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Australian TV needs to stop using diversity as a gimmick

TV shot of Brooke Blurton, Australia's 2021 Bachelorette

Australian TV will soon make “history”.

This year, The Bachelorette will feature Brooke Blurton. She is the show’s first Indigenous and openly bisexual (successful) star. Both men and women will be competing for her affection. People have expressed scepticism on social media. Many claim it’s a gimmick.I can’t say I blame them.

Producers refused request for an LGBTQ+ Bachelor

Producers of The Bachelor/ The Bachlorette Australia ruled out having an LGBTQ bachelor or bachelorette. This was less than three years ago, after Australia had legalised same – sex marriage. Host, Osher Gunsberg was all for the move. Their excuse was that it didn’t fit the “concept”.

The ‘concept’ apparently needed heterosexuality and monogamy. This excuse raised another issue; the idea that LGBTQ+ people couldn’t have relationships to cis – het people.

This excuse was made less than two years ago.

So, why now? Have ratings plummeted over the years? Is that why they’re using LGBTQ +  and Indigenous people?

I’m sick of this. LGBTQ+, Indigenous people, and people of colour in general, shouldn’t be just add ons. They shouldn’t be used to make a company, or a TV production feel better about themselves. And, frankly, that’s how the TV industry in Australia has been acting recently.

We should be past the idea of having people of colour or LGBTQ+ people in pop culture as revolutionary. Enough with the obsessions of the ‘firsts’..

Australian TV and its issues with diversity

Close up of black remote with white numbers on buttons
Image: iStock

The Bachelorette hasn’t been the only show to face issues with diversity.

Last month, former Neighbours actors Sharon Clanton, Meyne Wyatt and Sharon Johal claimed to be victims of racism, sexism and homophobia. They also accused the production company, Fremantle Media of not doing enough to prevent it. This shows that virtue signalling doesn’t work. Inclusion has to be genuine.

Will producers treat Blurton fairly?

I doubt I’ll watch the Bachelorette. If I do, it won’t be much of it. However, I do hope Brooke Blurton is treated and portrayed fairly.

I hope that the producers respect Blurton’s identities. I hope producers don’t erase Blurton’s bisexual or Indigenous identities. Let’s also hope they don’t make soft-core porn from Blurton’s sexuality, either.

Enough of ‘firsts’ and gimmicks

The Neighbours controversy (for me) proves that meeting a ‘quota’ is not enough. Having Indigenous or LGBTQ+ characters is not enough.

It’s time to normalise LGBTQ+ and Indigenous people in Australian pop culture. They should be included without causing a news story! Can we get to that point?

 

Just another side note, can we please not make Blurton’s identities into a debate? If Blurton claims she’s Aboriginal and bi, can we just leave it at that? So what if Blurton didn’t identify as bi three years ago? She can now if she thinks it fits her. Sometimes sexuality isn’t so clear cut. And her being or “identifying” as Aboriginal? I don’t want to get into that.

 

 

What do you think of The Bachelorette this year? Will you watch it? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.