In an April 2021 Good Morning The Us interview with Robin Roberts, Colton Underwood — referred to as the “virgin Bachelor” throughout his time on the ABC reality TV franchise, during which 30 girls competed for his affections — found out that he’s gay.
“I got here to terms with that earlier this yr, and i’ve been processing it,” the 29-year-old told Roberts. “the next step in all of this was, sort of, letting other people understand.”
the new Netflix show Coming Out Colton files exactly that. in the six-episode collection, a digicam workforce films Underwood as he confides in his folks, brother, coaches, teammates and pals approximately his sexuality.
However allegations of harassment and stalking have adopted Underwood within the wake of his breakup with female friend Cassie Randolph.
And the display’s structure — during which Underwood comes out to his loved ones for the first time, whole with nerve-wracking cliffhangers — has brought about questions on its worth to the LGBTQ neighborhood.
Ex-female friend filed restraining order
For Underwood, growing up in small-the city Illinois as a football superstar made it tricky to assume the rest past conventional notions of masculinity. Homophobic jokes and slurs had been enabled by way of his coaches within the locker room, he said.
In Popping Out Colton, that conservative upbringing adds to the portion of marvel: If an episode ends with Underwood having just told a loved one approximately his sexuality, the viewer has to observe the following episode to find out how they react, realizing that it could no longer be a beneficial reaction.
Underwood, left, is pictured with his father, Scott Underwood, on this scene from Popping Out Colton. within the six-episode series, a camera staff movies Underwood as he confides in his folks, brother, coaches, teammates and friends approximately his sexuality. (Netflix)
At The Same Time As gimmicks are a given a part of any reality TV show, monetizing one’s identity is something that a lot of public figures from marginalized identities have to strive against with, mentioned Mel Woods, a Vancouver-based tradition creator and editor at Xtra Mag.
“We Often need to grapple with this idea of claiming, like, ‘I want to be visible and i wish to put myself and my identification forward. But I additionally am creating wealth off who i am at my very center,'” Woods said.
However Underwood’s tale has some other dimension to it that has left a nasty taste in the mouths of Bachelor lovers. In September 2020, Randolph — the winning contestant on Underwood’s season of The Bachelor in 2019 — filed a restraining order in opposition to him, alleging harassment and stalking. The claims included an incident during which Underwood allegedly installed a monitoring tool on Randolph’s automobile. She dropped the restraining order months later.
Whilst truth tv can make interpersonal relationships complicated and messy, “just because you come back out as queer doesn’t exonerate you for all of that,” Woods mentioned.
Certainly, a few fans of The Bachelor had been dismayed to search out out that Underwood might have his personal Netflix show. A change.org petition demanded that Netflix now not air the collection in a protest of Underwood’s movements.
In a critique of the series on the site The Daily Beast, one author opined that it is “inconceivable to shake the impression that every one of that is a part of a broader exposure campaign designed to relegate what came about with Randolph to the prior and protect Underwood’s place within the highlight.”
Underwood refers to those incidents vaguely through the Netflix show, admitting that he can’t address the placement immediately because of prison reasons. He says that he clung to his courting with Randolph, believing that she may “make” him straight. in keeping with Selection magazine, Randolph declined to appear at the show.
‘A certain quantity of privilege’
A Lot of Underwood’s battle with his sexuality stems from his heritage as a certified athlete and the fear of being outed as gay amongst unwelcoming teammates and coaches. He unearths during the display that he tried suicide sooner than popping out.
“I without a doubt feel like being regularly occurring from individuals who had been in my athletic neighborhood and my athletic existence…. It’s not that it method extra, nevertheless it kind of offers me more confidence and validation whilst an NFL participant and an old teammate of mine say, ‘Doesn’t modification a thing, still love you, dude,'” Underwood mentioned.
Underwood, centre, is flanked via Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy, left, and his father, Scott, all over a scene from the truth TELEVISION collection. Kenworthy, who’s also brazenly homosexual, acted as a mentor through the show. (Netflix)
Underwood’s story is disheartening. However presentations like Popping Out Colton also exhibit that the process of showing one’s sexuality to family members is not equal for all.
“there’s a specific amount of privilege in having the ability to have this all set up for you,” Woods mentioned. “For a lot of individuals, coming out is not like that … it’s not as easy as it appears to be like from displays like this.”
The series incorporates the studies of alternative professional athletes who are brazenly gay. Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy acts as a kind of mentor for Underwood — providing bits and pieces of useful wisdom (Kenworthy explains to Underwood what “cisgender” method within the starting episode) and making an attempt to instil in Underwood a sense of LGBTQ historical past. a trip to The Big Apple City’s famed Stonewall Lodge is integrated.
“the best way that he is kind of discovering gay tradition feels like he is a immediately spectator of queer culture,” Woods mentioned. “And That I think that’s since the display is being located in some way that the target audience is that straight spectator on queer culture.
“The extra queer narratives that we now have out in media and within the world, the more varied of an image we paint of the queer neighborhood.”