Strictly’s Layton Williams says it would be ‘beautiful’ to see a trans contestant next year
Strictly Come Dancing star Layton Williams has shared his hope that the show will cast a trans celebrity to take part in next year’s series.
The Everybody’s Talking About Jamie actor, who is part of Strictly‘s fifth same-sex coupling with professional dancer Nikita Kuzmin, said he believes that BBC bosses would be open to casting a trans contestant.
“That would be beautiful,” he told Metro. “I think producers are open to all beautiful people from all walks and that would be superb.”
“I’ve always said that Strictly is the only one that I’ve got a desire to do,” she told the Make It Reign podcast. “I’ve got a plan… I want to get everything done that I want to achieve, then I can start doing those shows.”
However, the current Strictly series has been hit with controversy for casting Sherlock actress Amanda Abbington, who has previously faced criticism for comments around trans people and drag queens.
Writing in response to a 2020 Facebook post by anti-trans activist Graham Lineham, Abbington said that she had been “hounded off Twitter” and called a “TERF” [trans-exclusionary radical feminist] for “simply wanting to have a dialogue” about trans issues.
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In March, Abbington shared a video of a drag artist dancing in what she called a “highly sexualised way”, commenting that the performance was “not for babies” and “if you think it is, there is something fundamentally wrong with you”.
In a follow-up tweet, before she deleted her X (formerly Twitter) account, she clarified that she “never mentioned the trans community”.
In a lengthy Instagram video ahead of the current series premiering, Abbington refuted accusations of transphobia, saying: “I do believe that we need to look after kids and we need to look after women, and we need to look after legitimate trans people who are finding it really f***ing difficult at the moment, and I’ve wanted that for years.”
She added: “I’m not transphobic, I’m a firm supporter of the legitimate trans community, I always have been.”
During Saturday night’s episode of Strictly (14 October), Layton Williams became a two-time Strictly record breaker, achieving the highest marks of the season so far for his Cha Cha to Whitney Houston’s “Million Dollar Bill”.
He was awarded a full ten out of ten marks by judge Motsi Mabuse – the earliest full marks for a Cha Cha in Strictly history.
Viewers were equally as thrilled to see Williams and Kuzmin slay the show for yet another week, with many users online praising the pair for making Strictly as queer as possible.
“I don’t think we should take for granted how important it is to have queerness put front and centre of a flagship BBC show,” wrote one social media user.
“At a time when trans people’s rights are being threatened (and it’s stupid to think gay rights won’t be next.) This is the prettiest ‘f**k you’.”
Strictly Come Dancing continues on Saturday 21 October on BBC One.
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