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April 15, 2021

Former “Bachelor” comes out as Gay: What Colton Underwood & other recent Contestants Reveal about our Culture.

Colton Underwood, former “Bachelor” star recently came out as gay on “Good Morning America.”

For those who don’t know, “The Bachelor” is a reality TV show where there is, obviously, one bachelor or bachelorette who dates multiple men/women at once, only to eliminate the ones they don’t want to date each week at a rose ceremony. The series is supposed to end with an engagement.

Colton, like a few notorious bachelors before him, “broke the rules” by choosing to leave with Cassie Randolph with no engagement. They dated for about a year before breaking it off.

It breaks my heart that we still live in a world where coming to terms with one’s sexuality is an incredibly difficult thing to do—to the point of not wanting to be alive anymore.

In the interview, Colton’s voice is shaky as he says, “I’ve ran from myself for a long time. I’ve hated myself for a long time, and I’m gay.”

He hit a point where he realized he would rather have “died than say [he] was gay.” But now, since embracing who he is, he’s the “happiest and healthiest” he’s ever been.

I hope that Colton’s coming out shows others who are struggling to come out that it is okay to be exactly who you are. That there is a better life waiting on the other side.

I hope it shows the world that we never know what someone is going through, and we—the media especially—need to remember we are all human.

I hope it shows the world that times are changing. And that it is normal, accepted, and welcomed to be who you are—no matter your gender, sexuality, age, race.

And this is why I struggled to write this article this morning. Because, as I read this story, I couldn’t help but think about how “The Bachelor” has been under scrutiny the last year over its race problems. We had the first Black lead as a “Bachelor” (Rachel Lindsey was the Black female lead before that) who ended up proposing to a white woman with a racist past, and Chris Harrison, host of “The Bachelor” was asked to step aside after defending her in an interview.

On “The Bachelor in Paradise”—a spin-off of the show where all the “failed” contestants date on an island and try to find love again—we had our first openly bisexual woman, Demi Burnett. She was welcomed with open arms.

Is it easier for America to accept a white, gay person than it is to accept a Black, straight lead?

And are shows like “The Bachelor”—which are primarily geared toward and cast with straight, white, middle-class Americans—no longer relevant in today’s world?

These issues run deeper than Colton Underwood coming out as gay, and the world accepting him. They run deeper than casting a Black lead, claiming the show is now, all of a sudden, all for diversity.

As Rachel Lindsey said in an interview, the problem is more about “Who’s casting, who are your producers? Is there diversity across every board?”

We see this in shows like “Love Island” as well, where there is almost always a “token Black person” who seems to have the exact same storyline every season.

We see this still in Hollywood where there is not only a gender pay gap but a race one.

Colton Underwood coming out as gay isn’t just about Colton Underwood.

It’s about creating a world where diversity is represented everywhere—behind the scenes, off the screen, on our streets.

And yes—it has absolutely everything to do with the media we consume, the messages we are being given, and the people who represent us on our screens.

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