Journey to inclusivity: Dancing With the Stars first same-sex dance group


Chloe Zarrinkelk

With the entertainment industry becoming more inclusive, finally queer people are being given opportunities owed to them centuries ago.

Frances English, Writer

Welcome to the entertainment industry, a form of amusement that spreads through people like wildfire and dictates our society’s daily standards. Although the industry still has its issues, slowly but surely, there are becoming more diverse representations of people featured on millions of tv screens every day. From the first woman actress stepping on stage in the 1600s to Dancing With the Stars having their first same-sex dance couple, these successes lead us to a more accepting community and unify us as a whole. 

The struggle for equal representation of everyone from different races to how one identifies is a huge problem. The LGBTQ+ community’s representation in the media and on programs is still somewhat recent compared to the history of showbiz. In television, characters that were a part of the LGBTQ+ community were first shown in the 1970s. That is less than 50 years in the industry when tv itself has been around since the late 1920s. Even now, while there are more portrayals of these minorities, there is still not enough to cover each and every underrepresented group, creating holes in the business. This stems from tv show and movie companies simply not wanting to provide equal representation due to the fear of breaking norms. Even though these issues can be frustrating, it is important to look back and appreciate the progress we’ve made so far.

A recent success involving LGBTQ+ representation occurred on the hit show, Dancing With the Stars. This show consists of a group of celebrities and professional dancers who are paired together during the program and compete each week in a new choreographed dance. Each couple does their best to earn as many points and audience votes as possible. The team with the lowest amount of points and votes made that week is eliminated. This goes on until just one team is left: the winners of that season of Dancing With the Stars

Jojo Siwa, who recently came out as part of the LGBTQ+ community last January, broke history on the ABC (American Broadcasting Company) program’s 30th season. Jojo Siwa is an actress, dancer, YouTuber and singer who mainly targets her songs for kids. The singer coming out and introducing her girlfriend to the public spread a positive message worldwide, and it expanded her target demographic to kids and teenagers who are also part of the community. 

In previous seasons of Dancing with the Stars, there had been strict women and men pairs. When Siwa decided to be part of the show, the idea for its first soley-women team came up in a meeting with one of the producers. In an interview with USA TODAY, Siwa said, “my journey of coming out and having a girlfriend has inspired so many people around the world. I thought that if I chose to dance with a girl on this show, it would break the stereotypical thing. It would be new, different and change for the better.” 

Jojo Siwa’s dance partner is Jenna Johnson, a past Mirror Ball champion. The two are excited to be the show’s first same-sex dance couple, and they hope to not only inspire viewers, but to also positively contribute to the entertainment industry as a whole.

Although the industry is not perfect, more improvements are being made to make everyone feel truly represented. This new LGBTQ+ representation in Dancing With the Stars, along with many other forms of media, is shaping our society to become more welcoming and inspirational to all.

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