JoJo Siwa has a ton of young fans, and now those fans can now watch their favorite pop star on ABC's Dancing With The Stars every week. Siwa makes DWTS history by dancing with a same-sex partner—the first time a contestant has done so in the show's 30-season history. As we all know, representation matters, and Siwa's positive representation of the LGBTQ+ community offers parents a great reason to talk about it with their kids.
ABC announced last month that the 18-year-old pop star and influencer is one of the 15 celebrities joining the show this fall. Siwa first sprung into fame when she was a young child as part of the Dance Moms cast, so she knows her way around the dance floor.
"I am so excited to be a part of Dancing With the Stars season 30. And to be dancing with a girl I think it's so cool," Siwa said on Instagram when she joined the cast. "It's going to be the best ever. I can't wait to just dance every week. I can't wait to meet my partner. Oh, my gosh, there are so many things I'm so excited for."
Watch her historic performance here:
JoJo Siwa’s Quickstep – Dancing with the Stars www.youtube.com
Not long after coming out in January, Siwa (who uses the terms "gay" and "queer" to describe herself, and identifies as pansexual) announced that she was dating Kylie Prew, who she described as her "best friend" first before becoming her girlfriend.
"After being my best friend for over a year, January 8th 2021 I got to start calling this exceptional human my Girlfriend… and Since then I've been the happiest I have ever been!" she wrote in February. "She seriously is the most loving, supportive, happiest, protective, and just the most beautiful perfect person in the world. And I get to call her mine! Happy one month to my girl! I love you more and more every day!❤️."
My five-year-old daughter is a HUGE JoJo fan, and when she first came out, the TODAY show was covering it. My daughter asked why JoJo was on TV and what they were talking about, so I explained it to her. Because sexual identity and sexualization are two very, very different things, it's not at all inappropriate to talk about what it means to identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community with your kids. My daughter has, I'm sure, overheard me talk about famous men I might find handsome and she's certainly seen me show love toward her dad—and if displays of heterosexual attraction are "normal," then it's also "normal" to talk about my child about her famous idol and her famous idol's girlfriend.
I told her that JoJo wanted to tell the world that she had a girlfriend because she loves her and she makes her happy. She said, "Cool!" and then asked if we could turn off the news and watch Big Hero 6 instead.
When Siwa came out, she said being part of a community made it easier to deal with ignorance and bigotry. "My thing is, I don't want people to watch my videos or buy my merchandise if they aren't going to support not only me, but the LGBTQ community," she said.
Congrats to Jojo Siwa and her next career move—my daughter and I can't wait to watch you in your dancing shoes!
A version of this story was originally published on August 27, 2021. It has been updated.