After appearing on Colton’s season of The Bachelor, Demi Burnett made the choice to visit the beach on Bachelor in Paradise. She wanted another go at love and to explore her options. 

She started connecting with Derek Peth, who had appeared on JoJo’s season of The Bachelorette as well as season four of Bachelor in Paradise. There was trouble in paradise for the new couple, however, when Burnett realized that the more time she spent with Peth, the more she thought about a girl back home. 

Burnett’s girl from back home, Kristian Haggerty, who she was in an open, nonexclusive relationship with, came on Paradise—invited by Harrison—to try to win Burnett’s heart, completely and exclusively. After a few tough conversations between Burnett and Haggerty as well as with Peth, Burnett ultimately decided her heart was with Haggerty. The couple remained in Paradise to explore their relationship, becoming the show’s first same-sex couple. 

Viewers watched as Demi and Kristian’s love story unfolded. However, it wasn’t all sandy beaches and sunny days for the couple; there were creases and insecurities. Burnett, who came out to everyone on the show, including all of America, was still dealing with what it meant to be an openly queer woman. As hard as it was to watch Burnett go through all of this, it was also super cathartic to watch. 

Growing up, LGBT individuals don’t have anyone like this to look up to who went through the same experiences when coming out. It is about seeing someone say they are still nervous about holding their girlfriend or boyfriend’s hand in public because of people staring or not wanting to make anyone uncomfortable with PDA. Watching Burnett go through this reminded everyone that internalized homophobia is real, and it doesn’t go away when someone comes out. It stays with them for a while, and while we try to be the best we can be and give young queer individuals everything they need, it is not easy. 

America watched Burnett tell Haggerty she was not comfortable with PDA because she didn’t want to make people uncomfortable. Thus, she worried she wouldn’t be enough for Haggerty. Viewers watched the couple talk things out, however, and discuss the issues in their relationship. Ultimately, the show ended with Burnett getting on one knee at the end of the show and popping the question to Kristian — who said yes! 

Watching Demi and Kristian’s love story shows viewers why representation in media for LGBT individuals is important. We need someone who is going through similar internalized issues and who can say, “That is OK. It is OK not to be comfortable with PDA and feel like you aren’t enough sometimes.”

Burnett was that for a lot of people on this season of Bachelor in Paradise, and that is why she is everyone’s queer queen. 

Kelsey Boeing is a junior studying photojournalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Let Kelsey know by emailing her at kb794916@ohio.edu.