When MTV's Road Rules/Real World Challenge: Battle of the Sexes 2 premieres this Monday night, it will include more out lesbian and bisexual women than any reality show on television ever has—more than any television show of any kind, actually, except The L Word.
The show reunites 36 former Real World and Road Rules contestants to compete in a series of tasks over a several-day period for a large cash prize. Among the 18 female contestants, "half are lesbians, half are bisexual, and there is maybe one straight girl who is probably going to turn during the challenge," according to bisexual contestant Ruthie Alcaide in a video clip on the show's official site.
That might be overstating it a bit, but it certainly is true that this show has an unusually high number of openly lesbian and bisexual women: 5 out of 18, in fact. (If you count Veronica, who had a threesome with Rachel Robinson and a male contestant named Abe on 2003's Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Gauntlet, that's six.) Add in the two openly gay male contestants, Nick and Shane, and you've got one of the gayest shows on television.
Not only is the sheer number of queer women higher than anything we've seen before, they are unusually racially diverse: only two of the five are white women. Previously, the reality show that held the title of the most queer female contestants was Survivor: Vanuatu, which debuted a few weeks ago with two white lesbian contestants.
Here's a quick run-down on the five openly queer women on Battle of the Sexes 2:
RUTHIE ALCAIDE, 26, BISEXUAL
The openly bisexual Honolulu native, who is part-Hawaiian, Filipino, and Samoan, is one of a set of triplets raised by foster parents; she likes to surf, skydive, scuba dive, and parasail, but her memorable debut on The Real World: Hawaii in 1999 portrayed her primarily as a bisexual party girl who was temporarily kicked off the show to enter rehab—an image that Ruthie has stated was "very one-sided." Since then, Ruthie finished her degree at Rutgers University and moved to L.A., where she is currently working on a rap album; she also tours colleges speaking to students about drug and alcohol awareness, diversity, racism, and sexuality.
She is currently single, and based on her performance on the first Battle of the Sexes, is considered one of the strongest female contenders to win Battle of the Sexes 2.
GENESIS MOSS, 28, LESBIAN
Genesis grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi and made her debut on MTV's The Real World: Boston in 1997. While on the show, she became friends with a drag queen named Adam—a friendship the editors depicted as a romantic relationship. "Because Adam was a drag queen and he was my best friend," Genesis explained repeatedly after the show, "[the editors falsely made it look like] I was having some sexual attraction to him."
Genesis was in a committed relationship with her girlfriend at the time, but they broke up two years ago and she has been dating someone new since then, a woman with whom she is planning a commitment ceremony soon. She currently lives in California and works as a graphic artist and a yoga instructor.
SOPHIA PASQUIS, 24, LESBIAN
Haitian American New Yorker Sophia became the first openly gay Road Rules contestant when she was cast on Road Rules: The Quest in 2001. Although she was well-liked by other contestants and viewers for her amiable personality and problem-solving skills, she found the burden of representation difficult at times. "If I had a problem with someone," she said in 2003 on a GLBT panel sponsored by Ohio State University, "I had to ask myself, do I say something and be myself, or do I let it go so as to not give people a bad impression of black people or lesbians?"
Sophia has spent the last few years since The Quest speaking about these issues on college campuses. She currently has a girlfriend with whom she's been living with for a year.
RACHEL ROBINSON, 21, LESBIAN
Rachel was raised in New York City and Miami Beach, and dated guys in high school, until she met and fell in love with Amy in her sophomore year. Rachel had not yet identified her sexual orientation when she applied to be on Road Rules, nor was she out to her friends about her relationship with Amy. When she stated on her RR application that she had a girlfriend, friends thought she was simply pretending to be gay to increase her chances of getting on the show.
When the show aired in 2002, however, and the truth came out, Robinson initially "found myself justifying it, telling people 'I don't know if this is my lifestyle forever, but for the moment, I'm in love with a woman,'" according to an interview with Miami's Express Gay News. Shortly after she finished her stint on the show, however, Rachel came out as a lesbian and now spends her time touring college campuses to talk about coming out and co-anchoring a Miami radio talk show about gay issues. Rachel is currently single.
ANEESA FERREIRA, 23, LESBIAN
During her debut on The Real World: Chicago in 2002, this self-identified "gay, black and Jewish" contestant from Narbouth, Pennsylvania was known for walking around naked (which she now regrets) and dating a series of women.
According to her bio on MTV's official Battle of the Sexes 2 site, Aneesa is "not currently dating anyone and is hoping Ms. Right will find her. With four other lesbians on this show, so she just might get her wish."
Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Battle of the Sexes 2 premieres Monday, October 11 at 10pm EST/PST on MTV; visit the official site for more information.