Chastity Bono is transitioning from female to male

Outfest 2005 Awards Night - Arrivals

Chastity Bono, Sonny and Cher’s famously lesbian daughter, has decided to begin the process of living her life as a man, according to her representative. Chastity, who will now go by Chaz, began the process around his 40th birthday. Neither TMZ or Chaz’s representative specifies exactly what this means for him: if he’ll dress, live, and identify as a male, if he’ll take hormones, or if he’ll eventually have a sex change operation. Most doctors require a person live as their desired gender for a certain period of time before they’ll perform sexual reassignment surgery, so that’s often an initial step in the process.

Chastity Bono, civil rights advocate, journalist, author and musician, is in the early stages of changing his gender — transitioning from female to male, TMZ has learned.

Bono, the child of legendary entertainers Sonny and Cher, began the process earlier this year, shortly after his 40th birthday.

“Yes, it’s true — Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity,” confirmed Bono’s publicist, Howard Bragman.

“He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones. It is Chaz’s hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his ‘coming out’ did nearly 20 years ago.

We ask that the media respect Chaz’s privacy during this long process as he will not be doing any interviews at this time.”

[From TMZ]

While they use both the terms “identity” and “gender” the statement seems to be implying that Chaz is going to eventually have a reassignment surgery. Since he’s not going to be speaking about it for now, I guess we’ll have to wait and see exactly what “transitioning from female to male” means to Chaz.

One summer when I was in college I worked in a dorm that functioned as a hotel in the summers. We hosted a lot of visiting conferences, and before a LGTQ came we attended several discussions with a group of transsexual and transgendered individuals. All of them told their stories about the first time they passed as their desired gender, which was a really powerful moment for them. One woman said she’d accidentally cut off a guy while driving. Furious, he stuck his head out his window and screamed “‘You dumb bitch!’” with more anger than she’d ever heard. But as she put it, “I was so excited that he called me a bitch that I yelled back ‘Thank you!’ grinning ear-to-ear.”

Everyone described transitioning to their desired gender as finally living their lives in a way that felt authentic; like they were finally happy and being honest with themselves. Supposedly it’s an incredibly powerful and challenging time. It seems like Chaz has a lot of supportive people around him – and while the next several years will have lots of challenges most of us never face, it’ll probably be the best time of his life.

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60 Responses to “Chastity Bono is transitioning from female to male”

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  1. Lem says:

    She seems like such a gentle, generous person. I hope she finds what makes him comfortable in his own skin.

  2. bob lawblaw (nony) says:

    so here is my complex question, and I mean it to be neither snarky nor offensive…

    Will he still be considered a Lesbian, or does it just shift to transgendered? (please excuse my ignorance here) Also, did he as a female have a lesbian partner, and if so, I wonder how this might affect their relationship.

    I feel for individuals who go through such difficult trials like this, I hope he finds peace with his new transition.

  3. M.E. says:

    Wow. I’m 44 and will always remember her (I should say then-her) adorable appearances at the end of Sonny and Cher’s show. She was about 3 and I was about 7, and I thought she was so cute! I wish him happiness.

  4. deemiller says:

    I wish her the best, and I hope it makes her happy……

  5. Lizzie says:

    Great for Chaz…..she is who he is…a good person.

  6. Lizzie (greeneyed fem) says:

    Thank you, JayBird, for honoring Chaz’s identity and using male pronouns in this post. It is a huge deal for people who are transitioning to be respected in this way. Thank you.

  7. huh says:

    re #2: I have a relative who made the full change from man to woman. As a man he was married four times to woman. And now she lives and a lesbian.

    So I guess he was a staight man and is now a lesbian.

    Although in the process of coming out he and his then wife divorced but remained friends.

    So that’s just one case but this particular person is now a lesbian and it did end a relationship b/c the wife was not a lesbian.

  8. gooniegirl says:

    I like how much more positive these comments are than the comments posted about the pregnant man!

    Good luck Chastity/Chaz…all the best!

  9. Diana says:

    I’d agree with my fellow posters, finding one’s path is wonderful and I’m happy Chaz has found his.

  10. Vixenella says:

    I wonder what Cher has to say? If I remember,when he came out,she wasn’t cool with it at first.

  11. Cinderella says:

    Not being snarky, either, but I was also wondering if Chaz is presently in a lesbian relationship. Would it still be defined as a lesbian relationship if there’s a man involved?

