When it was announced in 2021 that pansexual Gen Z icon JoJo Siwa was cast in the 30th season of ABC's popular, beloved reality dancing competition Dancing With the Stars to be one-half of the series' first regularly competing same-sex pairing, it was HUGE news, especially considering how long fans have wanted some LGBTQ+ representation!
But Siwa gracing the DWTS dancefloor with partner Jenna Johnson wasn't the first time a couple of competitors of the same gender have been featured in some form on a version of the show! We did some research, and it turns out that with all of the international iterations of the series there are out there, Dancing With the Stars has quite the history when it comes to same-sex dancing partners! Here are some same-sex pairs from all over the world who have also made history in the Dancing With the Stars universe!
For the American version of the show's 31st season in 2022, RuPaul's Drag Race alum and veritable drag superstar Shangela was cast as the series' first-ever drag performer, competing alongside her heartthrob dance partner Gleb Savchenko.
Miss Shangie is also following in the footsteps of season 6's Courtney Act, who competed on the 16th season of the Aussie version of DWTS back in 2019 and DWTS: All Stars 2 earlier in 2022.
Back in 2010, the Israeli version of Dancing With the Stars broke ground with the same-sex pairing of sportscaster Gili Shem Tov and Dorit Milman!
An out lesbian, Shem Tov said dancing with a woman felt most natural to her, reports Reuters, and that "if by doing that even a few people will be more tolerant and open-minded, I achieved my goal."
Sexually fluid heartthrob and deaf activist Nyle DiMarco made history in 2016 as one half of the American Dancing With the Stars' first same-sex dance. During one week of the competition, he and partner Peta Murgatroyd had to team up with Jodie Sweetin and her partner Keo Motsepe for a routine to the "Habanera" by Georges Bizet, and the result was an incredible thing to watch!
Nyle went on to win his season.
Gay fashion designer Giovanni Ciacci and his real-life partner Raimondo Todaro made history in 2018 on the Italian version of Dancing With the Stars, Ballando con le Stelle, as the international franchise's first male couple to compete regularly throughout the season! The two even made it all the way to the grand finale!
After dominating the Danish version of the beloved reality dance competition in 2019, Jakob Fauerby and his dancing partner Silas Holst went on to make history by WINNING their season of Vild med dans.
"It's fantastic," Fauerby, who is openly gay, said after taking home the crown with Holst. "For once, I am speechless."
Though she was ultimately robbed of the crown, reality TV icon and Drag Race alum Courtney Act and her partner Joshua Keefe dominated the 16th season of the Aussie version of Dancing With the Stars in 2019, taking home the second-place title. Besides being in a same-sex pairing, Courtney also made history as the first drag performer in the franchise's history.
During the fourth season of the Irish version of Dancing With the Stars in early 2020, the world was blessed with not just one, but TWO same-sex pairings during the "Switch-Up" challenge. The competing celebs took a break from their regular partners for a week and got to choose their own professional partners. TV host Brian Dowling chose Kai Widdrington to perform a quickstep.
"This is celebrating the fact that two guys can dance together on national television," Dowling said before the performance. "I will be emotional on the night. I’m an out gay man and I’m married, and this is really important to me."
And when it came time for radio host Lottie Ryan to pick a partner, she chose dance pro Emily Barker, and the two women performed the Charleston to Meghan Trainor's "Woman Up!"
"Feeling very privileged to have been a part of a little bit of Irish TV history with this incredible lady," Ryan wrote in an Instagram post about getting to dance with Barker. Ryan then went on to win the season with her original partner Pasquale La Rocca.
Obviously, this list of DWTS history-makers would obviously not be complete without JoJo and Jenna, who were the first same-sex dance couple to regularly compete in the American version of the long-running reality competition series.
The two even made it all the way to the finals, where they were the runners-up of the entire season overall!