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The GEM Debate: Is Chaz Bad For Children?


Oh it’s about to go down up in here! And when I say go down I mean dissolve into an ugly mix of Spanx and sequins. One of my faithful GEMs, Irene, alerted me to this article on the Fox News website. Psychologist Keith Ablow, who, according to his website, is one of America’s leading psychiatrists, says watching Chaz do the Watusi on Dancing with the Stars is potentially harmful for our kids.  According to Dr. Ablow, the reason we should lock the children away while DWTS is on is because they are in the process of establishing their own sexual/gender identities and might be confused, perhaps even swayed by watching the crowd cheer on someone who had breasts removed and takes male hormones to live as a man.  Oh boy.

This sort of makes me wonder where “one of America’s leading psychiatrists” was schooled. In fact, with this opinion, Dr. Ablow even breaks rank with the fellow members of the American Psychiatric Association, who believe that gender reassignment surgery is an appropriate treatment in some cases.

But I’m not here to debate whether Chaz was right or wrong; I don’t care, that’s his life. And I know Dr. Ablow is far more schooled than I, with diplomas, no doubt, lining the mahogany walls of his office. But from where I sit, inside Good Enough Mother World headquarters, this is ludicrous.  Here’s why:

Number 1: No kid is going to be watching Dancing with the Stars. Let’s start there.

Number 2: I’m willing to bet, any kid wondering whether he or she was born the wrong sex will have been wrestling with those questions LONG before September 19th at 8 PM EST. That is, if he or she is even watching the show (see above).

Number 3: I’m pretty sure my Casey, even if I could pry her out of her teenage hovel to watch the show (again, please see above) will not be questioning whether she should remove her breasts just because Chaz did.  I mean please! My son likes that show Dirty Jobs but you don’t see him suiting up to clean the sewer. Hell, I can’t even get him to pick up clothes off the floor.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is let’s stop it with the scare tactics. People don’t choose to be gay and I don’t believe they choose to be transgendered. Why don’t we instead, view this for what it is, an opportunity to teach our kids compassion and educate them about people. Oh,  and a chance to point and laugh at everyone who shouldn’t venture out of their dressing rooms in spandex.

Okay that’s my take, what about you? Do you agree with Dr. Ablow, will watching Chaz dance confuse our youngsters? Do you think producers were right to cast someone as controversial as Chaz? Will you be watching and if not, why not? Let’s go!


  1. keith

    September 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    I think the show sucks, wont be watching.

    The only thing wrong with Chaz being on the show is …. and I hate to say it this bluntly, but thats what I do…Chaz isnt a star. I cant think of one thing Chaz has done that makes me consider calling him star worthy. The show shouldnt be called Dancing with the Stars. Chaz ‘s parents are stars, Chaz not so much.

  2. Doyle

    September 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    sooo agree, it is time to get over the scare mongering and just treat people with respected.

    I doubt that Dr Albow really is a leading expert…other than to be a blow hard talking head for Faux news.

  3. Cody Williams

    September 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    If the point of writing anything is to change someone’s point of view then you scored with this one, Rene.

    At the start of your piece I had folded up my liberal arms and had taken the stance, (not a wide one mind you) to absolutely not let either of my kids watch the show.

    Then I read your point #1. You’re right, they would never watch it, even if I paid them to. Nothing to worry about there.

    If someone has a little boy who watches DWTS, well, it’s probably too late to protect him from gender identity issues.

    I remember growing up in Detroit, just across the river from Canada where, in the days of airwaves broadcasting we were often exposed to the much more liberated Canadian airwaves. I used to sneak and watch shows that would never have made US airways. Some of them showed nudity and adult themed programming with topics like bi-sexuality and same sex romances.

    It’s a wonder that the Canadian government still exist. It’s a wonder that entire nation is not run amok and a cesspool of iniquity.

    Oh, wait.

  4. Kathy

    September 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    I agree with you, Keith. Would Chaz be on the show if he had not had gender reassignment surgery? I do not think believe that there is a real danger of kids running out for surgery as they do for Justin Bieber’s haircut. I do wonder though, what kids who are struggling with such issues would think about Chaz seemingly being put on a show for the shock value of it. What kind of a message is that?