    Or is Chaz in a relationship with a woman who wants her to be a man? I would hope this is something Chaz is doing for Chaz and not for someone else. Best of luck!

  12. Annie says:

    No Labels! Chaz is whomever Chaz wants to be! 🙂

  13. BlueSkies says:

    Please jaybird, do one of your Thursday Gwyneth posts about William Joel.

  14. Nony says:

    Thanks for your sensitivity about this issue.

    As a note, a lot of female-to-male transpeople chose not to have gender reassignment surgery because the end result is often just not very good. It’s medically speaking very, very hard to construct a functioning penis out of nothing – far harder than it is to construct a vagina for M-to-F transpeople. Many F-to-M transpeople chose to retain their ability to have an orgasm with the female bits rather than to undergo an extremely heavy operation that will generally result in an insensitive, non functioning flesh appendage. They would probably be able to pee with it, but having satisfying sex, not likely.

    This is also why the ‘pregant man’ Thomas still has functioning female reproductive organs – lots of F-to-M transpeople do.

  15. Sunnyjyl says:

    Wow! That takes courage.

  16. e-non says:

    cher long ago made peace with her daughter’s sexuality. i have no doubt that she’s fully supportive of whatever chastity does.

    i would never have the courage to do what s/he’s doing. all best wishes to chaz.

  17. Jen says:

    I can’t imagine this is an easy process for anyone to go through, let alone in the glare of the media spotlight. Hopefully, though, Chaz will be able to bring about some understanding and compassion for others in the same boat, much as Alexis Arquette did when she transitioned from male to female.

    Rock on, Chaz. Rock on.

  18. Orangejulius says:

    My heart goes out to those who have to deal with this. I can’t imagine how difficult this must be emotionally.

  19. Kimble says:

    Good luck to Chaz. He has always handled his private life with class and I’m sure he will continue to do so.

  20. yosafbridge says:

    I also commend this site for treating this story with respect. Most sites that have covered this have been snarky and awful. I know that’s why we often read celebrity gossip but that’s why I’ve always read this site instead. You know when to be funny and when to be kind.
    Great job Jaybird!

  21. BlueSkies says:

    Jaybird, good job, now one of your Gwyneth postings PLEASE!!

  22. Tazina says:

    Good for Chaz….the only thing I find a bit sad about it all is that he waited so very long to transition. But it take courage to take such a major step and all it involves….he must feel that now the time is right. Best wishes Chaz!

  23. Tia says:

    Well best wishes to him. I have seen specials on TV where these people feel trapped in a different gender’s body thier whole lives. They deserve to be happy too and feel complete. No she would no longer be a lesbian, she would be a man. I am sure she wishes she could just be a lesbian, it would be so much easier, but she has to be who she feels she needs to be. The world is a totally different place than when she came out over 20 years ago.

  24. Danica says:

    Yes, many of the comments on TMZ especially are absolutely horrible about this…

  25. Isobel says:

    I wish Chaz well. . .seems like such a kind, smart, and very melancholy person.

  26. boomchakaboom says:

    Well, God love him. Damn. It’s hard for me to refer to Chastity Bono as Chaz, or “him”, but I will. I remember when Chaz was born and made those little appearances at the end of the Sonny & Cher Show, and he would always wave so shyly. Chaz seems like such a sweet and gentle person, as so many people here have mentioned.

    Chaz, we love you and wish you nothing but happiness.

  27. chazit says:

    Just because medical science can act upon the wishes of mentally ill people to mutate their bodies in “gender reassignment” surgery does not make it right or brave or even rational!

  28. Nebraska says:

    It is refreshing that this article by Jaybird is so warmly written. Chaz is a cool name. The author Ivan E. Coyote has written short stories about this topic and the stories are funny! Loose End is one of the collections of stories, also One man’s trash, and The Slow Fix.

  29. Nebraska says:

    Also, Chazit, Octo”mom” is mentally ill, not Chaz. He is not breeding children that he cares nothing about and getting lip injections to look like something out of The Twilight Zone in order to get fame. Nadya can get away with all of this crap because she is “straight”.

  30. Gigohead says:

    Good luck to Chaz.

  31. chazit says:

    No, Octo-mom is a crazy loon that never should be allowed to reproduce at all let alone FOURTEEN children that the US tax payers are forced to support.

