Bisexual British boxer Nicola Adams will become the first person to compete with a same-sex dance partner in the hit show ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.
The British former professional boxer, who competed from 2017 to 2019, retired with an undefeated record and held the WBO female flyweight title in 2019, after that she became the first female boxer to become an Olympic champion after winning gold at London 2012, and the first double Olympic champion following a second gold medal at Rio 2016, both in the flyweight division.
The announcement came on the BBC just yesterday, in a coup for LGBT+ representation on primetime television.
The long-running show pairs celebrities with professional dancers who teach them a routine each week, with varying degrees of success, and one couple is eventually crowned victor for prowess in everything from jive to samba.
Adams admitted all her excitement in a statement, saying that “It’s amazing to be a part of the movement for change, diversity and breaking boundaries in the entertainment industry”.
Despite the frenzy of sequins, glamour and camp that has made it a favourite with many LGBT+ fans, the show has only featured male-female contestant pairings in the previous 17 series, fuelling calls for same-sex representation.
The audience’s reaction to Adams’ debut was overwhelmingly positive: “I’m thrilled,” said Libby Baxter-Williams, the director of bisexual women’s organisation Biscuit.
“I hope that it normalises same-sex relationships and especially same-sex relationships with a bi partner as I think we don’t see a lot of that on TV.”
“Finally, a camp shows that relies on queer aesthetics based on a dance culture THAT ROUTINELY FEATURES SAME-SEX COUPLES has allowed them on tv,” said Rebecca Harrison, a lecturer in film and TV studies at the University of Glasgow, in a Twitter post.
“I can’t think of a better person to kick start what will hopefully be a lasting change for Strictly,” said another Twitter user.
Indeed, the show has only featured occasional same-sex dances outside the main contest, with a group performance in 2018, and a routine by two male professional dancers last year that drew 189 complaints from viewers.