Sashay your way into Love Island as LGBTQ+ applicants are welcome

The popular dating show will make its highly anticipated comeback this summer, having been cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

Image of Love Island contestants

If a u-haul covid coupling was not a part of your pandemic experience, there may be another opportunity on the horizon, Love Island will welcome LGBTQ+ applicants for their new season. Despite previously stating that including homosexual contestants on Love Island would “complicate” the show’s format, it appears that this year, ITV will accept applications from LGBTQ+ singletons. The show’s producers claim that the only requirements for potential contestants are that they are “over 18, single and looking for love”.

The dating show has teamed up with Tinder to recruit a new host of islanders, placing targeted ads inside the app encouraging users to swipe left or right depending on whether or not they are interested in applying. Should you swipe right, your profile will serve as your first audition and Tinder will decide if they think you’ve got what it takes to turn heads in the villa. Those selected will have their profiles forwarded to the Love Island casting team, who will take over the recruitment process from there.

These ads are appearing not only for straight Tinder swipers but also for those of the LGBTQ+ community. This has raised curiosity as to whether gay contestants may be included within this year’s Love Island lineup. According to The Daily Star, the show’s executive producer, Richard Cowles, said that having contestants with mixed sexualities “is not impossible and it is not something that we shy away from… but there is a logistical element which makes it difficult.” 

The UK show had its first and only same-sex pairing to date in 2016 when Katie Salmon chose to couple up with the late Sophie Gradon. Katie was the first openly bisexual contestant on the show, but the relationship lasted just a day before Sophie decided to leave the island to be with an eliminated cast member, Tom. 

According to the BBC, a spokesperson for the series has said, “Our application and casting process is inclusive to all and we are always aiming to reflect the age and diversity of our audience on the show.” However, it should be noted that although applications from gay singletons will be accepted, there is no guarantee that the LGBTQ+ community will be represented in this summer’s competition.

Irish presenter Laura Whitmore is set to return to the show for her second season as host, and ITV has confirmed that filming will take place in Majorca, similar to previous years. A source told The Sun that producers and crew members have “incorporated Covid safety measures and increased checks on contestants’ mental health,” in order to ensure that this season runs “smoothly”. 

The question remains, could Love Island handle the heat of LGBTQ+ cast members? Perhaps we will soon find out.

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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