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Chaz Bono On DWTS -- LGBT Community Rally Around Rumored First Transgender Contestant

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Aug. 29 2011, Published 5:45 a.m. ET

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The official announcement has not even been made yet but the gay and lesbian community is already rallying behind Chaz Bono's rumored role on the upcoming season of Dancing With The Stars.

ABC is strongly rumored to confirm tonight that the transgender son of Cher and the late Sonny Bono will be part of the cast of the hit reality competition when the 13th season premieres on September 19.

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Bono is an active member of the LGBT community and, if the news is confirmed Monday, will be the first transgender contestant to appear on a prime time reality show.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) told that the move is a big breakthrough for the community.

“At a time when transgender representation in the media is sorely lacking, Chaz Bono joining the cast of a series like Dancing With The Stars would be a tremendous step forward for the public to recognize that transgender people are another wonderful part of the fabric of American culture,” said Herndon Graddick, Senior Director of Programs at GLAAD.

"Appearing on such a high profile show would allow millions of Americans to get to know him in a whole new light.”

GLAAD isn't the only group that is celebrating the impending announcement, which will be made during Monday's episode of the Bachelor Pad.

"Chaz is smart and articulate, and a great representative of the community," Mara Keisling, Executive Director at the National Center For Transgender Equality, told "I don't know if he can dance but I think he will win over America very quickly."

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Keisling explained that the group doesn't expect there to be a controversy from many viewers about the casting. "I don't think people will be worked up about it, even though some groups get upset over everything," Keisling added. "This is how we overcome hate, America will see that he is just like every other contestant on the show."

Along with battling prejudice, Bono's appearance on the show will be a huge step in his effort to lose weight.

Chaz Bono
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As previously reported, Chaz, who has been fighting the battle of the bulge for years, has been hitting the gym hard lately and no doubt hopes to follow in the footsteps of previous contestants like Kirstie Alley, who blasted off 30 pounds on the show.

Chaz also has next month's Emmy Awards to look forward to. The documentary about his transition, Becoming Chaz, has been nominated for three awards.

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Other contestants rumored to be competing for the coveted disco ball trophy this season include CNN anchor Nancy Grace, NBA star Ron ArtestKristin Cavalleri, Riki Lake, Chynna Phillips, Hope Solo, Elizabetta Canalis, David Arquette, Rob Kardashian, Ryan O'Neal and J.R. Martinez

Check back in with Monday night for details of the official ABC Dancing With The Stars cast announcement.



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