Love Island fans have expressed their desire to see a dedicated LGBTQ+ series after contestants Kassy Castillo and Johnnie Garcia shared an on-screen kiss on Love Island USA.
This year has brought the release of two LGBTQ+ reality dating shows: Netflix’s The Ultimatum: Queer Love and the BBC’s I Kissed A Boy. Beyond that, however, the LGBTQ+ community is finally getting representation in the most heteronormative dating series of them all, Love Island, with the latest season airing a surprise queer twist between OG contestant Kassy Castillo and Casa Amor bombshell Johnnie Garcia.
Kassy was originally in a relationship with fellow contestant Leonardo Dionicio, who subsequently explored a connection with Johnnie in Casa Amor. The pair’s friendship evolved, however, when both islanders ended things with him when the cast reunited and instead grew closer to each other.
A scene posted by the Love Island USA Twitter account on Monday (21 August) shows the moment Kassy and Johnnie began to voice their attraction to each other.
“I obviously find you attractive, I just didn’t know if you felt the attraction too. I just wanted to know if you were seeing that,” Kassy told Johnnie, to which she responded: “B***h I been seeing it, what do you mean?”
Kassy continued: “We joke around and stuff, but I didn’t know if it’s really joking or not.”
When Johnnie, who is openly bisexual, confirmed she was not joking, Kassy went on: “I kept looking at you, and I kept wanting to talk to you. I was like ‘I’m low-key down’. Not low-key, I am down.”
Johnnie shared her own feelings, saying: “I like people who bring out a fun side in me, and I feel fun when I’m with you. I feel comfortable when I’m with you. Those aren’t things you often find in people where you’re [on the island], you get to be somebody else when you’re with them.”
They both agreed to explore their connection more before sharing a kiss and bursting into laughter.
Kassy Castillo (L) and Johnnie Garcia. (Peacock)
Kassy said in a confessional afterwards: “I really liked kissing her, it just felt right. Right now, I’m choosing myself, I’m figuring out what I want and it’s confusing as it is, but that’s love. Love is confusing, love is a rollercoaster, love is love.”
The scene has left fans thrilled, especially considering Love Island has been so resistant to showing LGBTQ+ stories in the past. Kassy and Johnnie mark the first same-sex pairing in Love Island USA history.
In the UK, although there was a brief same-sex relationship between Katie Salmon and Sophie Gradon in 2016, there has been a lack of representation since then. Love Island season five winner Amber Gill has, however, since come out as queer.
In 2021, ITV commissioning editor Amada Stavri sparked outrage among LGBTQ+ fans when she claimed including LGBTQ+ islanders would be a “logistical difficulty”.
However, now Love Island USA has delivered a long-awaited LGBTQ+ moment, UK fans are all saying the same thing. TV critic Scott Bryan has called for ITV to “tweak the format”, while another Twitter user simply added: “UK take notes.”
Other fans are calling for Love Island to finally launch a queer season of the show.
The doors that they have opened for a queer season
— Javi (@GrandeJavi_) August 21, 2023
Most of all, people are just celebrating the new pairing.
“I’m actually so obsessed with them, this is everything and they genuinely seem to like each other, it’s really cute,” one fan wrote.
Love Island USA airs on Peacock in the US and on ITVX in the UK.