It's going to be a big year when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation in reality dancing competitions!
The cast of the 19th season of Strictly Come Dancing (the British equivalent of Dancing With the Stars that airs annually on BBC One) just announced its full celebrity lineup this past weekend and 32-year-old Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite is officially part of the series' first-ever male same-sex couple alongside dancing partner Johannes Radebe!
Whaite learned Radebe would be his partner after a fittingly fabulous cake reveal that was posted to Strictly's social media, showing Redebe popping out of a giant, glittery cake to deliver the news to Whaite!
"What I saw it was a big, sparkly cake, I thought, 'Oh come on, it's got to be Johannes,'" Whaite said after the big reveal. "And when he popped out of it, I'm blown away."
"It means the world that we're doing this together," Whaite then tells Radebe, speaking of how the two of them will be making TV history as male dance partners on the beloved reality series. Strictly has featured a female same-sex couple before, boxer Nicola Adams and Katya Jones, who competed during the 18th season in 2020, but Whaite and Radebe (who both identify as gay) will be the show's first gay male pair.
"The reaction has been so positive," Whaite said in a statement to UK news website PA about the feedback he and Radebe have been getting since the news broke. "Because I’m doing the first all-male partnership, I genuinely did think that I was going to receive a fair bit of hate because you do as a gay man, you get a lot of hate. You grow up and learn to deal with it, you shouldn’t have to, but we do."
He continued: "Little kids who watch the show, to have same-sex role models will give them a little bit of hope for the future and it won’t make them grow up with the same shame that I grew up with."
But Whaite and Radebe aren't the only same-sex dance pair making history this year!
Stateside, it was recently announced 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! Although her partner hasn't been announced just yet, we know she and Siwa will also be having a huge impact on the next generation of queer aspiring dancers who want to see themselves reflected in the media they consume!