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Steps star Ian ‘H’ Watkins calls for trans Dancing On Ice contestants after making history with same-sex pairing


Ian ‘H’ Watkins from Steps made history on Dancing On Ice with skating partner Matt Evers (Picture: REX)

Steps favourite Ian ‘H’ Watkins paved the way for Strictly Come Dancing’s first same-sex pairing — and now he wants to see trans contestants on reality TV shows.

The Love’s Got A Hold On My Heart singer made history last year when he skated with Matt Evers on ITV’s Dancing On Ice. He says it opened the door for Olympic boxer Nicola Adams to team up with a female pro on the upcoming BBC ballroom dancing contest.

‘It’s something I fought for, for many years,’ H told Guilty Pleasures. ‘I was adamant if I was going to do a reality show then I would insist on having the correct gender for my sexuality.

‘It kind of changed the landscape of reality TV, which is incredible. It’s been a long time coming and should have happened many years ago.’

He feels there are still parts of the LGBTQ+ community not represented on telly. ‘The BBC should have taken the bull by the horns,’ added the 44-year-old. ‘But they missed the boat. It doesn’t matter — they are doing two girls this year. They had to because we did two boys last year.’

Trans vision: H has urged TV producers during meetings to feature trans contestants (Picture: REX)

Promoting Steps’ latest comeback, which involves a new single, What The Future Holds, plus an album and 14-date tour, he then revealed: ‘I’ve had conversations with the producers of Dancing On Ice and I would now like them to start representing the trans community. That is next on the agenda.

‘The trans community is massively under attack. We need to support them and be tremendous allies. We need visibility, respect and love instead of hate.’

H, who has twins with his ex Craig Ryder, said of his turn on Dancing On Ice: ‘I knew what I was doing would have a profound effect on television in general. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel that gravitas on my shoulders.’

Explaining how same-sex pairings on TV may affect young viewers, he went on: ‘When I was growing up, my role models I could count on less than one hand. There was Boy George, George Michael. Boy George was loud and proud.

‘The only people I had on TV were people like Dale Winton. All those stereotypical gay men. I didn’t fit in the same box as those so I felt very isolated and different. That’s why it took me so long to come out and be my authentic self publicly. It was awful. It took a toll on my mental health.’

Nicola Adams will be part of the show’s first same-sex pairing (Picture: Getty)

With openly proud stars like Nicola now on our screens, he said: ‘I wish I had someone like that when I was growing up. There are incredible role models now like Troye Sivan and Olly Alexander. We have a long way to go, but equality is on its way.’

Wishing Nicola a victorious run on the dance floor this year, H predicted: ‘She is tremendous. A powerhouse. She has so much to give.’

Keeping it reel… Sia prompted our music comeback

Looking ahead: Sia thought What The Future Holds was perfect for Steps (Picture: Getty)

Sia has been thanked by Steps for their even brighter future… but the band promised fans they are still holding on to the past by releasing their new album on cassette tape.

The ’90s pop legends decided to make another comeback with a tour and an album after the Aussie pop sensation gifted them their new single What The Future Holds, which drops today.

‘We are absolutely gobsmacked that Sia is a Steps fan,’ the 5,6,7,8 singers told GP.

‘We didn’t know we were going to do this again after the last tour. Round about then, we started to talk about the next things — shall we or shall we not?

‘Then Sia wrote this song for herself and went, “This is not right for me but it is perfect for Steps”. This song was the foundation for the whole campaign and it’s because of Sia this is all happening now. How many people get Sia as a demo vocal?

Steps are coming back with a new album (Picture: Joe Jeffrey)

The group — H, Claire Richards, Faye Tozer, Lisa Scott-Lee and Lee Latchford-Evans admit they are nostalgia addicts.

So much so, they are bringing back the tape machine. ‘We come from an era where people like to physically own a copy,’ explained H. ‘It was always the highlight of my pop calendar to go to Woolworths and buy a pop single.

‘You can go to our online store and get a physical copy. I’m super-excited because we have it on cassette this time. We have gone retro. We have one foot in the past and one foot in the future with digital.’

‘Fans of my age, of my era, it’s nice to own something like vinyl. Superfans like to own a piece of us.’

But the part-time showbiz star admits counting the years is terrifying.

