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Monday, 19 September 2011


The biggest news in entertainment this week was the controversy over Chaz Bono, Sonny and Cher's transgender son, being cast in the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars. Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs at GLAAD hailed the move by saying, “At a time when transgender representation in the media is sorely lacking, Chaz Bono joining the cast of a series likeDancing With the Stars is a tremendous step forward for the public to recognize that transgender people are an important part of the fabric of American culture... Appearing on such a high profile show will allow millions of Americans to get to know him in a whole new light.”

Well, apparently some of those Americans don't want to see him or any trans-person in any kind of light. There was instant flack from conservatives and the Religious Right, with people like psychiatrist and Fox News contributor Keith Ablow demanding viewers boycott the show. These same people, who we're guessing had never been on a LGBT site in their lives, were suddenly on Gay.net, The Advocate, Out.com, and SheWired leaving angry comments about why he should not be on the show. TheReuters news agency even covered the anti-trans remarks posted on the DWTS message boards:

"HUGE HUGE fan of this show since season two and eagerly await each season to get my dancing/entertainment 'fix'!! But when I heard that Chaz Bono was going to be on, I was sick. Not that I have anything personally again her/him, I just don't want that lifestyle choice continually flaunted in the media esp ABC," went one typical anti-Bono comment.

"Chaz Bono How low can this show sink. Well you have certainly addressed the gay commuity. Guess this will not be a family show any longer!!!! Lost my family!"

"YOUR choice to bring Chaz Bono into the mix goes too far. I am not about to risk the potential for on screen dialogue about sex changes and gender confusion while my 7 and 9 year old are watching. If you want the 'anything goes' hippy culture, then soon that is all you will get. You've lost us. In case any of you are wondering ... no, we are NOT tolerant. We are not tolerant to allow any and all influences to come unfiltered into our home and especially to our children. This is truly a sad farewell."

In all the hoopla, everyone seems to have forgotten that Carson Cressley (openly gay) is on the show. They've also forgotten about Ricki Lake (who loves homos), David Arquette (who's publicly done drag and talks about co-stars butts), Rob Kardashian (who, like most everyone else in the cast, isn't an actual "star" but does, indeed, have as nice an ass as Arquette attests), Nancy Grace (What?), NBA star Ron Artest (Who?), soccer star Hope Solo (straight lady with lesbian fans), Chynna Phillips (was in rehab), Kristin Cavallari (who's also altered her body via plastic surgery but didn't do it for orientation reasons), J.R. Martinez (again—WHO?), and Elisabetta Canalis (whose most notable work was being in Deuce Bigalow: European Gigoloand yet no one is protesting that).

To his credit, Bono isn't letting this stuff get to him—at least publicly. On Good Morning America he commented, "I really haven't been paying that much attention to it. I think it's a much bigger deal to everybody else than it is to me. I'm just a regular guy. All these ideas that children shouldn't watch me, I'm going to be confusing, all this stuff, it's crazy." (Watch the whole video below.) Bono has also had many supporters, both in the LGBT and straight communities, and from celebrities like attorney Gloria Allred and Bono's mom, Cher. While some commentors may claim that Bono was only put on the show because of who his parents are/were, these same supporters do seem to agree that conservatives are making ridiculous, fear-based claims.

DWTS is about dancing (with "stars") and not about making speeches. Chaz Bono will not be given the opportunity to speak about transgender issues any more than Bristol Palin (A real "star," or just the daughter of someone famous?) was allowed to espouse the virtues of having premarital sex and getting knocked up. Bono looks like a cuddly bear, so if a child is watching the show he or she is not going to be confused about this man's gender. More importantly, one doesn't just wake up one morning and get gender-reassignment surgery. It's a long, intense, expensive process involving medical professionals who make sure the person is, in fact, really ready to take that major leap.
But as for the conspiracy suggestion that his is another way they gays are invading American culture... well, that's another topic altogether.

Looking at Bristol Palin again (left), fans of the show repeatedly discussed how she was a horrible dancer, and yet mom's Tea Party playmates rallied the troops to keep her on the show for weeks. Wouldn't it be interesting if we, as a real LGBT community, rallied behind Chaz Bono and helped him win? Or at least got him very far in the show?

No, it wouldn't be "fair," but since when have any of these call-in voting shows been fair? They're popularity contests, like high school ASB elections on a national level, so why shouldn't we get the guy we want in the winner's seat? Not only would it bring attention to the power of the gay community, it would help ABC's ratings (and they deserve some help for making this decision), and maybe show the conservatives that just because a transgender man exists it's not going to destroy the very fabric of the universe.



  1. In view of what I see as my important priorities, I couldnt care less about who is on DWTS and I have the right to change the channel if I am offended by who producers choose or choose not to have on their shows. This also goes for how many minority people appear on TV or in the movies. If I am offended, I dont have to watch them on TV or go to the movies, which I rarely do anyway.

    To me, what IS important is to vigorously oppose the kind of senseless bloodshed and discrimination illustrated by the post below. The Chaz Bono debacle certainly pales in comparison




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