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.
While LGBT advocates are looking forward to his participation on the show, not everyone is as supportive.The message boards on ABC have been flourishing with backlash and angry comments. I do not hate Chaz as a person. I just resent the media shoving so much of anyone's personal life choices down our throats. I guess due to ABC's choices, I will kiss this show good-bye too. I wish Chaz well, just as I would anyone else who makes lifestyle decisions that I disagree with (whatever they may be), one user wrote ont he message boards.
This show has completely lost a viewer(s). I am DISGUSTED that you would have Chaz Bono on there. He/she can live however he/she would like to live, but do we need to flaunt it for ratings? Really? I hope your ratings sink as low as you have sunk in having Chaz on there, another person commented.
The uproar of haters caused Bono's mother, Cher, to respond harshly on Twitter. lovelies! Chaz is Being Viciously Attacked on Blogs & Message boards about being on DWTS!This is Still America right ? It took guts 2 do it, she tweeted late Aug. 31. bet VAST MAJORITY of People will LOVE CHAZ on DWTS ! ... Chaz isn't exactly the Gotta Dance Gotta Dance kinda Guy.
One Million Moms is a group dedicated to filtering out the filth in many segments of our society, especially the entertainment media. They had strong opinions about Chaz on the show. They believe that his casting is completely unacceptable and Christians should not watch the show, no excuses! One Million Moms is asking people to Email ABC Network and let them know that we will not tolerate these subjects being forced into our homes.
The Executive Producer of Dancing With The Stars commented on viewers feeling as if ABC has some sort of homosexual agenda. We don't have an agenda of any sorts. I think of the 120 celebrities we've put on the show, we've had, I think now, three transgender or gay contestants. If that's a homosexual agenda, we're not doing very well at it, Conrad Green stated.
What we try to do is reflect a broad range of the entertainment world in the casting of the show, and we're always trying to find new things that people haven't seen, new types of stories and that's what we've been doing this season, he continued.
Bono is not backing down, however, in spite of the adversity. Thanks for all your support mom, he tweeted back. The haters are just motivating me to work harder and stay on DWTS as long as I possibly can.
Chaz is smart and articulate, and a great representative of the community, Mara Keisling, Executive Director at the National Center For Transgender Equality, told RadarOnline.com. I don't know if he can dance but I think he will win over America very quickly.
Dancing With The Stars is happy to have their first transgendered contestant. It is hoped that viewers will not be put off by this unprecedented addition. I don't think people will be worked up about it, even though some groups get upset over everything, Keisling added. This is how we overcome hate, America will see that he is just like every other contestant on the show.
Fans of the show remain with mixed feeling. One thing is for sure, the show has lost several fans for their 13th season.
I fully respect ABC's Freedom of Speech, a user on the ABC message board wrote. They are free to choose whomever they want for whatever reasons they want. I am also free to turn off the show. I am free to state that I am tired of their never ending assault on moral values. I am tired of hastily flipping the channel when ABC and the other networks show a ferociously violent, sexually charged, or deviant clip from their latest show. They keep pushing the envelope and now they've gone too far in my book.
On the flip side, some fans on Twitter and the ABC message boards have also expressed their content with Bono on ther show.
Dancing with the Stars confirmed! David Arquette, Ricki Lake (amazing), CHAZ BONO (AMAAAAAAZING)
Chaz Bono love him!
Thank you, ABC for casing Chaz on the show! Very excited to see him dance! This was a solid choice, a brave move, and I'm glad you're not caving to those who are small-minded.
Chaz Bono & Nancy Grace on DWTS makes me excited to watch.
We'll see if Chaz Bono has any dancing chops. Apparently, he has been trying to lose weight for some time and hopes the show will help him burn the bulge. Catch season 13 of Dancing With The Stars on Sept. 19.