Former Bachelor star Colton Underwood — who came out as gay earlier this year and now stars in his own Netflix reality show, Coming Out Colton — has been speaking out against anti-LGBTQ Christians who tell him his faith and his sexuality don’t mix.
A Christian, himself, Underwood took to Instagram to criticize those who have been sending him anti-LGBTQ messages.
“For those of you who saw my show you know I’m still on my faith journey,” he wrote. “while I’ve had a ton of support from the Christan community I’ve also heard ‘well it’s got a lot better over the years’ and while that might be true I can’t help but to think if these messages still get sent to me…what is being said to closeted men and women who want to remain in their faith?”
“These messages are not okay,” he concluded. “They do not represent Christians. They do not represent our God.”
Along with these words, Underwood posted screenshots of messages he has received. One tells him that “men are supposed to want women and women are supposed to want men” and begs Underwood not to “get stuck in this life.”
“I don’t want to be ‘that christian,’ the message continues. “I have gay friends. It’s hard. I don’t want to come across the wrong way. Maybe I’m wrong. But there is something so special about a man and a woman and all the things Jesus said about marriage.”
Another person accused Underwood of not really being gay.
“Quit trying to be something you are not,” the message said. “God is still on the Throne and He is still watching you! Don’t forsake him.”
Underwood, who is also a former NFL player, came out in April on Good Morning America.
“I learned in the Bible that gay is a sin,” he explained, adding that he heard a lot of homophobic insults in school sports. This drove him deeper into the closet and he said that he thought he would never come out.
“I was driving my car close to a cliff, thinking ‘If this goes off the cliff, it’s not that big of a deal,’” he recounted, referring to how he knew he had to come out. “I don’t feel that anymore.”
Despite this boldness, he himself has also stirred up controversy since coming out.
His new show, Coming out Colton, has not been received with open arms by the LGBTQ community. Many quickly condemned the show, bringing up allegations of abuse against Colton and the mention of stalking in a restraining order petition filed by Cassie Randolph, a “winning” Bachelor contestant and Underwood’s former girlfriend. Tens of thousands of people called on Netflix to pull the plug on the series.
Underwood apologized to Randolph on Good Morning America.
Many on gay Twitter were also not impressed with the content of the series, in which Out Olympian Gus Kenworthy serves as Underwood’s “guide” to being gay. The series was quickly derided as “opportunistic” and offensive, as it was announced the same day that he came out on Good Morning America and led to insinuations that he came out just to advance his career. Others have said that no one wants to watch another show about a wealthy, muscular, white gay man.