WASHINGTON, July 12, 2014 — The ballroom dancing world exploded in anger yesterday over news that the British Dance Council was planning to ban same-sex dance teams from competition.
The Twitter-verse pounced on the news, with writers slamming the proposed change of wording, which would define competing partners to be composed of “one man and one lady,” as discriminatory and unfair.
British media reported that the body was considering the changes after “complaints” that couples composed of two men had an unfair advantage because they are physically stronger and have more stamina than women.
Dancers dispute this allegation, however, saying that those physical differences give no advantage in ballroom dancing, where technique and grace are at least as important as physical strength.
Ballroom dancing world-wide is dominated by mixed-sex couples, but a few same sex couples do compete. Same sex dancing couples already say they are sidelined from the most prestigious competitions, however.
The BDC responded to the news reports by posting a clarification on its website. President Bryan Allen wrote the following:
Proposal for BDC Rule Change
Firstly, I refer you to the BDC Rule Book where it is recorded item 11) on page 2.
“the British Dance Council has adopted a policy of equity which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, marital status, race, colour, disability, sexuality, religion or political opinion”
This is a clear and open statement of where the BDC stands on these issues.
Secondly, to reassure the couples who dance in competitions and championships held under BDC Rules, the BDC will not, as is being claimed be banning same sex couples from competitions they have hitherto been entering.
Competitions and championships held under BDC Rules allow for same sex competitions and there are very many of these throughout the year.
The rules also allow for competitions that are called “Open” competitions in which same sex and mixed sex couples can compete.
It is clear that mixed sex couples cannot compete in same sex competitions. Same sex and mixed sex couples can and do take part in the other events.
Media coverage of a proposed introduction of an additional sector for competitions for mixed sex couples only has produced a great deal of protest seemingly based upon the incorrect to assertion that this would result in all same sex couples being be banned from all BDC competitions. If the proposal was passed it would mean that same sex couples would be excluded only from this new proposed section, but not from any other section. Clearly this would result in the same situation where mixed sex couples are excluded from same sex competitions.
As any decision regarding any changes to BDC Rules is a matter for the appropriate meeting and because of the incessant demands for interviews and comment I issue this statement.
BRYAN ALLEN Click here to download
The proposal is due to be discussed by the BDC’s board of directors on 21 July.