John Whaite and Johannes Radebe have continued to stun Strictly Come Dancing audiences with their dazzling performances that make us cheer for queer.
In their latest semi-final advancing performance, the pair swept the ballroom with their intimate Couple’s Choice performance to Hometown Glory by Adele. Whaite dedicated his and Radebe’s routine to ‘the people who perhaps feel a bit afraid in life’, saying ‘it does get better’.
"To the people who perhaps feel a bit afraid in life, I want those people to know that it gets better"
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) December 11, 2021
Head judge Shirley Ballas called the dance “stunningly beautiful”, and the couple is, well-deservingly, advancing into finals.
If anyone needs me I’ll be that blubbering wreck in the corner. John and Johannes… just wow.
— Tilly Pearce (@tillyjeanette) December 11, 2021
Actually, though, our weeping began even before the performance began when Whaite and Radebe reflected on what it means for them to be the competition’s first all-male pairing. The couple brought to tears at viewer reactions, discussed the powerful importance of this representation for themselves and other queer children watching the show from at home, who may not be out yet.
Whaite publicly recalled first coming out as a 14-year-old to his teacher in a small town in Wigan, who promptly broke his trust by telling his family.
So many little queer kids' lives would have been just a little bit easier if they could have seen a couple like John and Johannes on mainstream primetime television being so proudly gay years ago. Such diamonds. #strictly
— Emma Kelly (@TooManyEmmas) December 11, 2021
Though he admittedly wasn’t yet ready for his family to know, thankfully, they were extremely supportive. His sisters even defended him against homophobic bullies that targeted Whaite. Now that is some good allyship.
With the country’s brutal history, including Margaret Thatcher’s Section 28 legislation that banned the “promotion” of homosexuality by schools and local authorities, the positive impact of the duos monumental performances is evident in the mass viewer responses throughout social media.
I always find it far too emotionally difficult to describe how #Section28 personally affected me
Thank you John and Johannes for articulating so powerfully what too many of us faced & felt??️?
— Adi Daly Gourdialsing (she/her/hers) ??️? (@AdiDee_Gee) December 11, 2021
Afterwards, Whaite showed gratitude towards the BBC for allowing them to be the Strictly Come Dancing show’s first all-male couple and helping to normalise LGBTQ+ representation.
2 Black contestants, a mixed LGBTQ couple and a deaf contestant make up this years semi finalists. What a year for diversity!! #Strictly
— Sabroso ? (@ChinonsoAk) December 11, 2021
Throughout this historic season of increased queer presence, Whaite and Radebe have brought the fire with intense tangos and stunning ballroom duets. With their undeniable talent and queer greatness, it’s pretty clear who we’ll be cheering for in the finals on December 18.
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