Photo Credit: Brian To/FilmMagic
When ABC announced that Cher's female-to-male transgender son Chaz Bono would be among the show's celebrity contestants this season, controversy wasn't far behind. Fan message boards immediately lit up with criticism of the move -- with many calling foul over the casting of a transgender person on a famously family-friendly series. Cher was quick to hit back at the haters over Twitter, calling them "stupid bigots" and predicting that the "VAST MAJORITY of People will LOVE CHAZ on DWTS!" And, now, Chaz himself is speaking out about the controversy.
"I'm just a regular guy," Bono, 42, told ABC's Good Morning America in a live interview on Tuesday. "All these ideas that children shouldn't watch me, that I'm going to be confusing, all of this stuff -- it's crazy. And for all of the kids and teens out there with gender dysphoria, I think it's going to have a really positive impact." Watch the interview below!
The only child of Cher and the late Sonny Bono said that if he could have had a positive role model when he was a child, he might have been better off. "I know that if, when I was growing up, I would have seen someone like me on a show like this," says Bono, "it would have made all the difference in the world in my life."
Led by OneMillionMoms.com, activist groups have been gathering their forces to protest Dancing with the Stars and call for a boycott of the upcoming season. On its website, the group calls Bono's casting "completely unacceptable and Christians should not watch the show, no excuses!"
Meanwhile, a representative of the Culture and Media Institute called Bono's casting "a ridiculous, agenda-driven move by Dancing with the Stars," but Bono is quick to say that he is not pushing an agenda at all.
"People who don't have gender dysphoria aren't going to catch it by watching me dance on television," he assures worried mom and other detractors. Frankly, says Bono, fhe hasn't really been paying attention to the controversy, since he is too busy learning the dancing, and says it's a "much bigger deal to everyone else than it is to me." Bono says that he's just been having a great time getting in shape (he's already lost eight pounds!) and challenging himself.
As for those who are planning on boycotting DWTS, Bono simply says: "I'd tell them to watch the show and decide after that. It's a dancing show. I'm not there talking about anything other than dancing."
The new season of Dancing with the Stars premieres on Monday, Sept. 19.