  5. Janet

    September 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I agree with you, Rene! It’s all so very ridiculous to think this would encourage anyone to switch genders. If anything it might show someone struggling with that issue that they aren’t alone. Heather Mills McCartney was on the show and didn’t create a trend of teen girls getting a leg removed. They also aren’t all having 8 kids to be more like Kate Gosselin (who was also on the show).

    I mean honestly if Dancing With the Stars had that much of a pull over the actions of young children, we’d have varsity and JV ballroom dancing teams at schools across America.

  6. Cody Williams

    September 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    @Janet, you didn’t just write this did you? “…didn’t create a trend of teen girls getting a leg removed.””

    Imma be nice. But…

  7. ella

    September 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I think you were absolutely correct. I have several teens as FB friends and not one of them ever watches that show. Point proven in point #1. However, you are correct. It does teach not only tolerance, but it opens up the conversation if your child IS interested in transgender issues, if they have friends with parents who are going through the same process, or if they saw something “weird” like that on another show and didn’t know how to voice their questions. They are going to see everything one day and have questions, and I think sooner is better than later. And definitely better than them seeing an insensitive blurb on “Family Guy,” etc.

  8. Smarty P. Jones

    September 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    First off, kids aren’t going to watch this show because they don’t know these people. These children have no idea why Chaz Bono is famous and when you explain who his parents are they won’t know them either.

    This group, One Million Moms, Keith Ablow and Fox News are all delusional. These kids are exposed to the LGBT population daily. The only way they won’t be is if they banish all their children to a private island with no cable or internet where they can be fruitful and multiply because surely none of their kids are gay.

    This is simply a new group of people for them discriminate against. Throughout every generation in our history, Americans are only comfortable when they have an entire group of people to hate for no reason other than they are different from what is considered normal.

    DWTS is for entertainment purposes only. It is not a show that people, mainly children, will turn to to make their life decisions and find their own personal truths. DWTS is an opportunity for us, the viewing audience, to live vicariously through these once famous people who get to gyrate on our favorite cast mates.

    While all these people are speaking out against DWTS, why aren’t they speaking out against all these politicians who are making the decisions to cut school funding year after year? Poor education will have a longer lasting affect than seeing a transgendered man step on the toes of his dance partner.

  9. Irene

    September 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    This is my problem with this all the way around.

    I teach my children tolerance, to accept people where they are, who they are, etc….and this whole idea of “keeping kids from watching” just doesn’t sit right with me. I just don’t think we should discriminate against transgenders or anyone for that matter.

    I am not afraid of people being who they are around my kids…I am afraid of the ones like Dr Ablow and their lack of acceptance of others more then anything else.

    As far as Chaz not being a star…well neither was Kate Gosselin and I had to sit through weeks of that hot mess.

    Let him dance…and if my kids wanna watch!!! fine…but I really doubt they even care about the show!

  10. Rebecca

    September 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Wait — did I miss where Chaz will be introduced as “Chaz-who-by-the-way-is-transgender-Bono”? I mean, are they going to DISCUSS this on the show? If a viewer didn’t already know about that, how would one know about it just by watching the show?

  11. Katie

    September 7, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Umm Cody… did you really just say:

    “If someone has a little boy who watches DWTS, well, it’s probably too late to protect him from gender identity issues.”

    So only gay men dance or like to dance? Wow…

  12. MWF

    September 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    No worse than any of the other things on the tube that kids are exposed to these days.
    Like others have mentioned….” how many kids will actually watch” and also how many are old enough to know that Chaz was Chasity!
    And for Pete’s sake….Chaz will only be “DANCING”….It’s not like he will be naked and having sex on the silly show!

  13. Joss

    September 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    When I was 5, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up. My answer “a boy.” The reason? My parents clearly favoured my brothers, I was a nothing and a nobody being female in my household. I think that was far more damaging that meeting someone who had sex reassignment surgery. And hey! I’m still female and proving to my parents every day that I kick ass!

