I don't even own a television. It's not a moral stance, I just prefer other pursuits. But I'm going to find a friend on Monday, September 19 at 8pm ET, and watch the show. While I like and support Chaz Bono, that alone is not an important consideration in my decision. I have no idea whether he is a good dancer or not, and, frankly, watching people dance is not high on my list of priorities. But seeing the negative reaction by the transphobes and homophobes crawling out of the woodwork to denounce this man's right to simply perform a dance, I feel a moral imperative to watch the show, and cast my vote. Hearing the crazy reaction by Monica Cole, director of OneMillionMoms.com (which has only 34,000 Facebook fans), a project of the American Family Association hate group, I can't let this go by without speaking up.
"We will not be able to watch the show with Chaz on there," Monica Cole told "Inside Edition" on Wednesday. "This is going to be very confusing for children, and should not be included in their cast."
The ABC website and facebook page announcing his participation was clogged with thousands of nasty, ugly remarks.
As Chaz Bono himself bravely said,
"You know, it just kind of shows why for me it's important to be on the show, because so little still is known about what it means to be transgender," he told ABC News. "And there's so many just completely inaccurate stereotypes and thoughts that people have."
I agree with Howard Bragman, Chaz's publicist, that the publicity generated by Chaz's participation is a golden opportunity for a teachable moment in America. Most people don't see or hear anything about transgender and transsexual people. This show will reach millions. He also rightly pointed out that, contrary to the assertion that this is going to be harmful to children, it will in fact save childrens' lives.
"Watching Chaz Bono dance is not going to make your kid transgender," Bragman told "GMA." "But what it can do is possibly save your kids life because young transgender kids, kids with gender identity issues, have a huge suicide rate and if they see one positive influence, one positive role model, this can save lives and that's why Chaz is here."
"No way he's going to back down," Bragman added. "This has really reinforced his decision to be on the show."
It's also reinforced my decision to watch the show. Will you be watching?