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Dancing With the Lecturers

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For Hollywood, to push America's morality buttons is a win-win proposition. When they challenge those moribund traditional values, they not only strike a blow for the sexual revolution, they create the cherished publicity "buzz" that brings attention -- and viewers -- to their shows.

It explains why ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" named to their cast America's most famous transgender activist. Once the cute little blond daughter, Chastity, that everyone of a certain age remembers from the old "Sonny and Cher Show" on CBS is now the female-denying Chaz Bono.

ABC didn't name Bono because "he's" known as a dancer. They named "him" because he's well-known as an LGBT activist, with an emphasis on the "T." Bono has been a spokes-something for the gay-left Human Rights Campaign's, HRC, National Coming-Out Day and served as entertainment media director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, GLAAD.

For its part, GLAAD is extra delighted because the cast now includes Bono and Carson Kressley, the most lecherous member of the old show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," who went on to host the Lifetime makeover show "How to Look Good Naked."

The Bono choice outraged many fans of the show, who've considered the ballroom-dancing showcase to be a sort of old-fashioned safe harbor families could enjoy -- although certainly the outfits as well as some of the dances are designed to maximize sexiness.

In a way, the Bono choice is counter-programming to last fall's casting of Bristol Palin -- who was chosen as a "star" because of her mother's fame, not her own.

Palin haters rooted against Bristol throughout the show, and when she made it all the way to the finals (more buzz, buzz, buzz), ABC and The Washington Post paid for a poll question to ask if her dancing was good enough. Can anyone imagine that they'll do a poll on whether Bono can do the cha-cha?

Bristol Palin didn't do teen-abstinence dances last fall, and there would have been hell to pay if she had, in any way, promoted her issue. Not so with the "T" issue. The cultural politics last year were really saved for bisexual activist and comedian Margaret Cho, who danced for "gay pride" in a rainbow dress on the show. Cho proclaimed to viewers, "We wanted to celebrate pride. It's a tough time for the gay community. A lot of gay teenagers have committed suicide, so we want this to end now!"

If Chaz Bono were going to perform the entire season as a man, with no reference to "his" actual gender, then ABC wouldn't be offering that LGBT educational opportunity. It is why no one should have any doubt that Chaz Bono is going to be instructing America about the need to overcome their "transphobia" -- on the show and everywhere else.

On ABC's "Good Morning America" on Sept. 6, the network used the opposition of the American Family Association, AFA, as a foil to promote the show. "It's made me realize I'm really glad I'm doing this because America really needs to see this," Bono said. "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, and there's so many just completely inaccurate stereotypes and thoughts that people have."

Four days earlier, ABC put on gay publicist Howard Bragman to call the AFA a "hate group" inspiring "hate opinions on email" that are like "people writing on a bathroom wall." AFA may as well write on bathroom walls. It's not getting a lick of airtime on ABC.

This is Bono's year of media activism, complete with a book last spring called "Transition," promoted all over the news channels and with a promotional one-hour Oprah Winfrey Network special called "Becoming Chaz," hailed as the story of a "valiant struggle of a sensitive individual to become who he really is."

Nowhere in any of this celebration is the hard reality. Despite "his" low voice, and his sideburns and his awful decision to amputate his own breasts, Bono remains a woman. It's ridiculous for ABC to argue children won't be confused by this political-correctness crusade. The entire transgender propaganda movement is confused. Indeed, there is a new sexual category to go alongside G, L, B and T --"Q" for questioning.

ABC and the rest of the media universe can do all the pretending they want, but that's not going to make Bono a real male. It's not a completely inaccurate stereotype for people to say so. Silly, old-fashioned me; I'm stuck on human beings made as males and females.

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