Dancing With the Stars Controversy - Leave Chaz Bono Alone!

Can't the guy just get his dance on?

By , Columnist

I never thought that a show as seemingly family-friendly and non-controversial as Dancing With the Stars could cause such an uproar. That's probably why ABC execs are smirking over the current Chaz Bono debacle - nothing screams "RATINGS" quite like including a transgender man in the new fall Dancing lineup.

America (or rather, certain intolerant citizens of America) is mighty riled up that Chaz, who was born female and underwent a gender transition in order to become male, will be dancing this season with a female partner.

Chaz, the famous son of Cher and Sonny Bono, appeared on Good Morning America today to respond to the haters; whom, it is quite clear, he owned: “I’m going to be dancing. I’m not up on 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.”

I wholeheartedly agree, Chaz. Here we have a person who was, very unfortunately, born into the world feeling extreme discontent and discomforted with his sex. So much so that he underwent a long, arduous and mentally/physically/emotionally trying process in order to feel comfortable in his own body.

Can you imagine what that must feel like? To be born in a female body, feeling very strongly that you are male? Can you fathom the agony that those kind of feelings would impart on a person? And then, after finally becoming who you know you were meant to be, the fear, anxiety and stress you would feel in trying to be accepted? It must be an enormous burden, to say the very least.

What exactly are critics afraid of? What exactly is the controversy here? Are uninformed people afraid that their daughter might watch Chaz dance on TV and "poof!" now she wants to be a boy? Or do people think that including a transgender member of the LGBT community will somehow show support of the LGBT plight? Newsflash - Dancing has already included gay members of that community in their lineup. Were people so riled up then?

Is this a matter of people simply being scared of that which they don't understand? Because they've never been forced to stare into the face of a touchy subject, they cry and stuff their fingers in their ears in order to avoid dealing with it?

Well tough s**t, because transgender people exist. Just like gay men, lesbian women and everything else intolerant people hope to avoid or condemn. They're human. They have feelings. They, much like most people, simply want to be accepted. And some of them just want to be able to have fun and dance without being fired upon.

Chaz, I hope you dance your socks off. I hope that, by example, you teach people to have a little more of an open mind and a lot more compassion. I'm rooting for you!

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Rachel East is a freelance writer specializing in relationships and relationship advice. In addition to her regular column on TMR, Rachel contributes relationship content to the Levo League, formerly known as Pretty Young Professional, a website for young, professional and ambitious women. Her writing…

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