TV Executive: LGBTQs Are Too Much of a 'Logistical Difficulty' for 'Love Island'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday June 3, 2021

British reality dating show "Love Island" is poised to become more diverse... but it's unlikely the show will add LGBTQ contestants to the mix seeing as it poses too much of a "logistical" challenge, according to a TV executive.

"In 2021, the creators of the cursed ITV2 reality series have promised that the coming season will be more diverse than ever before," i-D noted. "This will hopefully translate to fewer white and/or insanely ripped bodies on screen, but begs the all-important question: how gay is this thing going to be exactly?"

The evident answer: Not very. ITV executive Amanda Stavri threw cold water on sizzling rumors that the show might be extending a welcoming hand to LGBTQ contestants.

Per its own description, the show's premise is as follows: A group of contestants, referred to as Islanders, [live] in isolation from the outside world in a villa in Mallorca, constantly under video surveillance. To survive in the villa the Islanders must be coupled up with another Islander, whether it be for love, friendship or money, as the overall winning couple receives £50,000.

After initially pairing up — for romantic or pragmatic reasons or both — the contestants are then forced to "re-couple" where they can choose to remain in their current couple or swap and change.

Reporting on the impending seventh season of the program, Radio Times noted, "Recently there has been a lot of speculation about whether the show, which sees individuals coupling up, will feature contestants who are gay or bisexual."

"In terms of gay Islanders, I think the main challenge is regarding the format of 'Love Island,'" Stavri told the Radio Times, referring to the show's typical pairing of mixed-gender couples.

Stavri added: "There's a sort of logistical difficulty, because although Islanders don't have to be 100 [percent] straight, the format must sort of give [the] Islanders an equal choice when coupling up."

It should also be noted that same-sex hookups have not been uncommon on the show. As i-D specified, "2016 saw the series' first and only same-sex pairing when Katie Salmon and Sophie Gradon coupled up."

Previously, the show appeared to be moving toward a model that would allow LGBTQ people to participate. As EDGE reported in April, the show not only announced that LGBTQ prospective contestants were welcome to apply, but that it had "formed a partnership with the dating app Tinder to face-track the application process with ads promoting the recruitment process appearing on both the app's gay and straight-identified users profiles."

"Our only stipulation for applicants on 'Love Island' is that they are over 18, single and looking for love," an ITV spokesperson said.

Stavri also seemed to echo this despite her comments about the show's format making the inclusion of contestants a "logistical" problem, telling Radio Times: "We're always very mindful of diversity and inclusion and hopefully you'll see that when we announce the line-up."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.