Over the weekend, Bachelor fan favorite Becca Tilley hard-launched her relationship with singer Hayley Kiyoko on Instagram, finally confirming after years of rumors that the pair had been dating for four years. FOUR YEARS!!!! Kiyoko replied: “The best four years ever. I love you becca.” Now this is the kind of happy ending we love to see for someone who got dumped twice on national television!!!!
Part of the couple’s coordinated multi-platform relationship announcement seems to be taken from a page out of the Kete playbook. Tilley appeared in Kiyoko’s recently released music video for her single “For the Girls.” In the video, which was directed by Kiyoko, the singer stars as the first lesbian Bachelorette, as she’s courted and kissed by a range of suitors across the gender spectrum. At the end of the video, while the contestants are busy stirring up cat fights in the middle of the rose ceremony, Tilley steps out of a limo as a surprise contestant. You know she’s getting the first impression rose and then some.
For Tilley, who originally appeared on season 18 of The Bachelor during Chris Soules’s season, this feels like redemption in the romantic reality television realm. During her first stint on the show, she made it to the final two—only to be dumped by Soules. She later returned for Ben Higgins’s season in 2016, only lasting seven weeks.
While Tilley’s relationship with Kiyoko signals a celebratory queer moment for The Bachelor franchise—historically a very straight, very white show—it isn’t the series’ first. Former Bachelor Colton Underwood came out on Good Morning America last year. That said, he’s far from the perfect poster child for the queer community due to the restraining order contestant Cassie Rudolph filed against him after they split up. There was also an openly bisexual contestant in the franchise’s Bachelor in Paradise spinoff. Demi Burnett proposed to Kristian Haggerty in the franchise’s first same-sex engagement in 2019.
There’s something about Tilley’s queer reveal that feels different, though. She’s a longtime, beloved member of the Bachelor community, which is largely made up of millennials and middle-aged women eager to watch a crop of monotonous hot people slip on sequin dresses, sip champagne in helicopters, and find “true love” for the right reasons. If you’re like me, you watch because you enjoy seeing some beautiful, messy straights cosplay over-the-top straightness, all while getting sloppy drunk, falling in the pool, and getting cut off from the outside world in a cultish manner! But Tilley, whose new relationship has been happily embraced by many of the fans who’ve been following her endeavors for the better part of a decade, tells a bigger story: America might finally be ready for a queer or bisexual Bachelor season.
According to them., LOGO launched a gay Bachelor in 2017 with Finding Prince Charming, which lasted one season. MTV cast a “sexually fluid” season of Are You The One? in 2019, and Love Island may be next in line for a bisexual cast. Yet The Bachelor, which is housed on a big four network and therefore has the potential to make the visibility of a queer season even more impactful, doesn’t feature members of the LGBTQ+ community in any meaningful way.
We’ve long deserved more queer representation on TV. I’m shocked to say that Becca Tilley may just be the one to show that queer love isn’t just a fairytale as romantic (if not more) than any heterosexual relationship, but that it can be commercially viable too.
Congrats again to the happy couple!! And ABC, if you’re listening, this is me demanding the bisexual season of my dreams.