    Can you really see Cher having raised a mentally healthy daughter at ease with her own sexuality and feeling valued by those around her? Chasity needs therapy not an operation.

  32. omondieu says:

    Good for him. Those comments on TMZ are dreadful.
    This is a courageous thing to do.

  33. boomchakaboom says:

    Chazit: Why must you be a fly in the ointment of human compassion? Is that really your life’s calling – to pronounce other people to be in need of “help” if they don’t comply with your views? You are the one in need of help, and it has absolutely nothing to do with your sexuality. And yes, I can certainly see Cher raising a child who is completely comfortable with his/her sexuality.

    You, on the other hand, I can already ascertain are decidedly NOT comfortable with anything that does not fit into the slot you declare to be the right one. You are to be pitied, and as a Christian person, I will strive to make myself pray for your eyes and heart to be opened so that you will not hurt others with your narrow viewpoints.

  34. Courtney H says:

    Apparently Chazit has never taken a biology class, or even talked to an OB/GYN about sex and gender, and the false belief that each is binary. XX males, XY females, Turner syndrome, ambiguous genitalia, hormonal disorders, etc…

  35. ! says:

    Save your judgemental BS Courtney, s/he is doing what makes her/him happy. And screw you Chazit, you’re ignorant and completely callous and compassion-less. (Are you against in vitro too?)

  36. ccoop says:

    Wow. It really takes guts to go through something like this so publicly, knowing that you are going to attract extra attention because you are the child of a celebrity, and are regarded as being fair game. I always thought Chastity had a lot of class and I wish Chaz well in his new life.

  37. CeeJay says:

    Call it courageous or whatever you want. The bottom line is that gender reassignment is a tough, tough journey. The job is NEVER done since it is biologically impossible to undo what was created via genetics in the womb. I think that is what Courtney is trying to get at but failed to convey succinctly. I have a good friend whose sister is currently going down the same road. It is much easier for a male to reassign to female rather than female reassigning to male. In fact most surgeons will not even attempt to promise anatomically correct results when females try to assume male genitalia. In these types of cases it unfortunately is not about the “journey” but rather the destination.

  38. Jen says:

    It still never ceases to amaze me how vicious people can be when hiding behind the cloak of Internet anonymity.

  39. Christina X says:

    Good for him. I hope the transition is a successful one.

  40. Chicamorena says:

    There will always be a few vicious people posting on any web site butthey seem to congregate on sites like TMZ. Those people posting over there seem like the kind who would find a fatal car smash-up which killed seven children incredibly funny.

    In any case, I wish Chas the best in what will be an enormous readjustment, physically, socially and emotionally.

  41. boobaloob says:

    An old high school classmate of mine (female) is in a long-term committed relationship with Chaz. I consider my classmate a friend, but we aren’t super close, so this is the first I’ve heard about Chaz’s decision. I’m surprised, but really happy for him. I too am curious if my classmate will decide to stay with him, since it will no longer be a lesbian relationship — I suspect that she will, only because I know that she really loves him, and after all, isn’t it the person we love, no matter what his/her gender?

  42. viper says:

    I want to understand. But then again I could careless. Dont ask and dont tell is a fine rule for me. What you do in your personal life is your business. Just don’t bring it to the work place.

  43. anon transguy says:

    Transsexualism is not a mental illess – it’s a biological deformity. studies have shown that it is almost certainly caused by a hormonal imbalance in the 8th week of pregnancy. It’s a horrible thing to happen and it takes so much courage to come out and be who you really are. I lost all my friends and most of my family when I came out, and i’m still battling to be acknowledged as the man that I am, even after almost three years of living as male.

    people who have an issue with this should keep their mouths closed til they know what they’re talking about. your ignorance is sickening. he’s doing a very brave thing and he deserves only praise and support.

    an estimated 51% of transsexuals will attempt suicide, and transphobic violence claims more lives than violent acts to all other minorities combined.

    go watch ‘My secret self’ or ‘transgeneration’ and watch the struggles people like us face every single day before you dare say another bad word about us.

    I wish chaz all the best with his transition. hopefully one day he will be able to be physically who he knows he is inside.

