Chaz Bono opens up about sex change (Video)
Chaz Bono, who was born Chastity Bono, the daughter of Cher and Sonny Bono, has opened up about his journey of undergoing a sex change to become a man.
Chaz Bono, 42, talks about his struggles in his new book, "Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man," and on his new documentary, "Becoming Chaz," which come out on Tuesday, May 10 (see promo video below).
In March 2009, he began the process of becoming a man. Chaz Bono took testosterone and underwent procedures such as having his breasts removed, which he told TIME magazine marked "the greatest day, probably of my life."
"I've hated my body since puberty," he says in "Becoming Chaz." "In high school, often at night, I would go to bed, praying that I'd wake up the next day as a boy. A sex change never occurred to me at that point. As a man trapped inside a female shell, I was very cut off from the whole world and now, for the first time, I'm living in my body and it looks like the way I want it to. It's making me feel more confident."
"I'm doing this because I want to try and help people," he added. "I want to put a face on an issue that peopel don't understand. That's why I did this publicly."
Chaz Bono and his girlfriend, Jennifer Elia, appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Monday and she told the talk show host that "it was really hard" when her partner transitioned from female to male, Us Weekly magazine reported.
"We had to really almost re-learn how to communicate and how to be around each other," the magazine quoted Chaz Bono as saying. "Things had changed. Just me saying the same thing that I would have before with a deeper voice and more of a presence."
Chaz Bono says he felt he was male as a teenager and in the 1990s, told his family he was a lesbian. He came out publicly when he was 25.
"I confused gender identity with sexual orientation," he told TIME magazine. "Your gender identity is about who you are, how you feel, the sex that you feel yourself to be. Sexual orientation is who you're attracted to. So when I was about 13 or 14, I realized I was attracted to women and then made the assumption that I was a lesbian, and didn't realize that that wasn't the case."
"It was the fact that I was a man and a heterosexual man," Chaz Bono added. "The issue wasn't my sexual orientation, but rather my gender identity."
Chaz Bono says in his book that Cher, a pop singer often seen as a gay icon, kicked him out of her house when he first told her he was attracted to women. Cher has not commented about such an incident.
Cher acknowledged Chaz Bono's sexual identity publicly for the first time at a National Coming Out Day event in Washington in October 1996.
"It's hard because when she was young, she was just like the cutest girl and I made clothes for her and she was just my little girl," she said about Chaz Bono, the only one of her two children who was born female, in "Becoming Chaz."
The singer said in 2009, when Chaz Bono revealed his decision to undergo a sex change, that she respected "the courage it takes to go through this transition in the glare of public scrutiny and although I may not understand I will strive to be understanding. The one thing that will never change is my abiding love for my child."
Cher said in a November 2010 interview with Vanity Fair that she sometimes mistakenly refers to Chaz Bono as a woman.
She and Sonny Bono were married between 1964 and 1975. Sonny Bono, a singer-turned-politician, died on Jan. 5, 1998 at age 62 after a skiing accident.
Cher also has a son, Elijah, with ex-husband and musician Gregg Allman. Sonny Bono has three other children, including two with his fourth and most recent wife, Mary.
"Becoming Chaz," is set to debut on Winfrey's OWN network on Tuesday at 9 p.m. Check out a promo below.