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Strictly star says he hopes same-sex partners can give children ‘hope for the future’

Strictly Come Dancing star John Whaite has said that he hopes the presence of same-sex pairings on the show will give young viewers “a little bit of hope for the future”.

Whaite will dance this year with one of the male professional dancers, following on from boxer Nicola Adams, who featured on the celebrity competition with Katya Jones, in the show’s first-ever same-sex couple.

Former Great British Bake Off winner Whaite said that the reaction to his Strictly role has been “so positive”.

Speaking to PA, he said: “The reaction has been so positive. Because I’m doing the first all-male partnership, I genuinely did think that I was going to receive a fair bit of hate because you do as a gay man, you get a lot of hate.

“You grow up and learn to deal with it, you shouldn’t have to, but we do.”

However, the TV personality revealed that he hadn’t received “a single message of negativity”.

“When I was talking to Matt Lucas on the Radio 2 Breakfast show, I realised how important a step forward this is,” he continued. “Little kids who watch the show, to have same-sex role models will give them a little bit of hope for the future and it won’t make them grow up with the same shame that I grew up with and Matt Lucas grew up with.”

“But also it’s not just about queer people, it’s about everyone, straight or gay. I hope that this is going to break down that notion of toxic masculinity, especially in Britain. If you look at Europe, people are much more intimate with each other.

Strictly Come Dancing begins on BBC One on 18 September.

Additional reporting by PA

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