Ellen DeGeneres Interviews Chaz Bono
The Ellen DeGeneres Episode on Transgender Discrimination
I found myself captivated by the touching interview Ellen DeGeneres had with Chaz Bono on her daytime talk show. If you haven't heard, Chaz was one of the celebrities chosen to be on 'Dancing With the Stars' this season. I learned after watching the show that some viewers are upset with a transgender male being one of the contestants and want him kicked off.
One of the reasons I like Ellen and her show is because she's an intelligent, funny and genuine person. She doesn't pretend to be something she's not which probably motivated her to come out as a lesbian many years ago. She knew her decision to "come out" was not going to be good for ratings on her, then, t.v. sitcom, nor would it win her any popularity contests. It took great courage for her to admit she was gay in a society that seems uncomfortable with anything that isn't understood by the majority.
Definition of Transgender
Defintion of transgender, according to dictionary.com:
Transgender is a less clinical term, referring more to gender identity and gender expression than to sexual orientation or physical sex characteristics. It is also a more general and inclusive term: a transgender person may be gay, transsexual or transvestite.
Interview with Chaz Bono
Ellen's interview with Chaz Bono was very touching and educational. She asked him if he knew that being picked as a competitor in "Dancing With the Stars" would cause such uproar and controversy. Chaz said he knew there would be those out there that would have some reservations about it but didn't expect all the backlash it created. Ellen did a great job using her comic genius and compassionate heart to bring out how ridiculous it is, to think that Chaz being on a dance show, would be dangerous and bad for our children. He also didn't anticipate viewers wanting to get him kicked off the dance competition.
If you havn't been brought up to speed, Chaz, who use to be known as Chastity, struggled for years with his sexuality. He shared that he never felt or identified himself as a woman. As the years passed, it became more painful to endure. He underwent gender reassignment surgery last year to become a man. Just like Ellen, it took great courage for Chaz to come out as the transgender person he is. Having a famous mother like Cher, had to make it doubly difficult to come to terms with his identity crisis.
At one point in the interview, Chaz received a surprise call from a viewer. It turned out to be his mother, Cher. She didn't hesitate to speak out against the haters that have tried to boycott her son from the show. In pure Cher form, she said, "If you've got that excess time and that amount of hostility, I'm not sure I can say anything to you that would make you change your feelings. I don't know that I would have the magic words to soothe you, comfort you, into not being terrified of my child being on "Dancing With the Stars." Bravo Cher!
Another poignant moment of the interview was when Ellen talked about the problem of "bullying" in school. She said that as adults and role models, how do we expect our kids to quit bullying when we're doing it ourselves. "Shame on us," Ellen said, "Shame on us."
Transgender Role Model
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Chaz's Transition from Woman to Man
© 2011 Linda Rogers
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