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Strictly’s Susan Calman: “LGBT community must stop attacking me over not wanting to dance with a same-sex partner”

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Your Saturday night is about to get a little bit more fabulous as BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing returns. But does the show represent the LGBT+ community fairly and accurately?

Speaking to Gay Times at the press launch of the 2017 series, the openly gay comedian Susan Calman defended her decision to not insist she danced with a same-sex partner. A decision that’s left her seemingly the target of heavy criticism.

“No, absolutely not disappointed. My decision was to dance with a man,” Susan replied firmly when asked by Gay Times if she thinks Strictly is failing to represent our community.

“I want to dance with a man and I think, sometimes, politically there’s nothing more powerful than having an openly gay woman on the biggest show on television – who’s wife’s in the front row – doing what she wants to do.”

BBC/Ray Burmiston

Susan later addressing the LGBT+ community directly and the concerns they have on why she’s chosen to not fight for equality.

“For the gay community to criticise me and to try and get me to do what they want to do is, I think, as difficult as suggesting the straight community are trying to… nobody is holding me hostage in this room, making me wear a dress and dance with a man. I, I want to learn how to dance.

“I have protested. I have picketed. I have fought. I have been spat on. I’ve been punched, and I want to dance. I think for the gay community, specifically, there will be a time for same-sex dancing.

Related: Rev Richard Coles: I’ve had a discussion about dancing with a man on Strictly

“I think what annoyed me slightly is that I seem to be getting it in the neck and Will Young didn’t get it, Judge Rinder didn’t get it and Richard Coles isn’t getting it.”

Susan continues: “I seem to be getting the brunt of the LGBT community. A lot of people are very supportive of my decision, but it’s making this about my sexuality instead of a woman wanting to lean how to dance. Nobody can say I haven’t stood up for my community.

“So, the idea that people are depressed or upset by it, I think, offends me because I’ve done a fuck of a lot for that community!”

BBC/Ray Burmiston

Susan later responding to our suggestion she could’ve been the first from our community to represent us on the Saturday night show – same-sex couple and all.

“That’s someone else’s decision. My decision, which I’ve clearly stated, is that I want to dance with a man. I want to learn how to ballroom dance.” She continues: “If someone else wants to do that, that’s fine.

“To put the weight of the LGBT community on me and changing platforms and changing perceptions is unfair, upsetting, and ignoring the impact I will have in the biggest show on television with my wife in the front row – and my parents there – and my fellow contestants without a problem.”

This will be the first time Strictly Come Dancing has been broadcast since the death of former host Sir Bruce Forsyth.

Speaking to Gay Times, Craig said: “He’s just one of those complete legends and that legacy will live on forever. People will look back and continue to remember him for many, many years to-come.”

This year’s Strictly celebrities include Mollie King, Alexandra Burke and Aston Merrygold, Brian Conley, Ruth Langsford, Jonnie Peacock and more.

Strictly Come Dancing begins tonight on BBC One at 7pm.

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