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Chaz Bono ignores controversy, focuses on dance

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SANDY COHEN | September 8, 2011 04:17 PM EST | AP

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LOS ANGELES — Chaz Bono isn't thinking about the controversy surrounding his casting on "Dancing With the Stars." He says he's been flooded with fan support and is focused on the cha-cha.

Bono is the show's first transgender contestant, and some viewers and conservative media groups have responded to his casting with hateful blog posts and calls for a boycott of the hit ABC show.

But at a Wednesday rehearsal in Los Angeles, the 42-year-old author and activist said he hasn't looked at the negative posts on the network's website and has received loads of support from fans on Twitter.

Bono, who began learning dance moves last week, says the controversy "hasn't taken any type of negative toll on me at all" and that he remains intent on perfecting the dance routine he'll perform in front of millions of viewers when the show premieres later this month.