March 11th, 2010
06:21 PM ET

Chaz Bono's transition

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/11/cher.chastity.jpg caption="Actress and singer Cher comforts her daughter Chastity Bono during a rally for 'National Coming Out Day' in 1996. Chastity started the transition to Chaz about 1 year ago." width=292 height=320]


As the daughter of Cher and Sonny Bono, Chaz Bono has been in the public spotlight for his entire life. Being well-known made the decision to transition from a female to a male even more difficult. Chastity had to accept that becoming Chaz would not be a private matter. Throughout the gender reassignment process, Chaz has had the support of his famous mother and his girlfriend. Now, he is speaking out as a member of the transgender community. Tune in tonight at 10pm ET to hear Chaz talk about his transition, regrets, experiences, and how being the child of celebrities shaped his identity.

This glossary from GLAAD has helpful information and terminology about the transgender community:

An umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term may include but is not limited to: transsexuals, cross-dressers, and other gender-variant people. Transgender people may identify as female-to-male (FTM) or male-to-female (MTF). Use the descriptive term (transgender, transsexual, cross-dresser, FTM or MTF) preferred by the individual. Transgender people may or may not choose to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.

Transsexual (also Transexual)
An older term which originated in the medical and psychological communities. Many transgender people prefer the term "transgender" to "transsexual." Some transsexual people still prefer to use the term to describe themselves. However, unlike transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term, and many transgender people do not identify as transsexual. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers.

Altering one's birth sex is not a one-step procedure; it is a complex process that occurs over a long period of time. Transition includes some or all of the following cultural, legal and medical adjustments: telling one's family, friends, and/or co-workers; changing one's name and/or sex on legal documents; hormone therapy; and possibly (though not always) some form of surgical alteration.

Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS)
Refers to surgical alteration, and is only one small part of transition (see Transition above). Preferred term to "sex change operation." Not all transgender people choose to or can afford to have SRS.


Filed under: Gay & Lesbian Issues
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    In reading this my main question was if I could be as supportive if one of my children did this as Cher has been to Chaz? I'd love to hear Cher's perspective as a mother on this. What do you say? What do you do? Is being speechless for a few minutes allowable? I may not understand why someone would do this, but if it were my child I would want them to be happy and I would want them to not regret telling me.

    March 11, 2010 at 9:49 pm |
  2. Jasper

    I think people who see the world in black and white are those who are either confused or frightened by SRS. We are all shades of gray and no two of us are alike. To question why someone is the way they are is futile. All people deserve to be happy in their own skin as long as they are not hurting anyone else by doing so. It just is what it is...let it be.

    March 11, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
  3. Pat-Orangeburg, NY

    I agree with Cher. I would want to make my child happy and proviide in any way that I could.

    March 11, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
  4. rose

    don't understand... why?

    March 11, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  5. mer

    Sex reassignment and gay issues are two completely different things. Few gay people ever desire a sex change. Being born gay does not mean being born in the wrong body. Chaz is/will be a straight man.

    March 11, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  6. Piper

    I applaud Chaz for making such a decision!! I believe those who "don't get being someone you're not" are missing the point that surgery is one of the ways to reconcile the way an individual perceives her/himself. Imagine looking down at your own body and thinking it alien. What would you do if you identified as a man, but happened to be born in the body of a female? If you can for a moment place yourself in such a situation, perhaps it would be more clear that our trans brothers and sisters are actually recociling their outside with their inside.

    March 11, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  7. Pam Dafoe

    I hope this has brought as much happiness to Chaz as he thought it would. God Bless the Bono family.

    March 11, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  8. Juan

    This is too bizarre for my mind!

    March 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  9. Roger

    Empathetic to the whole gay bi thing, but I sorta get lost in all of this wanting to be somebody you are not stuff.

    March 11, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  10. Gail Duncan

    Excepting people as they are is what I have learned. For we can only change ourselves and not others. I look at how a person walks the talk and how their light shines no matter the gender.Having peace within is a must and there are many roads we take to find and keep it.

    March 11, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  11. marie

    I was raised never to judge. So I'm not judging. But I don't understand why someone would ever want to be something they're not. By changing your gender, aren't you stating a mistake was made when you were created? How can you be a mistake?
    Aren't you giving validation to those that say being born gay is a myth? Isn't it the same thing?
    My apologies for all the questions, just trying to understand. Is it b/c I'm straight? Maybe that's why I don't get it.
    I do applaud Chaz's bravery. It must be a hell of an ordeal to go through a life changing event such as that.

    March 11, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
  12. Jamie, Canada

    funny, I completely understand this desire.

    To "get it," you just need to have empathy. Try and understand what it must feel like to know you were born in the wrong body... and then I think you'll have a great deal of pride in knowing there are people strong enough to publicly explain their journey, so that perhaps others may learn.

    Chaz is one such brave individual! Thank you, sir!

    March 11, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  13. Isabel, Brasil

    I'm straight and sympathetic of the cause, but also don't understand.

    March 11, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  14. Glenda

    I will never understand this desire.

    March 11, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  15. Sheldon

    Oh great! My initials (SRS) now stand for Sex Reassignment Surgery!!!

    Anybody who has the courage to go through such a long, painful and emotional change to get to where they need to be has my vote for bravest person on the planet.

    March 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
  16. Tim Gibson

    Yes, even as a gay person myself, I am confused by the labels and the desire to change one's outer self.

    March 11, 2010 at 6:39 pm |