For years The Challenge has featured people from all walks of life. Stemming from The Real World, we were bound to find to LGBTQ competitors come onto the show. While The Challenge isn’t the perfect example of equality, they’ve been allowing LGBTQ competitors to compete openly on the show since its inception. While major sports have only recently allowed their athletes to speak about their sexual and gender identities only recently, The Challenge has always welcomed openness.
June is Pride month, so I wanted to celebrate some of the queer moments on the show: serious and comical alike. I’m going to say this here in big bold letters. THIS LIST IS NOT MEANT TO BE SERIOUS. Production included some of these moments in the show because they were meant to be funny. I am only including actions from people who have openly identified with the LGBTQ+ community. These moments are not being acknowledged because they’re powerful, rather they’re celebrated for their unfiltered and unashamed normalization of LGBTQ+ identities. The Challenge has allowed people to compete regardless of their sexual preference or gender identity, and the moments when we see the identities expressed have allowed us to better understand the unique personalities of our LGBTQ+ cast members. And remember, just have fun.
10. So Many Lesbians (Battle of the Sexes 2)
The Women’s team on Battle of the Sexes 2 had a lot of ladies who identified as lesbians or bisexual: Rachel, Aneesa, Ruthie, Sophia and Genesis. In the beginning of the season, Aneesa can be seen unpacking her bags and singing to herself “sooo many lesbians.”
9. Tyler Explains How He’ll Win (The Duel)
The rules of The Duel essentially confirmed that the season would be a popularity contest. Tyler was excited, because he thought the girls would like him for being gay. In his words, if they were both singing the same Madonna song, they’d want to keep singing it together. His confidence is admirable, but he was voted into the first two Duels. Oops.
8. Dan Explains Why The Badasses Will Win (The Inferno 2)
On The Inferno 2, the cast played a game called Dodge Yer Balls, which is basically dodgeball with an innuendo for a name. The Good Guys team had Mike, Landon, and Darrell while the Bad Asses had Karamo willing to throw his heat because he “hates cold water.” But, the Bad Asses had a secret weapon, and according to Dan, it was a lesbian. Of course, the Bad Asses won.
7. Half the House Falls for Kaycee (Total Madness)
For someone who got no screen time in the first 12 episodes of Total Madness, Kaycee sure made a huge impression on the cast. Nany seemed to develop a crush, so strong that Kaycee betrayed Bayleigh to help Nany out. Then, Bayleigh aired her feelings to Kaycee while arguing, admitting she had a crush on Kaycee at the beginning of Big Brother 20.
6. Natalie Confronts Kayleigh (Final Reckoning)
After Kayleigh was bullied on Vendettas, she was mad at Natalie. The whole drama with Kayleigh revolved around an alleged hookup with Bananas, who was flirting with Natalie at the time. After Vendettas, Kayleigh claimed Natalie’s relationship with Bananas was fake because Natalie was a lesbian. On Final Reckoning, Natalie confronted Kayleigh for outing her. Not only did Kayleigh violate Natalie’s privacy, but she labelled her as a lesbian when Natalie identified as pansexual (though Natalie was in a relationship with a woman). Kayleigh kind of apologized, but not really, but at least Natalie got to stand up for herself.
5. Laurel Falls for Nicole (Invasion)
How does everyone in the world seemingly develop a crush for Nicole Zanatta? On Invasion, Bananas compared Nicole’s appearance to Andy Dick. That didn’t stop Laurel from developing a crush. While the two became a very real pair, the sweetest moment was when Laurel discussed her attraction toward the same sex with Camila, who was very kind and encouraging.
4. Brooke and Evelyn’s Dramatic Goodbye (The Gauntlet 3)
When Brooke finally did a Challenge, she came on the show ready to date women. And date she did, as she quickly became involved with Evelyn. Then Brooke got eliminated fourth on the show (probably only staying in Mexico for two week’s time). Evelyn gave her a teary goodbye, but Coral claimed the farewell more dramatic than the Titanic.
3. Amo Beats Tony in Women’s Clothes (Dirty Thirty)
Who would have thought Tony would lose an elimination to Amo, let alone a climbing game where height was an advantage? Amo, who identified as non-binary at the time but competed as a male, often wore the challenge uniform in “women’s” cuts. In the end, Amo claimed a win and stated that being different was the best thing that could happen to you.
2. The Men Melt Ice (Battle of the Sexes 2)
At one point, MTV called the Melt With You challenge the gayest Challenge ever. For good reason. While the women were just rubbing their booties and rocks on the ice, the men were piling on top of each other and gyrating back and fourth. Shane claimed this challenge fulfilled all of his fantasies.
1. Shane Calls Jozea a Bottom (Final Reckoning)
After Shane threw the Don’t Push Me Around challenge, Jozea was understandably upset. So he confronted Shane. As Shane put it, sometimes he’s a “shady, shady, queen.” So he claimed he didn’t understand the rules of the game until he eventually confessed to Jozea that he threw the challenge. Of course, Shane didn’t apologize and called the loss satisfying. Jozea threatened to stomp all over Shane’s ass in his Louboutins at the reunion, but Shane knew he fucked over his team and told Jozea he was the bottom. Jozea’s reaction was yelling “A BOTTOM?” back at Shane, and I don’t the The Challenge has been a fully straight activity since.