Dr Gemma Commane, lecturer in Media and Communication at Birmingham City University, says it’s important to question what this Dancing On Ice on a same-sex couple introduction change really means and the conversations it will create.

OPINION | Lesbians are often overlooked or are subject to ‘tragic’ storylines and they are given less space to occupy.

“Although it’s timely for Dancing On Ice to have a same-sex couple, it’s important to understand that decisions are political and have economic reasons,” said Dr Commane.

“In this case, examples could be sustainability for the television show, maintenance of the brand and audience expectations.

“We need to carefully think about what privilege means and what privilege looks like. Privilege is complex and it does not simply connect to one aspect of a person’s identity. 

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“Whilst it is fantastic that changes are happening, we need to ask: what do these ‘changes’ actually mean when certain voices and identities are still rendered invisible? 

“Lesbians are often overlooked or are subject to ‘tragic’ storylines and they are given less space to occupy, especially in primetime television. Why aren’t lesbians the default when it comes to ‘ground breaking’ decisions when introducing same-sex coupling in shows like Dancing On Ice?

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“What would it mean for ‘Dancing On Ice’ to have a lesbian celebrity skating with a same-sex partner?

“What types of conversations would arise from the media and audiences around this selection? If this had been the case, it would have been interesting to observe how news organisations would respond to an announcement like this and if they would write about the lesbian celebrity in predictable and fetishistic ways.”

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