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Out-lesbian Susan Calman faces backlash over Strictly Come Dancing partner

Out-lesbian Susan Calman faces backlash over Strictly Come Dancing partner

Susan Calman

Comedian Susan Calman is facing backlash online for her decision to dance with a male partner in Strictly Come Dancing.

She is the first gay woman to ever star on the hit dancing show.

Calman, who came out as a lesbian in 1993 at the age of 19, said people sent her messages condemning her involvement in the heteronormative show.

The show’s format matches celebrities with opposite-sex dance partners and some on social media aren’t happy.

Calman told the BBC: ‘No one is holding me hostage in this room, making me wear a dress and dance with a man.

‘I want to learn how to dance,’ she added.

Susan Calman: ‘No one can say I haven’t stood up for my community’

Susan Calman’s TV credits include BBC One daytime quiz The Boss and kids’ quiz Top Class.

She said: ‘I think politically, there’s nothing more powerful than having an openly gay woman on the biggest show on television, whose wife’s on the front row, doing what she wants to do.

‘No one can say I haven’t stood up for my community,’ she said.

Susan Calman also said it’s unfair to be receiving the negative backlash, as if she owes the LGBTI community to boycott it.

She said: ‘I have protested, I have picketed, I have fought, I have been spat on, I have been punched. And I want to dance.

‘There will be a time for same-sex dancing. I think what annoyed me slightly is that I seem to be getting it in the neck.

‘Will Young didn’t get it, Judge Rinder didn’t get it, Richard Coles isn’t getting it. It seems to me as a woman, he’s not getting it the same way I am.

‘And for me to be getting it is, I think, unfair,’ she said.

Strictly Come Dancing premieres tonight (9 September) on BBC.