Love Island has previously faced criticism for failing to include LGBT+ contestants (ITV)
ITV has announced it will welcome LGBT+ contestants for the 2021 series of Love Island after previously claiming it would be “logistically difficult” to do so.
When the dating show returns in June the villa may be looking a little less straight after the broadcaster confirmed it’s now accepting applications from singletons of all sexualities.
While previous seasons have included bisexual stars, the show is yet to include gay couples – but producers told the Daily Star they are open to any applicant who’s looking for love, as long as they are over 18.
It’s a refreshing change for the popular show, which has faced criticism over the years for failing to include LGBT+ contestants.
Love Island creator Richard Cowles has long wanted to produce a more diverse version but previously said it would be difficult to carry out under the current format.
“You are trying to create couples,” he said in 2017. “It is not impossible and it is not something that we shy away from… but there is a logistical element which makes it difficult.”
It’s possible the change was prompted by the success of ITV2’s LGBT-inclusive Love Island replacement The Cabins, which sees paired-up singletons – straight and queer – share a cabin for 24 hours.
It’s not clear if or how Love Island‘s format will be altered to accommodate different sexualities, but showrunners seem committed to opening it up.
In a bid to find a more diverse range of contestants than ever before they’ve teamed up with dating app Tinder, where one in five matches last year were queer.
A series of “fast track” Love Island applications have been placed within the app and are set to appear on accounts of all sexualities.
A source said: “ITV and Love Island teamed up with Tinder earlier this year to find a new batch of islanders.
“They have been placing the ads strategically inside the app so you have to swipe left or right. The ads have been showing up on both male and female gay accounts as well as on those of straight people.”
The upcoming series will also incorporate COVID safety measures and increased checks on mental health following the suicides of Caroline Flack, Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis after their time on the show.