Wednesday, 26 October 2011


 Chaz Bono, 42, with his Dancing With The Stars partner, DWTS pro Lacey Schwimmer (Photo courtesy ABC)

Chaz Bono was voted off Dancing With The Stars last night – but not before bravely educating millions of TV viewers that transgender folks are people too.

Before the series even began, conservative pundits and right-wingnuts went crazy over the inclusion of transgender contestant Chaz Bono in this season’s DWTS. Things got so bad, TMZ reports, that ABC officials became worried about his safety both on and off the studio lot and was put on 24-hour protection leading up to the show. 

Cher at the premiere of Burlesque

at the Empire Leicester Square in
London (Photo by Ian Smith)

Mind you, it hasn’t all been roses for Chaz on the home front over the years either. As FTM (female-to-male) sex radical and legendary queer icon Patrick Califia told me a couple of years ago, “Poor Chaz! He already had to go through Cher throwing a homophobic fit about him being a lesbian. Now I get the distinct impression Cher is equally unhappy about the gender change. And I frankly think that most of the negative publicity has been about the fact that Chaz is fat and not a pretty girl.”

But gay icon Cher dispelled any notion that she wasn’t 100%  supportive of her son when she appeared on DWTS cheering him on, even defending Chaz via Twitter. “This is Still America right? It took guts 2 do it,” Cher wrote in one tweet, adding that she supports Chaz no matter what he chooses to do. In another she wrote, “Mothers don’t stop Getting angry with stupid bigots who (mess) with their children!”

When Chaz appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Cher surprised him when she called in and said, “If [anti-LGBT bigots] got that excess time and that amount of hostility, I'm not so sure that I can say anything to you that would make you change your feelings. Because those are such feelings of hostility and fear that I don't know that I would have any magic words to could make you feel more comfortable and to soothe you into not being terrified of my child dancing on Dancing With the F--cking Stars.”

When Chaz originally came out as a lesbian in the 1990s, Cher herself told me frankly, “It's a really complicated thing. If you take a lot of the drama out of it, it's such a nothing thing. At the start, it was a big thing for me, and now, when you ask me, it just seems like such a nothing thing. I think it has more to do with the outside influence, that people don't want to be associated with things that the community at large feels negatively towards. That's the biggest thing. If everybody thought being gay was fabulous, it wouldn't be an issue. If everyone said, ‘Oh my god, your son is gay, lucky you!’ it would be different.”

See – even gay icons are human and worry about their children being gay.

Chaz Bono’s six-week run on DWTS took a lot of courage and opened a lot of eyes. As Gene Simmons of KISS told me the last time he performed in Montreal, “I love Chaz. I was living with Cher when Chaz and [his brother] Elijah were kids and I was a substitute dad for a while. Life is short and we should all make up and be happy. And everybody else be damned if Chaz isn’t happy today, God bless. If Chaz is happy, then he will have found the secret of life.”

Click here to read about Cher’s new comic book
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