Brett Staniland has spoken out against people using “gay” in a negative context after trolls used the word to attack him online.
The Love Island star appeared on the ITV reality series where he couples up with Priya Gopaldas, though after getting the “ick” she dumped him.
Since departing the island, Brett has been subjected to wide social media speculation over his sexuality and revealed that much of this has been in a derogatory manner.
The 27-year-old took to his Instagram Stories to call out those sending him abuse and to throw his support behind the LGBTQ+ community.
“Calling me gay will never offend me,” Brett wrote. “It does not affect me one bit. But when you choose words in a way so that being gay is deemed as wrong, that is when I have an issue with it.”
“Homophobia will not run at all on here,” the reality star continued.
Kevin Lygo, ITV’s director of television, addressed the matter at the virtual Edinburgh TV Festival session on 25 August.
“Love Island is a particular thing,” Lygo explained. “It’s about boys and girls coupling up, so if you want to do it as a gay version or you want to widen it, it is discussed and we haven’t yet found a way that would make it suitable for that show.”
This was a sentiment echoed by ITV commissioner Amanda Stavri during an interview earlier in the year, where she said the show has to “give islanders an equal choice when coupling up”.
As such, Stavri claimed that its “format” would make incorporating gay people a “challenge” to this choice.
“So we’re very sort of mindful of that across our programming on ITV and dating series,” Stavri added. “But that’s the difficulty with Love Island.”
Despite the popularity of the ITV series, it has faced increasing criticism for its lack of diversity and for not featuring same-sex relationships on the show – especially because the latest season was teased to feature “greater inclusivity and diversity”.
It has previously featured bisexual contestants, though wider representation for the LGBTQ+ community has been scarce.
View this post on Instagram