Chaz Bono Won’t End Homophobia on “Dancing With the Stars”

Featuring a transgender competitor is a step in the right direction, but why won't the show feature same-sex dance partners?

In all the hoopla surrounding Chaz Bono as the first transgender competitor on Dancing With the Stars, a larger issue is being ignored: Why isn’t Queer Eye for the Straight Guy alum and out-and-proud Allentown native Carson Kressley doing the cha-cha with a male partner?

For the record, Kressley is not the first open homo to appear on DWTS, which launches its 13th season on September 19th. That distinction belongs to former boy-band star Lance Bass, in season 7. He and his female partner finished third.

Opponents to same-sex partners argue that tradition dictates strict gender roles in ballroom dancing. Despite the fact that many of the male pros on Dancing are closeted queens, their partnership with females puts them right in step with the ballroom-dancing world.

Also, the queens lead.

Of course, tradition can vary by country. The Israeli version of DWTS last year became the first in the world to feature a same-sex couple–an openly-lesbian TV sportscaster and a heterosexual professional dancer.

Last time we checked, the Wailing Wall was still standing.

Also in 2010, the producers of ABC’s DWTS reportedly pitched Portia de Rossi, wife of Ellen DeGeneres, a chance to be paired with a woman, but the actress took a pass. Frankly, they should have gone for DeGeneres. As Ellen viewers know, she’s a fabulous dancer. But the issue of who leads might be problematic.

Regardless, DWTS deserves major props for casting Bono, 42, who underwent sex-reassignment surgery in May. He, too, rates kudos for his bravery, and for keeping his cool against an ugly backlash.

Which begs the question: If DWTS is progressive enough to have a transsexual contestant, why not a same-sex couple? Intuition says the latter is far less threatening to viewers.

And if DWTS really wants to shake, rattle and roll the psyche of Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public, why not feature both in the same season?

It’s not too late. Kressley, an excellent equestrian who competed at the Devon Horse Show, already knows how to dance with stallions.