Chaz Bono Joins the Cast of Dancing with the Stars: How Will This Impact the Transgender Community?

Chax Bono, DWTS

   In the past year, Chaz Bono has become the unofficial spokesperson for the transgender community. Right now, gay marriage in the US is an issue that most people are familiar with to some extent, while transgender individuals still puzzle and scare some people. With the opposition that gay Americans have received for demanding the same rights attained by their heterosexual neighbors, you can only imagine how a transgender individual would be received. The subject itself is still very taboo and saved for satirical movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Often, transgender and transsexual individuals are considered more of a freak or joke than individuals with thoughts and feelings.

When I heard that Chastity Bono was going through a sex change, I was surprised as much as anyone else. I’ve known several transgender people, none of whom have made the transition. It is understandable why there are not more people in the world like Chaz Bono. Most people would got be open and comfortable being their true selves when it so brazenly goes against the grain of what public opinion currently deems acceptable. But imagine what it would feel like-to be born in the wrong body. That is often how a transgender person describes the way they feel about themselves.

One of my best friends, Jordan, not her birth name but a name she gave herself at the age of 5, recently came out in a big way. From the time she was a little girl, she was attracted to the same sex. In addition to these feelings, she also felt like a boy trapped inside a girl’s body. Growing up, Jordan was considered a tomboy by many and dressed more like a boy than a girl. She gravitated towards sports and even then, her androgynous look was no accident.

Me and Jordan, Summer 2011

Jordan grew up and as an adult was an undeniably beautiful woman, however, the prettier she looked the more uncomfortable she felt. Slowly she chopped off her beautiful ebony hair a few inches at a time, until it was very short. This was the beginning of her transformation into the Jordan she always wanted to be; the Jordan she always felt like on the inside.

Soon after, she told her friends and family that she was a lesbian. Everyone was supportive though some were confused. Jordan lived in small town New Hampshire, a state known for its conservative family values. Rather than shun her, her presence actually opened up the minds of people who believed in traditional Christian values. Though their religion disagrees with homosexuality and likely transgenderism, her community still treated her with love and acceptance.

I greatly admire my friend Jordan’s courage to come out and unapologetically be the person she was meant to be. I also admire Chaz Bono for the same reason. People like them reshape the public’s view of transgender people just by being in the forefront. By putting themselves out there, more and more people will understand what it means to be a transgender individual.

So will Chaz Bono’s gig on Dancing with the Stars offend some people? Most definitely. What’s more important is the courage that Chaz lends and will continue to lend to other transgenders who haven’t yet gained the courage to be themselves. His appearance on Dancing could make a big difference in a lot of lives.

People like Chaz and Jordan serve as inspirations for all; like them, we should always speak the truth within our hearts and strive to honor the unique thumb print within our spirits in a bold and unapologetic way.

3 Comments

Filed under Entertainment News, Inspirational

3 Responses to Chaz Bono Joins the Cast of Dancing with the Stars: How Will This Impact the Transgender Community?

  1. Heather S.

    I thought nothing of Chaz being on DWTS, but you’re right. There will probably be a lot of people who take issue with him being on the show. Which is unfortunate because I know some simply amazing transgendered people and have always admired Chaz for being himself. He actually makes me want to watch a show I would probably otherwise skip. Thanks for making me think Hayley!

  2. Paul Roese

    i had know idea who the person was. of course i don’t own a TV or pay much attention to the “Entertainment” pages. honest to blog! years back when there was all the hub bub about Paris Hilton i thought it was about a hotel. has the show made a bid deal out of his status? i hope not. i mean isn’t my reaction what we are ideally shooting for? i remember reading a interview years back with Sleater Kinney. the group were exasperated at always being tagged as “the lesbian band” the poster band for diversity. Carrie said;” we are punks and play loud, fast and hard! we play punk music not lesbian music! we are a punk band that happens to have two lesbian members” i am sure Chaz didn’t go though what he did in order to be the Transgendered Poster Person but because it felt right for him. i don’t think it should be a big deal.

  3. Rosario Obrion

    The longest-tenured professional partners are Cheryl Burke and Tony Dovolani, who have been on the show for 15 seasons. For season 12, the ABC Dancing with the Stars website asked viewers to submit the names of celebrities they would like to see appear on the show in a future season.*-

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