TV

Strictly fans hail John and Johannes ‘beacons for gay folk’ after becoming first same-sex finalists

Emily Chudy December 13, 2021
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Strictly's John Whaite and Johannes Radebe look at the camera after dancing

Strictly's John Whaite and Johannes Radebe danced to Adele during the semi-finals. (Screen capture via Twitter/BBC One)

Strictly Come Dancing fans have celebrated John Whaite and Johannes Radebe becoming the show’s first same-sex finalists, calling them “beacons for the gay community”. 

Whaite and Radebe, who made history as the first all-male Strictly partnership, made it to the final after Sunday night’s (12 December) dance-off, having landed in the bottom two despite a pair of brilliant performances.

They took to the Strictly ballroom floor Saturday night (11 December) with a Couple’s Choice dance to Adele’s Hometown Glory which they dedicated to the LGBT+ community.

“To the people who perhaps feel a bit afraid in life, I want those people to know that it gets better,” Whaite said.

They followed this with a jive set to Higher Power by Coldplay, which they performed again for Sunday’s dance-off. All four judges saved Whaite and Radebe over Rhys Stephenson and pro Nancy Xu.

Strictly fans celebrated John Whaite and Johannes Radebe making it to the final, with one saying they could “die happy now”.

Another had an emotional response, calling Whaite and Radebe “beacons for the gay community”. 

They said on Twitter: “What a final line-up for Strictly – and John and Johannes make me bawl every time. They’re a joy and absolute beacons for the gay community. I’m so glad and proud of them.”

One Twitter user described Whaite and Radebe dancing on Strictly as “a moment for joy”.

They said: “14 year old me would have loved to see John and Johannes dancing in the Strictly final. In tough times it is important we take hope and joy when we can.

“Gay men dancing on mainstream TV is previously uncharted territory. This is progress. This is a moment for joy.”

Journalist Emma Kelly noted the pair’s impact on LGBT viewers, saying, “so many little queer kids’ lives would have been just a little bit easier if they could have seen a couple like John and Johannes on mainstream primetime television being so proudly gay years ago”.

Before their performances on Saturday night, Great British Bake Off winner Whaite reflected on his journey of coming out, explaining that a teacher outed him to his family at aged 14.

“I grew up with a great deal of shame and I think if I’d seen two men dancing together on television it would have changed my life,” he said.

Whaite previously admitted that he had previously anticipated trolling and hate mail for appearing on Strictly as a same-sex couple.

He told the BBC: “It’s actually not been bad at all. It’s been kind and generous. The amount of people we’ve had messages from saying: ‘I’m proud as a straight mum and straight dad to have children grow up in a world where two men can dance together,’ has been truly overwhelming.”

The Strictly Come Dancing final takes place on Saturday (18 December) at 7pm on BBC One.

More: Johannes Radebe, john whaite, Strictly Come Dancing

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