Robin Windsor: Rugby star Ben Cohen wanted to dance with me on Strictly

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Strictly Come Dancing contestant and former rugby player Ben Cohen wanted Robin Windsor to be his dance partner on the show, it has been revealed.

Cohen is appearing on this year’s series of the BBC1 ballroom competition with professional dancer Kristina Rihanoff, but said: “I’ve no qualms dancing with a woman or a man. Kristina will be easier to pick up though!”

The 34-year-old married father of two, who is a prominent LGBT and anti-bullying activist, added: “I like to break down stereotypes.”

Speaking at last week’s National Lottery Stars Awards, Strictly Come Dancing dancer Robin Windsor said: “He kept saying to me, ‘I hope they put me with you,’ but it wasn’t to be.

“He’s amazing, the things he’s done for the gay community. I adore him.”

In January, TV presenter Gok Wan expressed his interest in taking part in Strictly Come Dancing, but said that the show should “absolutely” allow for same-sex dance pairings.

In 2011, Cohen launched the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, an organisation dedicated to tackling homophobia and bullying. The organisation describes itself as “the world’s first foundation dedicated to raising awareness of the long-term, damaging effects of bullying, and funding those doing real-world work to stop it.”

Cohen was wrongly outed earlier this year by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, who described the star as “openly gay” during a meeting of ParliOut, the Houses of Parliament’s gay staff network.