Nigel Lythgoe doesn’t like “effeminate boys that mince around the stage”

Nigel Lythgoe, a judge on and executive producer of So You Think You Can Dance, says he and his shows have no problem with gay contestants, but he does have a problem with people who don’t fit into their proper gender roles.

“I’m never worried if anybody’s gay. What I don’t like on the dance show, to be frank, is effeminate boys that mince around the stage. I don’t care if they’re gay or straight. That’s got nothing to do with it for me,” Lythgoe told After Elton.

He says that’s because he likes his men strong and manly and able to physically manhandle women. “Because they need to be very strong. Dancing is role-playing most of the time. And you need to be strong and lift girls. You need to look stronger than the girl you’re dancing with. You control the dance, especially in ballroom. So if you mince about the stage, you’re not doing what the choreographer is asking you to do. He’s asking you to be strong. If your choreographer then wants to do an effeminate routine, then that’s fine, but most of the time we don’t do effeminate routines so straight or gay doesn’t come into it for me,” he said.

Let’s just stop for a moment and consider all that is wrong about that paragraph. First, if there’s any question at all about the inherent sexism here, just look at what the old bastard assumes about a generic choreographer: that the person will be a man–never mind that his own show has plenty of talented female choreographers. He also assumes in every dance that the man will be in control automatically; that’s the power of the penis.

Lythgoe seems to not understand the difference between sex (your genitalia), gender (society’s stereotypical expectations of behavior based upon sex), and sexual orientation (who you bang), never mind the fact that he’s essentially insisting upon adherence to gender roles that are increasingly becoming blurred and transcend sex and sexual orientation.

Earlier in his conversation, Lythgoe acts innocently confused by After Elton’s question about why neither this show nor American Idol, which Lythgoe also executive produces, have never had any out gay contestants during their seasons. (Of course, a few contestants have come out after the show ended, and others probably didn’t need to.)

Anyway, Lythgoe said, “You mean homosexual guys who have come out? We’ve never thought about it, to be honest. I don’t actually go around and say, ‘Excuse me are you gay or are you straight?’ It isn’t a question that we ask.”

Nigel Lythgoe says he doesn’t have a problem with gay men, just effeminate dancers [After Elton]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.