Over the years, MTV has made a conscious effort to assemble diverse casts for its newer reality shows. In 2019, for instance, the eighth season of Are You The One? had an entire cast of sexually fluid singles. In the fourth season of Ex on the Beach, Adore Delano (RuPaul's Drag Race) and Nicole Zanatta (Real World: Skeletons, The Challenge: Vendettas, The Challenge: Double Agents) were included also included in the series.
Unfortunately, though, LGBTQ+ representation has been incredibly scarce in most reality dating shows. Throughout 26 seasons of The Bachelor and 18 seasons of The Bachelorette, only a handful of cast members - like Colton Underwood and Demi Burnett - have come out as not being straight.
The overall queer representation on Love Island has also been minimal, with producers going as far as saying that including LGTBQ+ cast members would bring too many "logistical difficulties" to the show.
Meanwhile, streaming services have attempted to cast more LGBTQ+ cast members on their dating shows. HBO Max's 12 Dates of Christmas featured gay leading men in seasons one and two, as well as a lesbian leading woman in the second season. On the other hand, the streamer's FBoy Island dating series lacked any form of representation.
On Netflix's Love Is Blind season one, Carlton Morton's journey on the show ended as soon as he came out as bisexual. As far as the second season of Love Is Blind and the first season of The Ultimatum go, one is hard-pressed to find queer representation anywhere. In response to the backlash from fans, Netflix has greenlit an all-LGBTQ+ second season for The Ultimatum.
Thankfully, Ex on the Beach season five is meeting viewers' expectations when it comes to putting together a much more diverse cast in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity. Meet season five's LGBTQ+ cast mates:
Arisce Wanzer is a trans woman who's worked as a professional model for many years. In 2016, she was featured on Oxygen's reality series Strut alongside Dominique Jackson, Isis King, Laith Ashley, and Cecilio Asuncion, to name a few. Wanzer is now being featured as a main cast member on Ex on the Beach season five, where she's having to face her ex-boyfriend, Mike Mulderrig.
Speaking of Mulderrig, he has identified as a bisexual man for many years and is now a contestant on Ex on the Beach season five. Mulderrig's rise to fame started on his YouTube channel, MikeMGTV, but he also appeared on MTV's Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club back in 2019. While having to deal with his lingering feelings for Arisce on EOTB, Mulderrig is also facing a new distraction that he didn't see coming.
When David Barta appeared on Paradise Hotel season one, he was just another seemingly straight guy looking for love on reality TV. Alas, Barta came out as pansexual on Ex on the Beach during the first episode of season five and revealed that Mulderrig has been his male crush for many years. By the end of the premiere, Barta and Mulderrig shared an on-screen kiss that suggests they might be forming a love triangle that involves Wanzer.
The producers of Love Island might say that queer cast members pose "logistical difficulties" for the show, but that hasn't stopped certain cast members from getting into same-sex relationships over the years. A prime example of that was when Love Island USA season one finalist Emily Salch, who identifies as bisexual, started a relationship with co-star Kyra Green after their season came to an end. Now, Salch and Green have the opportunity to make amends, or perhaps seek new relationships, on Ex on the Beach.
Green coupled up with several different guys on Love Island USA season one - ranging from Cashel Barnett to Eric Hall to Jered Youngblood. However, the show never explored the fact that Green identifies as a bisexual woman. On Ex on the Beach season five, Green will face her Love Island USA co-star and ex-girlfriend Salch, which might lead to reconciliation or closure.
Jonathan Troncoso appeared as a contestant in the third season of the dancing competition World of Dance. On the show, he formed a same-sex dancing duo alongside Jorge Valcarcel. The pair unfortunately didn't get very far on World of Dance, but Troncoso is now having a reality TV comeback on Ex on the Beach. Troncoso identifies as a gay man and will be spending a few weeks with his ex-boyfriend, Joelle Brian, while filming the MTV series.
Unlike most of the cast of EOTB season five, this is Brian's very first stint on reality TV. He is walking onto the beach as a gay man who happens to be Troncoso's ex. Upon first impressions, it appears that Troncoso and Brian want to reconcile and get back together. With that said, it's still way too early in the season for anyone to forecast where their storylines will end up.