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Big T Talks Coming Out on The Challenge & Discovering Her Sexuality

Big T Talks Coming Out on The Challenge & Discovering Her Sexuality

Big T on The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion

The Challenge star Big T tells Out about her coming-out process, the relationship that led to this discovery, and why she still struggles with telling her family about her sexuality.

At 31 years of age, Big T has competed in five seasons of MTV’s long-running series The Challenge. Over the years, she’s been featured on War of the Worlds 2, Total Madness, Double Agents, Spies, Lies & Allies, and the currently-airing Battle for a New Champion.

In episode four of The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion, Big T revealed that she is a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Specifically, she talked about recently dating a woman and finding out that she wasn’t just straight. This resulted in the cast throwing a coming-out party to celebrate Big T’s new discovery.

During an interview with Out, Big T talked about the long process of embracing her true self, which The Challenge stars have been supportive of her journey, and how she’s still struggling to come out to her family members.

Keep scrolling to read Out’s full interview with Big T – and make sure to watch The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion every Wednesday on MTV.

Out: Hi, Big T! How's your day going today so far?

Big T: Yeah, my day's been really good. I'm actually currently in Liverpool at Melissa [Reeves'] house. She's just gone out with her daughter and taken her to a birthday party.

First of all, I'd like to ask how do you identify in the LGBTQ+ spectrum. Do you have a label for yourself, or no label at all?

For me, personally, I don't want to put a label on myself. For some people, [labels] help them to identify themselves and for people to understand them, I guess. For me, I prefer not to. But I guess if people were to put a label on me, they would probably say I'm bisexual.

You talked about dating a woman before filming The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion. Was that relationship what prompted you to realize that there was more to your sexuality?

Absolutely. I had a relationship with somebody prior to filming, which ended actually before filming started. But I experienced love for the first time in this particular way. It was something that really… I mean, I'm at a loss for words thinking about it. It affected me tremendously, and she showed me a lot. We are still friends now, and I'm really grateful for her showing me a part of myself that I always knew was there, but I wasn't brave enough to explore.

It's great that your first queer relationship involved someone who helped you figure out things about yourself. Sometimes, our first queer relationships can be tricky and not exactly helpful.

I'm really grateful. I've also always found women attractive. I've always actually noticed women more than men all my life. I remember exes being like, 'Oh, did you see what that guy was wearing?' or 'Did you think that guy was good-looking?' I was like, 'What guy? But the girl was absolutely gorgeous.' But I think because of family and certain things, I just didn't allow myself to fully explore that side of myself.

Did you always have an idea that you weren't necessarily just straight?

Yeah, but I feel like my first experiences with women were negative. I remember this one girl basically saying, 'You're not gay enough to me.' I think maybe she thought I saw her as an experiment or something like that, which wasn't the case. I was truly infatuated by her. I used to follow her around London because I had the biggest crush on her. And then after a year, she realized that actually my feelings towards her were genuine. But by this point, I was hurt by the rejection.

I love love. I would never see anyone as an experiment. If you make me feel a certain way, whether a man or a woman, that part doesn't matter. Love doesn't have race or gender. I don't have a racial type, I don't have a gender type. I am just a very love-centered person, I guess.

It's a pretty common queer experience that you can fool around and have these other experiences, but it's only when you actually have feelings and fall in love with someone that you start thinking, 'Oh, maybe I actually identify as something other than just straight.'

100 percent. This woman that I was with, for the first time in my life, it clicked. I realized, 'Wow, I could really marry a woman. I could see myself settling down with a woman.' I really thought about what that meant in terms of having children in the future, marriage, and families. I thought about every single step, I looked into it, and the end result was: 'Yes, I'm fully invested and this is something I am happy with.'

You talked on The Challenge about your family not knowing about your relationships with other women. Did you come out to your friends and family after filming this season knowing that this storyline would come up on the show, or is that something you still haven't spoken about?

My family still doesn't know.

Interesting. So they're going to find out when the episode airs?

