Chaz Bono: ‘I am literally going through puberty’

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As we mentioned earlier in the week, Chaz Bono, the 40 year-old now-son of Cher and the late Sonny Bono, has an interview with Entertainment Tonight that will air tonight and tomorrow. ET has released some advance quotes and Chaz is both open and genuine about what he’s going through in his transition from female to male. Many transgender advocates consider Chaz to be the most famous face of the movement and it looks like he is ready to put himself out there. In this, his first interview since the change, he candidly explains why he made the decision to come out as a transgendered person. (As Alexis Arquette explained to ET, Chaz did not make the decision to be transgendered, he made the decision to come out.)

About his life-changing decision, Chaz tells Mary [Hart], “It wasn’t a sudden decision. I’ve been doing therapy for a long time. It’s a long process going back almost a decade. I got clean and sober in 2004 and I couldn’t have done this before that.”

He goes on to say, “I always felt like the male from the time I was a child. There wasn’t much feminine about me. I believe that gender is something between your ears not between your legs. That is something I discovered in the early 90’s. It was just a long process of being comfortable enough to do something about it. I was turning 40 and I thought it’s now or never. I want to still feel vibrant and be able to enjoy my life in a male body and not wait until I am an old man.”

Chaz tells ET about taking male hormones, “I started in March. It lowered my voice. Fat redistributes, muscle growth, hair growth, sex drive increases. It doesn’t change anything mentally and emotionally. [I’m] still not anywhere near what I will look like but really for the first time I am feeling much more comfortable with how I look physically.” On having his breasts removed, “Most people call it top surgery. The construction of the male chest from a female chest. When I went through puberty and started to grow breasts, it was very uncomfortable and emotional.” When asked if he plans to undergo further surgery, he replies, “That’s a personal decision and I don’t really feel comfortable talking about anything below the waist.”

On how the changes will progress, “I will be changing for about 4 to 5 years in total but I’ll be on testosterone for the rest of my life. The nice thing about this process is it is slow. I am literally going through puberty.” Any negative side effects? “Just muscle aches… growing pains.”

Chaz reveals that he has begun shaving his face, “I shave about once a week now. It kind of started to come in just like peach fuzz. I always wanted to shave. It is a very natural process. For my birthday I got a lot of shaving stuff.”

How has Chaz’s mother Cher felt about her child’s experience? Chaz tells ET he cannot speak for her. However, he says everyone close to him has been nothing but supportive. “The people in my life are just happy that I’m doing this and seeing the positive effect that its having on me,” he says.

Chaz goes on to tell Mary he hopes that his life experience will help others, “[I’m] trying to use my life experience to educate people. I feel more like myself more than I ever felt. I feel happier and more confident. I used to live most of my life in my head because I was so uncomfortable in my body. The most important thing about this for me is that my outsides are finally starting to match my insides. I feel like I’m living in my body for the first time and it feels really good.”

[From ET via The Huffington Post]

I am so impressed with how thoughtful and open he is. Some of his statements are so well put and succinct, specifically “gender is something between your ears not between your legs,” and “my outsides are finally starting to match my insides.” I hope that he helps change some antiquated opinions about transgendered people.

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19 Responses to “Chaz Bono: ‘I am literally going through puberty’”

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  1. Green Is Good says:

    Chaz needs to drop the excessive weight, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter what sex he/she is. If Chaz doesn’t take charge of his health, he’ll be dead before the sex change is complete.

  2. Icecat says:

    Kudos to him.

    I think the weight loss will come with time. I’m sure the meds he is taking are not making it easy to lose weight.

    I would however, love to hear what Cher thinks. I would hope she would be supportive and loving 🙂

  3. Ellen Smith says:

    It will be interesting to see how he goes about having a sexual relationship with his female partner if he does not opt to have “bottom” surgery. If he is indeed a man (mentally, at least) then why would he want to be with a woman who is a lesbian? Wouldn’t he choose a heterosexual woman?

  4. Ursula says:

    I hope we don’t have another pregnant man. Good for her though, he actually sounds happier than she did. Maybe am wrong and this will help her find the happiness that has long eluded her. Good luck to him.

  5. Kevin says:

    That ain’t Chaz Bono. That’s Jiminy Glick!

  6. Tia C says:

    @ Ursula – LOL! Something tells me Chaz would not want to go through pregnancy…

    I’m totally supportive of the transformation Chaz is going through. I can’t help but wonder though, like Ellen above, what the relationship dynamics will be like. If I was a lesbian in a relationship, I might be disappointed if my partner wanted to become a man. In fact, knowing me, I’d be very disappointed! I don’t know anything about their relationship or how tight it is or whatever, but it probably won’t matter to them. Just interesting to ponder.

