Amid all the controversy surrounding this season's Dancing With the Stars casting choice of transgendered man Chaz Bono (and, to a much lesser degree, openly gay Carson Kressley), ABC has been alternately bashed for promoting a homosexual agenda while undermining traditional family values—and celebrated for their bravery, acceptance, and open-mindedness. GLAAD referred to Bono's inclusion as a "tremendous step forward," which sends "a strong message about the diversity within the LGBT community."
Meanwhile, DWTS executive producer Conrad Green recently stated that the show is unwilling to consider same-sex dancing partners. I don't know about you, but I'm a little confused over what message it is that they're really sending.
When asked if the show would consider same-gender dance partners, Green said,
We've discussed (such) pairings in the past. But the traditional role in ballroom (dancing) is for men to have a female partner, so that's what we'll do.
Well, isn't it also traditional for a man to marry a woman? I'm just saying, it seems like embracing one form of diversity but not another seems a little hypocritical. If you ask me, DWTS is just worried that a same-sex dance partner would be taking things too far in terms of what the conservative public is willing to watch. Sure, you can put a gay man on the show, but anyone who gets freaked out about the idea of homosexuality doesn't really have to confront it, because they're watching him dance with a woman.
In 2010, the Israeli version of Dancing With the Stars featured a same-sex couple, but senior DWTS producer Deena Katz says that even though same-sex dancing is common in more informal settings like clubs, professional dancing is meant to happen between a man and a woman.
This is not a social dancing show, it's a dancing competition. A man should dance with a woman, no matter what your sexual orientation, in ballroom. If I'd put Chaz with Mark (Ballas), for example, it would have looked like I was trying to make controversy. We're not setting people up on dates.
Right. There's never anything sexual about dancing. It's all about the artistry of the movement. Are you kidding me, here?
On our show, a man dances with a woman. There's a male part to the dance—he's the picture frame—and the woman is the picture.
I have no idea if I'd personally be interested in watching a same-sex couple on Dancing With the Stars or not—probably not, because I don't watch Dancing With the Stars, period—but I call bullshit on the notion that the show is avoiding these pairings because it would somehow besmirch the rules of formal dance. I think they've got a line they're not yet willing to cross, and it has less to do with the following the traditions of official ballroom competitions, and more to do with being scared of losing viewers.
What do you think about DWTS's stance against same-sex dancing?
Image via ABC