Shirley Ballas backs having same-sex couples on Strictly Come Dancing

The head judge, 57, endorsed American show Dancing with the Stars’ move to introduce transgender couples while speaking at the LGBT awards in London on Friday.

Cher’s son Chaz Bono, 49, who was born female, performed with a woman on the US telly show in 2011.

She said: “We had some in the United States — we had some transgender couples, Cher’s son did it.

“It was marvellous. If they were to do that I would embrace it. Whatever choices people make I’ll be fine with.”

Shirley is set to reprise her role as head judge on the Sixteenth series of the BBC1 show, which has never had same-sex partners, this year.

Last year the BBC said it had no plans to introduce same-sex dancers despite gay contestant Reverend Richard Coles saying it made “absolutely no sense that anybody resists the idea”.

A Beeb spokeswoman said: “Strictly has chosen the traditional format of mixed-sex couples and at the moment we have no plans to introduce same-sex couples in the competition.”

Richard, 56, was paired with Dianne Buswell, 29, on the latest series which also saw gay comedian Susan Calman perform.

But Susan, 43, insisted she wanted to dance with a male professional, explaining: “I did think about dancing with a woman, but from the very first moment when I was asked about the show I said I wanted to dance with a man.”

Last year Strictly professional Anton du Beke, 51, refused to answer whether he would dance with a man if asked.  He told the Sun: “My only problem with it is, if you’re dancing same sex couples against opposing sex couples, it’s difficult to match apples and pears.

“When it’s all men and women partners, you’re judging the same thing. It might happen at some stage in the future.”

It came after former Sun columnist Judge Robert Rinder — who recently joined Shirley in signing up for Who Do You Think You Are? — backed 39-year-old singer Will Young’s comments that it would have been “insulting” to have been asked to dance with a man because he was gay.

Rinder, 39, who competed on the Fourteenth series, said: “Why undermine the wonder of Strictly by politicising it?”

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