'DWTS' Finale: How Chaz Bono Shook Off His 'Dancing' Haters

Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:30am EST

Chaz Bono's announcement as a "Dancing With the Stars" contestant made him the highest-profile transgendered person in the country -- and with that came some ugly feedback.

But Bono, who will return this week for the "Dancing" finale, said he didn't pay attention to people who bashed him on internet message boards and elsewhere.

Also read: ABC Attacked by 'DWTS' Fans Over Chaz Bono Casting

"I didn't watch any of that or look at any of those things," he told TheWrap. "I've been doing LGBT activism for a long time now, since 1995, and I've gone up against people like Jerry Falwell and stuff like that. So dealing with that kind of controversy isn't really new to me, and it's pretty easy to just let it roll off my back."

The response to Bono's performance on the show was largely positive: He made it far into the competition before voters sent him home.

But when his casting was first announced, some viewers complained -- from the anonymity of the internet -- that they didn't think a man who had undergone gender reassignment surgery should appear on a family program. His mother, Cher, took to Twitter to call out his attackers as "bigots."

Also read: Cher Defends Chaz Bono; Calls Critics 'Bigots'

Rather than feel pressured by the insults, Bono said, he felt pressure not to disappoint his supporters.

"Any pressure I felt [was] because of the support that I was getting," he said. "I wanted to do a good job because I knew many people were supporting me and were there for me, and I didn't want to let anybody down."

Bono said he had no way of knowing whether some people voted for or againt him because he is transgendered.

"People vote for you because they like you," he said. "Whether it's personal or your dancing or whatever, they vote because they want to see you next week."

Related Articles:  ABC Attacked by 'DWTS' Fans Over Chaz Bono Casting Cher Defends Chaz Bono on 'DWTS'; Calls Critics 'Bigots'

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