I caught up with a friend with an intellectual disability over lunch one day last week. We hadn’t seen each other in a while, so we talked about a lot of things, among them the fact that she won’t be watching “Dancing With the Stars” next season. It’s one of her favourite television programs, but she’s upset about the way the judges have “teased” Chaz Bono for being overweight.
Chaz Bono and the Media
I’ve blogged here about “Dancing with the Stars” and the ignorant way the media’s treated Chaz’s decision to have gender reassignment surgery. http://www.girlwiththecane.com/bullies/ I don’t watch DWTS myself, but entertainment news filters through to me (usually). I think that Chaz Bono has handled himself with a great deal of class and dignity, being in the spotlight through the whole process and then going on DWTS despite public objection based on ridiculousness such as, “He’ll make our children want to change genders.”
I’m Not Perfect
I made two errors in talking to my friend about this: I assumed that she’d misunderstood the gender re-assignment issue, and I assumed that I knew more about what was going on in the show than she did (even though I haven’t been watching the show!) Actually, the judges have been denigrating Chaz Bono because of his weight:
But I, assuming that I knew more than her, I explained that they were really making fun of him because he used to be a girl. And boy, did I feel silly (and humbled) when I did some research and discovered how upset Chaz has really been about the names the judges have called him: Ewok, penguin, and basketball.
Lessons for a Monday
So, Lesson #1: Don’t make assumptions. I’m pretty good at not doing that in my work, but obviously sometimes I need a reminder.
My friend took the news that Chaz used to be a girl totally in stride. “They shouldn’t make fun of him for that, either,” she said. “They just shouldn’t be making fun of people for who they are.”
“You’re right,” I said. “It’s none of their business.”
“That’s right!” she said. “I hope that Cher sues them!”
Lesson #2: Accept people for who they are. Sometimes I think we all need a reminder.
It was a great lunch.