Is “The Biggest Loser” trying to keep their trainers in the closet?

 
 

Ironically, NBC has been receiving a lot of press lately regarding their upcoming gay-friendly programming with the appointment of former-Showtime boss Bob Greenblatt to chief of NBC programming. One of his first points of business has been the greenlighting of the recently announced pilot starring a lesbian couple called I Hate That I Love You. Greenblatt was at Showtime for the development of Queer as Folk, The L Word, The Real L Word and other queer-friendly programming such as Nurse Jackie and United States of Tara.

So what does the network have to lose from allowing their star trainers to speak with the gay press? The Biggest Loser itself doesn’t have such a great track record in terms of LGBT inclusion, and they’ve been on the air for 11 seasons. In 2009, the show’s co-creator Mark Koops told Variety that not having gay or lesbian couples “hasn’t been a conscious decision, and we have definitely had a number of gay or lesbian individuals on the show. We are looking for great characters and great stories, so I’m sure we will.”

Though Koops says they have had “a number” of LGBT individuals, there haven’t been any on record as being out while on the show, or at least their sexuality was not mentioned. This is somewhat understandble considering that sexuality is not the focus of the show. But if the “individuals” were out, why wouldn’t the network capitalize on the additional press a contestant could receive for speaking as a member of the gay community?

One openly lesbian cast member wasn’t out while she was on the show. Rasha Pecoraro went on the show with her then-husband, Edwin, in 2006. In 2009, she came out as a lesbian and is now married to Vanna Pecoraro. The press picked up on Rasha’s new relationship and it was reported on TMZ and other entertainment news sites.

”Being the only openly gay lesbian from The Biggest Loser, I feel a sense of responsibility to show America that following your dreams, and following your true desire is what is most important,” Rasha said. “I live my life like an open book, and I am proud of who I am, and I want every person I come in contact with to be proud of themselves, too. I am living proof that dreams come true.”

Though she wasn’t out on the show, Rasha said that NBC has been supportive of her.

”NBC, 3 Ball Productions and Reveille Productions have been amazingly supportive,” she said. “I was a plus-size model before the show, so they have always respected that I am in the entertainment industry, and have always been supportive of me talking to the press.”

Rasha won’t comment on whether she knew about the sexuality (or closeting) of any of the trainers on the show, but she did say that she thinks The Biggest Loser will eventually cast some out gay or lesbian contestants.

”I feel they have wanted to focus more on the contestants weight loss stories as opposed to their sexual orientation,” Rasha said. “Maybe they just haven’t found the right out LGBT person to cast on the show yet.”

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