Demi Burnett recently opened up about being hurt by the criticism she's faced since coming out as sexually fluid on Bachelor in Paradise. Since it is the first time the franchise has shown a same-sex couple, it was a near inevitability that the audience wouldn't unanimously support Burnett as she explored her relationship with Kristian Haggerty. That's something Burnett knows she must deal with as her groundbreaking romance continues to play out in front of millions of viewers.
Burnett's sexuality has been a topic of discussion ever since the preview to season six of Bachelor in Paradise aired. Since then, it became clear her steady romance with Derek Peth would eventually come to an end. Peth took the breakup about as well as he could, telling the cameras that it wouldn't have been any more or less painful had Burnett left him for a man or a woman. Haggerty was then brought to Paradise to surprise Burnett. The two are set to continue building their relationship in Mexico, a production decision that drew the ire of more than a few fans. Rumors from former contestants that Burnett had pre-planned to have Haggerty show up to Paradise so that the two could get engaged on national television have only fanned the flames of hatred that Burnett has received for being courageous enough to come out on one of the most widely watched reality shows of the summer.
Burnett told Good Morning America in an interview Thursday morning, "This was a super tough time for me that being criticized does hurt, but I know that there's nothing that I can do to change how people are perceiving it or how they feel about it." Burnett does not regret her choice to share the truth about her sexuality with others, saying, "I just wanted to be honest with who I was and follow wherever my heart led me."
When Burnett told her parents that she was bisexual, they were accepting. Burnett said to Good Morning America that her parents responded with, "We're going to love you and support you no matter what." Although there have been many people who expressed hate once seeing Burnett and Haggerty together, Burnett sees this experience as a positive one. She said, "Knowing that I could help somebody just by being who I was, that's amazing for me and it feels really good."
As some continue to question Burnett's intentions for going on the show, it's become clear that the show's willingness to feature same-sex romance has an impact far beyond Burnett's long-term happiness. It gives other women who may be struggling at home to see Burnett's bravery and believe that they too can be open and honest about their sexuality, too.
Bachelor in Paradise airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm on ABC.
Source: Good Morning America