Cher tells Chaz not to do a reality show on gender transition

Cher’s daughter Chaz Bono, formerly Chastity, is transitioning from a woman to a man with the support of his longterm female partner. Cher issued a statement two weeks ago saying that while she might not understand Chaz’s decision, she will support him fully. She worded it better than I can recap, saying in part, “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 never referred to Chaz by a gender-related pronoun in her statement, which seemed like the right way to address the situation when, as a mom, she was still trying to make sense of it.

Producers have approached Chaz about creating a reality show documenting his sex change, and he’s seriously considering it, according to the National Enquirer. Cher is trying to talk him out of it doing a reality show centered on his gender reassignment, as she values her family’s privacy. Chaz has experience with reality television and appeared on Celebrity Fit Club 3 in 2006, losing 23 pounds. He has gained the weight back, and The Enquirer also claims that he’s going to have lap band surgery to lose weight ahead of his planned wedding.

Cher is adamant about not wanting to get dragged into the crazy world of reality TV.

Now known as “Chaz,” the 40-year-old daughter of Cher and music legend Sonny Bono recently announced she [sic] was undergoing the gender reassignment. She wants to do it before marrying longtime partner Jennifer Elia.

“Talk about must-see TV!” declared the friend. “Chaz has been fielding offers from reality show producers who want to show her [sic] sex change on camera.

“After appearing on ‘Celebrity Fit Club’ a few years ago, Chaz learned the ropes of reality TV.

“But Cher was shocked that Chaz even considered documenting her life – let alone her sex change on camer. Cher treasures her privacy…

“As a gay activist, Chaz is adamant about recording her sexual identity struggles and her transition from female to male,” said her friend. “Her concern is that it be done tastefully. If she does it at all, she wants a documentary style format, and for it to be educational.”

[From The National Enquirer, print edition, July 13, 2009]

Cher is right – Chaz should stay far away from reality TV if the goal is to make it educational. Reality shows take on a life of their own and create drama and a story arc when it’s not necessarily there. People’s lives then start to resemble the roles they’re shoe-horned into and it’s hard to separate reality from fiction. Chaz is getting married soon – they don’t need the added stress on their relationship of a reality show.

Chaz could possibly work with documentary filmmakers who are aware and sensitive about transgender issues and create a special to air on cable. An average reality show producer will not do his story justice. HBO might be the place to air Chaz’s story. A few years ago I saw a very moving documentary on HBO about a dying transgender man called Southern Comfort. There’s also another documentary that aired in 2005 on HBO called Middlesexes that was relatively well received.

Corey Scholibo, the entertainment editor of The Advocate, told Good Morning America that Chaz’s high profile status makes him a de facto representative for his community. “I think that he is going to be the most public face of the transgender community…

For America, and for the world it will shed light on a community I don’t think they are all that familiar with and don’t really know that much about.”

Maybe a reality show could help too, but it would have to be done by people who thoroughly understand transgender issues and don’t just try and exploit the situation for ratings.

Here’s a link to a segment on Good Morning America on Chaz’s gender reassignment process. He is not interviewed but it’s a good look into why people are fascinated with this story.

Chaz is shown supposedly test driving a new Mustang on 7/1, but then he hugged the guy he was with, suggesting it was a friend, not a salesman. Credit: Coqueran/Fame Pictures

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19 Responses to “Cher tells Chaz not to do a reality show on gender transition”

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  1. Tawny says:

    Don’t do it. Reality TV is a wasteland.

  2. Ursula says:

    I am sorry but Chaz sounds like a really sad person. I am afraid turning into a man is not going to make her happy. I wish she would realise this before she goes ahead with this surgery on top of slimming surgery. Poor soul.

  3. Frenchie says:

    Reality TV IS the mark of the beast (not the fucking microchips).
    Maybe that will raise awarness on cases like this and make people more “tolerant” because accustomed, but Chaz’s personal life will be destroyed and people will feel the right to intrude her/his life. Chaz already has enough exposure.

  4. geronimo says:

    Can no one do anything anymore without a camera on them? 🙄

    Up to him, I guess, but if he does want the process documented, then do it with people who care about him as a person and are knowledgable about and respectful of the process, rather than going down the reality tv route which will do nothing but sensationalise and ultimately demean the experience.

  5. BlueSkies says:

    I thought at first it was an overweight BP! Good luck to you Chas.

  6. hmm says:

    Holy cow it did not take long for her to look like a man.

  7. Zoe (The Other One) says:

    Meh, why must people do everything on camera.

    Crack on and live your life – you don’t need the approval/hatred of the reality tv viewers.

  8. Orangejulius says:

    He’ll already be under way too much stress and too many lifestyle changes all at once to be under a microscope. Raising awareness is great, but a reality show isn’t the best way to go about it for Chaz. Staying mentally healthy under those circumstances would be challenging enough without the added pressure. Do a documentary.

  9. Annicka says:

    Reality TV is an awful thing, and I don’t want the soulless morons who come up with any ideas for reality TV to get their hands on this and make Chaz seem like he’s insane. But I would like to see a show about this. A documentary on Discovery Health, perhaps. Just nothing that would show up on MTV or VH1.

  10. Jag says:

    Do a documentary, not a reality show. And I really hope that Chaz, doesn’t do lap band surgery – just exercises and eats as though he did. His body is going through enough changes right now as it is, and many people have complications from those types of stomach surgeries.

  11. Hieronymus Grex says:

    Wow, to think that used to be the cute, sweet shy little blond girl who used join her mommy and daddy onstage at the end of the Sonny and Cher TV show. Now she looks like Norm from Cheers.

    I know this runs contrary to popular opinion of the selfish instant gratification generation I’m surrounded by, but not every human desire we are inspired to have is the right thing to follow.

  12. omondieu says:

    Such a personal and delicate issue should not be addressed to the public via reality TV. I agree with Jag: you wanna educate people, do a documentary.

  13. santacruz says:

    Good luck Chaz, I wish you well. I feel Cher should butt out, as she was the queen of embarrassing stunts, that probably traumatized her kids growing up.

  14. Ellen Smith says:

    Man or woman, this person looks totally unhealthy.

  15. barneslr says:

    No No No No No No!

    What a horrible, horrible idea.

  16. Gigohead says:

    Chaz is looking more and more like Peter Griffin from Family Guy each day. Needs to be slimmer to be a good looking dude.

  17. paranel says:

    I agree with Cher. Chaz don’t let the networks exploit you and your life for rating. You will regret it.

  18. Kim says:

    As a parent, your grown child’s decisions are at times difficult to come to terms with. I wish Cher the best and commend her handling of this. I know it must be difficult. As for Chaz… Listen to your mother (and most everyone who has posted a comment here): Don’t do it. A documentary, maybe, but not reality TV. It shreds people and relationships, and it caricaturizes humanity. Spare yourself, and those who love you. And one other thing: Is the long-time companion wanting this ‘reality’ hoopla? Is that person promoting this?

  19. Jaime says:

    OMG whoever wrote all this stuff about cher is sooooo wrong cher is beautiful not getting plastic surgery isnt not aging well so what if she dates younger en she can do what she wants and you probably are worse so you have no room to talk you must have no life to just sit here and write these rumors your worse then thw tabloids you should so ashamed of yourself why dont you get a life because i will find you and bitch slap you