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

 
 

Bob, one of two male trainers on the show, has never spoken publicly about his sexual orientation. Contestants have hinted at his sexuality in interviews, and before The Biggest Loser, he starred in a workout video called Queer Abs. This doesn’t mean Bob Harper is gay, of course, but if he is, and if three out of four trainers identify as not-straight and are discouraged from speaking about it, or speaking to the LGBT press, it would seem that one of the biggest shows on television is not interested in us watching.

The unfortunate part is that we need to be watching. A 2008 study found that lesbians are three times as likely to be overweight and are twice as likely to be obese as straight women. We also tend to have higher BMIs (Body Mass Indexes). It would appear that health should be a priority for the lesbian community just as much, if not more, than for any other subset of people. On a show that often celebrates diversity in other arenas — several contestants have been focused on for their ethnicity, where they live in the United States or any other storyline that can be carved out from their differences in family life — it would seem The Biggest Loser would benefit from being more inclusive of gays or lesbians.

It’s not that we expect Cara or Jillian or even the contestants to discuss their sexuality and personal lives on The Biggest Loser — the show is about weight loss and, ultimately, “the game.” But it has a responsibility to promote the health and well-being of all people, and they are missing a much-needed opportunity to appeal to the LGBT community when they have the elements and personalities in place to easily do so.

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