Live and Let Live It’s a Free Country!
By: Cynthia Cavendish-Carey
The “Sonny and Cher Show” was top-rated when I was a little girl. I remember watching this variety show every week (there were a lot of variety shows back then). This one in particular sticks with me as does The Carol Burnett Show. But Sonny and Cher was different: slap-stick comedy, popular music and they always involved their little girl, Chastity, as they sang the show out with “I Got You, Babe” each week. Times have changed. Variety shows are no longer in vogue … and (gasp) Chastity is now Chaz Bono.
Reality shows are now all the rage and one of my favorites is Dancing With the Stars. The new season line-up was announced last week and Chaz Bono – all grown up – is one of the stars participating. This is not without controversy and I’m scratching my head, wondering why.
Numerous polls popped up last week on the internet and many of the 24-hour news networks covered this controversy, gauging public opinion as to whether or not it was appropriate for Chaz to compete. Why is this so controversial? (Slow news day, maybe?) I’m not sure why people care or are offended that someone who is transgender likes to dance and wants to learn ballroom dancing.
DWTS is simply a fun show and the stars work really hard. Yes, some of them bring their causes to light in some way, but it’s never over top. Certainly, the show’s producers try to up the ante with every cast. It’s about ratings, people! It’s understandable that to whatever degree is possible, casting some who is “different” or challenged in some way gives the show a bit of drama. Remember, Marlee Matlin? I commend DWTS for their approach to casting. It’s not just beautiful models and Hollywood types, which makes the show approachable.
Furthermore, Chaz Bono’s bravery is extraordinary. Not only is he putting himself out there to dance, but his transgender journey and its documentation on his website (http://www.chazbono.net/) are remarkably courageous.
The Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Transgender community (GLBT) is gaining ground with same-sex marriage now legal in a handful of states. But, there’s still a long way to go until our free society achieves a “live and let live” acceptance of those who are perceived as different. And, who is to say what the definition of “different” ought to be. None of us is qualified.