Karen Ocamb

Chaz Bono to Appear on 'Dancing with the Stars'

Filed By Karen Ocamb | August 30, 2011 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Carson Kressley, Chaz Bono, Dancing With The Stars, gay entertainers, reality shows

Entertainment Weekly reports that Chaz Bono will be in the new cast of ABC's Dancing with the Stars, Chaz-Bono--246x300.jpga popular reality show that return for its 13th season on Sept. 19. ET says the pairings of stars with regular dancers will be announced tomorrow on Good Morning America.

Former Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fashion expert Carson Kressley will also be on the show.

GLAAD is delighted. Herndon Graddick, senior of director of programs, said in a statement:

"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 is a tremendous step forward for the public to recognize that transgender people are another wonderful part of the fabric of American culture. Appearing on such a high-profile show will allow millions of Americans to get to know him in a whole new light."

The recent documentary Becoming Chaz about Chaz's transition is up for three Emmys. The trailer for the documentary and a complete DWTS cast list after the break.

Here's the new Dancing with the Stars cast:

Chaz Bono: Sonny and Cher's famous child was the subject of the recent documentary Becoming Chaz, which aired on OWN and is now up for three Emmys.

Nancy Grace: The outspoken legal commentator and host of her eponymous show on HLN is expected to maintain her hectic schedule while donning the Danskins.

Ricki Lake: The actress/author is looking to return to the daytime talk show circuit by launching one in the fall of 2012.

Rob Kardashian: The younger brother of Kourtney, Kim and Khloe has worked as a talent manager but has been known to show up from time to time on the family reality shows.

David Arquette: The actor and ex-husband of Courteney Cox recently celebrated his sobriety on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Ron Artest: The 6-foot-7 forward from the Los Angeles Lakers is petitioning the courts to change his name to Metta World Peace.

Kristin Cavallari: The former star of MTV's The Hills and Laguna Beach has kept busy by doing charity work for the kids.

J.R. Martinez: The All My Children actor also works as a motivational speaker.

Hope Solo: The gorgeous goal keeper gained millions of followers this summer while playing for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team.

Elisabetta Canalis: It can't be fun to be known as the gal who was dumped by George Clooney but hey, the ravishing actress from Italy has other credits, too: She recurred on TNT's Leverage!

Chynna Phillips: The Wilson Phillips crooner who's married to Billy Baldwin recently made a much-appreciated cameo in Bridesmaids.

Carson Kressley: The fashion expert best known for Queer Eye and How to Look Good Naked now has a show on OWN called Carson Nation.

(Crossposted at LGBT POV)

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Karen, I didn't see for myself this morning, but a friend called me this morning quite upset with how the Morning Joe show reported on this news. I'm still trying to track down the clip from this morning's show.

Best of luck to Chaz on the show. He's representing both trans men and the big guy dancer. Personally, I find the show a big snooze, but maybe he can bring some personality to it.

What I find interesting about this story is that Candis Cayne, a trans woman actress (who also has a dance background) has tried to get on Dancing with the Stars for almost 3 years. While it's true they might have considered her too good a dancer to participate, they allowed people like Lance Bass, Kristi Yamaguchi, Mel B and Jennifer Grey on the show who have all had a lot of dance experience. Pardon my paranoia, but I honestly think DWTS was more comfortable having a trans man partnered with a woman professional than having a trans woman partnered with a male professional. And where are the same sex couples which countries like Israel have already had?

Speaking honestly, I don't think transwoman v. transman is the issue so much as celebrity status is the issue.

DWtS seems ot always pick generally B- or C-List celebrities to compete, with the occasional fallen A-List star.

All of the people you listed are former A-List or current B-/C-List stars. Chaz has been pretty newsworthy recently with his high profile transition, media appearances and publications. He's also an oft-cited celebrity during his years as a lesbian activist. The biggest star push for him is that he's always been Cher's child, which means Cher's star power carries over for interest and the potential appearance, especially now that Cher has come back into the pop scene with a high profile movie (ala Bristol and Sarah Palin and her political career).

Comparatively, Cayne seems to have her most high profile work as a recurring role in Dirty Sexy Money, which isn't and hasn't been one of the most talked about shows of the past few years.

I suspect all of that is what's been getting her passed up. DWtS isn't concerned with promoting lesser-known stars to major celebrity status so much as recent celebs, children of major celebrities, or former bigwigs/cultural icons.

I wish Chaz all the best on this, but I will be watching the new show "Tera Nova," by Steven Spielberg, on Fox. Hey, I'm a Sci-Fi geek and the previews of that show grabbed me.

What I wonder about this is if it's a sign of increasing trans acceptance or just cashing in on Chaz's notoriety and the novelty of having a trans person on the show. The other thing that concerns me is that anti-trans bigotry may end up being showcased when viewers vote on this. It could prove to be a big gamble, one that may well have political consequences for the trans community, especially if it goes badly for Chaz. Remember what happened with Bristol Palin: It soon became clear that viewers were not voting on Bristol's dancing but on her mother's politics. If the far right decides to make it a cause to vote Chaz off the show early it could prove to be exactly the kind of political cover cowardly Democrats and unsure independents need to keep ignoring our civil rights all over the country.

Yes, there's absolutely the potential for positive progress here, but the reverse is also just as true. Of course, I don't think the impact this might have on our community is a primary concern for the show's producers or for Chaz himself, they really only seem interested in promoting and enhancing Chaz's celebrity status.

