The bigoted backlash following the announcement that Chaz Bono would be competing on the upcoming season of "Dancing With The Stars" has only made him more determined to compete on the ABC competition.
Bono, who underwent hormone treatment and surgery to transition from woman to man, says that his appearance is important for the nation to witness.
"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."
That echoed comments from his rep, Howard Bragman, who told Good Morning America, “He’s really using [the controversy] to motivate himself. He’s working incredibly hard, dancing hours at a time, and he’s committed to being a great dancer and having a great time on the show.”
The show is standing behind the decision to cast Bono, with executive producer Conrad Green telling The Hollywood Reporter that they were always looking to introduce viewers to new stories and perspectives.
"The thing that is also worth remembering one of the great features of our show is we got quite a broad-minded audience who are often willing to give people a chance," Green said. "They might have preconceptions about some of our celebrities before they meet them on the show, but on our show you get to see people in a way you've never seen them before."
Earlier in the week, Chaz's mother, Cher, struck out at those critical of his casting by lashing out on Twitter against "stupid bigots."
There has also been some backlash against the casting of openly gay celebrity style guru, Carson Kressley, who humorously tried to defuse any controversy on Twitter.
"2 all freaking out about having the GLBT community represented on DWTS -- it's a ballroom dancing show. It's pretty gay already," he wrote.
He later wrote to Bono, "@ChazBono I really admire you and it was a pleasure meeting u yesterday. Best of luck #DWTS cast mate."
Other stars cast for the upcoming season Headline News commentator and Casey Anthony obsessive Nancy Grace, tangentially famous relative Rob Kardashian, basketball player/provocateur Ron Artest, one time talkshow host Ricki Lake, model and deposed girlfriend of George Clooney Elisabetta Canalis and actor David Arquette.WATCH:
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