Some "Dancing With the Stars" (DWTS) fans are enraged over the inclusion of Chaz Bono as a cast member on the 13th season of the popular prime-time show. Bono, the only child of the famed Sonny and Cher, was born a woman, but decided to change genders last year. Aside from featuring Bono on the program, ABC has also decided to pair him with a female dancer.
Business Insider claims that Bono's placement on the show makes him "one of the highest-profile transgendered people in the world." Already, angry fans have flooded ABC's announcement page with their concerns, frustrations and worries. One person wrote, "this will not be a family show any longer," while another quipped, "I just don't want that lifestyle choice continually flaunted in the media."
There were a mix of comments, of course, with some individuals supporting Bono. Some opponents of the decision to include him claim they'll be boycotting the show. Below, see one of the comments that highlight captures this sentiment:
But here's another, more supportive comment regarding ABC's decision to include him:
The network's message board has essentially become a politically-charged arena for discussion about Bono and gender reassignment. But beyond the discussion that's been spawned, the show could reveal some intriguing patterns about America's collective attitude toward transgendered peoples.
If Bono is voted off quickly -- or kept on despite terrible dance performance -- then the nation's majority opinion may become clear. Because the show is based upon audience votes, the end result may shed light on citizens' views about the transgendered. Business Insider has more about the political discussions that are already unraveling:
Bono's casting is only the latest to make a lighthearted reality show the impetus for deeper discussions about values, tolerance, bigotry and politics. Gay "American Idol" contestants have opted not to announce their sexuality, perhaps out of concerns about alienating intolerant viewers. And Bristol Palin's "Dancing" casting two seasons ago seemed to have influenced voters with opinions on her mother's politics.
Of course, gay rights groups are praising the network's decision. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation released a statement praising ABC, saying that Bono and Carson Kressley's (the former "Queer Eye" star is also dancing on this season of the show) inclusion has "created primetime firsts that reflect the growing acceptance of gay and transgender people in America today."
Despite the controversial nature of Bono's inclusion, some believe that this is an opportunity to have a national discussion about an extremely difficult subject. While the decision to cast him is certainly a disputed one, there's no telling how it will impact ratings.
In the end, some people opposed to the decision will boycott the show, while others who are intrigued and excited by the prospect of a transgendered person coming on board may watch for the first time.
What do you think? Take our poll, below: