Married At First Sight UK experts respond to backlash after casting transgender bride
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Featured Image Credit: Channel 4
The Married At First Sight experts have defended the show's decision to cast its first-ever transgender bride.
The popular E4 programme returns to our screens tonight, Monday 18 September, and it has already been teased that this year's brides and grooms are some of the 'strongest personalities' to have ever been on the show - and if you've ever seen the previous seasons, you'll know that's quite the statement to make.
One of those contestants is Ella Morgan Clark, who is going down as history as the show's first-ever transgender bride.
The blonde beauty hails from Weston-super-Mare and has been labelled as an 'incredible role model' in the wake of some backlash about her going on the show.
Some MAFS UK fans questioned if Ella's groom was told about her transition before their wedding day, which experts Paul C Brunson and Mel Schilling have now addressed.
Speaking to Roman Kemp on Capital Breakfast, Mel was quick to gush about Ella.
She said: "I think the most important thing to talk about with Ella, firstly, we love her so much, and what an incredible role model, she would hate to think that I was saying that because she doesn't see herself as a role model, but just having visibility of a trans woman to normalise that is so important, so incredibly important.
"The number one thing that was important for us was looking after her from a mental health perspective, the duty of care to her is number one, and then it's about consent, we're not in the business of surprising anyone, this is not a gotcha moment, this is a proper relationship between a man and a woman.
"So, we did get consent, we got her consent, and we got his consent, he knew that he was marrying a trans woman," Mel added.
Paul, who also features on Celebs Go Dating, went on to add: "I think it'll be apparent once you watch the show, right? Everyone's talking about things that they haven't even seen yet, but once you watch it, you will understand how much care that we've put into not just Ella's match, but in everyone's match on the show."
Ella herself has addressed the backlash and said she expected to receive some criticism.
Speaking on Lorraine, the 29-year-old said: "I knew I would get a lot of backlash and a lot of hate as the first transgender person. And I’ve always struggled labelling myself as a trans person because you feel a sense of shame sometimes, and I’m lucky to have my family but it has shown me the negative side.
"This shouldn’t be making history; this should be normal conversation. It was a lot of pressure for me because I felt like I had to be the voice for the whole community. I’m no different than the other girls," Ella added.
Season eight of Married at First Sight kicks off tonight on E4 at 9.00pm, and is also available to stream online.