Chaz Bono: Unlike dance fever, gender dysphoria isn't catching
Chaz Bono is under the impression that "Dancing With the Stars" is a dance show, where, like the other contestants, he intends to dance.
And though to date he's done a lot of interviews and a documentary about transgender issues and his own transition, Bono said he doesn't plan to use his "DWTS" stint as any kind of soapbox.
"I'm going to be dancing. I'm not up there talking about anything other than dancing," Bono said Tuesday on "Good Morning America." "People who don't have gender dysphoria aren't going to catch it by watching me dance on television."
He wants America to see "that I'm just a regular guy. All these ideas of, 'Children shouldn't watch me, I'm going to be confusing,' ... it's crazy." That said, "it would have made all the difference in the world in my life" had he seen a show like this, featuring someone like him, when he was growing up as Chastity Bono.
Chaz, born the daughter of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, started the gender reassignment process in March 2009, legally becoming a man in May 2010.
Bono's inclusion in the cast has sparked criticism from various corners plus calls to boycott "DWTS." It also appears to have distracted folks from the notion that producers considered pairing "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's" Carson Kressley with a male dancer and the fact that contestant Elisabetta Canalis shacked up out of wedlock with George Clooney for years. Don't even get us started on David Arquette.
Incidentally, Bono will dance with pro Lacey Schwimmer, Kressley with Anna Trebunskaya, Canalis with Val Chmerkovskiy (brother of Maks) and Arquette with Kym Johnson.
"One of the great things about the show is you can go into it with a preconception about a celebrity, and that often changes once you see the show because you see a completely different side to them," exec producer Conrad Green told Show Tracker.
"It's a process of discovery," Green said. And in Bono's case, "We booked him because he's a great guy with an amazing story."
— Christie D'Zurilla
Photo: The new "Dancing With the Stars" cast includes, back row from left, Ron Artest, David Arquette, J.R. Martinez, Rob Kardashian and Chaz Bono and, seated from left, Ricki Lake, Kristin Cavallari, Chynna Phillips, Nancy Grace, Hope Solo and Elisabetta Canalis. Credit: Adam Taylor / ABC