When Demi Burnett came out as part of the LGBTQA+ community on season six of “Bachelor in Paradise,” most people were very supportive, the reality star told Yahoo!life in a June 21, 2022 interview on “The Unwind.” However, her family shunned her, which was Burnett’s biggest fear.
It’s Been a Crazy Journey for Demi
When Burnett first entered viewers’ homes, it was on Colton Underwood’s season of “The Bachelor.” The Texas firecracker stirred up a heap of trouble on season 23, but her quirky sense of humor kept her from being a full-on villain. Comments like “These poor girls. I’m gonna steal all their men” (Bachelor in Paradise, Season 7, Episode 1) kept viewers glued to their screens whenever Burnett opened her mouth.
But jaws really dropped when Burnett told her castmates and viewers that she had fallen in love with a woman. Burnett revealed that she had been dating Kristian Haggerty prior to coming on BIP. Haggerty ended up joining Burnett in paradise.
It’s usually a no-no to already be involved in a relationship when stepping onto the beach, since the premise of the show is to find love in Mexico. Several participants have been sent home in anger for showing up while already in a romantic relationship.
Co-stars made an exception for Burnett because they admired her bravery. Burnett told Yahoo!, “I come out and everyone’s approaching me like, ‘Oh my God, you’re so brave. Like, how’d you do it? This is so amazing!’”
The sardonic blonde was hoping that her family would be equally supportive. But deep down, she knew they would not be. Burnett admitted during the interview that she was afraid her family would be “disgusted” by her coming out on national television. She expressed, “I’m thinking about my grandpa and my grandpa watching me make out with a girl and him thinking about shooting me for it. Like, I’m so stressed and so scared and so ashamed and guilty and just [having] so many feelings.”
Although the 27-year-old is “proud of her sexuality and the barriers she’s broken…Once she left the show, her fears about being disowned by her family proved warranted,” notes Yahoo! When Burnett thinks about how supportive perfect strangers have been, she finds it ironic that her family has rejected her. “I wish that my family saw that. Like, I wish that the people who I was forced to love and loved me in a sh***y way, I wish that they thought that. I wish that they celebrated me. They still don’t. … The world is like ‘Demi rocks. We love Demi.’ And, like, my own family still doesn’t,” she told Yahoo!
During the interview, Burnett described herself as “an openly fluid person. And, like, I like guys, I like girls…Yeah…like, being into both.” She also acknowledged, “I have struggled with my mental health a lot. I was going through so much mentally. I also am going through coming out on national television. So I’m getting disowned by half of my family.”
Burnett’s Related Mental Health Issues
Burnett told Yahoo! that she suffered serious mental health problems as a result of coming out on BIP. “All of this shame was in the back of my mind during filming,” she admitted.
Under the moniker demi_not_lovato, Burnett posted on Instagram on February 19, 2022, “I did a psychological evaluation and I’m autistic.” She promised to share more about her diagnosis at a later date.
According to Yahoo!, Burnett admitted during her interview that she was “self-diagnosed.” The outlet explained, “Growing increasingly anxious around social situations, Burnett spent the start of the year largely isolated from the world at large. Desperate for answers, she turned to Google, where she stumbled upon research about autism in women. For Burnett, the information she discovered reinforced something she’d long suspected.”
Burnett revealed, “I had suspected that I was autistic. And everyone was like, oh my god, no. And they made me feel ashamed and stupid for thinking that.” After connecting with other women online with similar struggles, the BIP star determined that she has a form of autism known as Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).
“I know that I am 100% a PDAer,” Burnett told Yahoo! “I know that that’s my wiring of my brain. There’s one way that it’s been put that I love, and it’s pervasive drive for autonomy.” Burnett sums up the diagnosis as your nervous system making you do what you are told not to do.
Since the self-diagnoses, Burnett feels more comfortable with who she is: “I just check in with myself every single day, and I constantly am assessing my behavior, assessing why I feel the way I feel,” she explained to Yahoo! “Self-love is being on my own side.”