Chaz Bono, transgender advocate and Dancing with the Stars contender, returns to TV this fall with an appearance on Degrassi. Bono will play himself as a surprise celebrity judge for a Battle of the Bands contest at the Degrassi Community School.
"I work with a transgender teen support group that is part of the organization Transforming Family," Bono says in an interview with People, "so when the opportunity to be part of a series that features a trans teen came up, I was thrilled."
Bono will also have a scene with Adam Torres (played by Jordan Todosey), a Degrassi high-schooler who came out as transgender in an Emmy-nominated storyline, which GLAAD assisted on to ensure Adam's portrayal would be reflective of the experiences of real transgender teens. GLAAD also helped TeenNick to create a PSA that airs during the episode showings and on TeenNick.com. Todosey’s character has been a pivotal part of the series ever since.
"Adam's storyline on Degrassi is important to me because it means more transgender representation in the pop culture," Bono says, "and it also sends the message to trans teens that they are not alone in their struggles."
This year, Bono was presented with GLAAD’s Stephen F. Kolzak Award by his mother Cher for his advocacy work on behalf of the LGBT community. Viewers can look forward to Degrassi’s twelfth season starting on July 16, with Bono’s episode airing towards the middle of the season in the fall. Watch the video of Cher and Mary Bono Mack presenting and Bono's acceptance speech below.