Love Island’s day two debate: Viewers upset over islander’s homophobic reactions

·2-min read

The online conversations surrounding Love Island yesterday weren’t so much a debate as they were a concern as viewers were left appalled following the boys’ reaction to a same sex kiss. Whilst one islander said “You can’t do that”, the rest of their faces appeared to look… at worst, disgusted, and at best, puzzled.

Whilst the girls didn’t seem to notice, Twitter definitely did. A slew of backlash accusing the boys of homophobia emerged online, with users tweeting the following: “their faces are giving severe homophobia”, said @LouiseMay95, and “the homophobia in love island is legitimately why this show shouldn’t exist”, said @pvkxrs. People were particularly upset given that June is Pride month.

What may seem like something small, is simply the most recent instance in a long chain of homophobic incidents to spew from Love Island. This is not the first time that Love Island has been accused of homophobia. Last year, following calls for more LGBTQ+ diversity on the show, producers responded by saying that queer people make things “logistically difficult” for them, with gay islanders posing a unique challenge.

That being said, the show has seen an array of LGBTQ+ contestants in the past, from Megan Barton-Hanson and Sharon Gaffka, to Curtis Pritchard - who faced an onslaught of online homophobia when his season aired, prior to him commenting on his sexuality.

In 2016, Katie Salmon became the first openly bi-sexual contestant to go on the show and shocked viewers when she coupled up with Sophie Gradon, becoming the first (and only) queer couple that the island has seen. Tragically, two years after appearing on the show, Sophie Gradon took her own life after suffering with depression for years. Many people blamed post-show trolling for Gradon’s suicide.

In an attempt to bring in more queer representation, Love Island announced this year that they would be encouraging applications from non-binary contestants. Given the reactions of the boys on day one, the acceptance of gender fluid or non-binary islanders could be a cause for concern. Whether or not we see queer representation - and support of it - during this season, only time will tell.

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