I really don’t like the new reality TV show, Queer Love: The Ultimatum. I get it. Trashy reality TV is fun and overwhelming heterosexual. However, this isn’t fun. This feels…well…like a mockery of our community.
This statement reeks of respectability politics, right? Like I’m saying “Oh, we shouldn’t show our dysfunction to the straights. They’ll hate us.”
Straight people (particularly of the religious GOP variety) already hate us enough. Invoking the phrase “respectability politics” only works when a behavior is truly benign. “Respectability” is when black women scoff at rapper and one-half of the City Girls Caresha for her style and her bust downs for being ghetto, and “Respectability” is when gay men put down feminine gay men so as not to be “that type of gay”. “Respectability” is transmedicalism, believing that surgeries and hormones are the only way for someone to be trans (because heaven forbid not every trans person wants bottom surgery).
Respectability is not when sapphics say that in a time where there are more than 500 bills that are trying to legislate us out of existence, maybe having a show where relationship dysfunction is its key selling point isn’t a great idea. This show would’ve been great in 2017, but not in 2023. It could’ve been fine in 2020, but again…not in 2023. Not when the stakes are so high.
My fear is that when we look back at this time, other people will admit to the bad timing of this show. Like who is in charge of making this show? Is it our community? No, it’s not. I think we should ask ourselves some serious questions: If this show wasn’t made by us, for us, is it actually a good representation? Do we have enough sapphic media to counter this type of narrative?
Considering how many sapphic shows have gotten axed or have shortened seasons as renewals, I’d say not yet. I’d say that the show is bad timing on their part. Watch it if you want to.