Chaz Bono Is Not Contagious
Chaz Bono responds to the controversy surrounding his appearance on Dancing with the Stars. Boo-yah.
The 13th season of Dancing with the Stars may well be the most-talked-about season of the show ever, and all because of a single cast member: Chaz Bono. What’s the big deal? Chaz, you see, was born Chastity Sun Bono in 1969. At age 18, Chastity came out to her parents (who, incidentally, are Sonny and Cher) as a lesbian. And in 2009, Chastity began undergoing a gender transition from female to male, legally changing his name and gender in 2010. He chose the name Chaz Salvatore Bono in honor of his parents. Yep: Chaz is transgender female-to-male, and his dance partner, Lacey Schwimmer, is female. Gasp! Scandal!
The naysayers, of course, have boatloads of issues with the casting choice. A quick glance at the show’s official message board reveals scores of people who feel that the show is no longer family-friendly, who believe that the show is pushing “the Gay Agenda” (whatever that is…), and who think that by casting Chaz, the show is declaring itself to be against the Big Guy Upstairs himself. One commenter in particular, Dorcas510, has taken it upon herself to throw Bible verses at anyone who disagrees with her anti-Chaz views. Now, I’m not knocking God, or Christianity, or any other religion, but I find it difficult to believe that the Bible approves of throwing this much hate out into the world.
Happily, though, for every negative comment condemning Chaz, there is at least one (often more) in support of him. Furthermore, in response to one of Dorcas510 Biblical tirades, a user who goes by the handle Just.DFax launched one of his own: “Ecclesiastes 3:4 – A time to cry; A time to laugh; A time to grieve; A time to dance.”
And that, at it’s heart, is what Dancing with the Stars is about: It’s simply a time to dance. It’s not about a social agenda. It’s not about corrupting children. It’s not even really about the stars (because let’s face it, most of the cast members aren’t really “stars”—they might be former child stars or from political families or whatever, but it’s not like they’ve got Hollywood A-listers dancing their feet off). It’s just about dancing, about having a little healthy competition, and most importantly, it’s about having a good time. That, my friends, is entertainment.
Perhaps Chaz said it best himself. He responded to the negative reactions on Good Morning America yesterday morning: “I’m going to be dancing. I’m not up there talking about anything other than dancing. People who don’t have gender dysphoria aren’t going to catch it by watching me dance on television.” True that!
He also said that rather than being detrimental to kids and teens, he thinks that having a transgender person in a visible place might be a good thing, especially for those who may have gender dysphoria themselves: “I know when I was growing up, if I had seen somebody like me on a show like this, it would’ve made all the difference in the world in my life,” he said.
Chaz is a success story about how to be happy in your own body—even if it’s not necessarily the body you were born with. Nothing has to be fixed if we don’t want it to be; things can change, and change can be a good thing. So I say, go for it, Chaz. Knock their socks off. Because it’s time to dance.
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s associate editor.