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Story to Watch: Chaz Bono to Become Contestant on DWTS, Premiering 9/19

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Although many media outlets and personalities have applauded the announcement that openly transgender actor and author Chaz Bono will appear on the 13th season of “Dancing With the Stars,” others are reacting with hurtful anti-LGBT messages.

GLAAD chastises these negative reactions and encourages media to support a diverse representation of people in all areas of entertainment.

Chaz is one of the most famous openly transgender people in the world today. He was raised in the media spotlight as the child of famous singing duo Sonny & Cher, and came out as transgender in 2009. He is the subject of the documentary “Becoming Chaz,” which has been nominated for three Emmy awards. He is also the author of “Transition,” which was released in May 2011.

His participation in the popular reality show provides an opportunity for mainstream Americans to interact with a member of a community that they may otherwise never learn anything about, and is likely to increase understanding and education about transgender issues. He will be the first transgender contestant on the show, and one of the few LGBT contestants ever to participate.

GLAAD asks its constituents to please direct us to any problematic reporting or irresponsible journalism that unfairly criticizes DWTS for including Chaz as a contestant, or that directly attacks Chaz or his identity. You can file an incident report here. We also encourage readers to show support for Chaz by participating in positive discussions about him in online message boards, articles, and discussions where he may encounter criticism. In the meantime, GLAAD continues to praise “Dancing with the Stars” for its inclusivity and commitment to showcasing celebrities from many different backgrounds and a wide array of experiences.