Demi Burnett broke down barriers on “Bachelor in Paradise” on Tuesday evening.
Before coming on the show, Demi revealed she was dating a woman, but she was open to exploring her options and experiences on “Paradise.” She referred to herself as a “queer queen” on Twitter and immediately received a flood of support from fellow Bachelor Nation members. On Tuesday night’s episode, Demi came out to multiple people on the show, including her beau Derek Peth.
Demi and Derek hit it off from the very start, but this secret was weighing her down. She said in a confessional moment, “A lot of people seem to think Derek and I are one of the strongest couples here in Paradise, if not the strongest. I have feelings for Derek but really, in actuality, I’m really conflicted and I don’t even think Derek knows that. There’s so many other feelings in the back of my mind. I’ve always struggled to talk about who I’m attracted to, but I’ve been dating a woman back in L.A.”
Demi expressed that she’s “always struggled” with feeling accepted, hence why she’s been “avoiding it for so long.”
“I just want to love who I love and be accepted,” she said.
The 24-year-old first shared her story with Katie Morton and tearfully talked to her about her experiences. Demi told Katie about the woman back in Los Angeles and spoke highly of her. “I do miss her and I think about her all the time and I am so in with her,” she said. “Now that I am giving other people a chance, particularly Derek, and I am thinking about her. I really don’t know what I want and that’s what I am trying to figure out what I want and don’t want to hurt anyone. I want to do what is going to make my heart the happiest.”
Demi shared with her friend that she came out to her parents before the show, and it was “really hard” to do. Ultimately, her parents supported her even though it was “something I was scared to do for a long time.”
She said in another especially candid and emotional moment, “I’ve been surrounded by people my entire life who made me feel really bad and made me feel really stupid and unworthy of a lot of things, and I just want to be 100% myself.”
Katie supported her and commended her decision for staying true to herself. Derek was no different. She told Derek, “I’ve been uncomfortable talking about it because it’s scary to talk about that. I’ve always planned on coming here and being open to stuff and I don’t want you to think that this changes something between us. I’m still very much interested in you. It’s important to me to know how you feel about it because it’s a part of who I am.”
Derek, too, praised her and told Demi he wanted to keep growing their relationship. “I’m okay with slow,” he said. “What matters to me is feeling connected to you the way that I do. I hope you know this doesn’t slow my resolve to continuing to build a relationship with you.”
Hannah told Rachel Lindsay and Ali Fedotowsky-Manno, “We’ve been moving the needle in the right direction for a while, but we’re changing the game now truly with Demi and her relationship.”
She said later in the interview, “I think that she is such a strong woman. She’s going to come out on top with this and I’m going to be there for her.”
So many of Demi’s “Paradise” cast members and friends tweeted their support. Kristina Schulman wrote, “WE LOVE YOU @demi_burnett you’re an inspiration to SO many. Be Brave, Stay Strong, Live your life Unapologetically YOURSELF.”
Onyeka Ehie typed out, “Bachelor Nation is lucky to have someone like @demi_burnett.”