So You Think You Can Dance's uber-popular eighth-season runner-up Sasha Mallory says she's proud to be a lesbian, but told AfterEllen.com that she didn't come out during the show because "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."
Considering the scarcity of out lesbian and bisexual women in the world of dance, some critics are arguing that Mallory made a bad decision. Andy Dehnart of RealityBlurred.com argues that Mallory's "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 competitions series where gay contestants are out."
Some might insist that being lesbian -- or straight or bisexual -- is a part of that "personality" Mallory says audiences want to know and that being out can have a positive impact on TV viewers. In fact, Mallory herself posted on Tumblr months ago, "I am who I am and I'm not going to change ... I think I'm a really good role model for anyone struggling to be comfortable with themselves because I had to go through that same struggle. I'm proud to say I'm 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 [sic] for them because they shouldn't worry about who I'm sleeping with ... they should worry about if my dancing moves them."
Dehnart supports Mallory's right to privacy but adds that "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. 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."