Strictly’s John Whaite was ‘ready for hate’ ahead of historic all-male pairing

John Whaite

John Whaite was “ready for hate” ahead of Strictly Come Dancing’s first-ever all-male dance partnership, but the reaction so far has not been what he expected.

Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment, Whaite said: “I genuinely did think that I was going to receive a fair bit of hate in my inbox because you know, you do as a gay man, you get a lot of hate.

“It’s something you learn to deal with – you shouldn’t have to but you do.”

However, he added: “I can honestly say that I haven’t had a single message of negativity.”

Hopefully, this means progress is being made.

Last year, when it was announced that lesbian boxer Nicola Adams would be the first celebrity to compete on the show with a same-sex partner, Strictly Come Dancing has fielded at least 100 complaints from angry homophobes before the show had even aired.

In a response, the broadcaster said at the time: “Strictly Come Dancing is an inclusive show and is proud to have featured same-sex dancing amongst the professional dancers in group numbers in previous series.

“We have stated, in the past, that we are open to the prospect of including same sex pairings between our celebrities and professional dancers, should the opportunity arise. Nicola Adams requested an all-female pairing, which we are happy to facilitate.

“The show is first and foremost about dance, the sex of each partner within a coupling should have no bearing on their routine.”

John Whaite wants to tackle toxic masculinity with all-male Strictly dance pairing

Gay Great British Bake Off John Whaite winner hopes that when he makes his Strictly debut on Saturday (18 September), he can not only act as representation for the LGBT+ community, but also tackle toxic masculinity.

He said: “I realised how important a step forwards this is because little kids who watch the show, you have role models, you know, same-sex role models, it will give them a little bit of hope for the future.

“It won’t make them grow up with the same shame that I grew up with.”

But, he added: “It’s not just about queer people, it’s about intimacy generally.

“Two men, whether they are straight or gay, can be intimate with each other and I think, I hope, that this comes to show that, that it breaks down that notion of toxic masculinity which is so rife, especially in Britain.”