Love Island UK Season 8’s Amber Beckford kisses Tasha Ghouri during the first challenge. What are the responses to this LGBTQ+ representation?
Since starting on ITV on June 6, Love Island UK season 8 has consistently held the attention of its fans thanks to its quick pace and daily episodes. With episode one’s ratings higher than ever, the summer dating show’s loyal viewers have reacted very strongly, both positively and negatively, to the islanders’ choices in the villa. How did fans respond to the kiss shared by two female islanders in Love Island UK season 8, episode 1?
Love Island UK season 8, episode 1, was focused on introducing the original group of islanders to the viewers as the first episode of Love Island UK always is. Part of this introduction included the islanders playing a dare game – they would pull a card with a dare written on it and have to do the dare. During the game, islander Amber Beckford pulled a dare instructing her to “‘Give the best chat-up line to the girl you fancy the most?‘” After one of the male islanders said she couldn’t do that, Amber defiantly picked Tasha Ghouri and the two kissed with the camera zooming in for a close-up.
Both the other islanders’ and fans’ responses were immediate. The other islanders, especially the boys, were shocked by the kiss and blatantly stared with open mouths. While the fans were happy with the kiss, they were quick to drag the boys for their seemingly horrified surprise at two girls kissing each other, creating yet another controversy for Love Island UK season 8. “Help why did the boys all look like they witnessed a crime when they saw Amber and Tasha kiss,” fan @randomac8unt tweeted. Other fans quickly jumped onto the bandwagon, pointing out that the reaction was even more disheartening because it happened during Pride Month. “luca is so gross asking to send the pics of paige kissing girls, wasnt he just chatting that amber and tasha couldn’t kiss last night ?? DURING PRIDE MONTH ??” fan @g0rg3x02 tweeted.
When the topic of including LGBTQ+ islanders and same-sex couples came up before season 7 in 2021, ITV commissioner Amanda Stavri stated that the formatting of the show made this inclusion difficult. “There’s a sort of logistical difficulty, because although Islanders don’t have to be 100% straight, the format must sort of give [them] an equal choice when coupling up,” she said (via The Guardian). However, Love Island UK’s format is not set in stone. Season 8 has included a few new changes, such as having the fans coupling the islanders rather than letting the girls pick which boy they want to couple up with. The production has also increased its mental health support for islanders after receiving criticism for the increasing post-show body count.
Changing the show’s formatting to create a more representative environment will hopefully become the production’s priority. As the fan response to Amber’s and Tasha’s kiss showed, there’s still a large desire for LGBTQ+ couples on the show. While Love Island UK season 8 just completed its second week of episodes, there’s still a lot that could happen between now and the season finale in early August. Hopefully, this will be the year fans get another LGBTQ+ couple.
Love Island UK season 8 is airing on ITV in the UK. For international viewers, a VPN is required, or they can wait two weeks for the episodes on Hulu.
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