Liam Cooper made history as Married At First Sight’s first openly bisexual contestant earlier this year, when he married Georgia Fairweather.
Yet rather than celebrating the representation, his sexuality was exploited for storylines, mocked by co-stars in a leaked video and sadly led to him receiving homophobic abuse online.
We spoke to Liam to find out his thoughts on The Bachelorette, as the show prepares to break boundaries with it’s first openly bisexual lead, Brooke Blurton, when it premiers on Wednesday.
Hey Liam! Do you worry the fact Brooke is bisexual is going to be exploited for drama and ratings?
‘I do worry, because I know females who are bisexuals get treated differently to males who are, and get objectified and glorified more in this sense. For example, I know as a male who is bisexual, other males think it’s disgusting and have more of an opinion about it – and you get the typical “ you’re gay”, “pick a side” comments. However, I’ve noticed that with females who are bisexual, it’s more of a “hot” and “sexy” thing and then becomes more about this, rather than celebrating [their sexuality]. I know men are going to watch Brooke just to hopefully see two females kiss, instead of watching it to celebrate how far the LGBTQIA+ community has come.’
Do you think Brooke is prepared for a potential backlash, like you received on MAFS?
‘What I know of Brooke, I feel she knows what she is doing but what I would say is: Brooke has my support in anyway and it’s about time that the LGBTQIA + community had more representation. Brooke is making history and I feel she is really going to break a lot of stigma and educate the public. Brooke is going to do both the Indigenous and the LGBTQIA+ community proud.’
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What message would you have to viewers on how they can be an LGBTQIA+ ally?
‘Educate yourself and treat everyone the same. As long as you come from a place where you want to learn and truly understand, you can’t go wrong.’
Why do you think being bisexual is so controversial to so many people?
‘[There are lots of viewers] in smaller towns who are uneducated. They have been brought up and taught that everyone is heterosexual and if you’re not, then something is completely wrong with you.’
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Were you prepared for the hate you received when your season of MAFS aired?
‘To be honest, it didn’t even cross my mind [that I’d receive hate]. I guess when you have supportive friends and family and surround yourself with those type of people, you almost forget that there are homophobic, biphobic people out there. So it surprised me when I received those comments, as I’d only had nothing but positive things generally being said to me [before the show].’