I don't want to be the first to go. That would be horrible. Those might sound like the words of a teenager, but it's what Chaz Bono said when asked about his performance on Dancing with the Stars.

As the season premiere nears, the transgender Bono is feeling the pressure, after fighting off criticism from conservative media and critics.

And after all the publicity and hype, all eyes are bound to be on Bono when he hits the ballroom for the first time on Dancing with the Stars on Monday.

That's my pressure. I'm feeling pressure to not suck, Chaz told Access Hollywood during his rehearsal with professional partner Lacey Schwimmer on Wednesday.

Bono's mother, Cher, has been a great support to him and made a surprise phone call when he appeared on Tuesday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

 When I told people who know me, they just burst out laughing, said Bono about his friends' first reaction to the idea of him competing for the mirrorball.

Bono said in the interview that there will be nothing in the show to frighten children or anything like that.

He said that it won't be his dance moves that will be the surprise element in the show, but the very fact that he is performing.

In my family especially, I mean look who my mom is, I let her do the dancing and I'm in the background, he said.

Chaz told Access Hollywood that he has avoided the message boards on ABC's Web site, which has been full of hostile  comments from fans who are outraged by his casting on the show.

I have very thick skin, he said If anything, it just adds fuel to my fire. 

It's more motivating for us to do better in this competition and to almost prove people wrong that don't need to be saying this stuff. I think they have courage behind the computer, but if it came [to] coming face to face, it'd be a whole lot different, Chaz's partner Lacey said.

Bono, born Chastity, is a female-to-male transgender who legally changed his gender last year. He is the only child of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, famed American entertainers, though he has several half-siblings from their other relationships.

Bono has previously written books on his encounter with the discovery of his own sexuality and coming out to his family and now says the current controversy inspires him all over again to share the truth of transgender people. He is engaged to his longtime love, Jennifer Elia.

Dancing with the Stars Season 13 will premiere on Monday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.