  14. Tiffany

    September 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I am truly amazed at these so called Christians who have been sent to save the world from lesbians/gays/blacks/whoever the discriminating bunch is. What happened to “judge not”? I’m so sick of those people wanting to rid the world of anyone who is not like them. I’m with you Rene, if their children watch Chaz and decide to come out…its been on their mind for some time now.

  15. Elizabeth Betrand

    September 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    After reading this post, I couldn’t help from wondering about the chemistry between Chaz and his dancing partner who is going to be a woman. Chaz is going to be leading, as men usually lead in partner dancing. That’s an odd thought. Excuse me for digesting; I just couldn’t help from looking at the full dynamics of it all.

    Now, as far as Chaz dancing on this show having an impact on child’s psyche, that’s an interesting thought but I disagree with the psychologist. First of all, not many children will be watching the show. If some children do watch the show, they wouldn’t know who Chaz was and his/her background, unless an adult shares this information to their child. When we say child, I am assuming the ages are between eight and 11. I doubt children within this age bracket would even know about Chaz transgender operation.

    @ Janet, I don’t believe Heather Mills McCartney had a choice in getting her leg removed. Mills was hit by a police motorbike and suffered serious injuries, which caused her leg partially amputated. So, that example/point was a stretch.

    Will I being watching the show? I might watch the show, if my time allows. I’ve watched it in the past. I’m fascinated to see the transformation that these people go through in the process of dancing. It’s hard work. Most of the contestants, if not all, leave the show with a stronger appreciation and respect for the art of dance, if they didn’t have it already.

    Now, what I don’t like about the show is the judging process. A lot of the contestants stay on the show based on the audience favoritism and one’s popularity, not solely based on one’s dance performance, which is a turn off. Other than that, I like the show. Besides, who don’t like dance?

    Do I think the producers were right to cast someone as controversial as Chaz? The whole purpose in casting someone as controversial as Chaz is to spike ratings.

    Are the producers wrong? Hmm. Interesting question, it all depends on how you look at it. I believe the contestants are dancing to win money for their personal charity choice, which is a good thing.

    People, who have prejudice point of view toward contestants like Chaz, may change their opinion, once they see him on the show. In fact, this show gives the viewers the opportunity to see these “so called” stars human side, taking us away from what they do for a living. We learn a little about their life stories while they dance on the show, which helps put things into perspective. I’m not saying people will get a full understanding of who Chaz truly is by watching this show, but viewers might begin to see him as a person as opposed to a specimen or freak of nature.

    Is it morally wrong for producers to capitalize on a person’s “not so popular” choice in life, relating to the transgender thing?

    The answer to this question is yes and no, because Chaz had the option to not participate in the show. Perhaps, he accepted the producers’ invitation to show the world that he is human, nothing other than just that.

  16. keith

    September 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    “As far as Chaz not being a star…well neither was Kate Gosselin and I had to sit through weeks of that hot mess.”

    I have been saying the show title needed to be changed since after the first season. I agree wholeheartedly.

  17. Lynda V.

    September 8, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Didn’t DWTS have Bristol Palin compete? So, let me get this straight (pun intended), teen mom who chose not to use birth control is fine bc she is hetero, but Chaz, who chose to live life as he felt he was meant to, who chose to take the necessary action to be happy, and who didn’t hurt anyone in the process, sends a bad message. Got it. The real lesson is this: Fox News is still a bunch of idiots. I would recommend hiding kids from anyone associated with Fox News if you don’t want them to get the wrong message.

  18. america

    September 8, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Seriously, my only issue with Chaz is this…CAN HE DANCE? I SURELY HOPE SO..if not he will get vote off. We need to get past what people LOOK LIKE..and get along with life… we have better things to worried about. I sure hope this boy can dance though…

  19. Peppercorn16

    September 8, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    I’m with america- can Chez dance that’s always my main concern with DWTS celebrity I said this the yr Heather Mill and Marley Matlin it wasn’t because of their disabilities just if they can dance. I was so hoping they could dance to shut everyone up from thinking because she has a disability then it must mean they couldn’t keep

    I’ve loved Chez since before he had the surgery and I hope he not voted off anytime soon

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More in The GEM Debate

Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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