Miss Universe Australia’s Maria Thattil comes out as bisexual after being ‘outed’ by dating app

Former Miss Universe Australia Maria Thattil

Former Miss Universe Australia Maria Thattil has publicly come out as bisexual after revealing she had been “outed” through a dating app when a friend noticed her preference settings.

The 28-year-old model explained she had previously chosen to keep her sexuality private because there were “many homophobic sentiments” around being a lesbian when she was growing up.

The I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! Australia contestant opened up about hiding her childhood crushes and her struggle towards acceptance in a candid new interview.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, the reality star stated: “It is something I have felt for a very long time.”

Maria Thattil added: “I grew up having crushes on girls in school and just completely invalidated it because of religion and also because there were many homophobic sentiments in my school around being a lesbian, around anything other than heteronormativity.

“You don’t have a lot of bisexual visibility in popular culture and so you don’t understand what it is.”

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In another chat with Who magazine, the model recalled a stressful moment when a friend noticed she had set dating profile preferences as open to dating both men and women on an app.

She explained: “I have dating apps and when I set my preferences to be both male and female, I got a message from a friend saying, ‘Someone just sent me a screenshot from your account and we think there is someone out there pretending to be you and catfishing people.’ Then I freaked out and changed it back to just being to men.”

Taking to Instagram after coming out, the equality activist told fans: “Before the show, I had only come out to a handful of people.

“My brother took my call at midnight last night and talked it over with me – and I realised the reason I’ve been so f**king scared to do this is exactly why I need to. A lack of bisexual visibility for most of my life has meant that the experience was confusing and there were parallels to other experiences I had with social identity.”

She continued: “Fear of falling in between the cracks, never fully finding a place in myself. But when I spoke to Dom Thattil, he reminded me about why we call it PRIDE. No longer a secret to protect but a part of me to celebrate.”

After the episode in which she came out to her I’m a Celebrity… campmates aired on 12 January, the model wrote: “Conquering water pythons and coming out on national television? All in a days work. Humour aside, I definitely felt a dissonance in the jungle talking about @minus18youth but not being honest about my own sexuality.

“I’m grateful to David Subritzky and the show for becoming a safe space for me. I’m grateful that I could model how to have a feared, big conversation in a gentle, simple way with no shame or stigma.”

She continued: “I’m grateful for everyone who shared their own stories with me after last night and bloody proud of some who came out – on the spot – to family members after witnessing the convo. What a humbling privilege it was to share and normalise what is such a personal and human experience. More of this.”

Maria Thattil, who has a degree in psychology and management, was crowned Miss Universe Australia in 2020.

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