Keeping It Real

MTV’s The Real World has been a reality television staple for almost 20 years. For its new Brooklyn season, the show is upping the LGBT ante -- a gay man, a trans woman, a girl who's dated girls but is now seeing a guy, and an allegedly straight virgin who pings the gaydar more than Ryan Seacrest at a Jonas Brothers concert.

BY Dan Avery

December 15 2008 12:00 AM ET

MTV REAL WORLD SARAH X390 (MTV) | ADVOCATE.COM
  

That
doesn’t mean Katelynn, 24, falls into any
stereotypes: Somewhat shy, she’s an admitted
computer whiz and aspiring writer who just happens to
have a black belt in tae kwon do. Her arrival sparks
whispers among some of the male housemates, but she
seems to be accepted early on by the girls (though
only time will tell).

“It was
definitely a nonissue for me,” says Devyn, a teen
pageant winner who shared a room with Katelynn during
filming. “The only tension was when it was
being tiptoed around like a big secret. I was one of the
last to know. But I see Katelynn as the person she is
-- gender doesn’t affect character.”

One housemate who
might ruffle gay feathers is Sarah Rice, a 22-year-old
artist who hails from the queer mecca of San Francisco. Her
current boyfriend is the first man Sarah’s
dated -- until now, most of her relationships have
been with women. Though she considers herself part of
the LGBT community, heavily tattooed Sarah eschews labels,
coyly identifying as “none of the
above.”

“I fall in
love with people I have a strong emotional connection
with,” she says. “It just happens that
I’m in a straight relationship now.”

She felt a
certain kinship with J.D. and Katelynn but admits there was
no “Team Rainbow” in the household:

“Being
[queer] is part of what we are, and we support each other in
that way, but it doesn’t define us. It was
harder to come out to my lesbian friends as being with
a guy than it was coming out in the first place,”
Sarah says. Like J.D. and Katelynn, Sarah also volunteered
at the Gay Center, leading art therapy classes for
people who, like her, are survivors of sexual
abuse. She admits leaving her beau on the other side
of the country was hard but says she wasn’t tempted
by her fetching housemates or the New York singles
scene: "If it's true love, you can keep it in your
pants for four months.”

Tags: television

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