Judge Rinder slams people complaining about lack of same-sex couples in Strictly Come Dancing
Judge Rinder has slammed demands for Strictly Come Dancing to include same-sex couples.
The TV judge, who was a contestant on the 2016 series, told Lorraine Kelly that calls for same-sex dance partners were not “serious”.
It comes after fans called on Susan Calman, who is married to a woman, to dance with a female professional on the show.
Asked by Lorraine if he thinks same-sex couples should be introduced to Strictly, Robert (who was paired with female professional Oksana) said: “It’s a perfectly reasonable question, I completely understand why people are asking it.
“It was the first question I was asked by everybody.”
“First of all it’s a sport,” he continued.
“Nobody was asking me to get married to my partner, or to engage in any sort of… geography with her. They wanted me to dance with her!
“I don’t think it’s going to make any difference to the life of any young person – and there are a lot of young people that find it very difficult to come out in the LGBTQI community – if she dances with an almost straight woman.
“But there are amazing charities that do need our assistance, whether she dances with a man or not is going to make no difference to anybody.”
The BBC says it has no plans to introduce same-sex partners on this year’s Strictly.
A spokesperson confirmed that the prime time show would continue to follow a “traditional format” after fans and some contestants challenged the broadcaster’s decision.
“Strictly has chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples and at the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples in the competition,” the BBC said.
The row comes after Calman defended her decision to dance with a man despite considering the prospect of dancing with a woman.
“I did think about dancing with a woman, but from the very first moment when I was asked about the show I said I wanted to dance with a man,” she said.
She insisted that she had “worked tirelessly for LGBT equality” her whole life but “right now I would like to dance and bring entertainment to people by dancing on a Saturday night”.
She said that her decision to dance with a male partner was hers and it was powerful for her to be able to appear on the show in the first place as an openly lesbian woman.
“I think politically, there’s nothing more powerful than having an openly gay woman on the biggest show on television, whose wife’s on the front row, doing what she wants to do.”
“For the gay community to criticise me and try to get me what they want to do is, I think, as difficult as suggesting the straight community are trying to.
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“No one is holding me hostage in this room, making me wear a dress and dance with a man. I want to learn how to dance,” Calman added.
Gay Reverend Richard Coles, who is one of 15 contestants on the show this year, argued that it made “no sense” to stop same-sex couples dancing together on the show.
Speaking to Digital Spy, he said: “It makes absolutely no sense that anybody resists the idea, in principle.
“It’s just a question of doing it. I think this year would be a good year to do it actually, with the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act (which decriminalised sex between two men aged more than 21).”