I just don't know what to do about it. I'm really stressed out about it to the point where I just put it under the rug. I was like, 'I'll deal with it when the time comes.' But the thing is the time is literally coming. It's around the corner. So, I mean, I'm really glad that I'm here with Melissa. Oh god, I'm getting emotional. It's just... I didn't have much family left because I lost my parents and stuff, and it's literally the only family that I have left, and I'm just really scared of losing them.

I know I should be brave and just tell them, but I'm so scared. My friends know, all of my friends know. When I was with my ex-girlfriend, I was going to have a coming-out party in London, but she stopped me. She's very low-key. She was like, 'For goodness sakes, can you calm down? Who actually has coming out parties?' I was like, 'I do! I want to have one.' So, after I tell my family, I'm definitely going to throw my coming-out party.​

That's amazing. It sounds like a lot of fun. You've competed on The Challenge four times before. What prompted you to come out during this season specifically?

I've now done four seasons of The Challenge, and for me, I'm like an onion. I show you parts of myself slowly. For me, I can't just tell the public and the cast members all of myself until I feel comfortable, until I feel like there's some people out there who genuinely do care. Because I think there's nothing worse than revealing part of your soul to a bunch of people who really don't care.

Was there any element about this timing, or this cast, that made you feel like, 'Okay, this is the time to share my sexuality?' Or was it just something that came out naturally?

It was something that just came naturally. I think it had to do with my past relationship as well, because I was just so happy and I just wanted to share that, 'Wow, I've discovered this about myself and I just want to let people know how happy I am.' And also just to let the ladies know that I am out there on the market!

Were there any The Challenge stars who helped you out during this coming-out process either during or after the show?

Absolutely. I mean, Kyle, massive, massive help. He's one of the first people I came out to. Melissa, she was the first phone call. She was there with me this season. She was a massive help, massive support. Moriah was extremely supportive and still is. She's had a lot of conversations with me where I've been crying, calling her all hours.

I've also got to really thank Nany and Kaycee as well because I actually planned to fly out to be with them while the episode aired. But I've got work in London, which delayed that plan. But at some point, I am going to be out there with them. Hughie as well, he's heard a lot of tears from me and asked me for advice. So, I'm just really, really grateful. I think those are the people that really stand out from The Challenge.

LGBTQ+ people in the US and in the UK are facing a lot of backlash from conservative politicians. Do you have a message for The Challenge fans who might feel inspired by sharing your story, but who are also seeing this pushback that our community is currently facing?

I feel remorse and I feel really bad that unfortunately we are living in 2023 and the fact that there are people making political decisions against our community… it's so backwards. I think it's such a shame. And I feel like for people who are brave enough to go out, protest, get your voice out there, get your opinion out there, represent your community.

At the end of the day, we aren't doing anything to hurt anybody. If you're not hurting anybody, why would people try to take your rights away from you? It doesn't make sense. It's something I'm really passionate about. I know I feel a bit like a hypocrite because I'm scared to come out to my family, but I'm not afraid to come out publicly and represent as proudly as I can.

Families are complicated situations. It's a totally different beast. My last question is: how did it feel having this entire cast around you, being supportive, and throwing you a literal coming-out party while filming? I mean, all these guys dressed as drag queens… It was just so much fun!

It was such a freeing and wonderful moment. I felt so accepted and loved. I felt so appreciative of how everybody got involved. Some cast members brought me a cake saying, 'Happy being you,' and I really appreciated it. I was crying a lot that night because it was like, 'Wow, this is it now. I've shown a side of myself that I've kept hidden for years or suppressed from myself.'

I also wanted to inspire people from my community where I come from in Malawi, Africa, where being a gay woman is not accepted. I was thinking about that, and I just thought that what we did at that moment was so special and so beautiful. It's definitely one of my top favorite Challenge moments ever.

I also wanted to add that production was so supportive. I really, really appreciate them. They didn't have to throw a coming-out party, but even the camera crew, sound crew, and everybody else was like, 'Oh, let's order some flags, let's do this.' They were so excited and that gave me the confidence to be like, 'Yes, this is definitely something that I want to do.'

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Bernardo Sim

Bernardo Sim is a writer, content creator, and the deputy editor of Out. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.

Bernardo Sim is a writer, content creator, and the deputy editor of Out. Born in Brazil, he currently lives in South Florida.