The British Dance Council (BDC) will on Monday consider a proposal that would define a dance partnership as between “one man and one lady,” reports The Guardian.
The proposal is based on an argument that a two-man partnership has an unfair advantage over a mixed-sex pairing due to additional strength and stamina.
If the proposal is passed, John Church and his partner Alex Lewall will be banned from defending their UK Closed Championship, over-35 pre-championship title at the next championships later this month. The pair, who are both gay but not in a relationship, have been dancing together for four years.
Speaking to The Guardian, Church said:
"It's a totally regressive step and as far as we are concerned it would be the end of our dancing careers. We don't want to be trailblazers, we aren't asking for special treatment, we just want to dance and to be judged solely on our dancing – not what sex we are."
If voted in, the new rule will state:
"This council recognises a partnership to be one man and one lady in all adult amateur and professional competitions and championships unless otherwise stated."
According to BDC president Bryan Allen, the change in the rules will not result in a ban on same-sex couples but mean there would be a category which was only open to mixed couples.
However, in dismissing the proposed rule change, Church said “dancing isn't about power, it's about technique, positioning, poise, presentation – physical strength doesn't come into it.”
A petition against the rule change, currently with almost 2,000 signatures, is available at Change.org.