Chaz Bono to Play Himself on Degrassi
updated 06/29/2012 AT 10:30 AM EDT
•originally published 06/28/2012 AT 04:00 PM EDT
The former Dancing with the Stars contestant and transgender activist stopped by the Toronto set of TeenNick's long-running drama, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Thursday to film scenes for an episode set to air in the fall. His role? Chaz Bono.
"I work with a transgender teen support group that is part of the organization Transforming Family," Bono says, "so when the opportunity to be part of a series that features a trans teen came up, I was thrilled."
In the guest spot – which Bono expressed interest in after meeting the Degrassi team at the 2011 Emmys – he'll play as a surprise celebrity judge for a Battle of the Bands style contest at the fictional Degrassi Community School.
Bono will also have a scene with Adam Torres (played by Jordan Todosey), a transgender character who came out and faced physical bullying in a two-part, award-winning episode of the show.
"Adam's storyline on Degrassi is important to me because it means more transgender representation in the pop culture," Bono says, "and it also sends the message to trans teens that they are not alone in their struggles."
The episode of Degrassi, which returns with season 12 on July 16, will air in the fall.