• Same-sex, gender-neutral dance partners now allowed to compete in national competitions

    By: WFTV.com

    Updated:

    A recent announcement has cleared the way for same-sex couples to enter national dance competitions.

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    But the question has come up: Will that lead to an unfair advantage when it comes to taking home the trophy?

    Jose Perez has been dancing since childhood and for the past 11 years as a professional.

    His journey has included performances with a same-sex partner, but when it came to competitions the rules paired him up with a woman.

    "I always wondered what it would feel like to walk on the floor and be presented and be OK with it and be judged like everyone else," Perez said.

    His professional life is about to change with a big move by the National Dance Council of America.

    Same sex and gender-neutral couples will now be allowed to compete with opposite-sex couples at all of its events.

    "This opens all the competitions in every state, every city, everywhere," Perez said. "This is not going to limit everyone from dancing."

    Pushback is already coming from critics who say this could lead to some pairs having an unfair advantage.

    Supporters say those who feel that way may not fully understand the art or the sport.

    Dr. Steve Yacovelli just wrote a book on LQBTQ leadership. He said any move toward inclusion is good business for any industry.

    "I think it's [an] awesome message to parents that we don't have to be controlled by the definition of ‘man leads, woman follows' and all the stereotypes that are out there," Yacovelli said. "It's important for adults and kids to see that."

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