  7. Lantana says:

    I have thought about this on and off since the discussion earlier in the week, and although I can’t relate to it personally, I can kind of understand the exasperation that must drive them to this point. If I suddenly woke up a man, and everyone treated me like one, and I’d say “NO I am a woman”, because I am, how incredibly frustrating that would be. I know that is impossible but if I had been born with manthings and was still the “me” I am right now, I don’t know…I said before I can’t really even suspend reality to imagine it. So, if nothing else, this little dialogue has made me more compassionate. I’m still iffy on the whole thing, but it’s just not my business.

  8. GatsbyGal says:

    Chaz seems really down to earth for someone who came out of Cher.

  9. girl says:

    Good luck to him. I hope it all goes smoothly. About the weight, maybe gaining so much was all part of not liking the body he was in? That must be a very difficult life to live.

  10. RAMONA says:

    I think that someone who clearly still has a vagina should not be called a he…That is just freakin stupid….you can’t make a Rooster out of a Hen until he starts crowing…and frankly I think SHE needs a little more COCK-a-doodle doo before I see that happening…

  11. Squirtle says:

    I don’t really think it matters that Chaz chooses to be with a lesbian or a straight women. There are a lot of “straight” women out there that have been with other women, and there are a lot of lesbian women who have been with men, it doesn’t mean they aren’t really what they classify themselves to be. Sometimes it is only about finding a connection with another person; man or women, straight or gay, not what gender or sexual identity they have.

  12. Kathie says:

    Put…down…the…fork! Get thee to a gym and get on an eating plan now! I know taking hormones can cause a person to gain weight but Chaz could get help with this that others probably could not afford, it is unhealthy and puts a tremendous strain on the heart. If he wishes to continue to be a spokesman for the transgendered community he needs to get in shape or he will not be alive or healthy enough to do that.

  13. GatsbyGal says:

    Haha, Ramona…you sound like such a backwards hick.

  14. Pam says:

    I am sorry but he is not going to live long past his forties if he does not do something about the weight. He is entirely too big. I do not believe in being stick thin but I do believe in being healthy. I wish him the best and hope he finds his peace and health.

  15. Emily says:


    @EllenSmith, I have a ftm friend who’s been with his now wife for years. She originally identified as a lesbian, but she’s stuck with him through his transition. It just depends on the couple in question; if a relationship was based purely on looks, I doubt it’d hold up through one partner gaining a huge amount of weight, let alone transitioning.

  16. Popcorny says:

    She is a female, not a male.
    She feels better with some extra male characteristics, good for her (but she’s still not a male or man).
    Sounds like she doesn’t even want the penis that goes along with being male -and yes, it’s part of the male package.
    But, even if she did get herself a penis, she still would be a female -with (more) male characteristics.
    I’m not going to refer to her as a “he” or a “him”, that’d be a lie.
    To say you “know” you are a man (or woman) trapped in an other’s body is another way of saying “I want to be/I wish to be (the opposite gender) -it’s just a feeling, not a fact (they could not possibly know, it’s merely preferred/assumed identification). It’s not a birth defect.
    The fact is, they are what they were born -male or female (and some don’t like it).
    If it makes someone more comfortable to acquire extra desired characteristics of the opposite/desired gender, and they can afford it -great.
    But the insistence that I have to throw actual fact and science under the bus (by referring to her, falsely, as a male), to placate feelings, is where this stuff goes over the top and over the line (for me).

  17. WTF?!? says:

    A friend of mine has lived as a man since his early teens, is married and has a family (he’s now almost 50). He opted not to have the “down there” surgery because he didn’t want to mutilate his body (they take the skin for the male member from the abdomen) and reduce his sexual pleasure by compromising his existing organs. His wife– also his h.s. sweetheart– has never viewed him as anything but a man, and he is possibly the most well-adjusted, normal person I know.

  18. GatsbyGal says:

    Popcorny – if a person said his name was “Randal” but he prefered people to call him “Adam” for whatever reason, would you still call that person “Randal” out of principle because calling him something else would be a “lie”? I guess I don’t understand your argument.

  19. Redskin says:

    Excessive weight and testosterone therapy equals a high possibility of a massive heart attack especially since “he” is still a woman until the therapy is completed. Remember Chris Farley? He was much younger than Chaz. Lose the weight.