Karine Jean-Pierre
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Gay British Bake Off Contestants Call for More LGBTQ+ Inclusion

Michael Chakraverty and David Atherton

Two popular gay contestants from The Great British Bake Off (known as The Great British Baking Show in the U.S.) say the show needs to do more for LGBTQ+ inclusion.

The competition show has “embraced gay men very comfortably and highlighted them a lot,” but the “rest of the queer community has been slightly sidelined,” David Atherton, who won the program’s 2019 season, recently told PinkNews.

His season, in which fellow gay contestant Michael Chakraverty placed sixth, marked a “turning point” for inclusion, he said. After downplaying LGBTQ+ visibility in previous seasons, in their season the show’s staff “let us wear T-shirts that were pro-LGBTQI+, and right at the end of the whole series is me and Nik [his fiancé] kissing,” he explained.

But it’s time for the show to have a transgender competitor, Chakraverty told PinkNews. “If you think about the proportion of people in this country who identify as trans, and then the proportion of them who like Bake Off, and then the proportion of those who are good enough to go on Bake Off — the proportion of those who will fit with the casting dynamic — it depends on the application and on demographics, but more can be done,” he said.

Of the 2019 season, he noted, “The fact that David and I were queer on our year wasn’t really referenced. We were just allowed to exist, and if it came up, we talked about it.”

Atherton and Chakraverty have just started a podcast, Sticky Bun Boys, that will be a companion to the baking show, which begins a new season Tuesday. It will also include baking and dating advice as well as a discussion of disasters in those realms. And it will definitely have much for queer audiences, the two said.

“There is this feeling with queer people where, when you find your community, part of the best thing is that you can be open about all aspects of your life,” Chakraverty said. “That’s what we’re trying to do here. We can talk about sex: Sex is funny, topping is funny, bottoming is funny, everything is funny.”

Sticky Bun Boys can be accessed on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other platforms.  

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