In PEOPLE's sneak peek at Wednesday's episode, the cast of the hit MTV reality competition series celebrates Pride — and one of their own
Cheers to Big T!
In PEOPLE's exclusive sneak peek, she says, "I'm so excited because I am officially coming out. Pride means recognizing who you are and how you want to be treated. And also, pride for me just means love, love, love."
And so, the cast throws her a Pride-themed party — or a "Happy being yourself party," as they call it. Everyone shakes off the drama of the competition, dresses up — including Asaf Goren and Emanuel Neagu in drag — and lets loose.
Melissa Reeves gives Big T a toast, saying, "Big T and I are best friends. We all know how brave she's being. I'm proud of you, I love you, and cheers to Big T!"
Later, Big T, 31, explains, "There was a special lady in my life who I was in a relationship with until recently. We broke up just because we were two different people. I think I was surprised how in love I fell with this lady because I've never felt like that."
She adds, "Growing up I was raised to be one way, and I wasn't allowed to be anything other than what my parents expected of me. So you know the scariest part of coming out is not knowing how my family will react. To now be in an environment where I can express myself, all of myself, be vulnerable and be accepted, gives me motivation to win this game!"
The experience of sharing that moment with her castmates and the crew was a positive one thus far for the reality star from London.
"Coming out on The Challenge was a life-changing experience but I’m yet to learn the repercussions from doing so," she tells PEOPLE. "If anyone rejects me in my personal life, I can draw strength from that spectacular moment we had in the house where all of the contenders, internationals and USA , accepted me for who I am and not who I chose to love. This was a rare moment where the feeling of love and unity in the house was overwhelming and I am so grateful to every single person who was a part of it. Thank you to production and the cast for encouraging me to not be afraid and to be brave because I am not alone."
Big T continues, "When it comes to labeling myself, I completely understand and appreciate people who do, but for me personally, I prefer not to identify as anything other than me. No one’s ever been able to fully figure me out and put me in a category so I don’t want to start now. Labeling myself feels like I'm constricting myself, and I don’t want to feel the pressure of possibly doing a disservice to people or giving misinformation."
Regardless of how she continues to perform on season 39 of the hit reality series, Big T is looking forward to what comes next.
"I’m excited to celebrate this side of myself that I have suppressed for so many years," she says. "It feels incredibly freeing and my only regret is not embracing this side to myself sooner. I've always been a massive ally of the LGBTQ+ community but now I’m proud to be a member. Love has no gender."
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The Challenge: Battle for a New Champion airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.
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Read the original article on People.