Dad torn between religion and love for gay daughter
BRIDE and Prejudice's was so convinced by his religious views on gay marriage he initially assumed the Channel 7 show would be a type of conversion therapy.
Brisbane couple Ange and Dylan opened up to Confidential about how they came to apply for the show, helping Ange speak openly to her father John, who is a devout Christian, for the first time about her same-sex relationship.
"She (Ange) told John it was a show about couples who are in love but whose families don't approve and this is a chance for us to talk to each other," Dylan, 31, said.
"John had his first chat with Channel 7 about the show and he straight away rang Ange and he was like 'sweetie, I love you and if this is what you want then we'll do it, but I'm a bit worried for you because I know you are happy with who you are and I think this show is about trying to make you straight'."
Ange interjected: "That's how set in his ways he was. That (conversion therapy) was pretty much what he thought it was."
"But he did say to me … 'I wanted you to be wary; I don't want to go on this show and be involved in it if it's going to be a detriment to your happiness.'"
Despite her difficulties with John's beliefs, Ange, 23, who lost her mother to cancer when she was six, urged viewers not to mistake her father for a homophobe.
"If my dad was homophobic ... I wouldn't have gone on the show. I would never put my dad through that," she said. "He's not a homophobic person, he's not a bad person - he's just a confused person. He's struggling and he's in this game of tug of war between his daughter, who he loves dearly, and his religion, which he shared with his wife who he also loved dearly."
"By the end of the show people will love him."
Dylan said John telling her she was going to hell by marrying his daughter didn't hurt her, because they were "just words from a page that are stuck in John's mind".
Despite knowing since she was 14 that she was gay, Ange had never tried to discuss her sexuality with her father prior to the show.
"I knew how he felt about it and I knew what response I was going to get," she said. "But I knew instantly - as soon as I had a crush on a girl, I was like 'I'm gay'. It wasn't figuring out whether or not I was gay, it was worrying about what people I cared about thought.
"Everything around me was religious and I worried what my close friends would think and if they would shun me.
"I didn't want to upset dad. I knew I was his only daughter and I knew he wanted me to have a love like him and mum.
I knew if I were to tell him I was marrying a girl that it would crush that dream for him."
Since the show began airing the couple say they have been inundated with messages from fans.
"I love the fact that we set a standard of love and the way to be treated … and everyone gets to see it," Ange said. Dylan added: "The show brought us closer together as well."
Bride and Prejudice airs tonight at 7:30pm on Channel 7.