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The former Great British Bake Off champion is making history as one half of the BBC ballroom show’s first ever male couple, along with pro Johannes Radebe.
He told Attitude: “I don’t want to name anyone, but there were people in my life who would say to me, ‘Don’t be too gay’.
“I was at a wedding once, for example, and I was dancing my little heart out, and this person said to me, 'Don’t be too camp, don’t be too gay', as though it was a bad thing.”
Whaite, 32, said when he first signed up for Strictly Come Dancing he asked if he could have a straight partner, because he thought he needed to in order for it to be accepted.
But he told the magazine that he later realised that it should be Radebe, saying it was “such an important thing” for both of them.
Whaite recently shared that he feels comfortable in his own skin for the first time in his life, thanks to Radebe and the overwhelmingly positive reaction they have received.
He said: "I think we’ve been conditioned to expect a lot of hate in our lives for who we are but I didn’t get any hate, it was just support, love and kindness."
The star went on: "For saying to the world 'here I am,' it’s taken 32 years to be comfortable in my own skin but I think I’m finally there and that’s all thanks to this one (Radebe)."
Watch: Who is Strictly's John Whaite?