Katie Thurston Responds To Rumors Regarding Her Sexuality

"Bachelorette" Season 17 lead Katie Thurston is addressing those rumors regarding her sexuality.

Katie caused a stir among fans when she posted a photo of her friend and fellow former "Bachelor" contestant Casandra Suarez kissing her neck to Instagram (seen below) on May 11. She captioned the photo, "Whatever floats your boat" with a purple heart emoji. 

Katie immediately received a landslide of mixed comments, with many fans speculating that she came out as bisexual and that she even left "The Bachelorette" for a woman.  Others weren't too pleased with the photo and accused the Washington native of "queer baiting" through the cozy picture. "Bro if you're not bi, please dont queer bait. Girls kissing girls is a real thing. Not a joke or a costume or something edgy," a frustrated follower wrote. Another fan commented that if the photo is a statement of sexuality, Katie could have come out in a more appropriate way. "I hate when people pretend to be queer for attention. If you're bi then for the queer community, you should have talked about it. Being queer isn't something to fetishsize," they said

Following the comments, Katie left a note under the photo to clear the controversy surrounding it. Keep scrolling to learn what she said.

Katie Thurston says the photo was not intended to announce her sexuality

Once Katie Thurston caught a whiff of the buzz that her photo caused, she left a comment under her post to clarify with fans that the photo was simply to celebrate friendship. "I did not intend for this picture to be a statement about my sexuality," she wrote. "This is simply a friendship post. I've never spoken publicly about my sexuality nor am I doing so with this picture. Nothing but love for everyone," she concluded.

Katie was in San Diego enjoying some time with friends — including Bachelor Nation alumni Sarah Trott, Chasen Nick, and Chris Randone — when she posted the head-turning picture, per her Instagram Story. Season 25 "Bachelor" contestant Marylynn Sienna, who did not appear to be present at the festivities, commented that she "stan[s] this friendship for life" under the photo after Katie left her note.

Katie was a fan-favorite on Matt James' season of "The Bachelor" for taking a stance against bullying between the contestants. She also made quite the buzz-worthy impression when she showed up on night one to introduce both herself and her beloved vibrator to Matt James. Her season of "The Bachelorette" premieres on June 7.