay Islanders, so it’s worth touching on that really. The line-up will be announced within time and it goes without saying that we want to encourage greater inclusivity and diversity.”
Although Stavri said it’s not crucial for the Islanders to just identify as straight, she claimed the format of the show would provide an obstacle for queer contestants as it “must sort of give [the] Islanders an equal choice when coupling up.”
She continued: “With our dating shows, such as The Cabins, there is much more sexual diversity. The formats don’t have as much restrictions as Love Island.
“So we’re very sort of mindful of that across our programming on ITV and dating series. But that’s the difficulty with Love Island.”
Earlier this year, former contestant Megan Barton-Hanson – who identifies as bisexual – said her time on Love Island’s fourth season would have been a “completely different experience” if the producers cast more LGBTQ+ people.
“It didn’t even enter my head, I just assumed that every girl on there was completely straight,” Barton-Hanson said at the Cambridge University Union.
“Logistically, I don’t know how it would work if they just chucked in a few token gay people in there. I feel like we need a whole gay series. If you’re going to do it, do it properly. I mean, I’d definitely go back on there if there’s a gay season!’”
Love Island every night (bar Saturday’s) in the UK on ITV2 from 9pm.