DWTS parties to show support for Chaz Bono

Sept. 19, 2011 at 4:50 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Viewing parties are being planned across the United States in honor of Chaz Bono's debut on "Dancing with the Stars," a gay and transgender support group says.

Bono is the dance competition show's first transgender contestant.

GetEQUAL, which describes itself as a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights activist group, said it worked with the Transgender Law Center and long-time LGBT advocates Robin Tyler and Belinda Carroll to organize the "#ProBono" viewing parties in support of "Bono as a positive role model for those who struggle with sexual orientation or gender identity."

Bono, 42, was born the daughter of singer-actress Cher and the late entertainer-turned-politician Sonny Bono, but a couple of years ago underwent sexual reassignment surgery and became a man.

"Tonight, as millions of American households watch the season premiere of 'Dancing With the Stars,' it is our hope that many viewers engage in real conversations about transgender Americans because of Chaz's appearance," Robin McGehee, director of GetEQUAL, said in a statement Monday. "These parties are a fun way to engage folks, but there is serious work ahead of us in order to advocate for change in the hearts and minds of people throughout the country."

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