MP Mhairi Black says it is time for same-sex dance partners on Strictly

By Conor Riordan, Press Association

MP Mhairi Black has called for the BBC to include same-sex dance partners on Strictly Come Dancing.

In an interview with Pink News, the openly gay MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South also defended lesbian comedian Susan Calman, who has faced criticism for dancing with a male partner.

The SNP MP told the LGBT media site: “Of course, it’s 2017 and it’s about time big TV programmes are fully inclusive of LGBTI people.

“That includes having same-sex dance partners on Strictly – but the onus is on the programme makers not individual contestants.

Susan Calman (Matt Crossick/PA)

“It’s not a question of being PC or tokenistic – and it’s not just Strictly or the BBC – we have to ask ourselves why same-sex couples and LGBTI people still aren’t being properly included and represented on some of these programmes in the first place.

“Being inclusive should be the norm – TV should reflect and speak to the full diversity of society, and doing that helps open minds and change attitudes.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “Strictly has chosen the longstanding ballroom dancing format of mixed-sex couples and at the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples in the competition.”

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