Just days after the official cast for the new season of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars was announced, the network has been flooded with transphobic and homophobic complaints for including transgender celebrity, Chaz Bono.
Out of a celebrity cast that boasts Ricki Lake, Ron Artest, Kristin Cavallari, David Arquette, out former Queer Eye star Carson Kressley, and Nancy Grace, most of the comments on ABC’s message boards were about Bono, the only child of Cher and Sonny Bono, who underwent surgery and legally changed his gender and name last year. And the comments are revealing an ugly prejudice in the large fan base of the hit show.
Reuters cites examples like these from the DWTS message boards:
"HUGE HUGE fan of this show since season two and eagerly await each season to get my dancing/entertainment 'fix'!! But when I heard that Chaz Bono was going to be on, I was sick. Not that I have anything personally again her/him, I just don't want that lifestyle choice continually flaunted in the media esp ABC," went one typical anti-Bono comment.
"Chaz Bono How low can this show sink. Well you have certainly addressed the gay commuity. Guess this will not be a family show any longer!!!! Lost my family!"
"YOUR choice to bring Chaz Bono into the mix goes too far. I am not about to risk the potential for on screen dialogue about sex changes and gender confusion while my 7 and 9 year old are watching. If you want the 'anything goes' hippy culture, then soon that is all you will get. You've lost us. In case any of you are wondering ... no, we are NOT tolerant. We are not tolerant to allow any and all influences to come unfiltered into our home and especially to our children. This is truly a sad farewell."
"Chaz will have to dance with one of the girls because she/he says she/he is a man but chromesomes [sic] say different no matter how many surgeries you have."
Media critics are wondering what a public vote for Bono as a contestant on DWTS will reveal about people’s attitudes towards the LGBT community.
In the past, the ABC celebrity ballroom dancing show has included Lance Bass and Margaret Cho, who are both proud members of the LGBT community, and Bristol Palin.
An ABC spokesman said Bono, 42, was in rehearsals for the show and unavailable to comment. The network, meanwhile, had no comment Tuesday on the comments posted by fans on its message board, according to Reuters.