Chaz Bono: Hero! The newly minted Dancing with the Stars contender will be given the Hero Award by GLSEN -- the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network -- at the seventh annual Respect Awards.
"It's a group that really fights bullying in schools, and so it means a lot to me, actually, to be honored by them," says Chaz, who knows what it is to be a target of discrimination and bullying -- most recently having received some flack for what some people consider his controversial casting on the ABC competition show.
"It makes me think a lot, for the most part, and wonder, 'What is the mentality of a person who spends their time saying mean things about people they don't even know?' It's kinda crazy to me," says Chaz.
Director Rob Reiner, his wife Michelle and resigning Phoenix Suns president and CEO Rick Welts -- the first pro sports exec with the courage to come out and say, "I'm gay" -- will also be honored at The Respect Awards, to be held in Los Angeles on Friday, Oct. 21 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
One of the most important things GLSEN does is give students and educators the resources they need to make schools safe and equal, no matter what their sexual orientation may be. And now with GLSEN's 7th annual awards, Chaz, Rob, Michelle and Rick join former honorees including Sofia Vergara and the Modern Family cast in trying to help gain respect for all.