Strictly Come Dancing star Dr Ranj Singh opens up on anti-gay prejudice in the medical profession
Strictly Come Dancing star Dr Ranj Singh has discussed the different attitudes towards LGBT people he has encountered in his career both as a doctor working in the National Health Service (NHS) and as media personality.
The 39-year-old resident medical expert on ITV’s This Morning said there is still work to do in tackling homophobia in the medical profession.
“The media industry is much more accepting, but I feel like the medical world has a little further to go,” he said, quoted in The Mirror on Saturday (November 3).
“It’s a bit ironic that the caring profession could ever be prejudiced, but it does happen,” he continued, adding: “People like myself and so many others are here to change that, though.”
Dr Ranj studied medicine at King’s College, graduating in 2003, before specialising in paediatrics and working in various hospitals in London. He began working in television in 2012, hosting the CBBC show Get Well Soon until 2015 before regularly featuring on various shows as a medical expert.
In 2015, Dr Ranj discussed his coming out experience in an in-depth interview with Attitude magazine, in which he discussed his family and his previous marriage to a woman. When asked whether he was advised to hide his sexuality while presenting a children’s show, he replied: “Never! I think there was probably a time when people did think like that, but fortunately we’ve moved on. I can imagine that it might make some people feel uncomfortable… but why should they? My sexuality has never been an issue and never will be—it’s just part of who I am.”
The doctor eventually joined the cast of Strictly series 16 in September. The popular BBC show has long faced calls to feature same-sex dancing pairs, which are increasingly common in ballroom competition and was even featured on the Italian version of the show.
Dr. Ranj has enthusiastically supported the idea. “I would love to dance with a same-sex partner,” he told the Mirror in August. “I would value a time when same sex couples could dance on shows like Strictly. It is incredibly important.
“We are making progress but I think there is still some way to go. It does take time, though we are heading in the right direction.”
Strictly finally gave a taste of what a same-sex dancing pairs may look like on September 30, featuring a one-off same-sex routine during a professional dance segment—which was meant with loud cheers from the audience in the studio and on social media.