  44. Nony says:

    Chazit: Chaz HAS therapy, in all likelyhood has been having intensive therapy for years. It’s generally mandatory to be allowed to start hormones even if the transperson hadn’t already ended up in therapy for deep depression and suicidal feelings. (and most do)

    Someone who truly feels they are in the wrong body cannot be ‘fixed’ with therapy. Their only hope is to eventually get their bodies to match the gender they feel they are.

    I hope you’ll grow out that judgemental ignorance at some point.

  45. Rosalee says:

    The positive, supportive comments posted here are wonderful. I loved reading them, there were a few annoying comments but rather than focus on the negative. You all made my day. Chaz is incredibly brave and I wish him all the happiness in the world.

  46. Peg says:

    Wow! This would be tough under any circumstance, but add to it the notoriety that fame confers. I admire his strength and hope for the easiest transition possible. My best wishes!

  47. Ellen Smith says:

    To Boobaloob: Your comments about relationships are misguided. While Chaz’s partner may love him, she loves him in the context of a lesbian relationship. With Chaz transitioning to a man, it is highly doubtful his partner will “transition” to becoming a straight female desiring a relationship with a heterosexual male.

  48. crab says:

    I work with a guy who transgendered into a female. Once Friday night he left work as Mike and on Monday morning he came into work as Michelle. Of course everyone was stunned but I gave her a lot of credit and major major courage to do this and she is so happy now!!

  49. theotherone says:

    Sick sick sick

  50. boobaloob says:

    To Ellen Smith: You may feel that my comments are misguided, but I have confirmed with my friend that she is, indeed, staying with him, and that this is something they have been discussing and figuring out for some time. The only reason that they came public with it is because the Enquirer caught wind of it, and Chaz figured he might as well speak up about it and take control of the situation away from the gossip blogs/mags.

  51. geronimo says:

    Happy transitioning, Chaz. Hope the process is a supportive, caring and love-filled one.

  52. Courtney H says:

    To !: I think you misinterpreted what I was saying. Chazit was proposing that this is a mental illness, whereas I was saying that there are numerous biological factors that contribute to transgenderism due to the non-binary nature of sex and gender. While the doctor may assign one sex at birth, the child may actually be the opposite sex due to chromosomal, hormonal, and other abnormalities not known at the time, thus leading to the person being transgender later on in life.

  53. TaylorB says:

    To those who have written that Chaz needs ‘therapy’ I can assure you that he has been through pleanty of therapy…

    “Transsexual people are required to visit a mental health professional to obtain approval for hormones and sex reassignment surgery, thus exposing the transsexual community to a higher level of evaluation for mental health issues than the general populace.”

    Basically transsexual folks, like Chaz, are probably better adjusted than others.

    Good luck Chaz, I hope this works out for you and good for you for coming forward.

  54. Maritza says:

    Big mistake! She should just lose weight and live as a lesbian just like Ellen, Jodie and Melissa has, they seem perfectly happy. Your body is your temple don’t ruin it.

  55. Jag says:

    God bless him. 🙂

    I’m happy that he’s made the decision to live true to himself, and wish him a smooth and easy journey.

  56. coconuts says:

    1) this is one of those ‘i can’t believe it’ stories that has been floating in rags like the national enquirer with people saying, no way in hell…bla bla..
    2) a person can take drugs and treatments, but it still does not change the chromosomes…biologically, even if she has some disfiguring surgery, she will still biologically be female, and there is nothing wrong with that. on a really weird level, if you had cher for a mother and you saw how she completely changed her entire face and body with plastic surgery, it may seem like a more natural choice to make. what a mess.

  57. Ciara says:

    He’s lucky he was born in a time those are options.

  58. plk says:

    so are people supposed to call her a him or a her?

  59. Vanessa says:

    Bless his heart. Many of us became attached to Chastity while watching Sonny and Cher in the 70’s. It feels kind of like we knew her, in a way. She always seemed like a sweet soul. I hope things go really well for him.

  60. Carmen Tourney says:

    I have a friend and know 2 fellow churchgoers who are all transgendered (all are male to female) and while I find it hard to call them her and see them as female (much harder with my friend who I knew as a male) it is true (I believe) that it is a mistake of nature that they were not born of the gender they seek. It obviously does take courage to do this (have the surgery), especially if as in the case of the 2 ladies from church it is done later in life when the results are less “realistic” (for lack of being able to come up with a better term). Good luck to Chaz. And also congratulations to this site on having mostly sympathetic people on it and those who aren’t for not being venomous.