This week, in an interview with The Sun, Love Island’s Curtis Pritchard was asked about his sexuality after weeks of speculation ran rampant online. ‘I’ve been with women and I’m with a woman now. You can never put a label on anything,’ he told the publication, ‘It’s a cliché to say, but love is blind. I can never ever say what will happen in the future… I wouldn’t rule anything out.’
Subsequently, despite explicitly saying he would never label himself, he has been labelled ‘bisexual’ by the media, and ‘gay’ by online commentators. Media outlets have scoured the internet for pictures of him with famous men, implied Maura is leaving him because of his sexuality and on Good Morning Britain this morning he was essentially interrogated as interviewers badgered him to confirm whether he is or isn't bisexual (skip to four minutes in the below video if you want to watch the uncomfortable questioning for yourself). Unsurprisingly, on social media, the commentary only gets worse.
But let’s get one thing straight (pun unintended): Curtis Pritchard has not ‘come out’ as bisexual, gay, queer or any other LGBT+ term. What he has done, is the classic Gen Z/young millennial move of never denying that he might not be straight. And while some use that as a passive tool to come out to family and friends in an informal way (read: me, lol) that does not mean others can explicitly label him with a term he himself has never used.
More than that, it doesn’t mean that everyone and their dog can start asking his family, friends and romantic partners how they feel about it. Because, frankly, it’s irrelevant. The very fact that Maura Higgins has been asked to comment on his sexuality says a lot, because there is an underlying assumption – fuelled by decades of biphobia (hi, Sex and The City)- that men who are attracted men as well as women are no longer attractive to women, and so it must be a problem for her.
Biphobia is real, and it is deeply engrained in how we inform our actions towards others. In fact, it exists in its own special pocket of homophobia because it is also rampant within the LGBT+ community. Personally, I have only ever experienced explicit homophobia from gay women whom – often as a result of their own horrible experiences– assume that bisexual women view lesbianism as a stopover on an experimental journey that sees them end up with men anyway.
I have, of course, experienced implicit homophobia from men whom fetishize bisexuality and light up with desire when it’s dropped into conversation. But that speaks to the same problem, because they don’t see it as a threat to whether they can ultimately ‘win’ you as a woman. And maybe if they did, bisexual women would be treated with the same vitriol as lesbian women are.
Essentially, the problem is a widespread assumption that bisexual women and men are actually all just confused. It’s why many are now labelling Curtis ‘gay’, and assuming he cannot possibly be attracted to Maura, baiting her to be angry about something that is completely irrelevant to how he feels about her.
Watch: Amy Hart on the things you only know if you've been on Love Island
Ultimately, it’s no one’s business – and it’s boring that he was even asked the question. In fact, one of the strongest responses online– in a pleasant surprise – was ‘who cares?’. And they’re right. While it’s important for queer people to have the space to be open and public and loud about their experiences of the world, someone ‘coming out’ shouldn’t be big news – especially when they haven’t even done that themselves.
So stop asking Curtis about something he clearly doesn’t want to talk about, stop asking his friends how it impacts them, and stop assuming you know anything about his sexuality from a vague cryptic quote. All this does is ‘other’ queer people watching even more than they already are, and centres heteronormative ideas to a conversation that they shouldn’t be involved in.
More than that, the people asking these questions and commentating online are then validated in the very homophobia that informs their ideas of bisexuality. Until Curtis speaks, maybe it’s time the rest of us stop.
Read more: Who was the most popular Love Island contestant, according to Instagram?
Love Island Instagram Followers 2019 - Grazia
Love Island bombshell @mollymaehague stole Tommy Fury's heart (and more Instagram followers than anyone else)
In second place it's Molly-Mae's boyfriend @tommytntfury whose account has grown by over 1,700,000 since the show started
In third place it's @amberrosegill with 1.6 million followers, her best friend is helping to run her account, and answers questions from which hair products she uses to what her dog is called
In fourth place it's @lucierosedonlan, the surfer who is quickly catching up to Amber Gill despite being dumped from the island weeks ago
Model and grid girl @maurahiggins came into the villa as a bombshell and made her move on Tommy, before ending up with Curtis
Despite only entering the villa a month ago, basketball player @oviesoko has accrued 1.2 million followers - and A LOT - of praise on Twitter
Just behind Ovie is professional ballroom dancer @curtispritchard12
Original islander @annavakili_ is tied with Curtis at 1.1 million followers
Another islander with 1.1 million followers is @mac_griffiths_ who got the nation talking following him dumping Amber for Joanna
The newest addition to the Loose Women line up, @amyhartxo has 1.1 million followers
Love Island original @anton_danyluk - whose mum gained 10,000 followers after appearing on Love Island After Sun - has nearly 1 million followers
Despite leaving the show early @yewande_biala has just under 800,000 followers
After coupling up with Lucie, @josephgarratt was dumped from the villa, but has managed to rack up quite a few followers anyway
While @jxrdanhames didn't have the easiest ride with Anna during his time in the villa, the model seems to be doing just fine on Instagram
Anton's partner @bellehassan has nearly 600 thousand followers
Just behind Belle is @jourdanriane who entered the villa with her
And just behind girlfriend Jourdan is @itsdannywilliams
Despite being asked to leave the villa by producers @sherif_lanre has 485 thousand followers
@lovefromreyn entered the villa as a bombshell, and is now coupled up with Ovie Soko
@joannachimonides caused drama when she entered the villa and Michael's head turned from Amber to her
@elmapazar was dumped from the villa after coupling up with Anton
@arabellachi certainly turned heads when she entered the villa, causing a row between Danny and Yewande
@christophertaylorofficial is one of the only Love Island contestants who isn't verified, but has 416 thousand followers
Love Island finalist @gregoshea has 365 thousand followers
Love Island original @callum_macleod was the first to be voted out of the villa
@francesca_allen entered the villa with Chris Taylor and coupled up with Curtis Pritchard
@harley_brash chose to go on a date with Ovie when she first entered the villa with India, and then coupled up with Chris Taylor
Despite only being in the villa for a short time, @georgerainsofficial racked up 134 thousand followers
Famous for missing out on the chance to spend the night with Maura in the hideaway, @tom9walker has 128 thousand followers
Casa Amour boy @dennon_lewis has 84 thousand followers
Remember Casa Amour's Dan Rose? He's got 69 thousand followers
@mariacarmelwild has just over 66 thousand followers