January 06, 2020
H from Steps brought tears to the judges’ eyes with his performance. Now, more than ever, we must cherish these moments of LGBTQ visibility
Dancing on Ice’s first same-sex partnership is a milestone we should celebrate
One of the most peculiar aspects of realising that you are LGBTQ is the loneliness. Your immediate family is unlikely to belong to the minority you may feel you have been arbitrarily parachuted into. You may be fortunate that they have supportive attitudes; many are not. The odds are that you have heard derogatory terms about LGBTQ people thrown around the playground not once or twice but like confetti. On TV and film screens, on advertising billboards, in magazines and in books, society’s expectations about settling down with someone of a different gender will bellow at you. You may struggle to come out to yourself, let alone anyone else, and fear judgment and rejection.
That is why major cultural events, such as the first same-sex performance on ITV’s Dancing on Ice last night, are so important: they can be lifelines for the closeted, whether they are aged 13 or 78. Acceptance for LGBTQ people struggling with their sexuality is like water to a sponge: anything that showcases and values our existence has a profound impact. That’s why H from Steps – one half of the couple – told the judges that it was emotional, in part because “it means so much to so many people and the world is ready for this”. It’s why the actor John Barrowman broke down in tears “because of seeing two men who represent someone who is like me and to skate as well as you did”. What’s all the fuss, the usual suspects will cry, but it matters precisely because society, and particularly currently emboldened bigots, makes such a fuss about anyone who deviates from a heterosexual norm.
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