Two men skated together UK’s Dancing on Ice reality competition this week for the first time, causing actor John Barrowman, a judge on the show, to break down in tears.
Ian ‘H’ Watkins from the pop band Steps and Matt Evers skated together to “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco as the judges looked on.
Said Barrowman after the performance (watch full clip with Barrowman’s reaction here): “I am [emotional]. That makes me happy on a compete multitude of levels just because of seeing two men who represent someone who is like me, and to skate as well as you did, you’ve done it now, the nerves are out of the way. We’ve shown that two men can perform and skate together. So now do the tricks. It doesn’t have to be what you did before with the man/woman thing…you know, man/man, switch it up, do leaders different ways. Be versatile, you know what I’m saying? Listen… I’m overwhelmed. I’m almost speechless. It was just wonderful.”
Said “H”: “[It was] emotional, because I have wanted this for so long and it means so much to so many people and the world is ready for this.”
Added Evers: “I just have to say thank you to the network, thank you to ITV and thank you to everybody at home that is accepting of this because this is normal. This is absolutely normal.”
In an op-ed in The Guardian, Owen Jones wrote about the importance of the moment: “One of the most peculiar aspects of realising that you are LGBTQ is the loneliness. Your immediate family is unlikely to belong to the minority you may feel you have been arbitrarily parachuted into. You may be fortunate that they have supportive attitudes; many are not. The odds are that you have heard derogatory terms about LGBTQ people thrown around the playground not once or twice but like confetti. On TV and film screens, on advertising billboards, in magazines and in books, society’s expectations about settling down with someone of a different gender will bellow at you. You may struggle to come out to yourself, let alone anyone else, and fear judgment and rejection. That is why major cultural events, such as the first same-sex performance on ITV’s Dancing on Ice last night, are so important: they can be lifelines for the closeted, whether they are aged 13 or 78.”