In response to the Internet backlash against transgender Chaz Bono’s decision to join the season 13 cast of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, attorney Gloria Allred has joined Robin Tyler, executive director of the Equality Campaign, and LGBT activist and comedian Belinda Carroll to co-chair a viewing party in Los Angeles on Sept. 19 to watch Chaz perform. Allred was the one who decided to add a dance element to the event, she said at a news conference this morning. “I look forward to dancing on that evening with any transitioned male or female who invites me to dance,” she said. (Location is TBA, but according to Allred, “Everyone who supports Chaz is invited to this party in L.A.”)
Allred and Tyler launched a “Chaz Bono Dancing With the Stars” Facebook campaign and Twitter account (@WeSupportChaz) this morning to spread the word. “We have decided to isue a national call for LGBT people and our allies to have Dancing With the Stars viewing and dance parties in support of Chaz Bono,” Tyler said. Viewing parties are already being planned in Portland, Austin, and New York.
Tyler, who cofounded successful campaigns such as Stop Dr. Laura and Don’t Ammend, reached out to Allred after becoming increasingly upset over the online response to Chaz’s DWTS casting. Chaz dominated the conversation in thousands of comments on ABC.com and around the Internet — and the ugly reaction, said Tyler, was shocking. “Our community and fair-minded people will not tolerate this kind of bullying and hate mail,” she said. “It was okay for Chaz Bono to be seen on a national cable documentary explaining his life and why he transitioned from female to male, but it is not okay to have Chaz Bono on Dancing With the Stars, actually dancing with a woman?” she asked.
Allred said that although she does not represent Chaz Bono and has never met him, she has represented many transitioned persons who have been victims of hate. In response to a Fox News column by psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow called “Don’t Let Your Kids Watch Chaz Bono on ‘Dancing With the Stars,'” Allred countered, “I believe that children should watch Chaz dance and their parents should view the broadcast on which he appears as a teaching moment and an opportunity to engage their children in a dialogue.” She said parents should discuss with their children how people who have been transitioned have often been unfairly stigmatized and discriminated against and have become the victims of violence because of dangerous stereotypes about them.
As for Chaz, he assured the public on today’s Good Morning America that once he’s taken the stage Sept. 19, he won’t be up there talking about anything other than dancing. “People who don’t have gender dysphoria aren’t going to catch it by watching me on television,” he said.