All of my friends are liberal supporters of LGBT people, so sometimes I forget just how hateful and uneducated many people in the world are about understanding and compassion towards transgender individuals. The latest freakout about Chaz Bono (Sonny and Cher's FTM son) on ABC's Dancing with the Stars is an example of just how much education the rest of the world really needs.
According to this article on Jezebel, supporters of DwtS have taken to posting on the ABC message boards about how disgusted they are with the network for including a transgender person on the show. They claim that it is destroying the family nature of the show, that it is flaunting 'confused people' in their face, showing too much 'homosexual lust' and destroying Christian values. The comments are hateful and judgmental, considering trans people to be freaks and outcasts who shouldn't be depicted as normal. It's a sad look into the reality that many people see to be true.
All of these comments are exactly why Chaz Bono should be on the show. Despite the fact that he isn't truly a 'star' for anything other than being the child of Sonny and Cher, Chaz is proving to be a great representative for the FTM community, a population that is all but invisible in the public eye. Showing that his gender identity will have absolutely nothing to do with his performance on the show or his dancing, and that he certainly isn't 'flaunting' anything simply by just being himself. He is an opportunity to teach young people about the female-to-male transition (if parents choose to do so) and shows that transgender individuals are people.
I don't watch DwtS and I'm not going to start now, but I'm happy that ABC are giving Chaz Bono a chance to raise awareness about trans men. We clearly have a LOT of work to do in raising tolerance and acceptance for transgender people, and comments like these make me realize how far off we really are.