Why Doesn’t Dancing With the Stars Allow Same-Sex Couples?
When Martina Navratilova and Tony Dovolani get ready to rumba on the March 19 season premiere of Dancing With the Stars, lesbians all over America will be asking themselves the same question.
In Dovolani’s 12 previous DWTS appearances, he has partnered with stunning femme celebrities like country-music star Sara Evans, actress Susan Lucci, and Bachelor contestant Melissa Rycroft.
The only femme thing about tennis-legend Navratilova is her lovers, who tend to be blonde, heterosexual and married. Also, they tend to sue her for palimony after she suddenly dumps them.
Judy Nelson, a former beauty queen from Texas, leads that particular pantheon. In addition to winning a mondo settlement, she penned two nasty tell-alls about her ex, including Choices: My Journey After Leaving My Husband for Martina and a Lesbian Life.
In the ultimate revenge, Nelson began an affair with another of Navratilova’s throw-aways, author Rita Mae Brown. Rita Mae once took a shot with a .38 at Navratilova over her cheating with basketball standout Nancy Lieberman.
Anybody need a short break for refreshments?
Navratilova, 55, came out publicly in 1981. Since then, if she has ever been pictured in a (non-tennis) dress, I have not seen it. Frankly, I can’t imagine what she’ll wear on DWTS, where flowing gowns and dresses are the dress code for female contestants.
Most importantly, when was the last time Navratilova danced with a male partner other than at a gay event? Given who she is and DWTS’s pretensions of political correctness, Navratilova should be paired with a Ginger Rogers, not a Fred Astaire.
Game, set, match.
As DWTS’s first out lesbian, Navratilova could break the precedent set by two gay celebs, both of whom had partners of the opposite gender—Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Carson Kressley last season and former boy-band star Lance Bass in Season 7.
For the record, I am not new to this fight. In September, I lobbied for Kressley to be given a male partner. Epic fail. Transsexual Chaz Bono was also a contestant last season. He danced with a female, as he should have.
Clearly, DWTS is politically correct enough to have featured a transsexual, but not a same-sex couple. Then again, maybe it has extended that offer to celebs, but has not found any takers. In 2010, for example, actress Portia de Rossi, wife of Ellen DeGeneres, reportedly declined.
While tradition dictates strict gender roles in ballroom dancing, that tradition is not universally recognized. The Israeli version of DWTS in 2010 became the first in the world to have a same-sex couple. Not surprisingly, it was two females—an openly-lesbian sportscaster and a heterosexual professional dancer.
Navratilova’s DWTS appearance isn’t exactly generating heat with the public.
She and Dovolani ranked 11th among 12 couples in a Good Morning America popularity poll on the upcoming 14th season. They garnered just three percent of the vote, one percent higher than British opera star Katherine Jenkins and two-time champion Mark Ballas.
Try as she might, Navratilova is in for a tough time if her mixed-doubles skills don’t transfer from the tennis court to the dance floor. Look for lots of double-faults.