Following her departure from The Bachelor, Jamie-Lee Dayz shared the news that she had reunited with her ex-girlfriend. Her past dating history was something unbeknown to the viewing audience during the show.
“I just didn’t feel the need to disclose it,” Dayz told PEDESTRIAN.TV. “That’s just part of who I am. I don’t think there was ever a point in the conversation where I needed to say, ‘Oh, yeah, by the way, I’ve dated women before’.”
This follows Brooke Blurton’s admission, on-screen during a one-on-one conversation with Bachelor Nick Cummins, that she’d also dated women in the past. Despite opening up about her dating history, however, Blurton back stepped a little in an effort to declare that she wasn’t “bisexual or a lesbian or anything like that”. Her ‘coming out’ was hyped in the episode’s previews as a cliff-hanger – a plot twist, of sorts, or potential downfall.
— The Bachelor Aus ???? (@TheBachelorAU) September 12, 2018
This isn’t the first season to feature conversations about a contestant’s sexuality, of course – Bachie alumni Megan Marx had a similar encounter to Dayz in terms of publicly coming out post-series.
There’s obviously a trend here – Bachie contestants have only come out after their time on the series or, in Brooke’s case, have distanced oneself from the ‘bi’ or ‘lesbian’ label.
Now, everyone obviously has the right to decide if, when and how they disclose their sexuality to the public, and I love that these contestants are comfortable with their sexuality, and speak about it openly afterwards. Yet, part of me wishes someone would speak about it openly on the show.
It’s not any specific contestant’s fault, but more so the fault of the system they are part of – a televised system that reduces diverse sexualities into a digestible, straight format for the mainstream audience.
It’s a system that provided a safe space for former contest Blake Coleman to say, “Is now the right time to tell you that I was dating Brooke during the exact moment she decided to turn full lesbian?”
It’s a system that understandably made Blurton visibility terrified to share her dating past – something that wasn’t a big deal, by the way – to the Badger.
A common argument is that someone shouldn’t need to clarify their sexuality, and that we should be living in a society where one’s sexuality doesn’t matter. I completely agree – that’s the end goal. I’d argue, though, that we still have a long way to go before we’re able to get to that point.
In order to get there, we need pioneers and outspoken queer figures to break the mould. In breaking the mould, and through increased visibility, we start to normalise the discussion.
To be an open, LGBTQI person on a historically-straight reality show like The Bachelor would have a bigger impact than we think.
We live in a time where LGBTQI visibility, particularly on television, is still vital, and Australian television’s continual hesitancy to broadcast anything other than straightness projects the idea that non-straightness is will worthy of being a plot-twist.
This hesitancy around labelling and coming out on The Bachelor is representative of just how far Australian mainstream television has to go.
“I’m all for seeing a bisexual or gay Bachelor or Bachelorette,” Dayz told PEDESTRIAN.TV. Is Australia ready for it, though?