“Dancing With the Stars” will be kicking off its milestone 30th season in the fall, and the first two celebrities of the new season have been revealed: Olympic gold medallist Suni Lee and teen pop star JoJo Siwa.
Siwa, who came out as LGBTQ+ in January, revealed that she’ll be shattering a 29-season taboo when she becomes the first star on the show to dance with a partner of the same sex.
“We’re making history. This has never happened on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ before. It’s always been a boy-girl couple,” Siwa told USA Today.
— Dancing with the Stars #DWTS (@DancingABC) August 26, 2021
“I have a girlfriend who is the love of my life and who is everything to me,” she added. “My journey of coming out and having a girlfriend has inspired so many people around the world. I thought that if I chose to dance with a girl on this show, it would break the stereotypical thing. It would be new, different and change for the better.”
According to Siwa, she presented the idea to the show’s producers. “I said I actually would love and prefer to dance with a girl,” she explained. “Why not show the message even stronger that you can love whomever you want to love.”
There are, however, some practical considerations that will need to be addressed.
“Who leads in the dance? What shoes do we both wear? How do we dress? Does one of us dress super feminine?” Siwa said. “There are so many crossroads. Which route to we want to go? It’s going to be so fun.”
Siwa admitted that while she’s expecting backlash, she doesn’t care.
“There’s going to be people who don’t like it, who think dancing on the show with another girl is wrong or weird,” she said. “I don’t need those people in my life. If it’s wrong or weird to you, that’s okay, because there’s a billion other people who don’t think it’s wrong or weird. Partnering with another girl will give other people around the world more courage to say, ‘It’s okay that I love somebody of the same sex.'”
Following the news, GLAAD responded with a statement, applauding Siwa for breaking down that “DWTS” boundary.
“At 18, JoJo Siwa is once again using her platform to inspire and uplift the LGBTQ community,” said Anthony Allen Ramos, GLAAD’s Head of Talent. “As one of today’s most watched and celebrated programs on television, ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and Tyra Banks are making the right decision to feature JoJo Siwa competing alongside a female professional dancer. The show has such a wide, far-reaching audience and there is a real opportunity here for people to celebrate the same-sex pairing and root for JoJo and all LGBTQ young people.”