Monday night’s episode of Bachelor In Paradise continued to further the franchise’s first same-sex relationship in Demi and Kristian. And, just like any other relationship, it’s not all sunshine and butterflies. In the most recent episode, Demi had some trouble with Kristian’s PDA on the beach. And she later admitted that what was really hard for her was showing her own affection towards Kristian because they were in a same-sex relationship. And Demi’s former love interest Derek’s tweet about Demi and Kristian’s relationship shows why Demi’s honesty is so important for the Bachelor franchise.
During the Sept. 9 episode, Demi started expressing some jealousy after seeing how physically affectionate Kristian was with their female friends on the beach. But as the episode continued, Demi revealed that being in a same-sex relationship has made her more hesitant than usual to show affection because she’s still afraid people will judge them. "It has everything to do with me being comfortable with being gay around people," she said. "I’m still holding back because I’m scared." She then expressed that she felt guilty, adding, "I wanna give her what she needs, but I’m still uncomfortable with it because I don’t want people to be like, ‘That’s weird.’"
Even though Demi has shown PDA on Paradise before, this time is different. Demi’s fears have everything to do with the stigma surrounding same-sex couples and queer individuals in general, and it’s something the straight couples on BiP don’t have to worry about. Derek highlighted this after the episode, tweeting, "Being a straight white man in America, this scene w/Demi and Kristian is the first time I’ve considered the shame same-sex relationships can feel just being together in front of others. Every time I turn there’s a new layer of privilege I never realized I have. Love you two."
Derek’s tweet is just one example of why Demi and Kristian’s decision to stay in Paradise and explore their relationship on the show was so important. Not only was it a huge step for the franchise, it also opened the door for people, like Derek, to see up close the struggles of coming out.
As Kristian explained in the episode, coming out isn’t easy, especially when you go public with a relationship for the very first time. "I know you’re going through something I went through maybe a couple years ago," Kristian said. "I get where you’re coming from, it’s uncomfortable. You’re constantly, when you’re out in public, you’re thinking, ‘Are they judging us, they’re the same sex, what are they doing?’" And Kristian wasn’t the only person to understand where Demi’s insecurities were coming from. It’s something that a lot of viewers at home related to as well, with many people tweeting their support and understanding to Demi.
No Bachelor series has ever featured an LGBTQ+ storyline, let alone featured a same-sex couple. Having Demi and Kristian’s relationship show the struggles queer couples can face is highly important representation. These stories are important to tell everywhere, including in Paradise.
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