Since the 1960s, homes around the globe have had access to television, and also to reality dating shows, although not many have featured LGBTQ+ couples. We can’t blame history for the lack of representation, as queer rights have only been majorly achieved in the last couple of decades.
With the slow yet progressive acceptance of love, there has been a bigger demand to see queer people find their second halves on dating shows. Scouring all available series out there, here’s our pick of the best reality dating shows that feature LGBTQ+ contestants.
Starting off our list is a dating show that is well known for its inclusivity in terms of age, race and sexuality. With two seasons currently available to view, each episode follows a person that goes on a blind date with five other people. The show is revered for being more realistic than others due to the diversity in each episode, so if this is something you fancy, you can tune in on Netflix.
Vanjie: 24 Hours of Love
This dating show is for our Drag Race fans out there. The series follows Vanjie as she puts 18 contestants through curious challenges to determine who they’d like to date. The catch? The queen only has 24 hours to choose a suitor for her contestants. Claiming to be the World Of Wonder’s first unscripted reality show, the one-season hit had fans gagging at the results. So if you want to see “the complexities of modern gay dating” you can watch the show on WOW Presents Plus.
12 Dates of Christmas
If you’re looking for a camp dating show to watch, no matter the season, this one is perfect for you. The festive reality show follows three contestants looking for the one to bring home for the holidays. The series has two seasons to date and featured gay and lesbian hopeless romantics on the hunt for love. Both seasons were aired on Channel 4 and can be watched online. If the magical setting of a snowy Austrian castle doesn’t sound like something you’re into, keep reading, we can guarantee you will find the dating show you’re looking for!
Are You The One?
This MTV dating show has multiple seasons under its belt but their eighth season took the show to a new level by casting a variety of people from the LGBTQ+ community. In a change from their previous seasons, they decided to only feature “sexually fluid” contestants along with people who identify as transgender or non-binary. The diverse group initially gets asked a handful of questions that are then fed into a modern algorithm to determine who would be a good match. The catch? The singles don’t know the results. The contestants have to find their match through unique challenges in every episode and have the potential to win a large cash prize. The season is available to watch on Paramount+ across the globe.
The One That Got Away
Hosted by the bisexual star, Betty Who, the show follows six single people who are reunited with people from their past to see if they still have that spark. The reality show claims that “by the age of 25, most people have already met The One – they just don’t know it,” and they test this theory throughout! This new show premiered in 2022, and has one season where they feature Jeff Perla, an openly gay man who connects with his former lovers. To see how his encounters turn out, you can find the first season on Amazon Prime.
Boy Meets Boys
This relic from the past is described as the “groundbreaking gay dating reality show that swept America off its feet.” Originally airing on the TV network Bravo, the show appears to be a Bachelor spin-off with each episode ending with James Getzlaff, the gay bachelor, asking the contestants “will you accept this champagne?” The brilliant twist that had Americans watching almost 20 years ago was that half of the contestants identified as gay and the other half straight, and James Getzlaff did not know who was who. In order to win a $25,000 reward and a trip to New Zealand at the end of the season, Getzlaff had to choose a gay-identifying man to couple up with. If he chose a straight man, Getzlaff would be left with nothing, and the straight contestant would receive the $25,000 reward. This curious show is available to watch on YouTube in true 2000s TV resolution.
Who Likes My Follower
Ever wondered if your favourite influencer would make a good dating coach? Who Likes My Follower answers this question by having three Spanish influencers help one of their followers find love. Featuring several queer moments throughout the episodes, this Netflix reality dating show depicts people trading in their digital likes for real-life love and it is not ashamed to show the highs and lows of dating in the 21st century.
The Bi Life
The next reality dating show on our list features a handful of LGBTQ+ contestants in the pursuit of love. The Bi Life is hosted by the world-renown Australian drag star Courtney Act as they support nine British singles exploring the dating scene in Barcelona. The show has been revered for promoting bisexual visibility when it first aired on E!, and has many vulnerable moments where contestants open up about accepting their sexualities and about their dating endeavours. This feel-good show is now available to watch on Hayu.
Ex on the Beach
Known to be one of MTV’s more chaotic reality shows, Ex on the Beach takes a handful of young contestants and forces them to live alongside their exes. The show didn’t feature any LGBTQ+ contestants in its first season, but has featured a multitude of queer people with different sexual orientations in its other seasons.
When the world came grinding to a halt during the global pandemic and people were left feeling lonely and bored, Lovedown was born. The show pushed the boundaries of traditional dating by having the contestants try to find the one from the comfort of their own homes. Throughout the show, people weren’t allowed to meet in person as the lockdown measures were very strict at the time of filming, so all interactions were over call, including gossip sessions and romantic dates! If you’re sick of any mention of the pandemic, perhaps this dating show is one to pass (even if it’s free to watch on YouTube). But if it’s up your street, the second season is a Pride edition and filled with all sorts of queer drama.
This new reality dating show has confirmed its second season will have all LGBTQ+ contestants. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, there is no official release date for the all-queer season, but in order to know what to expect, you can watch season one on Netflix. The self-proclaimed “social experiment” hosts six couples who are thinking of getting married, and presents them with various ultimatums to see how many will still stay together by the end of the season. This dramatic reality show has many twists and turns as contestants are even allowed to choose new partners and try their hand at love with someone new.
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