Chaz Bono was sent home from “Dancing with the Stars,” but has earned praise from thousands of fans, including GLAAD and the remaining cast members.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation released a statement citing their appreciation and support of Bono, who underwent a female-to-male gender change after coming out as a lesbian in 1995.
“Chaz bravely put on his dancing shoes and became a fan favorite, showing millions of viewers that he’s like any other guy,” said GLAAD in the statement.
"Though it’s sad to see him go, Chaz has helped countless people better understand what it means to be transgender. He should be commended for both his courage and determination. We hope Chaz’s time on “Dancing with the Stars” is just the beginning in a long line of transgender-inclusive programming across the media,” said Mike Thompson, acting president of the alliance.
“DWTS” contestant Nancy Grace tweeted her sorrow over Bono’s elimination: “From the bottom of my heart, THNK U. I will miss you my dear friend.”
Chynna Phillips, recently eliminated from the show, also tweeted a message to Bono: “Incredible job on DWTS! You better be VERY proud! XOxoxo.”
“Thank you all for the open minds and hearts for always supporting and being amazing human beings,” said Lacey Schwimmer, the professional dancer paired with Bono.
Bono and Schwimmer appeared for six performances, despite some audience members expressing outrage that a transgendered person was included on the show.
The only child of famous singing duo Sonny and Cher, audience members questioned his “celebrity” status. While many people, especially those in the LBGT community, have lauded Bono’s addition to the cast, others expressed concern.
ABC’s online message board saw concerns over transgendered contestants, with some viewers citing that children may become confused and that such cast members were inappropriate on a family-oriented show.
Bidding his “DWTS” crew goodbye, Bono posted on Twitter: “Goodbye, Team #Schwaz. You will be missed. Xoxo.”
He also tweeted appreciative messages to ABC and fans for the “life altering experience.”