Playing it straight, busting stereotypes, and being an ally to the B in LGBTQ+
Shereece Marcantonio tells DIVA how she found herself back in the closet for MTV’s True Love or True Lies...
I’m sure most of us have been there at some point — playing it straight, that is — and that’s exactly what I had to do recently for MTV reality show True Love Or True Lies.
For those of you that haven’t seen it, the premise is as follows: Eleven couples enter a mansion battling it out for the title of “Best Couple” but there’s a twist... Some of the couples are genuine lovers and some are faking it.
I’m a proud lesbian woman, who went through the life changing experience of coming out seven years ago and I hadn’t looked back since, that was until I entered the mansion in a fake couple — with a man.
"Fake couple" Cam and Shereece.
Honestly, I thought I’ve got this one in the bag — rocking up in my usual false eyelashes, heels and matching skirt and crop top — I’d always had a hard time trying to convince people that, “YES! I am a lesbian,” and felt that slipping through the net wouldn’t be so difficult.
Despite one or two Tweets “calling me out” for wearing a checked, plaid shirt (rookie error, huh?) no-one suspected I was anything other than heterosexual.
In fact, the tables turned and everyone thought my partner, Cam, who’s straight, was gay. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it emphasised my reason for coming on the show, that “lesbians don’t look or act a certain way.”
Yes, there are those who embrace their masculinity but there are also many lesbian and bi women who embrace their femininity — and everyone in between.
Seeing is believing for some, however, and mainstream television doesn’t exactly do the best job of representing openly lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. IMO however, True Love Or True Lies did a fantastic job of questioning stereotypes often associated with different sexualities and identities. (It was actually a little amusing listening to the reasons given for the questioning of Cams sexuality…)
Cam and Shereece.
Since appearing on the show, many young women have reached out to me, a number of those who are preparing to come out as bisexual. Coming from a formerly self-identified bisexual — it’s not always an easy ride.
The stigma still surrounding bisexuality and bisexual women is still rife. One thing that I really struggled with when I did identify as bi, was that I felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere — there was no bisexual community. I was almost laughed out of lesbian bars, and I felt like I was living half a life in the “straight community”, as my bisexuality was never taken seriously.
On top of that, everyone was always very quick to form an opinion of me: I was either “straight” and looking for attention, generally promiscuous, or there to “lead a lesbian on”. Why is being attracted to both men and women (and everyone in-between) such a hard pill to swallow for so many people?
Thankfully, I finally feel that times are moving forward and hope that soon every letter of the LGBTQ+ acronym can experience equal acceptance and respect.
I’m so proud to have been a part of a television show tackling these subjects — a show showcasing relationships from all walks of life, including LGBTQ+ and polyamorous communities.
It won’t be long before we’ll be able to sign up for an all ladies Love Island… Now that would be TV gold. #LesbianLoveIsland
Only reading DIVA online? You're missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.