‘We have a nice work-life balance now,’ H said. ‘It’s incredible we are doing it after 25 years! How did that happen?’

More from Guilty Pleasures…

RiRi: Dating apps don’t work for me

Rihanna is looking for Mr Right in real life (Picture: Vogue Magazine Digital/YouTube)

Rihanna stunned fans last week when she confessed she still has feelings for bad boy ex Chris Brown… but now she is looking to move on.

The Work singer will only be looking for her Mr Right in real life because she is reluctant to turn to dating apps for romance.

RiRi, who split from Hassan Jameel this year and is linked to A$AP Rocky, explained: ‘I don’t think dating apps are for me, but people who use them are brave and I know they create a lot of great relationships.’

As for who needs to apply, the 32- year-old added: ‘The ideal man for me is one who wants to build with you. I don’t think you can ever truly be happy in a relationship unless you are happy with yourself first.

‘But once you are in that place, you want to be with a man who supports you and wants to build dreams and goals with you.’

I’ve given up on men, admits Selena

‘Guys are a lot of work’, says Selena Gomez (Picture: REX)

Selena Gomez might constantly warble about wanting a boyfriend, but in real life she has given up on men.

The Lose You To Love Me singer spilled on her own love life hours after her long-term ex Justin Bieber explained he’s focusing on being a well-behaved hubby for wife Hailey.

Selena, who also dated The Weeknd, conceded: ‘It’s hard to find a man in quarantine. It’s just funny that I release things that say I want a boyfriend and stuff… and I’m like, “I didn’t really mean it, though”.’

Selena has dated The Weeknd in the past (Picture: Getty)

The 28-year-old also told YouTube’s Nikkie Tutorials that her lovers — who think she’s crazy — haven’t exactly been easy going.

Joking that becoming a bride ‘is never gonna happen’, Selena added: ‘Guys are a lot of work.

‘Every one of my exes thinks I’m crazy, but I don’t care.’

Big Sean confesses he ‘wanted to give up on life’ despite his chart success

Big Sean might have millions of streams to his name, but the US rapper admits to feeling suicidal once behind closed doors.

The Bounce Back singer, discussing his new album Detroit 2 on Twitter, wrote: ‘I don’t feel like this currently, but I had never gone through wanting to kill myself, give up on my life until the past few years and I didn’t realize how important it was to embrace the ups n downs of life and enjoy (in joy) taking active steps to better it. It’s the Journey!’

Big Sean has had his low points (Picture: Getty)

Sean, 32, went on: ‘I thought doing what I loved would always make me happy and satisfied, so when I got tired of it, I was confused and it drove me insane.’

Telling others who might feel low that a positive chapter is just around the corner, he added: ‘I pray if and when it happens to you, you just hold on to your faith!’

Go Zac to where you came from, Efron is told

WHILE Baywatch hunk Zac Efron might be loving his romance with waitress Vanessa Valladares in Australia’s Byron Bay, some fear he will ruin the beach town.

Aussie comic Ed Kavalee warned that other Hollywood stars might move in, saying: ‘No, no… I mean Byron was already teetering and now it’s gone… that’s terrible news!’

The 41-year-old added: ‘Because where one goes, they all follow.’

Katie’s chef lover is the meal deal…

Katie Holmes’ new flame Emilio Vitolo (Picture: Instagram)

Tom Cruise’s ex-wife Katie Holmes spent years hiding her romance with Jamie Foxx following her strict divorce contract, but she is now proudly flaunting a new fella.

Signalling things are hotting up in the kitchen with 33-year-old chef Emilio Vitolo, Batman Begins actress Katie, 41, showered him with kisses during a dinner date in the Big Apple on Sunday.

  • Hunger Games star Sam Claflin says his childhood holidays were very different to the Hollywood lifestyle he enjoys now. But simple beach trips in Norfolk are still among his best memories. ‘As a family of six, we used to go camping every summer,’ he said. ‘We didn’t grow up with any money, really, so we’d head to Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk and then walk over to Holkham.’ Sam, 34, who also stars in Peaky Blinders, told the October issue of Condé Nast Traveller: ‘The one time my family did go abroad, we drove all the way down to the south of France and listened to the same mixtape on repeat. Fleetwood Mac, The Cranberries and REM. Even as an adult, I know all the lyrics.’

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