Dancing With The Stars announced their new line up of celebrity participants. The cast includes athletes like NBA star Ron Artest, actors including David Arquette, and...former lawyer and television journalist, Nancy Grace. Beyond the cluster of reality stars and talk show hosts, ABC has a new variety of contestants with Chaz Bono joining the gang.
Chaz Bono, 42, is mostly known as the only child of Sonny & Cher. However, he is also known as an LGBT activist. Bono was born as Chasity, a female. In 1995, Bono came out as a lesbian. In 2008, he began a female to male gender transition process. The legal transition of name and gender was completed in May 2010. A year later, a documentary was released entitled Becoming Chaz that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and debuted on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network later in May. The documentary is now up for three Emmy awards.
Chaz couldn't be happier, said his attorney Kristina Wertz in a statement after the surgery. The gender reassignment was the best decision I've ever made, Bono said.
Now, Bono will be joining a list of stars in highly anticipated season 13 of Dancing With The Stars. As an LGBT activist, writer, and transgender advocate, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Agaisnt Defamation (GLAAD) is excited to hear about Bono's inclusion in this season.
With both gay and transgender contestants represented on this upcoming season, ABC will send viewers a strong message about the diversity within the LGBT community. At a time when transgender representation in the media is sorely lacking, Chaz Bono joining the cast of a series like Dancing With The Stars is a tremendous step forward for the public to recognize that transgender people are another wonderful part of the fabric of American culture, said Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs at GLAAD. His documentary, Becoming Chaz, was a great chance for viewers to meet the man behind the headlines. Appearing on such a high profile show will allow millions of Americans to get to know him in a whole new light, GLAAD released in a statement.
GLAAD is also excited to see Carson Kressley, an openly gay actor and TV host, also on the season. It was announced that Bono has been assigned a female partner. He says he would not have it any other way. I wouldn't have danced with a male partner...I wouldn't have done the show, he said in an interview.
Here are some photos of Chaz Bono before and after the female to male transition.