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Panti Bliss Breaks Records & Smashes HIV Stigma on DWTS

Panti Bliss Breaks Records & Smashes HIV Stigma on DWTS

Drag star and activist Panti Bliss aka Rory O'Neill at the Dublin Pride parade in 2019
Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images

The out-of-drag performance marks the first time a male-male couple will dance on the show.

Rory O’Neill, more popularly known as Panti Bliss, will drop the drag persona and dance as himself for the first time on Ireland's Dancing With the Stars this Sunday.

O’Neill hopes to smash down HIV stigma by doing so, and is dancing as himself in honor of the doctor who first treated his HIV diagnosis 27 years ago.

The number, alongside dance partner Denys Samson, will be a pasodoble set to the hit Pet Shop Boys song It’s a Sin.

The emotional dance is dedicated to Professor Fiona Mulcahy and her team at St. James’s Hospital in Dublin.

O’Neill is showcasing how he’s lived a healthy life despite his diagnosis. When he was first diagnosed in 1996, he was only given a 5-10 year life span, so being in his 50s and on television dancing proves that HIV is no longer a death sentence and something you can thrive while having.

By dancing out of drag, O’Neill and Samson will also become the first male-male couple to dance together in the show’s history.

Catch the performance on Dancing With the Stars on Sunday, and keep an eye out for the Plus exclusive interview with Panti Smith coming in our March/April print issue!

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