So You Think You Can Dance eighth season runner-up Sasha Mallory is an out lesbian, but didn’t reveal her sexual orientation on the show, and her rationale is disturbingly close to Nigel Lythgoe’s moronic and homophobic arguments about why no one ever comes out on his shows, which is far more glaring than competition series where gay contestants are out.
In an interview with After Ellen, Sasha talks about being one of the few gay women she knows in dance, and explained why she didn’t come out on the show:
“It’s not important for America to know that personal side of me. They just needed to know if I could dance and if I had a personality. They didn’t really need to know if I was gay or straight. Who I’m sleeping with is not important. This is my craft, my art, it’s what I do and who I sleep with doesn’t really change that, I don’t think. I’m not afraid to tell people I’m gay. I’m proud all over the place. Ask anyone! [laughs] It’s just something that never needed to come up because it would just take the focus off of my dancing and it will put it into ‘I’m gay,’ ya know? But I’m happy to talk about it. I’m totally open about it and I’m a very open person.”
Months ago, Sasha said something similar in response to a question posted on Tumblr, writing,
“I am who I am and im not going to change… I know im not a bad person so i think im a really good role model for anyone struggling to be comfortable with themselves because i had to go through that same struggle.. more than anyone could ever know… and im proud to say im a lesbian and a good person. My personal life shouldn’t affect the way people see my talent… and if it does i truly feel sry for them because they shouldnt worry about who im sleeping with… they should worry about if my dancing moves them.”
That’s a good point, and Sasha should, of course, be allowed to make whatever decision she wants about the information she shares publicly about herself. And it’s great that she’s comfortable with herself to talk about this both now and back then.
But in her After Ellen interview, it’s disappointing to hear her repeat the specious argument that Nigel Lythgoe and other dummies keep making, because identifying one’s sexual orientation has nothing to do with talking about sex or who she’s sleeping with. Look at straight contestants: they do it all the time, and not by referencing sex, like when a male makes an offhand comment about a wife or girlfriend or how attractive a female is.
Plus, Sasha’s own statement seems contradictory: She says it’s “not important for America to know that personal side of me” but it is important for viewers to know “if I had a personality.” Perhaps some bigots would have been less inclined to vote for her if she’d revealed that part of her personality on national TV, but perhaps she would have have found that, like The Voice‘s out women, she would have mentioned it and then gone on to be recognized for her talent.