Lady Gaga’s Jo Calderone, Chaz Bono Bring Gender Identity To The American Living Room

Photo: Jo Calderone and Chaz Bono (Getty Images)

Are the winds of change blowing strong enough to create a lasting impact on the mainstream acceptance of transgender men and women? With Lady Gaga cross-dressed as her alter ego, Jo Calderone, and future Dancing With the Stars contestant Chaz Bono making appearances on the small screen, signs point to yes!

Mother Monster embraced her drag king side at the 2011 Video Music Awards on Sunday. She opened the show as the slick bad boy Jo Calderone with a monologue and performance of “Yoü and I.” Gaga remained in character for the rest of the night. In T-shirt and jeans or meat dress, Lady G has always been one of the most vocal proponents of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Bringing Jo out for the night brought gender identity to the forefront, even if she just intended to explore a character.

“There is barely any visibility for FTM, drag kings and lesbians on television. There is a huge imbalance,” Murray Hill, a popular drag king comedian in New York City and host/creator of “Mr. Transman” told MTV News. “For Lady Gaga, the biggest pop star in the world, to go on TV, with millions of people watching, in drag as a man and then to actually say ‘lesbian and transgender’ live is undeniably powerful and creates change. She ups the visibility big time and gets the language into the mainstream.”

In other mainstream TV news, Chaz Bono is revving up for the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars. ABC’s casting decision to include openly transgender Chaz Bono (and openly gay Carson Kressley) has been applauded by GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Born the daughter of Sonny and Cher, Chaz has shared his transition through his books and in the Emmy-nominated documentary, Becoming Chaz. He’s not only proof that It Gets Better, but that it’s gonna get smoking hot on the dance floor!

Previously, gender identity has made its way to the big screen, like in 1999′s Oscar Award-winning Boys Don’t Cry and most recently Gun Hill Road. The latter is the story of a teenage girl whose father, recently released from prison, disapproves of her transition while he was away. The groundbreaking movie has already earned top credits at Sundance Film Festival. Wanna help promote the film and bring it to more theaters? Get involved! You can also check out our LGBT Action Brief and GLAAD’s Transgender Resource Page by taking action below.

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What does "transgender" mean? Learn more about the transgender community on GLAAD's resource page.

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Check out our LGBT Action Brief for some great ways to make an impact on the LGBT movement.