Kisha is fourth gay cast member on Amazing Race 14, which ignores contestants’ gayness

The Amazing Race 14 actually has four openly gay cast members, although only one of them has been identified as gay on the show. Besides its three gay men–Mel White, Mike White (who’s bisexual), and Luke Adams, this season also has a lesbian cast member, LaKisha “Kisha” Hoffman.

CBS confirmed to After Ellen that Kisha “is openly gay,” and the site notes that “there have only been a few openly gay or bisexual women” in the show’s history and “Kisha is the first openly gay woman of color to race on the series,” but “[h]er sexuality has not been mentioned on the show or in any Amazing Race press materials.”

Kisha’s sexual orientation was first revealed in an After Elton interview with Mel White, who was eliminated with his son Mike two episodes ago, in which he also said that Luke Adams wanted to be identified as gay on the show. After Luke “found out that Mike and I were being billed as gay, he wanted to be billed as gay,” but a producer said–and this is Mel paraphrasing a conversation he had with an unnamed producer–‘No, we’re establishing you as what we want you to be established. He’s established as deaf. You’re established as gay, so don’t be interrupting what we’re trying to do here.'”

Mel adds that “they were very clear about not wanting to muddy the waters by bringing in another issue.” That seems pretty consistent with what The Amazing Race does: it focuses on a single characteristic and runs with that the whole season, and never really lets us get to know someone beyond that. (Mike did mention being gay but only in the first episode, when he said, “Being gay and having a gay father definitely has its advantages. You don’t feel like you’re disappointing your parents, since they beat you to the punch.”)

Mel also suggests that there may be other more than the four gay cast members, but he told After Elton he “will not pass on” those “rumors.” He admits that his activism–After Elton calls him “perhaps the country’s most well-known gay Christian activist”; he wrote Stranger at the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America–affected his desire to have the show be more open about its cast members’ sexual orientations.

He said, “I kept wishing they would bring it up more because I’m an activist and I want people to see, for example, they are constantly saying that gay people are a threat to children and all this stuff, so I wanted to show that gay parents are good parents, too. I wanted to represent gay people and they just didn’t go there.”

Out Lesbian LaKisha Still in the Running on “The Amazing Race” [After Ellen]
Just Because Mel White of “The Amazing Race” is Paranoid Doesn’t Mean People Don’t Want to Kill Him [After Elton]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.