As a radical right-winger on last year’s “American Horror Story: Cult,” a far cry from his own liberal leanings, Chaz...
The only child of world-renowned pop duo Sonny and Cher Bono, Chaz is remembered by many of us as their cherub-faced daughter Chastity, blowing kisses to the audience of her parents top-rated variety television show “Sonny & Cher.”
In 1995, Chaz was outed as a lesbian.
But this time Chaz is in control, and on his own volition has announced he’s legally a man, and will now appear on the 13th season of “Dancing with the Stars,” premiering Sept. 19.
But not everyone is cheering, and ABC is catching some of the fallout.
While gay and lesbian characters are increasingly visible on TV, the biggest news of upcoming fall fare is the rare addition of a transgender person — a household name, to boot — on one of the most mainstream programs of them all.
Chaz Bono competes in the new season of “Dancing With the Stars,” airing Mondays and Tuesdays starting Sept. 19 on ABC. Bono was known to millions as Chastity before undergoing surgery to become a man.
Matt Kane, associate director of entertainment media for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, says the inclusion of Bono is a tremendous step forward, especially since there tend to be few transgender characters on the tube.
One thing important to transgender people is being called the correct pronoun. Having others recognize you and respect you enough to call you by the pronoun you identify with is a validation of existence for many.
So when you have gay icon Cher calling her transgender son, Chaz Bono, "she" and a "lesbian" on the David Letterman Show, it's really a tragedy not only to Chaz but to all people in mainstream society — and the LGB world, too — who are still learning the issues transgender individuals face.
According to an article on the Huffington Post, "Cher also said she considers Chaz a lesbian, even though he has described his relationship with his girlfriend as heterosexual."
Southern Comfort, the annual Atlanta transgender conference, celebrated its 20th anniversary Sept. 6-12, drawing hundreds from around the globe to the Crown Plaza Ravinia Hotel.
The conference included seminars covering everything from surgeons discussing their procedures to open conversations on a variety of topics pertaining to transgender life.
One of the main highlights this year was the appearance of transgender celebrity and advocate Chaz Bono, who also participated in many of the events and hosted a seminar on media activism with Nick Adams, media awards communications manager for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Bono, the child of Cher and Sonny Bono, made national headlines when he came out as transgender. He mingled with the crowd each day and was very gracious with socializing.
When Atlanta’s Southern Comfort Conference begins next week, it does so with its core mission in place, but with a renewed emphasis on entertainment – and with some star wattage in the form of Chaz Bono.
According to Alexis Dee, the chair of the conference as well as a board member, this is the 20th anniversary of the conference, designed for the transgender community. Dee feels the conference has changed over the years from being information-only. That is one reason this year’s theme is “Party Hearty."
When the conference was launched in 1991, it was done more to provide information to bring the transgender community up to speed, according to Dee. That’s still of vital importance, and the 2010 convention will have the same kinds of information as in previous years.
Chaz Bono will be attending the 20th annual Southern Comfort Conference this year, according to organizers of the event. SCC is a conference that serves the transgender community with seminars, workshops, as well as vendors and special theme nights and parties. The conference this year is set for Sept. 6-12.
In a letter to members of the SCC Facebook group, Alexis Dee, a member of the event’s board of directors, said she spoke to Bono and he would be coming to the conference to conduct a seminar with his friend, Nick Adams. What the topic is and when the seminar will be held is not yet listed on the SCC website’s schedule. Bono is listed as a presenter on the website.
Angelina Jolie vamps it up on the cover of the August issue of Vanity Fair, but so far, it’s what she said about her daughter Shiloh that is generating most of the buzz.