Chaz Bono ‘Dancing’ to His Own Tune
Laurie K. Schenden
We’re one episode in with Dancing With the Stars this season, and maybe those fans who threw rotten tomatoes over the addition of Chaz Bono to the show’s cast were as impressed with his Cha-Cha-Cha as I was.
Though it’s still early days, I see a win-win-win situation for the show, for Chaz and for American society. Chaz will be forced to work out (“I never liked my body before,” Chaz told Time Magazine. “No matter what it looked like, I didn’t like the way I looked. Now I have much more inspiration to work out.”), DWTS gets tons of free publicity, and the transgender issue will land smack in the middle of American living rooms.
As a journalist, I admit to giving short shrift to the B and T when covering LGBT events. I don’t know if I could explain the difference between transsexuals, transgenders, bigenders, genderqueers, etc., but like everyone else, I’m learning, thanks to brave people like Chaz.
I got to know actress-singer Alexandra Billings when I interviewed her for a cover story in the Advocate. She helped to clear up some misconceptions I had about transgenders, and raised a few questions as well. After she transitioned from a man to a woman, she went out and married a woman. So, does that mean she’s a lesbian? Frankly, she’s not interested in labels, and obviously there’s much more to learn about gender identity.
I agree that Alexandra and Chaz made the right decisions for themselves. The more we see people like them, the less of a stigma there will be. I don’t know how long Chaz will last on DWTS, but we’ll be seeing more of him. He and girlfriend Jennifer Elia are also set to do a documentary special called Chaz & Jen for the OWN network this fall. Obviously Chaz has no intention of slipping into the shadows - not when he’s finally becoming the man he always wanted to be.