Chaz Bono

Chaz Bono has some news for critics who say he should not compete on the new season of Dancing with the Stars: He's not going anywhere.

The transgender activist and son of Cher told ABC News Thursday that his participation on the hit reality show was necessary.

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"It's made me realize I'm really glad I'm doing this, because America really needs to see this," Bono, 42, said. He underwent a female-to-male gender transition last year.

"You know, it just kind of shows why for me it's important to be on the show, because so little still is known about what it means to be transgender," he continued. "And there's so many just completely inaccurate stereotypes and thoughts that people have."

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Cher has already spoken up on behalf of her son, tweeting on Wednesday: "Lovelies! Chaz is being viciously attacked on blogs & message boards about being on DWTS! This is still America right ? It took guts 2 do it," she wrote on Wednesday. "I support him no matter what he chooses to do. . . It took courage to do DWTS! Thank God Chaz has an unlimited supply."

"All I can do is share my experience, strength and hope," Bono told ABC News. "That's all I'm trying to do."

The new season of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday, Sep. 19 at 8/7c on ABC.