Bachelor nation erupted with viewpoints from all sides when The Bachelor Season 23 contestant Demi Burnett confided in another cast member that she had a female love interest back home. This made Burnett the first openly bisexual contestant in the Bachelor nation. I support Demi and her over-the-top personality in all its glory.
When making this announcement, the producers decided to bring Burnett’s girlfriend Kristian Haggerty onto the show. Haggerty joining the cast of Bachelor in Paradise made many people upset.
This show is set up to help former contestants of The Bachelor and Bachelorette find love. Burnett is a former contestant, but Haggerty is not. If the situation arose — which it has in the past — where another contestant decided they love someone back home, who has no connection with the Bachelor franchise, the contestant would then leave the show and Chris Harrison would wish them well on their journey to find love.
I think that by allowing Burnett’s situation to be an exception defeats the purpose the producers were trying to make. Inclusivity and equality is what the LGBTQ community is striving for, so making multiple exceptions and selling the dramatics of the first same-sex couple on the show is wrong.
The show was not equipped to take these steps for inclusivity as they have been a heterosexual dating show since the beginning of its existence. Should the Bachelor franchise be taking steps toward inclusivity of all? Yes. But they did it all wrong. Burnett and Haggerty both identify as she/her, and now because the show was not ready for a same-sex couple, Burnett stands with the men to give her the rose.
Burnett announcing that she is bisexual and leaving the show for her girlfriend back home would have been the drama the producers needed to promote this season.
The Bachelor franchise could have then gone back to the drawing board for the next season, making everything down to the rose ceremony inclusive for all cast members. Making exceptions defeats the purpose and is active in taking steps back in acceptance.