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article imageDancing With the Stars ignites controversy for casting Chaz Bono

By Kim I. Hartman     Sep 1, 2011 in Entertainment
Los Angeles - ABC's announcement of the cast for Season 13 of Dancing With the Stars has ignited a firestorm of controversy over the inclusion of the transgendered son of Cher and Sonny Bono.
The producers of Dancing With the Stars are used to controversy surrounding their casting choices and with a transgendered contestant and an openly gay man included in this year's lineup, Season 13 has begun with a deluge of ugly comments on the Facebook page and the message board for the popular dancing competition.
Commenter's have attacked the show's producers and promised to not watch this season after ABC announced the cast during an episode of Bachelor Pad this week.
Chaz Bono, who was born Chastity Bono and introduced to the world on the Sonny and Cher variety show almost 40 years ago, changed his name and gender last year followed by the release of the Emmy nominated documentary 'Becoming Chaz.' The documentary detailed Bono's transition from female to male and premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network in May.
Casting Bono on Dancing With the Stars made him the highest-profile transgendered person in the country and was praised by GLAAD who said in a prepared statement from Senior Director of Programs, Herndon Graddick:
“At a time when transgender representation in the media is sorely lacking, Chaz Bono joining the cast of a series like Dancing With the Stars is a tremendous step forward for the public to recognize that transgender people are an important part of the fabric of American culture. His documentary, ‘Becoming Chaz,’ was a great chance for viewers to meet the man behind the headlines. Appearing on such a high profile show will allow millions of Americans to get to know him in a whole new light.”
Fans of the show weren't as enthusiastic and some were downright hateful in their comments about Bono and fellow contestant Carson Kressley, of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fame.
Typical anti-Bono Facebook comments included: "This show gets down in the gutter more each year, tired of promoting all the immoral stuff. Who will the dance-boy be paired with... a male or a female dancer? Guess this will not be a family show any longer.
Braden Pickering responded on Facebook by saying, "Dancing is about freedom of expression, being creative, and having fun, and ANYONE is capable of partaking in it. Based on a lot of these comments it's shocking, and a little disheartening, to realize just how many small-minded, stuck up people watch this show. Just change the channel people - I'm sure something will catch your interest on Fox News."
Bono has been partnered with Lacey Schwimmer, a DWTS alum who has won numerous dancing competitions in swing, Latin and ballroom dancing.
Bono has been criticized by fans of the show for being overweight and not 'really' a star, the same criticism that was levied against Bristol Palin, who fans say was cast because of her famous politician mother during season 12.
Odds-makers at Zap2it give Bono a 20 to 1 chance of winning the competition, which returns to ABC on Monday September 19, followed by the results show which airs the following night.
Also cast for Season 13 is former talk show host Ricki Lake, actor David Arquette, Nancy Grace, fashion stylist and TV host Carson Kressley, actress Chynna Phillips, NBA Champion Ron Artest, Kristin Cavallari, Iraq war veteran J.R. Martinez, soccer superstar Hope Solo, Rob Kardashian and Elisabetta Canalis.
More about Dancing with the stars, 2011, dancing cast announced, chaz bono, carson kressley
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