What the Colton Underwood controversy says about bisexuality

Thanks to social media, a person’s truth is suddenly out there on the public realm. For example, Khloe Kardashian and Kanye West both recently revealed their truth—that they were parents of a child born via surrogate. In 2017, Riley Negron, then a high school senior in Illinois, revealed to CBS Chicago that he and his boyfriend, Seth Spencer, are in fact a couple.

But the world was not ready to hear it.

(2 of a series for foxnews.com’s Demography)

“I couldn’t believe how flippant the LGBT community was. I was blown away,” Negron says now. “In a similar position, I’m not as open about it publicly, but behind closed doors, it’s just a matter of being honest. Being honest to myself and my boyfriend is enough.”

[GRAPHIC: High school student to reveal boyfriend on prom date; Sorry, internet.]

Even in the rush of authenticity, one small fact remains—it’s still a fight to be yourself.

And that’s where Colton Underwood comes in. On last night’s episode of “The Bachelorette,” the 26-year-old show-crazed former NFL player shared that he, too, is in a relationship with a guy.

“I love this feeling of being with someone who loves me, who respects me, who lets me be myself,” he tells an audience member in an episode that’s touted as “The Deep Dive” and features large-format close-ups (I spy). “I don’t have that in my life right now.”

And just as Negron found some of his truth come out in his own community, Underwood’s revelation prompted another glimpse into the inside of a well-respected and beloved franchise. Immediately, E!’s Buzzfeed was reporting what they called a “bombshell.” Later, TMZ was reporting that Underwood was drunk the night of filming the show.

Now that Underwood has come out on national television, it will be interesting to see what it takes to take his open admission to the next level. His demeanor and voice that evening were certainly not off-putting. “I have always loved football. I have always loved women. I’ve always loved dogs,” he says.

But his goal and his trajectory—at that point, we expect he was looking for a great relationship, a gorgeous trip, and a happily ever after. Well, after his heart throb became an overnight gay celebrity, a real-life Jackie Robinson for the LGBT community. As Talking Heads’ Chris Frantz famously sang, “Don’t know where it all began, but it sure is ending tonight.”

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[All photographs by Jon Murray from the Demography team.]

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