On Wednesday (Feb. 26) night’s episode of “The Real World: Ex-Plosion,” Arielle discovered articles online speculating that she is a “trans” member of the cast. Since she didn’t understand exactly whey people thought that about her when she isn’t transgendered, she brought in a group of her LGBTQ friends to hold an educational conversation with her housemates to talk about what it means to be transgender.
“That was one of the toughest things to talk about because I don’t know how to talk about it. I am not trans but I consider myself a gay woman,” Arielle tells Zap2it. “I have a lot of friends that have experienced a lot of pain and a lot of hurt because they identify themselves as trans. And now that that word trans is becoming more accessible to people, they’re throwing it around even if they don’t truly understand what it means. There isn’t a lot of love and celebration for the term, and I feel like there totally should be.”
Arielle is glad that she was able to learn more about what being trans means on the show, since viewers will also be able to learn about it. “It’s jarring to watch yourself and have to experience those things all over again but I think it’s cool because what Ashley and I went through, I feel like it’s something that happens with a lot of lesbian couples,” Arielle says. “When we were talking about gender expression, the way you dress when you go out, you get the question all the time of, ‘Who’s the boy? Who’s the girl?’ By us addressing this on TV in front of millions of people, it only brings those issues to the surface more for everyone else to talk about.”
The person who had the most surprising reaction to the house conversation was Brian. “I was so happy that Brian said it the best: ‘There are people who are born one way, and they aren’t that person. All they’re doing is completing what was already real and true to them,'” Arielle says. “That is something I didn’t understand coming in to the house. It’s still something I get really emotional about, and even sitting there discussing it in the after show I felt like I still didn’t know enough.”
Armed with a better understanding of what it means to be a trans person, Arielle has one regret with how she handled the situation at the time. “One of the things I’m upset about with myself after watching the episode is that my immediate reaction to being labeled as a trans person without actually being a trans person was negative,” Arielle says. “That was so f***ing unfair of me to so many people. What if a straight woman back in the day was miscorrectly labeled as a lesbian and she reacted negatively? That’s rude, you know?”
Arielle views the house conversation as one of her favorite moments from the season. “It was a big moment for everyone in the house because everyone started to look at who we were in the house being watched by people,” Arielle says. “Yes, we’re just ‘seven strangers picked to live in a house’ but we’re also representing so much. For us to recognize that we are ignorant, maybe millions of other people will recognize that about themselves as well. Maybe we can foster others to learn about something they’ve never thought about before.”
One of the things Arielle finds interesting about watching the show on air now is that she and her ex Ashley actually have one of the most stable relationships of the cast. “I think it’s hilarious because historically, Ashley and I have had a bats*** crazy relationship,” Arielle says. “[Before the show] I remember crying, peeing myself outside of a Hyatt while Ashley was drunk, that was a really bad day. And now we’re the sane ones? Why us? When we were watching the drama going on around us, we’d just like hold each other. It was a war zone. Because everyone else was going HAM on each other we made sure each other was okay.”
And as for what’s coming next on “The Real World: Ex-Plosion?” All Arielle had to say was this: “More sex toys. Possibly. Naked women. More bear suits.”
“The Real World: Ex-Plosion” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on MTV.