"What I wonder about this is if it's a sign of increasing trans acceptance or just cashing in on Chaz's notoriety and the novelty of having a trans person on the show."

Rebecca, I think you know the answer to that question.

"Of course, I don't think the impact this might have on our community is a primary concern for the show's producers or for Chaz himself, they really only seem interested in promoting and enhancing Chaz's celebrity status."


I was stunned they put him on the show, given the audience. I went to look at the group pic to see if they were casting him as a man or a woman (he was standing in the back with the other guys, so I assume he will be dancing with a male pro). My biggest concern with him (I don't care about he political aspects) is that he is soooo large. I hope he has enough agility and strength to do well enough for him to be proud of his performance. I hope he does well in the competition. To me, if the Tea Partiers vote for other ppl to try to get him off the show, it just shows how biased they are.

The other thing that would be really cool would be to have the 'Queer Eye' guy dance with the gay pro (Louie?). I really like him, he seems so nice, and is a great dancer. It would have been awesome to have seen an extra guy to balance things out (hey, I don't want to have them take away one woman! though I *could* live without Nancy Grace pretty easily...)

He's dancing with a female pro dancer. You can't vote against people, you can only vote for them. Yes, there are right-wing hater blogs already railing about him being on the show but all they could do to get him kicked off is to vote for all the other participants, which costs money.

Okay, here's my paranoid belief as to why they specifically cast Chaz... they want to get a large amount of initial publicity for the show. They believe he will be booted in the first or second week so they don't have to actually have him on the show very long. It's the same logic networks have used with trans characters who are on short story arcs, get killed off or just conveniently disappear from shows.

"if the Tea Partiers vote *for other ppl* to try to get him off the show"

I understand how the show works, I have been know to follow it closely and get emotionally involved in it, lol.

I kinda think he will suck, but then they've had old senile guys on there before, really awkward guys, and such on before, and they hung in there for a bit, so I am hoping he does ok. One thing he has going for him is the large fan base his mother has. A lot of them will prolly watch just because of that, and really ratings are the driver for the show. They have had some real losers stay much longer than they deserved (besides Bristol, but her too) b/c they were good for ratings. The producers can say what they want, but it really seems they have their findgers on the scale to a fair degree (Kate Gosling? REALLY? She sucked and everybody hated her, so she wasn't there to to huge fan support, like Marie Osmond was).

Personally, I don't feel Chaz is a such a great spokesperson for trans ppl. However, for better or for worse, I am glad he's on there.

Well Sarah Palin supporters voted for Bristol, so I hope that Chaz can leverage his Mom's fans to vote for him.

this is a light entertainment show. Whatever the reason's for the producers picking him, or Chaz's reasons for appearing on DWTS, having a transman on a much-watched primetime show can only be good news for trans awareness.

Starting from the point that any positive publicity for our Trans community is good publicity, I pray Chaz will do us all proud. I don’t know if he can dance a lick, I hope he can.

I fear though that they will chew him up and spit him out. There is already significant protest from the usual suspects (http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=666994>1=28103) and the “think of the children!” “she has to dance with a man” idiots. How many stupid T questions will be asked? Will Cher appear and overshadow everybody & everything? How many times will he be called she and told how cute she was as Sonny & Cher’s daughter.

But most importantly, Chaz is still a novice. I am afraid he does not have the experience to either stand the bigotry and/or represent the community at its best. Those of us post transition know it’s not just a matter of wardrobe change and a little surgery, it’s learning the gender role. It is becoming comfortable in your own skin, learning how to stop pretending and start living., being the real you. It takes time.

It’s not just deflecting a stupid question (see the Don Lemon/Joy Behar idiocy), it’s directing the conversation where you need it to go. I am concerned that by privilege, by celebrity, he doesn’t really know what the rest of us suffer. Does he know the politics? Does he know the right answers? I can only hope that he does.

And then there are all the repercussions. When he gets voted off, how long will it take for the rabid right to claim it a sign from God, or at least that it proves “the gays” have no loyalty to their own or “they would have voted to keep Chaz”. And if he wins, well it just shows how powerful "the gays" are and what a threat we are to the red neck right wing. And the first missed lift (how long will it take to be called "muffed" by the lesbian with the female partner?) the first missed lift will prove he’s not strong enough to really be a man …… and on and on and on. I am sorry Chaz, you are a target, expect the most vile things you can and can't even imagine!

Chaz, I hope you can dance like nobody’s business and that you prove me absolutely wrong in the rall of my fears. Whatever happens, I respect you for trying. Good luck sir. We are counting on you!

If you want to know what Middle America thinks - try looking at the comments on this MSN Entertainment thread.
Bear in mind that they've removed the worst ones - the death threats etc. Hence post #90 refers to post #104 now. About 25% are gone.

One of the milder ones - the latest:

I will not watch that hideous monster roll around the dance floor. This falls under flaunting your sexuality. if you want to disfigure your body, that is your business but if you flaunt it you should expect complaints. Chaz is a hideous perversion of nature that should go back in the closet!!
The level of malice is amazing, far worse than I'd expected from observations over the last 6 years.

Zoe, it's better for everyone's sanity not to look at those kinds of comment sections. Comments sections on general public spaces are full of the dregs of society. You can take it as a litmus of overall climate, but it's confounded by people's desire to be as repugnant as possible while thinking as little as possible in a culpability-free environment.

Oh stop worrying.

His mom is Cher.

That means that we are all safe.