Homophobia is still a problem in the world of dance

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Earlier this year, “Good Morning America” ran what was supposed to be a cute culture story about the first-grade curriculum of Britain’s Prince George. But when correspondent Lara Spencer mentioned that the 6-year-old boy was studying ballet, she couldn’t suppress her laughter.

As Spencer said, “We’ll see how long that lasts,” co-host George Stephanopolous and most of the studio audience also laughed. Being laughed at for pursuing dance is familiar to almost any boy who studies the art form, especially ballet.

Deidre Tangorra’s 9-year-old son, Julius, has been aggressively bullied for dancing. At school, he’s been put in a chokehold, tripped and tackled while being called “twinkle toes,” “fairy” and other homophobic slurs. He can’t ride the school bus because of other kids spitting on him, according to both Julius and his mother.

“If a boy wants to do something perceived as slightly feminine, they’re perceived as weaker,” Tangorra said. “It’s not about being against dance, it’s machoness.”

Julius had a strong reaction to Spencer’s laughter and comments. “When she said it, I felt bad and angry and embarrassed,” he said. Following the TV host’s controversial remarks, the dance community rallied to the young royal’s defense, and #BoysDanceToo became a trending social media hashtag.

Spencer apologized for her comments and interviewed three male dancers who discussed their careers and experiences with bullying. Yet, the issue of men being perceived as feminine never came up in their discussion and neither did sexual orientation nor gender identity. The subtext of the apology was that Spencer erred in saying that male dancers aren’t masculine, but not that it’s wrong to laugh at men who have a feminine side.

Many in the dance community felt it was a missed opportunity to address the root of the stigma male dancers deal with — homophobia and misogyny — especially because these exist within the dance world as well.

Read on…

Photos: Kirill Sokolovsky

Comments 7

  1. It always amazes me. Ballet is for tough guys only. It’s vigorous, physically demanding, and often painful. Where do baboons (sorry primates) get the idea that it’s weak and feminine?

    1. “Where do baboons (sorry primates) get the idea that it’s weak and feminine?”

      From the right-wing/religious Silver Back Gorillas

  2. So, he hangs out with pretty girls and gets to put his hands all over them while they shower with other dudes and grope their butts?

    There’s something off about who’s being perceived as gay here….

  3. I saw the interview and it was disgusting! Spencer‘s apology was nothing but a joke! I was really angry that the three dancers were just a tool for her to stand in the right light again. She is a conservative fucking slut with a view on the world of stereotypes and old fashioned role models. If I could…..I would, without any doubts!

  4. Ballet boys have the most beautiful slim bodies. I have been following several Ballet boys. Gavin Morales….See him on You Tube. Also see the two boys ballet dancing together.

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