Why Stefflon Don shouldn't be speculating about Mehdi's sexuality on Love Island: Aftersun

Love Island's Mehdi Edno is currently coupled up with Whitney Adebayo in the villa, but that didn't stop British rapper Stefflon Don from speculating about his sexuality during the most recent Aftersun. How is this something that's still happening?

ICYMI, the 31-year-old artist, real name Stephanie Allen, appeared on Sunday's Love Island: Aftersun episode, discussing the goings on in the villa alongside presenter Maya Jama.

While sharing her thoughts on 26-year-old Mehdi's relationship with Whitney, she told the live audience, "I don’t know if he even likes females, I’m not going to lie. I’m not sure you know. Or he likes both [men and women]. He’s giving a bit of both."

Maya replied. "Oh no. He can do whatever he likes, but…"

mehdi from love island's sexuality shouldn't be speculated about
Vincent Dolman - ITV

Viewers quickly took to social media to call Stefflon out for her comments, pointing out that such conjecture around sexuality is not only harmful to Mehdi, but to gender identity and self expression as a whole. As far as Love Island viewers are concerned, Mehdi is a straight man, having never expressed otherwise. For people to question whether that is the case without his consent is intrusive, and can also be damaging towards one's autonomy to present themselves how they please.

Also, it perpetuates the notion that masculinity can only be displayed in one rigid blueprint, and that anyone who strays from presenting as macho and emotionally disengaged (by, say, talking about their feelings) couldn't possibly also be heterosexual. Hello, toxic masculinity calling - how may I direct your call?

This expectation that men should behave in a stereotypically 'male' way (not being too groomed, walking and talking in a specific manner) and avoid displaying feminine traits unless they are gay is archaic, and also doesn't allow for fluidity. Someone's characteristics and behaviours don't immediately equate to their sexual preference or orientation. Sexuality isn't so binary.

mehdi from love island's sexuality shouldn't be speculated about

As one fan said about Stefflon's comments, "Homophobia & biphobia during pride month?! Simply wild scenes and it killed my vibe."Another put, "To go on live TV during pride month and openly speculate about someone’s sexuality identity is so wrong and so nasty."

Someone else summarised, "Every year on #LoveIsland the public decides one man is secretly gay. It's always because they don't think he's manly enough. It's a sobering reminder that we're not as progressive as we think we are, and explains why we have so many issues with men and masculinity."

Mehdi isn't the first Love Island contestant to have their sexual orientation questioned: last year, Will Young, a 26-year-old farmer, was the subject of speculation, having his personal life picked apart on social media each night.

Responding to the unnecessary conjecture, he told Daily Mirror, "I was 100% myself in the villa. I’m happy with myself and I’m happy with Jessie. My brother is gay, and so I’m all for it. I don’t think anyone can say that to me in a negative way. As a person I’m very outgoing and charismatic, and I’m not going to change."

100% well said Will - and why shouldn't Mehdi be able to embrace each and every characteristic as his own?

All that said, we'd certainly welcome a more sexually diverse Love Island; a space where contestants were given a platform to discuss their preferences outside of standard heteronormative structures these reality shows often people in. Step forward: I Kissed A Boy, the UK's first LGBTQ dating show, which aired for the first time last month.

Cosmopolitan UK have reached out to a rep for Stefflon Don for comment. Love Island continues at 9pm on ITV2.

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